Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing May 2016 Newsletter.

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Direct Mail Postcards: Design vs. Copywriting

By Brian Morris, business2community.com

When it comes to direct-mail postcards, which is more important: design or copy?

This is a debate worth exploring, as all of us have seen poorly-designed postcards with great copywriting and well-designed postcards with poor copy.  In a perfect world, your postcards will feature outstanding design and copy, but if you’re on a limited budget you might be forced to choose between hiring a designer or a copywriter. Which should you choose?

Consider the 40-40-20 rule:

The 40-40-20 rule of direct-mail marketing states that:

  • 40 percent of your success is dependent on the quality of your mailing list
  • 40 percent is dependent on your offer
  • 20 percent is dependent on everything else
If those figures are universally true, then it seems slapping your offer (“Save 20% on product XYZ!”) in 12-point black Times New Roman on a white postcard would be sufficient; but if it were, companies wouldn’t continually invest in copywriters and designers. They wouldn’t have to!

I think the 40-40-20 rule is a bit misleading because, as stated, it minimizes the importance of good design and copy. You might think the “offer” represents copywriting, but it doesn’t – your offer is simply a statement. Copywriting refines that statement and incorporates supporting evidence to bolster it, make it meaningful to customers, and ultimately influence response.

The real role of design and copy in direct-mail marketing

So if design and copy are relegated to the 20 percent of “everything else,” why bother in the first place? Good design helps set the tone of your marketing pieces. It can showcase products and happy customers, and visually depict customer benefits. Good copy reinforces those benefits, helps create desire for your products and services, and can motivate more responses.

Those are all excellent goals for any direct mailer, but if they’re not nearly as important as delivering a great offer to a targeted audience then it seems their impact might be minimal. The debate isn’t design VS copy, because they work together to create desire and influence action. It’s whether the additional investment is worth the return in the first place.

All of these points omit one critical factor: a great offer is meaningless, even if delivered to a well-targeted audience, unless it’s noticed. That’s the real role of great design and copy.

It’s so easy to toss a postcard aside with barely a glance, or to sift unopened sales letters directly into the recycled bin. The offer might be there, but your audience never notices unless you incorporate compelling design and copy into your direct-mail marketing materials.

A powerful headline that conveys a critical benefit and a can’t-be-missed offer with a time-limited call to action is a great start. Wrap that headline in a bold, colorful font and augment it with an attention-getting, unique image, and your audience will take pause. They’ll read your postcard or sales letter. They’ll be drawn into your benefits, and they’ll take action: they will become customers.

Where to invest your marketing dollars?

Ideally, you’ll hire both a designer and a copywriter, who will work together to craft a compelling direct-mailer that gets noticed and maximizes ROI. If you’re tight on your budget, you still have options, including:

  • You can use well-designed direct-mailer templates
  • You can study competitors’ direct-mailers, and direct mailers from other industries, and “steal” their ideas (every copywriter has a swipe file just for this purpose)
  • You can hire design students who need to fill their portfolios for pennies on the dollar compared to seasoned pros
  • You can learn direct-mail copywriting skills to apply them on your own
There should never be a debate on whether to invest in good design or copy; both are equally important and intertwined. Ignore the 40-40-20 rule: design and copy influence far more than 20 percent of your success.  Without them, the 40 percent attributed to your offer will never be realized, because customers will never get around to reading it.

Direct Mail is Back From the Dead

By Mike Ciccolella, customerthink.com

Direct mail can break through the digital overload, which your target contacts experience daily.

Results, however, will depend on how you execute your campaigns!

Over the years I have witnessed many demand generation marketers, lead generation reps, and sales reps wasting time and money sending shocking amounts of letters, brochures, gifts, and single direct mail packages — with poor results. One of the downsides of the gift-route is inconveniencing target contacts or executive assistants, who have to return gifts to senders due to strict no-gift policies within their organizations. Another downside is that contacts can perceive gifts as weak gimmicks and conclude that you and your company must have nothing substantive to offer their business.

The good news is that, using a few tested tactics, I have experienced a 50% response rate and many scheduled discovery calls using a simple system. Here are the steps:

1. To ensure outstanding mail delivery rates, mailing addresses should be verified via phone. Address verification can be outsourced. I have had the greatest success with in-house verification, when there has been administrative staff to support the process.

2. To prevent printing and shipping costs escalating beyond budget, determine a monthly send allowance limit, and communicate that number to all corporate headcount, who may utilize this approach.

3. In each letter, be sure to reference whoever else you sent packages to, explaining that you thought there may be additional stakeholders involved with the subject matter you’d like to discuss.

4. If you want to insert technology into the mix, consider adding personalized URLs. You can drive folks to a video, Website, blog, social media page, vertical-specific microsite, etc. You can also take advantage of video-in-a-card technology.

