Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing April 2016 Newsletter.

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Postal Rates To Drop 4.3% In April

By Mark Hrywna, Thenonprofittimes.com

Get ready to take advantage of lower postage costs.  The reduced rates will help boost marketing ROI's and bottom lines.

More than two years after it first went into effect, the 4.3-percent surcharge on postal rates will disappear as of April 10. Barring any congressional or court action, it would be just the third time in its history that the United States Postal Service (USPS) lowered postage rates.

A four-page notice of a removal of the exigent surcharge was filed recently with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), citing the specific date. The USPS estimates that it collected $4.347 billion in surcharge revenue as of Feb. 14, and at $6-million a day, projects April 9 as the day it will reach the $4.634 billion limit set by the PRC. The surcharge went into effect in January 2014.

USPS announced the move would worsen its financial condition by reducing revenue and increasing net losses by about $2 billion per year. “The exigent surcharge granted to the Postal Service last year only partially alleviated our extreme multi-year revenue declines resulting from the Great Recession, which exceeded $7 billion in 2009 alone,” Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan said. “Removing the surcharge and reducing our prices is an irrational outcome considering the Postal Service’s precarious financial condition,” she said.

The USPS ended Fiscal Year 2015 in October with $68.9 billion in total revenue against total operating expenses of $73.8 billion, for a net loss of $5 billion. The net loss follows losses of $5.5 billion in 2014 and $4.9 billion in 2013.

Most mailing rates will come down, including classes and categories heavily used by nonprofits, such as nonprofit Standard Mail and Periodicals, according to Stephen Kearney, executive director of the Alliance for Nonprofit Mailers (ANM).

The rollback of the exigent case is rational because it follows the rule of law and the regulatory process as affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals, Kearney said. “It also makes common sense that businesses and nonprofit organizations must adjust their operations and cost structures to economic cycles,” he said, including the 2007-09 recession. “On the other hand, it’s hard to blame anyone for trying to get a $2 billion lifetime annuity valued at $60 billion. It’s just not in the cards,” Kearney said, hoping the reduction will stimulate more use of the mail. “We think nonprofits will mail more,” he said.

The USPS announced adjusted rates on Feb. 5 and was required to provide 45 days’ notice before any switch. First-Class postage for a letter, for instance, will drop from 49 cents to 47 cents. The Postal Service filed with the PRC for a 4.3-percent surcharge in 2010, ultimately granted and put into effect in January 2014 but capped at $4.6 billion.

Stop Annoying Your Customers: Use Direct Marketing That Works

By Joan Patrick, B2bmarketing.net

Joan Patrick, director of marketing for NewMoversMail, describes the most effective ways to tackle direct marketing.

Direct marketing is still relevant in a digital world, but it needs to be deployed in smarter ways. What worked 20 years ago will not fly with today's more savvy prospects. Want to assure that your offerings persuade instead of annoy? Avoid these direct marketing don'ts:

1. Phoning in the headline

Think you can explain your offer later in your mailing and still nail the sale? It’s crucial to hook audiences as quickly as possible to keep them reading down to your call to action.

2. Failing to make your piece 'skimmable'

Most people prefer to glance at a direct mail sales letter or brochure first to determine whether they are interested. Make it easy for them to glean the most important points through bullets, charts and call outs.

3. Not segmenting your list

In the past, marketers used the shotgun approach, sending direct mail pieces to as many prospects as possible. With the rising costs of postage, it's important to choose exactly the right list to ensure your profitability. For instance, when you are announcing a sales event, you can get a great return by sending a special invitation to your most frequent buyers. Target mailings at new movers advertising services that they'll need in their new homes.

4. Failing to personalize offerings

At the very least, your direct mail piece should be addressed to a resident instead of "our neighbor" or, even worse, "current resident." Personalized direct mail pieces have a response rate that is as much as six times as high as generic direct mail. Carry your personalization inside with a salutation that uses the recipient's name and even references the city where he/she resides, and other demographic details.

5. Not putting enough in the envelope

When sending a sales email, it’s important to be careful about how much additional material is included. Attachments can send a piece straight to spam; or, if your recipient ever sees it, make him/her far more cautious about opening the message. With direct mail, you can include a number of additional elements including: coupons, small pages with charts and comparison sheets, a personal note, or a fridge magnet to keep contact information close at hand.

6. Not setting your mailing apart

Five hundred million pieces of mail get sent each day in the U.S. To stand out from the pack, you need to make your mailing eye-catching and appealing. Experiment with unusual envelope sizes, bright colors and window envelopes that allow your prospect to get a tantalizing peek inside.

