Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing July 2021 Newsletter.

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Achieving Direct Mail ROI With an Integrated Marketing Approach

By Sherry Chiger, Chiefmarketer.com

In a morass of emails, digital ads and social media, a personalized mail piece really stands out.

When companies fail to achieve a return on their investment in direct mail marketing, they tend to blame the channel. Some go so far as to declare direct mail obsolete in the digital age. But according to Maureen Powers, President of Direct Marketing for marketing solutions provider RR Donnelley, the problem often lies in companies’ failure to properly integrate direct mail into their overall strategy.

“The biggest mistake companies make is focusing on what channel works,” Powers says. Rather, “they should focus on what mix of channels works. We’re an online/offline integrated world now.”

With postage rates increasing annually—and with rumors that another USPS rate hike could come this summer—it might be tempting to give up on direct mail. Yet there’s evidence that because it isn’t digital, direct mail makes a significant impact—especially on millennial consumers. According to the USPS, two-thirds of millennials use marketing mail “as a prompt to go online,” compared with 54 percent of Gen Xers and 42 percent of baby boomers. And while 27 percent of baby boomers and 28 percent of Gen Xers regularly buy products featured in direct mail, 40 percent of millennials do.

“Younger people like the feel, the touch, the physical engagement of mail,” Powers says, “and they’re not used to it as much.” In a morass of emails, digital ads and social media, a mail piece is a novelty that can really stand out—particularly if it’s personalized.

Of course, personalization goes beyond addressing the recipient by name. It entails ensuring that the mail piece’s imagery, messaging and offer speak to the recipient. For a seller of pet insurance, that could mean featuring puppies rather than kittens on postcards to dog owners; for a traffic driver to a store or a showroom, it could mean including a customized map. Mail pieces to prospects might emphasize a brand’s reputation and solid reviews; the version sent to customers could feature the same imagery and display copy but steer recipients to specific product webpages instead.

Data and data analytics are key to achieving this degree of personalization—and therefore key to seeing ROI on direct mail. Data analytics can also help you weed out those who are unlikely to respond to your direct mail efforts. “You want to make sure you are identifying the best audience for your product and service,” Powers says. “Instead of mailing a million people, you might want to mail 500,000, as long as those are the right people.”

Digital marketers are no doubt aware of how granular data analytics can get. They might not know, however, that direct mail is now equally sophisticated. “There’s an opportunity for high variability in our mail,” Powers says. Multiple creative treatments and offers can be tested within one campaign. “Testing is so important to make sure you’re constantly updating your data and getting the most relevant info on who you’re talking to.”

The increased sophistication of data analytics and mail capabilities allows marketers to tweak campaigns in response to results almost immediately. If a January test of three versions of a postcard shows that version C was a big miss with recipients, a marketer can remove that option from the next mailing while still meeting the mail date.

It also encourages marketers to take advantage of the Postal Service’s Mailing Promotions Calendar, something Powers is a proponent of. The USPS offers discounts throughout the year to organizations that implement certain technologies into their mail pieces. For instance, companies can register through the end of August to use AR, VR, video and other emerging technologies in their letters and flats in exchange for a 2 percent postage discount.

Other promotions through the end of 2021 reward use of QR codes and the USPS’s Informed Delivery service. The discounts help mitigate the risks inherent in testing. This testing, in turn, might reveal that a format with a higher cost per piece generates appreciably stronger response, enough not only to justify the expense going forward but also to lift ROI.

To make the most of the USPS promotions discounts, companies need to plan ahead. Then again, Powers says, they should be doing so regardless: “The biggest message we try to express is the importance of treating your marketing budget as an ROI strategy rather than as individual campaigns.”

Tips and Tricks to Make Your Mail Piece Stand Out

By Rob Hanks, Mailingsystemstechnology.com

Mail is a great way to engage customers and prospects. However, some mail pieces garner more attention from recipients than others, due to a variety of factors.

No mailer wants their communications ignored. Here's some ideas to make your mail piece stand out and get noticed:

Use the Sense of Touch

Adding to the feel of a piece is a great way to get the recipient to read your mail. Choose a paper stock that has texture to enhance your design. Try a linen or fiber stock to give your piece a textured feel. If you’re looking for something opaque, try a Glama Natural envelope to allow your inserts to show through and entice your audience. Loop or felt stocks are also an option.

Applying a coating to your mail piece is another way to use touch to your advantage. A textured or smooth dispersion varnish allows you to have a matte feel to portions of the mail piece while being able to put a high gloss coating on areas that you would like to highlight.

Aqueous Soft Touch can add a smooth rich feel to a mail piece. This coating can be used as a flood or as a spot coating. Try placing the soft touch on the cover of a multi-page booklet and leave the inside pages uncoated to create a cost-effective mailer.

Embossing your piece adds another way to engage the sense of touch. Combine it with foil stamping and your piece will stand out from the crowd. Embossing is commonly used on covers of books, high end self-mailers, brochures, annual reports, and pocket folders. This can be a little more expensive and add to the production timeline. Using foil stamping can add color as well as a smooth touch to the piece. Gold and silver are the most common colors used, but other colors are available.

Size Does Matter

Using a non-standard size envelope will get your mail piece to stick out in a stack of mail and draw attention to it. The most common size envelope used is a #10. By using a #14 envelope, which is 5” x 11.5”, you are still within the letter rate of postage but have an additional 7/8” in height and 2” in length, plus that much more real estate to print on. You are using the back of the envelope to print your offer or a message, right? If you are printing your envelope on a flat sheet and then converting, the additional costs are minimal.

When printing a card or brochure, again use a non-standard size. The maximum size of a card is 6.125” x 11.5” and a folded self-mailer is 6” x 10.5”.

Interactive Mail

Interactive mail pieces engage the recipient, drawing them in and giving you an additional opportunity to get your marketing message read. Making your mail piece actionable is easier than you may think. Here are three examples:

1. Die cutting your mail piece can add dimension. Die cut an interesting shape that coincides with your offer. Die cut waves if you are marketing a resort at the beach, or the outline of an automobile if you are a dealership. Create a hole that allows the addressee to see a portion of your artwork inside of a self-mailer or brochure. Try using a Customized MarketMail piece (CMM) in a unique shape. The USPS does have some very specific rules to follow for Customized MarketMail.

2. Repositionable notes are a great way to add action to a mail piece. The notes can be pre-printed with a static message or you can apply blank notes and inkjet a variable message. Place the name of the addressee along with a specific offer on the repositionable note and be sure to have a call to action someplace on the mail piece.

3. Include QR Codes or Personalized URLs (PURLs) to take the addressee to your website to see a special offer specific to them. Be sure to have instructions stating to scan the QR Code.

Think Inside the Box

One option that is not utilized as much as it should be is mailing out a package. Design a mail piece that can be mailed as a lightweight parcel. By designing a box that contains your offer, a thumb drive, or small item that pertains to your event, there is a larger chance that it will be opened. People enjoy opening packages and seeing the contents. Use game pieces, plastic chips with your message, or a toy to get your message across.

Three Simple Ways to Leverage Customer Data

These simple techniques can empower small marketers to better compete with larger, deeper-pocketed rivals.

One strategy that can be particularly effective is better leveraging of in-house customer data, much like large corporations mine so-called ‘big-data,’ only in a more familiar and relatable way.

Follow these three simple ways to help you bring a higher return on information you already have.

1. Leverage Customer Data to Shape Strategy. Segmenting customers by relevant criteria enables you to tailor your marketing accordingly, including personalizing direct mail and emails and other tactics with appropriate imagery and offers.

Simply including the recipient’s first name in the email, or direct mail piece, can boost engagement. One organization that added personalization increased their company’s conversions by 15 percent.

2. Respond to Operational Lapses. By closely monitoring customer feedback channels, including social media, you can understand the nature and sources of customer dissatisfaction. This helps “identify specific locations, processes or even employees that don’t maintain the company standard,” one marketer observed, and respond quickly and appropriately. The secret here is to ensure that “data is sufficiently aggregated,” so that reliable patterns emerge (an excessive number of returns or complaints from one store or website, for example), rather than basing responses on infrequent or one-off grievances.

3. Apply Insights to New Offerings. “Mining data from support interactions can be a goldmine for developing future versions of your products,” says one marketing executive, relating how his company does it. At the end of each call or email they handle, “the support team simply asks customers if there’s a feature they’d like to see in future versions.” These ideas are immediately compiled on a nearby whiteboard, and with enough mentions, added to the next development-meeting agenda.

In the end, a more intentional and creative approach to leveraging data can only have upside for you and those you serve.

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:

Achieving Direct Mail ROI With an Integrated Marketing Approach

Tips and Tricks to Make Your Mail Piece Stand Out

Three Simple Ways to Leverage Customer Data

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Apps & Links - Apps & 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:
  • Heifer International

  • Austin Herbal Sciences

  • 5 New Lists From Various List Managers and List Owners

Mike's Favorite Apps & Links:

Some interesting things to check out...

Skiff.org - Skiff is a privacy-first collaboration platform with expiring links, secure workspaces, and password protection.

Promo.com - Make videos and convert more customers. You can create stand-out video ads, social media videos, product videos, explainer videos and more - all optimized for online results. Promo.com's free online video maker is your tool for online success.

Socialprintstudio.com - The best place to print your Instagram, mobile and desktop photos. 100% made in the U.S.A.

Owaves.com - Find Your Rhythm. Owaves is a holistic calendar designed to optimize your circadian rhythm. Plan meals, exercise, and sleep into your day. Download now on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

Pzizz.com - Pzizz helps you quickly quiet your mind, fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed. Pzizz uses beautiful “dreamscapes”, including mixes of relaxing music.

Tractive.com - A tracking GPS device for Dogs and Cats. You will always know the exact location of your furry friends, directly on your smartphone.

Cue App - Cue is the first calendar designed for your personal life and not your work. Calendars should be less about meetings and agendas, and more about helping you fill your time with meaningful experiences with friends and family.

Backcountry App - This app offers the ultimate offline GPS hiking maps.

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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