5. A letter along with a high quality brochure works. Printing a helpful article relevant to the contact or organization will improve your odds of success. Reference the article in the letter, or handwrite a note in the margin. The customized letter and follow-up phone call (see #8) does the heavy lifting.

6. Send the package via FedEx, as this signifies importance and increases open and response rates. Depending upon your budget you can expedite delivery.

7. Track delivery and create tasks in your SFA/CRM to follow up after confirmed delivery.

8. Often you will need to interact with executive assistants and other support staff for your recipient – be respectful and create allies. These employees have extensive insight into an organization and its chain of command. As powerful gatekeepers and influencers they can tell you if the response was favorable, is in process, was forwarded on, and if the forward included notes or not. In many instances you may end up scheduling discovery time with your prospects at a later date via that same executive assistant.

9. Response times to a letter will vary. Interested or not, contacts may respond the same day, days later, weeks later, or up to three months later in massive organizations. If it is a later response, it is usually because the information was forwarded multiple levels up or down the chain of command.

Set Your Pipeline on the Path to Vibrant Health

I have experienced success with this technique with strategically selected organizations. Implement this system and you, too, will see improvement — a healthy sales pipeline designed to accelerate revenue growth. Direct mail is not dead!

Four Ways To Get Your Marketing Database In Order

By Michael Borkan, Talon Mailing & Marketing

Accurate data is imperative if you and your company want to achieve  successful integrated marketing.

Clean, well-managed, and deduped database records keep qualified leads flowing and sales and profits flourishing.

Companies know the statements above quite well, yet, many organizations attempt to run marketing campaigns on a foundation of inaccurate and old data.  Unfortunately, this sets them up for costly and disappointing results.

How Does Data Become Inaccurate?

Before examining how databases get outdated and inaccurate, realize you’re not the only organization facing these problems and challenges.

In its 2015 “State of Data Marketing” analysis, covering over 200 million customer records, Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex reported that more than 80% of data files it examined, were in some way incomplete. Additionally, more than 50% of the data files were missing important elements such as a contact phone number.

Some ways data-quality starts out or becomes outdated include:

  • Input errors – Database files often rely on manual updates, which exposes them to data entry errors, unintentional and otherwise. It's easy to imagine a rushed, overworked sales person leaving blank or guessing at one or more important data fields.

  • The pace of change – It’s shocking how often people change jobs, home and email addresses, and other personal information. The pace of such changes makes it difficult for businesses to keep contact records current.

  • Inconsistent data – All members and groups in your organization should capture and enter the same data in a standardized fashion. Slight differences, such as using St. for Street; US for U.S.; or dashes instead of spaces can send deliverability to the basement, add unnecessary duplicate records, and create high bounce-rates.

Tips To Fix Your Database
  • Update existing prospect and customer data – Assign an individual or team to tidy up current records, or use a reliable third-party data-cleanup company such as Talon to help.

  • Ensure that data records are complete – ID the most important and relevant fields for marketing, and implement repeatable processes and controls to ensure consistent quality.

  • Be very consistent – Standardize formatting of all key information, including abbreviations. Make sure to train everyone who’s involved with data upkeep and have a second pair of eyes review the data files for proper standardization.

  • Deal with the duplicates – Even tiny differences can generate duplicate records (and analytics issues).   While many CRM and MA platforms have match-and-merge capabilities, they often fall short.  Talon can help you identify duplicates and then merge important data fields from the duplicate records back into a single standardized record.
You may want to speak with Talon about how we can clean your data files. Talon can update and standardize mailing addresses and names; identify and eliminate costly duplicate records, and so much more.

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 24th, 2016.  Yankees vs. Blue Jays 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-mailing.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

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In this Issue:

Direct Mail Postcards: Design vs. Copywriting

Direct Mail is Back From the Dead

Four Ways To Get Your Marketing Database In Order

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:
  • L.I. Veterinary Specialists

  • Flushing Financial Corp.

  • 3 New Lists From Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

mailtime.com - MailTime makes email as easy as text messaging. We reformat your cluttered email threads into clean chat bubbles! MailTime works with your favorite email program.

logomakerapp.com - Logo Foundry is a professional Logo Design Suite App for Android and iOS that let's you create professional branding for your business in Minutes.

google.org - The charitable arm of Google, an Internet search engine company. As of May 2010, the organization has committed over US$100 million in investments and grants.

alertfilm.com - Never miss a movie again! An app that's as compelling and immersive as your favorite movie. They aggregate all the content from all the streaming platforms - subscription and free - so can quickly discover new films and entertainment, and get the latest news about your favorites.

paranormalmind.com - Looking to have something different at your next meeting?

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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