Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing June 2014 Newsletter.

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Direct 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 cases.

“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.”

How 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, you're wrong.

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 business."

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 your customer."

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 get.

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.

Stay connected

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."

Post online

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 for success.

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 Protection legislation.

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, clearly.

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 and easy.

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 time.

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 mail-ready.

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.

10. Iterate
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. 

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! 

  • Wednesday June 18th, 2014.  Yankees vs. Blue Jays 7:05 PM.

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

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In this Issue:

Direct Mail Tips: Length, Timing and Segmentation Matters

How to Beat Big Companies at Marketing

10 Ways For Brands to Make Direct Mail Work

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:
  • Interplanetary

  • Alliance Security Systems

  • 5 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

pro.com - Price your home maintenance and repair projects in seconds and hire just the right pro for the job.

dealspotr.com - Ending the outdated way consumers find promo codes online by removing clutter and pop-ups and focusing on reliable promotions.

code.org - A non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science. Learn the basic concepts of Computer Science with drag and drop programming.

takelessons.com - Makes it easy to search thousands of teachers for local and live online lessons. Find your perfect teacher today!

imgur.com - The most viral images of the day found on the internet

jokes.cc.com - Tons of funny jokes to tell & share: dirty jokes, Yo' Mama jokes, sports jokes, funny insults & pick-up lines, and much more!

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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