7. Forgetting a clear CTA

Each mailing should include a single, clear, call to action that is easy for your recipient to complete. Do you want him/her to call you for a quote? Visit your website to buy a product? Make it easy to understand exactly what you want a recipient to do. Also, don't think that your call to action needs to be at the close of your pitch. Often, you can get even better results by putting your call to action above the fold on the first page of your mailing.

8. Not tracking results

If you just go off your gut reaction, you'll never have any idea what ideas are effective and which ones are not. Measure the results of every mailing. Divide your cost by your number of responses to find out how much each sale costs. By tracking how much is spent on each sale, you can determine which campaigns are most successful and what you need to do more of in the future.

While digital has become an indelible part of our lives, direct mail still has the power to bring in new business and strengthen your relationships with the customers you currently have. Approach your prospects right to win their trust and their business.

Seven Essential Steps To Maximize Direct Marketing

By Clare Mylan, Fourthsource.com

Direct marketing is experiencing a resurgence as brands realize its capacity for delivering personalized messages, increasing sales to current and lapsed customers and improving customer loyalty.

Used effectively, direct marketing gives the user the ability to identify precisely the impact of any promotion. In doing so it establishes a strong foundation upon which future successful activity can be built.

No matter what sector you’re in, if you need to reach customers and prospects under the radar of your competition, there are 7 basic but essential steps to take to maximize success.

1. Have a clear objective:  This might sound obvious, but you really need to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking to achieve. Frequently this is to raise sales, but is it to produce profit or to shift stock or perhaps retain customers who are lapsing or a combination of objectives?

2. Count every penny:  Make sure you’re aware of the TOTAL cost of delivering the promotion remembering to cover everything which could be included such as data lists, creative, design, print, postage etc. Calculate the volume of incremental/additional sales required to break even. For this you will need to know the full cost of the promotion, your ATV, margin and average frequency of purchase.

3. Pay attention to your copy:  Direct marketing should not be a longwinded, one sided conversation. It should be a dialogue between the brand and the customer. Use your data insights to speak to your customers in a way which will appeal to them.

4. Make sure you measure up:  Make sure you designate test cells against which measurement can be made so that you can see where added value is coming from. A typical split might look like this:

  • Not mailed
  • Mailed with basic proposition
  • Mailed with enhanced proposition
  • Mailed with different creative

5. Use your data:  The wealth of data businesses now possess should make it possible for you to segment your customer base into essential categories and include variable messages recognizing the differences. For example you would expect to talk to a high value customer differently to one you haven’t seen for over a year. A most recent, frequency and value analysis will give you the platform to develop this. In the past, our aim was on the mass market.

6. Close the deal:  You must have a clear call to action with a response mechanism and a robust method of capturing the responses as this is the only way in which you can measure the success of the activity and deliver meaningful analysis.

7. Time is money:  Consider an automated platform for your direct mail campaigns. It can deliver a considerable saving on from both a time and money perspective.

Following these seven steps will enable you to identify what works and what doesn’t and where changes are needed. With this as the basis you can begin to develop a very rewarding direct marketing strategy or program which will, over time, become more sophisticated and potentially even automated.

  Ticket Giveaway!   

Talon has great seats for you to win.

We are giving away a pair of tickets to see the New York Islanders!  To win, be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to leave a voice mail.   Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11. 

  • Monday April 4th, 7:00PM.  Islanders vs. Lightning

Do you know of anyone else who would be interested in receiving our newsletter?  Please let us know by email:  mb@talon-mailing.com

To learn more about our company, please visit our Web site: www.talon-mailing.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

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In this Issue:

Postal Rates To Drop 4.3% In April

Stop Annoying Your Customers: Use Direct Marketing That Works

Seven Essential Steps To Maximize Direct Marketing

Ticket Giveaway!

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Links - Web sites you probably haven't seen

View Samples of Our Work

Newsletter Archives

Direct Mail Humor!

New Clients:

Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster of customers:
  • Iver Printing

  • Cricket Media

  • 4 New Lists From Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

pagecloud.com - The world's most advanced website publishing app. Built for designers, but designed for anyone with a browser.

reedsy.com - Helps authors to find and work with the best publishing professionals: from developmental editors to book cover designers, publicists and translators.

workflow.is - An app for iOS where you can create your own little micro apps that can instantly search for directions home, find the nearest pizza joint, search for lyrics to the currently playing song, and more.

sworkit.com - As seen on ABC's Shark Tank,  Sworkit allows you to customize and play Personalized Video Workouts.

marleyspoon.com - Their step-by-step recipes make it easy to get dinner on the table in no time. The site tests and re-tests their recipes until they're hands-down crowd pleasers.

incredibox.com - Free musical app in which you can easily create a mix by running a band of beatboxers. Record your mix, share it, then get tons of likes.  

Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Direct Mail Humor!

Click on image below to enlarge.

Do you need help marketing to your clients?   Talon can help!  Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11 to learn how to increase revenue.

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