Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing June 2014 Newsletter.
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Mail Tips: Length, Timing and Segmentation Matters
By Beth Negus Viveiros, chiefmarketer.com
Shorter may be better for tweets and emails, but in direct
mail, “the more you tell, the more you sell”.
While shorter may be better for tweets and email subject
lines, in direct mail, “the more you tell, the more you sell” is still the
mantra for many marketers, says Craig Simpson, owner of Simpson Direct.
“When you get someone captive and reading your piece and you’re one on
one, you have a chance to tell your story and connect with the prospect,”
says Simpson, co-author of The Direct Mail Solution. “It’s just you and
them, I’ve found when we increase copy length we increase response.”
People who really want to buy and are your best prospects will take time
to read a longer mailing piece, he notes. The fact that direct mail volume
is down can work in mailers’ favor, because there is less completion in
the mailbox. There are more targeted lists available, and mailers are
spending more on their packages, leading to rising response rates in many
“There is more data available, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be
segmenting your list and the files you rent,” Simpson says. “Direct mail
campaigns often fail because people are mailing to the wrong segments.”
When creating your offer, also make sure that your copy and design fit
with your target audience. “Make sure that your pitch resonates with your
audience,” he says. “And don’t make your offer or call to action too
complicated. Don’t go overboard on the variables instead of showcasing the
one thing you want a prospect to do.”
Timing is also essential for direct mail, says Simpson. “I have a client
who markets to farmers—they can’t mail during harvest season, they need to
mail in the off season. And if you want to get CPAs to go to a seminar,
don’t mail around the holidays.”
Marketers need to remember, of course, that a multichannel approach is the
best, taking into account the long term value of the customer. “Everything
works together,” says Simpson. “That’s when you’ll see the highest
response. Consider not just the initial sale but what they will do in the
next three months, six months or year to come.”
to Beat Big Companies at Marketing
By Will Yakowicz, Inc.com
If you think your small business is at a disadvantage in reaching a
targeting audience compared to corporations with big advertising budgets,
During her National Small Business Week keynote address at the Microsoft
Center in Boston on Thursday, Gail Goodman, CEO of marketing firm
Constant Contact, said that large companies only wish they had the
marketing advantages of a small business. Instead of spending thousands
of dollars to find out who their customers are and whether or not they
are engaged in meaningful experiences while they are shopping at a big
box store, she said, small business owners just have to open up their
shop and talk to the customers who come in regularly.
"You are naturally, unbelievably close to your customers," Goodman said.
"You don't need focus groups and national research, you talk to them
every day. That is easy to translate into revenue growth and more
Below, find out the specific advantages Goodman says small businesses
have, and how to use them to increase customers and sales.
Ability to create a meaningful experience
Goodman said small business owners' first advantage is possessing "the
ability to create a meaningful experience, a wow experience. Think about
rising above the ordinary in small ways that delight your customer." She
added: "The sad truth is that the customer experience bar is low and
small businesses can easily rise above that without it being expensive.
It just needs to be real. It's all about bringing a smile to the face of
Everybody knows your name
Big businesses have to work hard to relate to customers on a local level.
But as a small businessperson, you may know your neighbors, customers,
and other community members by name. "The second advantage is that you're
connected with the community, with the person who owns the store next to
you, and to your chamber of commerce. You can work together to build your
business, learn, and grow," Goodman said. Your repeat customers become
your friends and you can build relationships easily. Your store can
become a staple in the community and repeat business will become easy to
You know your market
This intimacy with your customers and community means you will become
familiar with your market quickly and easily. "The third advantage is
that you have a real ability to know your market. Your market is in front
of you every day--you don't need research," Goodman said. "You have a new
idea, just ask the next three customers who come through the door and see
what they think. Talk to people, test, but testing can be done in such a
natural and easy way."
The view of the customer experience
Unlike a big company, you can watch customers' reactions when they enter
your place of business. "The final advantage you have is that you can see
your entire customer experience. You don't need a secret shopper--or
undercover CEO--to understand what's happening today in your business,
what's delighting your customers, where are the challenges, where the
opportunities are to create that great experience. And it's these real
relationships that make easier marketing."
Now that you are aware of your business' advantages, it's easy to
implement a cheap, effective marketing strategy.
You need to ask your customers to stay connected via email and social
media, Goodman said in her speech. "Once you've created that great wow
experience, ask: 'Would like you to join our mailing list? We do great
industry updates. Follow me on Facebook, fan me, LinkedIn to me,'" she
said. "You don't have to do all of them, but pick one or two and ask your
customers to stay connected. It has the most consistent reach and ability
to deliver the message."
Small business owners actually know what to say to their customers
because they talk to them in person every day. So creating an effective
social media strategy is all about using that knowledge and being
confident enough to put it online. "With the mobile experience taking
off, you need to keep it short: a picture, a paragraph, and a call to
action," Goodman said. "Once you get started, your business will inspire
other ideas. A customer asks a common question, now you can put together
a Q&A post. The holidays are coming up, put together great gift ideas for
Father's Day. Your business has a constant flow of obvious things to say
and you don't need to be a copywriter. You just need to know how to talk
to your customers. Once you start, things will flow."
Continue to leave breadcrumbs
Once you get in a social media groove, don't stop. Continue to post every
day and make sure your business can be found on Google, Bing, Yelp, and
all the social media platforms you're comfortable with. Just be real and
genuine, because these are customers you see all the time. "Real
relationships, talking to your customer, what does that do? That really
begins to drive your business," Goodman said. "People start to see that
and they follow a breadcrumb trail back to your business."
Dig deeper into your contacts
Once you have a good network of customers, reach into their networks. If
you run an outdoor sports store and have a network of hikers and mountain
climbers, chances are their individual networks are composed of people
just like them. "Your customers' social network is your best next
prospect. The mantra is "targeted, targeted, targeted"--you want a
targeted, relevant audience," Goodman said. "There is nobody more
targeted and relevant than your current customers' family, friends, and
colleagues. They are geographically and economically targeted."
Ten Ways For Brands to Make Direct Mail Work
By Julie Cheetham, theguardian.com
Julie Cheetham explains how brands can
optimize their direct marketing campaigns.
1. Start at the end
Yes really! Metrics matter. Start by thinking what you want to
achieve in terms of response rate and ROI. This will mean that you
conceive a campaign which is right for your aims, ensuring you're set up
Assess what pack cost you are able to afford against the volume of
recipients to generate a positive ROI at various likely response rates.
And what measurement criteria will you use: response rate, CPA (Cost Per
Acquisition) or ROI?
2. Don't underestimate data
Data will be the single biggest influence on campaign performance.
Remember: 'Warm is better than cold and new is better than old'.
Recent purchasers will yield the best results, then enquirers, then cold
prospects. If you're buying data in, ensure it's recent, not over-used
and de-duped against customer data.
Ensure you cleanse data pre-mailing and always comply with Data
3. Be crystal clear about the customer benefit
After data, your 'offering' will be the next most influential factor in
how your mailing performs. So that means making your overall proposition
clear and benefit-led. And it means including a promotional, time-limited
offer too in order to 'tip' prospects into responding.
Decide what the strongest, single focus of your piece is and stick to it.
Try to do everything and you risk achieving nothing.
4. Personalize whenever possible
Always personalize direct mail in the address and in the salutation. It's
just good basic practice.
But consider how you can personalize your piece to a much greater degree
too. Can you integrate the customer's name into the creative? Can you
tailor the product and offer to reflect the recipient's current
purchasing pattern? Can you personalize offer vouchers?
One-to-one digital personalization gives you the power to produce
thousands of variables, so that your communication is truly tailored and
personalized. BURN does this for travel operator Park Resorts and each
year deliver more bookings for less budget.
5. Design for response
Design your piece so it's optimized for response. Offer a choice of
response mechanisms and repeat them throughout the communication,
Consider including an extra insert, called a 'lift' piece for its ability
to lift response. And/or a tangible voucher with clear monetary value.
Remind recipients of the offer and time limit. Make action irresistible
6. Optimize pre roll-out
All good direct marketers test constantly – but very few test pre-roll
out in order to optimize the pack before it ever hits a mat for the first
Your audience will improve the pack for you, if you ask them.
Turning the dial up like this will positively affect your response rate
(and it builds emotional stakeholding to boot).
7. Don't forget the detail
The devil's in the detail with direct mail and that means careful
management of fulfillment. Always write a print and fulfillment brief
detailing which data sets are to receive which pack variant together with
lasering and salutation protocols. Ensure data is securely provided and
As part of your QC process, insist upon and approve print proofs, live
laser proofs and AB samples pre release. Make sure you are seeded so you
will receive the 'live' pack.
8. Test and test again
You can always evolve direct mail, by testing and learning. The trick is
to 'true test' i.e. to make sure all elements other than those you are
testing remain constant and use a control group.
Over time you can gauge the effect of data, offers, messaging, format,
creative execution, timing and much more besides.
9. Measure & evaluate
Of course, leanings rely upon accurate measurement and tracking.
Rigorously record results cell-by-cell and campaign by campaign. Monitor
key metrics like CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) and ROI.
It's worth waiting until results are mature to take a deep dive and well
worth conducting a match-back of mailing file data to respondents, as
this will measure the true performance of the campaign.
Having optimized, tested, tracked and evaluated, this part becomes
child's play. Now you're armed with all the rigor and results to craft
your next precision campaign, which will of course cannily integrate
further tests. Many happy returns!
Win Yankee Tickets!
Enjoy a great day at Yankee Stadium!
We are giving away two tickets to see the New York Yankees.
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!
Wednesday June 18th, 2014. Yankees vs.
Blue Jays 7:05
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Direct Mail Tips: Length, Timing and Segmentation Matters
How to Beat Big Companies at Marketing
10 Ways For Brands to Make Direct Mail Work
Mike Borkan's Links - Web sites you probably
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Direct Mail Humor!
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The most viral images of the day found on the internet
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