Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing November 2015 Newsletter.

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Rethink Direct Mail Offers

By Dale Filhaber, watertechonline.com

When you create a mail piece, certain well-researched marketing words may help sell your offer. Conversely, marketing words can ruin an otherwise wonderful promotion.

I spend a lot of time writing about the components of direct mail pieces — lists, the creative, offers and marketing timing. In this article, I want to concentrate on the offer. You may have the best mailing list in the world, but if you do not make a worthy offer in your piece, you can forget it being a successful campaign.

The offer is the theme of your communication. In the water industry, I often see the offer tacked on at the end. Instead, begin with it. Restate it. Denote its key benefits. Create the actual copy around it. This way, you incorporate the offer into the entire program.

Potential offer ideas

Depending on the nature of the communication, different kinds of direct mail offers may be used. These include:

  • Lead generation.  Lead generation offers are typically free offers designed to get potential clients to say “I’m interested” (and provide their information so we can connect with them). In the water industry, these offers often include gifts, such as family-sized laundry detergent, diapers, soap, coupon books or gift cards to home improvement stores.
  • Order generation.  Order generation offers are paid offers. Some examples are “Buy now/pay later” or “No interest until 2017.” When people respond to these offers, they commit to pay for services at a later date. Specifically in the water industry, some dealers may make an offer such as “We will install your unit now. You pay in six months.”
  • Continuity.  Continuity offers (such as “Try us before you commit”) are for companies that sell products on a monthly basis. The offers used for these types of companies are usually free trials for specific periods followed by an agreed-upon monthly billing. In the water industry, one type of monthly opportunity is “Try our salt delivery service now. If you like it, sign up for our convenient monthly service.”
  • Traffic-building.  Traffic-building offers are most often used by retailers who want to see their stores packed with customers. The most common traffic-building offers are discount coupons, buy-one-get-one offers, gift with purchase or free event promotions. In the water industry, this type of offer is most often used by big box stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s or Sears.

Words matter

When you create a mail piece, certain well-researched marketing words may help sell your offer. Conversely, marketing words can ruin an otherwise wonderful promotion. Remember to craft your creative presentation around the offer. You need to be cognizant of the impact of the words you choose because some words have been proven to have a positive impact on responses and others can cause an adverse reaction.

Words to use

Constructive words should be used in your creative when you state your offer. Some of these words are included below:

  • Sale.  It is the old faithful of marketing words. Who does not like a good sale? The word “sale” can motivate. An example offer is “50 percent off sale on salt through Sept. 30.”
  • Off.  Discounts work and encourage a client to pull the trigger. Example offers are “50 percent off” or “$1,000 off a whole house water filtration system.”
  • Now.  Example offers are “Order salt now,” “Buy now before price increases in 2016” or “Call us now.”
  • New.  The word “new” is attention-grabbing. Think of all the early adopters who always want to be the first to purchase the latest gadgets and styles.
  • Best-seller.  People feel comfortable with popular items. One successful marketer made a list of a dealership’s best-selling water filtration faucets to help prompt people to make a decision. Maybe the best-selling faucet becomes the direct mail offer. Some examples are “Ask us about our best-selling water filtration dispenser” and “Free when you buy our brand-new water ionizer.”
  • Gift with purchase.  Everyone likes a free gift. Have you ever been in Macy’s when Lancome runs its gift with purchase offer?
P.S. Your prospects are busy and may need reminders, especially with a P.S. All direct marketers know that the P.S. is the first thing people read when they scan a letter. That is where you will restate your offer. Be specific. Be inspiring. Be creative. For example, “P.S. You have until Tuesday, Sept. 8, to take advantage of this offer of 50 percent off our brand-new water ionizer. Call today.”

Words to avoid

On the other hand, certain words and phrases should be avoided in a direct mail marketing piece. They are discouragers rather than motivators. The list includes:
  • Final days to save.  Be specific with your offer and give your prospects a deadline, or they will never respond.
  • Once in a lifetime.  Everyone knows this is a cliché. It is a turnoff, not a motivator.
  • Hurry.  This is not as compelling as “Act now.”
  • Look inside.  If you use an envelope, far more exciting and compelling tag lines can be used than “Look inside.” Everyone knows that the letter is inside. You need to use a more attention-grabbing phrase or photo to entice your prospect to open the envelope. This is a great place to use your offer to inspire interest and a sense of urgency.
  • Hassle-free.  Even though this phrase seems positive, marketing experts explain that you are still associating the word “hassle” with your business or brand. Replace “hassle-free” with the word “easy.”
  • RIGHT NOW!!!  The overuse of capital letters and exclamation points can be negative. Using all capital letters makes people feel like you are screaming at them. Herschell Gordon Lewis, the Dean of Copywriting, advises to never to use three exclamation points at the end of a sentence, and one is probably too much.

Parting notes

Keep in mind that the offer is an implied contract between you and your potential client. You need to be clear in your commitment. “Buy one, get one free” can also mean “Buy 100, get 100 free.” Can your dealership afford that? Make sure you really understand the offer and what your prospect will perceive as being presented.

Finally, most clients can see through lukewarm offers. Free, in-home water testing as a standalone offer does not get a good response. The water test is a means to a sale, but offering one is not what will generate the actual lead.

Dale “DataDale” Filhaber is president of Dataman Group Direct, a Florida-based direct marketing company founded in 1981.

Three Reasons Why Visual Data is Essential

By Mike Dietz,  Loyalty360.org

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and if you look around at all the visual data that surrounds us, you would see it’s true.

For example, take the humble road sign. Pedestrian crossings, railroad tracks and even back roads known for their high-traffic deer are all indicated using visuals without any assistance from text.

