Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500

www.talon.com

Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing May 2015 Newsletter.

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Are Postal Rates Headed Up, Down, Or All Around?

www.deadtreeedition.blogspot.com

A slow appeals court, delays in the usual inflation-based rate increase, and the end of the exigent surcharge could converge to create a wild ride for postal rates during the next few months.

Rather than the usual, once-a-year increase, rates might go up, down, or do a loop-the-loop and barrel roll before the summer is over. No one planned it this way. In fact, the plans and expectations of everyone involved seem to have gone awry.

The deviation from normalcy began in late 2013, when the Postal Regulatory Commission approved an “exigent” 4.3% surcharge to compensate the U.S. Postal Service for its losses caused by the recent recession.

The PRC ruled that the surcharge would expire when it netted USPS $3.2 billion, which sounded simple enough at the time. But projecting at least 45 days in advance – the minimum amount of time to implement a rate change – exactly when the $3.2 billion target will be reached is no simple or uncontroversial matter.

Attacked by both sides

Both the Postal Service, which wanted a larger and more permanent surcharge, and mailers groups, which argued for no surcharge, appealed the PRC decision. After an appeals court heard their oral arguments in September, many mailing experts expected the court’s decision by the end of 2014.

USPS even held off on its usual January increase, figuring the decision was imminent.

However, nearly seven months after oral arguments, there’s still no word from the court, which could increase the surcharge, extend it, make it permanent, or even reject it.

Postal officials ended up filing for inflation-based increases after all, with implementation scheduled for April 26. But they miscalculated the effect of some efficiency incentives built into the rate proposal, causing the PRC to send the Postal Service back to the drawing board.

Even if the USPS revisions are filed soon, the new prices probably won’t take effect until at least June. And legal wrangling could delay implementation once again.

Possible postal maneuver

The Association for Postal Commerce figures that the implementation date for the inflation-based increases could end up being just a few weeks before the surcharge expires this summer. And, for all we know, the appeals court decision could land right between those two dates.

There is talk that, not wanting to implement back-to-back price changes, the Postal Service will schedule the inflation-based increases to occur simultaneously with the surcharge expiration. That would result in a net average increase of about 2.3%, with some mailers getting rate decreases and some significant increases.

It might also enable the Postal Service to dodge a thorny problem caused by the temporary surcharge: the prospect of reducing Forever Stamp prices by two cents, which could confuse the public and undermine the whole concept of Forever Stamps.

By rejiggering its proposed inflation-based rate hikes for other First-Class Mail, postal officials might be able to implement a rate hike on Forever Stamps that would cancel out expiration of the two-cent surcharge.


Top 20 Tips For Effective Direct Mail

www.Marketingtango.com

We know. It’s not as hip as social media or as glamorous as television. But the important thing to remember is that direct mail works.

That’s why it remains an integral part of any integrated marketing campaign. So the question is, how can you make your direct mail campaign more effective?

There are a number of simple things you can do to improve your direct mail success, depending on your goals, including this annotated set, distilled from a full list of 99 tips by Al Lautenslager in Entrepreneur, with links to our own Marketing Tango archive.

Top 20 Direct Mail Tips

Please note that the blue italic text below has been added by Talon to provide additional information.

1) Read our previous post on how to Get the Best from Your Creative Team then hire a professional writer and designer to create your mailer. (available at the marketingtango.com website).

2) Help your mailer stand out by using an unusual shape or size. (Great idea, and it works wonders on response rates. Just please be aware there's a possibility an unusual shape or size can dramatically increase postage.  Talon can help you with this idea and work with the post office to get you great results without breaking your marketing budget).

3) Use a teaser headline on the envelope to entice the reader to open it.

4) Help your mailer stand out by making it lumpy or bulky.  (Another great idea, but jus like with odd sizes, please work with Talon before committing to a lumpy or bulky piece so that we can help you achieve the desired results without additional postage costs).

5) Keep copy and paragraphs brief.

6) Highlight customer benefits more than product features.

7) Include a sense of urgency or a deadline in your message.

8) Use testimonials toward the beginning and again near the call to action in your copy.

9) Use the word “Free” prominently or offer a generous discount.

10) Offer a free gift to increase response.

11) Use bold colors and images to reinforce your message.

12) Offer a free no-risk trial period.

13) Mention your service area, whether local, regional, national, or global.

14) Use a postage-paid reply card or envelope.

15) Include a call to action that tells your readers what you want them to do next.

16) Test segments of your list using different copy, headlines, or offers.

17) Use stamps instead of metered mail for a better open rate.

18) Include pre-stamped reply envelopes to make it easier for respondents.

