Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing August 2019 Newsletter.

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Boost Your Direct Mail Sales With a Johnson Box

By Marketingtango.com

Some marketers have A/B tested direct mail with a Johnson Box, and saw a 220% increase compared to the control piece.

Most integrated marketers understand there’s a lot about direct mail that seems counterintuitive. First of all, the medium itself still continues to outperform most digital tactics. And it’s a technique that’s been around for 60 years, that still works as well now as it did back in the day.

We’re talking about the Johnson Box, a graphic preview on the outside of the envelope that gives recipients a tantalizing hint of what’s inside. The copywriter who developed it, Frank Johnson, was (in)famous for writing direct mail letters that ran to four pages, which is probably why he needed to intrigue his audience. Some marketers have A/B tested direct mail with a Johnson Box, and saw a 220% increase compared to the control piece.

Besides giving you tips on how to use a Johnson Box to boost your open rates, we’ll also run through best practices for its email equivalent, preview text.

Johnson Box Best Practices

  • Create an actual high-contrast box on the outside of the envelope.
  • Use copy to pique the reader’s interest.
  • Johnson Boxes work particularly well with a typical #10 envelope, but experiment with other formats, too. Check with your mail vendor for other best practices.
  • Johnson Boxes can also be used on the actual letter: it’s a great way to draw attention to the offer or important points.
Preview Text is the Internet Equivalent of a Johnson Box

Preview text (also called a preheader) is the little snippet of text that follows the subject line of an email in most email programs. The overall effect is very similar to a Johnson Box – and like a Johnson Box, it can greatly influence your open rates.

Preheader Text Best Practices
  • While character counts vary by email client, your best bet is to keep it under 50 characters.
  • Focus your key messages in the first 30 characters (because: mobile).
  • Don’t just use this text as a continuation of the subject line: preview text can also be a branding tool or function as a CTA.
  • If you repeat the text of the subject line, readers may think it’s an error and then assume that you are an untrustworthy or suspicious sender.
  • Be playful but keep the text faithful to the content of your email. Otherwise, you risk losing your reader’s trust.
  • Make sure you preview the text – and the rest of your email, too. It really doesn’t take much to lose your credibility, and it’s so fast and easy to double-check your work. (Same goes for direct mail…and brochures, websites, and all your other communications!)

Seven Tips for Better Direct Mail

By Beth Negus Viveiros, Chiefmarketer.com

“With the oversaturation of electronic channels... everyone is getting back on the direct mail bandwagon"

If you’re looking for a multichannel lift, consider adding direct mail to your marketing mix.

“People don’t throw out the mail—everyone is trying to find a way to use it as part of a multichannel campaign,” says John Sisson, president, HBT Inc.

Marketers who are utilizing direct mail are getting more clever about who they mail to, says Sisson. “Acquisition is happening more effectively, because data has gotten better—marketers are building models based on their own best clients and overlaying data to create segments of the folks who are the best fit based on response or lifetime value.

“As we become more and more addicted to smart phones, it can be a nice departure to look at mail,” says Grant Johnson, chief measurable marketing officer, Responsory, noting etailers like Amazon are turning to direct mail to create awareness and response around key times like the holidays. And while Starbucks loyalty program is heavily powered by its mobile app, the company still sends physical cards to members at certain status levels, to make them feel special.

“With the oversaturation of electronic channels, better production capabilities and rise in automation, everyone is getting back on the direct mail bandwagon and trying it in different ways,” says Johnson.

“From a haptic standpoint, direct mail is more memorable, because you’re able to immerse yourself in the content because its tactile,” agrees Lianne Wade, vice president, marketing, Universal Wilde, noting that new tactics such as UV inks, lenticular printing and 3-D pop-ups are offering new creative opportunities.

Here are seven tips for getting noticed in the mailbox:

1. Make it multichannel: Direct mail works well when it tied to other triggers, such as an email alerting recipients to watch their physical mailbox, and then another email after the direct mail piece drops, all with alignment in the call to action to drive people to the same place.

“Think about what you are trying to sell and who is your customer,” says Wade. “What is the value of your relationship and how does it fit into other channels? We’ve had success sending warm-up emails to let people know a package is coming, so they’ll pay attention [when it arrives].”

“Sending one direct mail piece is not a campaign—you want to have multiple touches to engage [prospects,] because you know your audience isn’t paying attention to just one channel,” says Sisson.

2. Be on target: Segment your audience to make sure your message is on target, and use personalization, but make sure you get it right. “I once got a mailing for ‘John R. Sisson,’ which is great, except that my middle name is Edward. Maybe I was in the right segment, but they showed me upfront that their data wasn’t good.

“People expect personalization today, and if your data is bad, that can do more damage than benefit,” adds Wade.

3. It’s about the customer: Your creative should be about the customer and not the company. Customers want the focus on communications to be on them and not what you’re selling, says Sisson.

4. Try different formats: Test different package sizes, colors and textures. “If [your mailing] is a number 10 envelope and white with a window, then it’s just like everything else,” says Sisson. Copy changes are also easy and essential to test, notes Johnson, and can help create effective control packages.

5. Know your vertical: Different markets respond to different types of creative approaches. In financial marketing, for example, “official” looking mailers get more opens than anything looking promotional. Know what your audience wants to see.

6. Make it measurable: Having a way to track response—such as a URL, QR code, dedicated 800 number or some other form of personalization.

7. Get the data right: “Make sure your data is pristine and that you’re targeting the right people,” says Johnson. “The list is the most important thing.” A digital test before you roll out a direct mail initiative can help insure that you’re targeting the right demographic with the right product, to see if there is a true affinity.

The Secret to Getting Direct-Mail Prospects to Reply Immediately

By Robert W. Bly, VIP Contributor, entrepreneur.com/article/326372

Follow these tips, and you'll soon see replies flooding your mail box.

An effective direct-mail package doesn’t just ask for a response; it makes readers feel they’d be making a mistake by not responding. It also creates a sense of urgency, or gives a compelling reason why a response is required today, not tomorrow or next week.

It boldly asks for the order or some other response, such as a request for information. The focal point at that stage becomes the reply element: the part of the package the reader mails back to the advertiser to place an order or request more information. This is usually a reply card in the case of lead generation or an order form and reply envelope in the case of one-step marketing.

In the digital age, many marketers wonder whether they even need a paper reply element. After all, why not just provide a URL to a form the prospects can fill out online or a QR code they can scan with their smartphones?

Here’s why: Having a paper response element, even if it isn’t used, is a visual indicator that the mailer has an offer for the recipient and a response is required to get it. The response form can be a traditional reply card or just a 4-by-9-inch slip with the response URL and toll-free phone number printed in large, bold type. The separate reply element in effect says, “This is direct response mail, and we would appreciate a reply from you.” This increases overall response, both from people who use the reply element and from those who prefer to respond by phone or online.

Given that I strongly advise you to include a reply element in your DM package, let’s explore some basic rules that apply to all types of reply elements.

1. Easy to fill out

The reply form should be clear, never confusing. Tell the reader what to do in simple 1-2-3 language. The form should be designed so that anyone can follow your directions without assistance. If the form is complicated, unclear, or difficult to complete, people will throw it away.

For a one-step promotion, make it crystal clear how much should be added for sales tax, shipping, and postage. If the recipient isn’t sure, they’ll throw out the form rather than ask for help. Complex order forms can lose orders for you!

2. A clean design

The design should be simple, clean, and uncluttered. Don’t try to cram too much into a limited space. If you have a lot of information, use a larger form. A cluttered design turns readers off. And you don’t want an order form that repels potential customers.

3. Enough room to fill out the form

This rule seems obvious, but I see it ignored in hundreds of mailings every year. I’m sure you’ve been frustrated by forms that ask for your full name and then give you a quarter-inch of space to write it or that force you to cram your address, apartment number, city, state, zip code, and phone number on a single line.

When designing your order form, give the reader plenty of room to write. A good test is to fill out your reply card or order blank yourself. Do you find yourself writing in tiny, cramped letters to make it all fit? If so, rework it to give your prospects more breathing room.

4. Fewer steps

The less work the reader has to do to complete your order form and get it in the mail to you, the better. Remember, the more time it takes to fill out a form, the less likely people are to bother.

There are a number of things you can do to make it easier for them. A self-addressed, postage-paid business reply envelope saves readers the trouble of addressing and stamping their own envelopes. A toll-free phone number and URL printed on the order blank gives people the option of phoning in their order or going online rather than mailing in the form.

If you’re mailing to businesspeople, tell them they can attach their business card to the reply form, eliminating the need to fill in their name, company, address, and phone number. Better still, if you use an envelope with a transparent window, the mailing label can be affixed to the reply form (which shows through the window) rather than the outer envelope. Then readers won’t need to fill in their name and address on the reply card because you’ve already done it for them.

5. Headline your offer

The first sentence of the reply form should be a headline that restates the offer and rekindles the reader’s desire to take advantage of it. Here are some examples:

Thomas Securities
YES, I would like to receive a complimentary information kit about the Thomas Securities Investment Trust.

American Museum of Natural History
YES, I accept your invitation to become an Associate Member of the American Museum of Natural History at the low introductory rate of . . .

GBC Binding Machines
YES, show me how SureBind will make my Plastic Binding System even better . . .

6. Short sales pitch

In the most concise language possible, your reply form should restate the nature and terms of the offer and highlight the key benefits stressed in the letter and brochure. You want to summarize your whole sales pitch in a few sentences so the reader can get the essence of your story just by reading the reply form.

Although it’s important to be concise, it’s even more important to be complete. Don’t leave out information the reader must have to make a proper response. For example, if your minimum order is $100, the form should specify that: “Minimum order -- $100.” Otherwise, you’ll have a lot of explaining to do to people who send you checks for $25 or $50 or $75.

This article was an excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s book The Direct Mail Revolution: How to Create Profitable Direct Mail Campaigns in a Digital World. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound

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:

Boost Your Direct Mail Sales With a Johnson Box

Seven Tips for Better Direct Mail

The Secret to Getting Direct-Mail Prospects to Reply Immediately

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:
  • HealthSole

  • Pennsylvania Magazine

  • 1 New List From Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Apps & Links:

Some interesting things to check out...

Olmo.io - Get connected to the right people. Access to networking opportunities for things such as growing your business or career advancement.

Krisp.ai - Mute background noise during calls. One button; no noise; more privacy; less stress; more productivity.

Getplan.co - You have a goal, they have a Plan. Part calendar, part project-manager, Plan automates work life so you and your team can work less and do more.

Hatchful.shopify.com - Create stunning logos in seconds. Introducing Hatchful - a simple logo maker.

Obsoletemedia.org - A virtual museum of obsolete media. There are over 580 current and obsolete physical media formats, covering audio, video, film and data storage. The Museum preserves the memory of those objects that held our memories, and every format listed in the museum is represented by at least one example in the collection.

Relaxmelodies.com - Discover Relax Melodies - the soothing app that makes sleep easy.

Haystack.tv - The perfect app for news junkies. Watch breaking, world and local news in a headline news channel personalized for you.

Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Direct Mail Humor!

Click on the 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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