But why is that? Especially when, like most visual road signs, the information is extremely important? It’s because the human brain is conditioned to respond to images. About 30 percent of your neurons are visual, far and away more than any of the other four senses (the next closest is touch at eight percent). The large number of visual neurons makes it possible to quickly turn images into content, like you do when you read. It’s also why it’s possible to use one simple image to convey a powerful message.

In direct mail and direct marketing, visual data is critical for a number of reasons.

1. Graphics Allow for Quicker Communication

Many of today’s consumers rarely spend more than 20 seconds with a mail piece. That means you have less than 20 seconds to show your prospect the value of your product. Because our brains process images 60,000 times faster than processing text, highly visual formats allow your prospects’ brain to process more information in less time, making it easier for you to convince them to keep reading. For instance, a bar graph comparing your pricing to your competitors’ will convey savings more effectively than simply listing prices. You’re saving your prospect work, and valuable brainpower, by providing graphics that do the work for them.

2. Visuals Help the Brain Remember

Neural research shows that adding a visual element can make data easier to absorb. This is especially true when the image is universal, like the exclamation point. If you put a large exclamation point graphic next to text, it’s sure to draw the prospects’ eye and inform them that what’s listed is important and your brain will be more likely to store it. While pundits are poking a lot of fun at this, “Jeb!” is memorable while “Jeb” is not.

3. Images Offer Another Point of Entry for Prospects

You’ve probably heard of visual learners, people who understand information better when it’s presented in visuals and colors. It’s no surprise that visual learners prefer images to text since they are more likely to understand information presented in graphics. Incorporating visuals into your direct marketing gives visual learners the information on their own terms, making it more likely that they will understand—and respond—to the offer.

Our reliance on visual data has become such an integral part of our everyday lives that it’s easy to forget how important it is. The next time you’re on the road, think about what life would be like if every street sign was only words on a white rectangle. Then, think about how your marketing piece could benefit from some shapes, color and images.

Five Powerful Direct-Mail Holiday Marketing Tools

By Brian Morris, business2community.com

The holidays represent a huge sales season for many companies, but such a bountiful take also means heavy competition. One way to beat your competitors is to take advantage of direct-mail marketing.

While your competitors are focused on newspaper inserts and, likely, online advertising, you can use direct-mail to reach customers one-on-one with tangible marketing materials that offer measurable response. The following lists five powerful direct-mail holiday marketing tools you can use to reach customers this year.

1. Catalogs

Long a staple holiday marketing tool for retailers, catalogs have thinned out in recent years in response to increased postage costs – but that doesn’t make them any less effective. Customers still love to browse holiday catalogs, and often use them to identify what they want to buy before going online to make purchases.

Make your catalogs more effective by including coupon codes customers can enter at checkout, which will also help you track response and conversions.

2. Postcards

If catalogs aren’t in the budget, postcards can prove to be worthy alternatives. Showcase your best product or a sampling of your product range on your postcards, then invite your customers to see your full catalog online. Again, a coupon code can help motivate response and allow you to track ROI.

Postcards are also great for service businesses; a carpet cleaner, for example, might send a postcard with a discount coupon for pre-holiday party cleanings. In addition, EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) postcards are perfect for blanketing your local market with minimal investment.

3. Booklets

Booklets, particularly how-to booklets, can help you establish credibility in the marketplace. A great how-to booklet serves as a valuable reference to your customer base and also drives traffic to your store, online or off. You can use booklets to showcase your products and services while offering your customers direction.

A good example: a discount store that sells holiday decorations could print and mail a booklet on how to decorate one’s home for the holidays. The booklet could be packed with creative holiday décor ideas, peppered with the products needed to make homes beautiful for the holidays.

4. Holiday cards

Holiday greeting cards are perfect for sharing season’s greetings with your customers. They’re unexpected and appreciated, and can foster customer loyalty – especially if you personalize them with a handwritten note.

You can also use holiday cards to deliver special VIP customer offers – a steep discount, for example, available only via the coupon code you include in your holiday cards.

5. Calendars

Want to give your customers a gift they can use year-round (and you can use to market your business for the next 12 months)? Calendars are excellent direct-mail marketing tools because they’re useful and you can place strategic advertisements throughout each month to drive traffic to your business.

Make sure your calendars are relevant to your customers and your business, and be sure to distribute them as early as possible to beat competitors to the punch.

All of these direct-mail holiday marketing tools can help you grow your business during the holiday season, yet many will be ignored by your main competitors. Reach your customers on a more personal basis – and where your competitors are lacking – and increase sales with these powerful direct-mail holiday marketing tools.

Win Brooklyn Nets Tickets!

Enjoy a great day of Basketball!

We are giving away two tickets to see the Brooklyn Nets. 

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! 

  • Tuesday November 17, 2015.  Nets vs. Atlanta 7:30 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.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

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In this Issue:

Four Reasons To Choose Direct Mail Over E-Mail Marketing

Is Ad-Blocking Hurting Your Marketing Efforts?

This Personalized Calendar Will Help Grow Your Business

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:
  • Shelter Island Republican Committee

  • Red River Paper

  • 4 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

workfrom.co - Use this site to discover the best coffee shops, bars, coworking spaces and other work-friendly places in cities and towns everywhere.

dribbble.com - Show and tell website for designers.

screenmailer.com - Record your computer screen and voice, and share video instantly. Sending clear instructions has never been this easy.

pronoun.com - The smartest way to publish your book. Pronoun enables authors to grow their readerships and their earnings.

ozy.com - A daily digital magazine custom built for the Change Generation. Founded by Carlos Watson, formerly of MSNBC and CNN.  

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.

Newsletter Archives:

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