19) Clean your list of bad addresses by using “Address Correction Requested.” (Talon's list cleaning services include:  Address Correction, NCOA processing, Duplicate elimination, Scoring, DMA suppressions, Deceased and Prison suppressions.)

20) Include your own address on all mailing lists!


Four Steps to Creating a Great Marketing Plan

By Melinda Emerson, smallbiztrends.com

Follow these four steps and you will increase your sales and profits.

Marketing is one of the most critical components of your business’s success. You may have a fantastic product or service, but if customers are not aware it exists, there’s no point in continuing the line of work.

In order to make sure your product is exposed to your target customers, you need to develop a robust, killer marketing plan. Once you’ve spent time identifying the four Ps, start adding some elements and details to your strategy. Let’s look at the areas you should focus on when developing your marketing plan.

Validate the Market

How do you know you have a great product that will be of value to your customer? Answering this question is part of the validation process. You want to validate the market or make sure there’s a need for it. Here are a few questions to answer in order to help you do this.

  • How large is the market locally, nationally, and globally?
  • How often do people buy your type of product?
  • How many customers are “in market” at any given time?
  • Will your customers buy daily, weekly, monthly, annually, or every five to ten years?

The answers to these questions will: 1) tell you if you have a sustainable product, and 2) help inform your marketing plan and tactics. After you’ve validated the market, start delving deeper into your target market or customer.

Define Your Target Market

In order for your product or service to sell, you need to answer the question: who is your target market? And the answer is never, “anyone.” The best way to be successful is to develop a customer profile with as much detail as possible. Answer the following questions:

  • How much income do your customers make?
  • Where are they located?
  • Are they male or female, or both?
  • How old are they?
  • What is their level of education?
  • What jobs do they hold?
  • Can you see the face of your customer? What do they physically look like?

Remember, the better you know your customer, the better your chances of making the sale. Once you’ve identified who the customer is, it’s time to articulate what makes them buy.

Create Customer Value

So many marketers and business owners are great at explaining what their product is and why it’s great. But very few know how to explain the product in a way that illustrates value to the customer. This is extremely powerful because if you can help the customer achieve a goal, the product sale will follow.

To do this, start by identifying what qualities your customers value most and least about your service. You must build your marketing strategy on customers’ perceptions of your product’s value to them. This approach is called WIIFM, or What’s In It For Me? It’s critical to keep your marketing plan customer-focused. By doing so, you are on the path to setting yourself apart from the competition.

Identify Your Competitors and How to Deal With Them

In today’s economy, it’s rare to find a product or service that has no competition. Your competition is targeting the same people you are, and as such, your message can easily get lost in advertising clutter and spam.

To avoid this, define what makes you special to your customers. Why is your product or service different and better? What is your competitive advantage? What do you offer that your competitor does not? Why should a customer hire you? Perhaps you offer a longer warranty than your competitor. Or you have proved results that another business does not. If you’re struggling with identifying your competitive advantage, the best thing to do is ask your customers why they bought from you.

Validating the market, identifying the target audience, creating customer value, and identifying your strengths from your competitors are the components that will shape the rest of your marketing plan. Once those steps are completed, it’s time to define the tactics you’ll use and determine your marketing budget.


Win Yankee Tickets!  

Enjoy a great day at Yankee Stadium!

We are giving away two tickets to see the New York Yankees. 

All you have to do to win is be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or send an email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to leave a message.  Call Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.  These tickets are great seats and close to the field! 

  • Tuesday May 26th, 2015.  Yankees vs. Royals 7:05 PM.

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.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.


If you do not wish to receive the Talon Mailing & Marketing Newsletter please click here: 

 

 

In this Issue:

Are Postal Rates Headed Up, Down, Or All Around?

Top 20 Tips For Effective Direct Mail

Four Steps to Creating a Great Marketing Plan

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:
  • FullStop Printing

  • Douglas Elliman Real Estate

  • 2 New Lists from Statlistics


Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

paletton.com - A free designer tool for creating color combinations that work together well. Great for websites and document creations.

pledgeling.com - The easiest place to donate to charity on the web. - View company info, team members, fundraising and more.

budsies.com - This is an amazing site! Budsies turns children's artwork into custom stuffed animals. The company's vision is to let children be the designers of their own toys.

huluperfectgif.tumblr.com - Looking for the perfect animated gif to express your thoughts? This searchable database will help!

insideabbeyroad.withgoogle.com - Google has opened the doors to Abbey Road Studios! Explore, discover and play inside the iconic British recording studio.

cracked.com - A funny website filled with funny videos, pics, articles, and a whole bunch of other funny stuff. Cracked.com gets over 300 million hits a month.

 


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.


Newsletter Archives:

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If you do not wish to receive the Talon Mailing & Marketing Newsletter please click here: