Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Deer Park, NY 11729

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Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing November 2020 Newsletter.

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The Power of Direct Mail in the Digital Age

From: Theglobeandmail.com

In the digital age, direct mail remains a powerful tool in the marketing tool kit of small businesses.

When both channels are used together, marketing experts say businesses can amplify their message to consumers and maximize their reach.

“Research shows that there is definitely a place for direct mail in the marketing mix. It works better than many people think,” says Sara Clodman, vice-president, public affairs and thought leadership at the Canadian Marketing Association.

She cites research from Canada Post: “Consumers have a 10 per cent higher brand recall with direct mail and digital than pure digital campaigns,” says Ms. Clodman.

With both forms, businesses can target customers by demographics, psychographics and geography, and segment specific postal codes or even addresses, notes Audrey Jamieson, president of Marketing Kitchen Inc. in Markham, Ontario.

Digital marketing and direct mail each have their strengths. Digital can be faster and cheaper. While direct can often be more captivating, and drive greater brand awareness or response.

Ms. Jamieson says direct mail “is a lot more engaging”, as consumers make a conscious effort to retrieve their mail from their mailboxes and take the time to read it. “You are in a different psychological frame of mind when reading your physical mail than when you are with your digital mail, which can often be seen as an interruption” she says.

Effectively, this can make a brand more memorable, especially if the mail is from a local business with which customers can connect, says Dave Vander Ploeg, executive vice president, business development at DRMG Inc. in Toronto.

Direct mail can literally put a small business' message into the hands of the right target market. Research shows that consumers act on it, whether that means ordering a product or service, visiting a physical location or website, or engaging on social media.

Mr. Vander Ploeg says that direct mail is more transparent and facilitates greater trust, and is also a stimulus to go online. “It doesn’t fight digital mail, but works in harmony with it,” he says.

With direct mail, small business marketers can choose from among the one-to-many option (Neighborhood Mail), one-to-few (Postal Code Targeting), and one-to-one (Personalized Mail). The solution all depends on the business needs, such as increasing awareness, acquisition or loyalty.

There’s a synergistic relationship between direct and digital mail, says Brenda Porter, director of customer experience at Mail-O-Matic Services Ltd. in Burnaby, B.C. Several studies indicate that “direct mail drives business to digital platforms,” she says. Ms. Porter suggests that people “are more likely to read an e-mail about a product if they previously received a flyer about it.”

According to a Canada Post study, 53 per cent of people are more likely to read paper-based mail than e-mail, and almost one-third share direct mail ads they receive with someone else. Other research by Canada Post found that more than one-third of small businesses have used direct mail over the past 12 months, mainly because it allows for targeting.

The current environment offers another incentive for direct campaigns. “With more people staying at home during the pandemic, and less visits to restaurants and shops, direct mail is a distinct way for brands to reach consumers in their homes to nurture those relationships,” says Ms. Clodman.

At a time when people are maybe consuming too much content digitally, direct mail is also a way to stand out.

Any campaign, says Ms. Porter, needs defined objectives, inspiring creative, and access to reliable data for targeting the right customers. Businesses must have the ability to precisely measure the results of any campaign and determine their return on investment, adds Mr. Vander Ploeg.

Consider the compounding effect too. Businesses can enhance their brand recognition and recall when they use each medium at the right time, and employ both to work better together.

“Marketers who combine both approaches will improve consumer outcomes,” says Ms. Clodman.

The 5-Step Plan for Turning Prospects Into Customers

By Robert Bly, Bly.com

The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s book The Direct Mail Revolution:  Buy it now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and IndieBound.

In direct marketing, structure is key: If your copy doesn’t follow the formula for persuasion, it won’t work, no matter how creative you get.

There have been numerous formulas for writing persuasive copy throughout the years. The most famous is probably AIDA, which stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. In copywriting seminars, I’ve taught a variation on AIDA known as the motivating sequence.

The following explores the five steps of the motivating sequence:

Step 1: Get attention

Before your promotion can do anything else, it has to get your prospect’s attention. It must get the prospect to stop, open the envelope, and start reading the materials inside instead of tossing it in the trash. You already know many methods of getting attention and see dozens of them in action every day. In TV and magazine advertising, sex is often used to gain attention for products ranging from soft drinks and cars to diet and exercise programs.

Other options: Make a bold statement, cite a startling statistic, ask a curiosity-arousing question, put a bulky object in the envelope, apply a glossy coating to the envelope and letter, use a pop-up graphic -- you get the idea.

Step 2: Identify the problem or need

Most products fill a need or solve a problem. But what are the chances that your prospect is thinking about this problem when they get your promotion? Probably not all that great.

So, the first thing you have to do is focus their attention on the need or problem your product addresses. Only then can you talk to them about the solution.

Step 3: Position your product as the solution to the problem

Once you get the prospect to focus on the problem, the next step is to position your product or service as the solution to that problem. This can be a quick transition. Here’s an example from a fundraising letter from the Red Cross:

    Dear Mr. Bly:

    Someday, you may need the Red Cross.

    But right now, the Red Cross needs you.

It pretty much lays out where the letter will go next, doesn’t it?

Step 4: Offer the reader proof

As marketer Mark Joyner points out in his book The Irresistible Offer (John Wiley & Sons, 2005), one of the prospect’s first questions when they receive your promotion is “Why should I believe you?”

You answer that question by offering proof. That proof comes in two flavors.

The first type speaks to your credibility. It convinces the prospect that you are a reputable firm or individual and can therefore be trusted. A diploma from a prestigious medical school displayed prominently on a doctor’s office wall is an example of credibility. In a direct-mail piece for health offers, response improves if the letter is signed by an MD.

The second type of proof has to do with the product and convinces the buyer that your product can do what you say it can do. Testimonials, case histories, reviews, performance graphs, and test results are examples of proof in this category.

Step 5: Ask for action

The final step is to ask for action. Your goal is usually to generate either an inquiry or an order. To ask for action in direct marketing, we make an offer, or, in other words, what the reader gets when they respond to your promotion and what they have to do to get it.

In a lead-generating direct-mail package, the offer might be as simple as “Mail back the enclosed reply card for our free catalog.” In a mail order online promotion, the offer might be “Click here and enter your credit card information to purchase our product on a 30-day money-back trial basis for $49.95 plus $4.95 shipping and handling.”

I’m willing to wager that every successful piece of copy you’ve ever mailed or emailed follows to some extent the steps in the motivating sequence -- even if you’ve never heard of it before. That’s because you have an instinct for how to sell.

So, if you can sell instinctively, then what good are the motivating sequence and other persuasion formulas?

They’re useful because when you have the steps written out in front of you, you can make sure no step is shortchanged or left out -- increasing your odds of writing a direct mail winner.


Robert W. Bly is a freelance copywriter with 4 decades of experience in direct marketing. He has written copy for over 100 clients include AARP, Motley Fool, Agora Publishing, IBM, Institutional Investor, John Wiley, and Medical Economics. McGraw-Hill calls Bob Bly “America’s top copywriter.” He can be reached by phone at 973-263-0562 or via e-mail at rwbly@bly.com. Bob is the author of 100 books including The Direct Mail Revolution, published by Entrepreneur Press.  Please visit Robert Bly's website at www.bly.com.

Guess What's Back?

By Drew McLellan, Businessrecord.com

It’s 2020, and we’re in the midst of a pandemic, so all marketing paths are leading to digital solutions, right?

Actually, no.

During times of economic crisis, while many businesses cut back on planned marketing efforts, your business can get more market share without your competition having any say about it.

Long before the pandemic hit, some very old-school marketing tactics were enjoying a new lease on life, and the realities of 2020 have just furthered their success. I don’t believe any of these will fade in effectiveness or popularity post-recession. Which means we’d better study up on how these golden oldies have been reinvented to be relevant today.

Direct Mail: As our inboxes get more cluttered, our mailboxes have become prime real estate again. Technology has leveled up what’s possible with direct mail. AI technology allows brands to learn more about their target audience. Based on what we can now do with personalization, tracking how a recipient interacts with a direct mail offer or whether it results in a call, product trial, or purchases, is much easier.

Catalogs: Remember when you were a kid, and you pored over the Sears, J.C. Penney or other toy catalog at Christmas time? I read and reread those catalogs like they were the latest Harry Potter novel. Amazon and other retailers have picked up this old tradition but with several new twists. Amazon’s 2020 catalog is about 100 pages packed with toys, electronics and games for all ages. It uses technology like QR codes, special in-app pricing and other 2020 targeting tactics to take full advantage of our nostalgia, the fact that people have screen burnout and the latest in technology.

Referral and Loyalty Programs: As all sales screeched to a halt this past spring, marketers were quickly reminded that there’s incredible gold to be mined in their existing customer database. Many businesses were kept afloat by those current customers, who were the most likely to spend money as things opened back up. Word of mouth stimulated spontaneous customer campaigns on social media to support local businesses and drove new opportunities when everyone was clinging to every dollar.

Product Demos: No one is hanging out in the mall or big-box discount stores, gathering around the demo table, watching live demonstrations. But thanks to the power of video, demos are alive and well. Some brands have combined demos with an influencer campaign so that they have a “celebrity” endorse their product. But many brands are forgoing the influencer and using employees, real customers or animation.

With the help of technology and social media, all of these marketing tactics can take on a new life and new effectiveness. One advantage we have this go-around is that we can weave all of these tools together to maximize their success. Merging digital and analog marketing efforts can be a potent combination that reaches your audience in multiple channels and often with multiple mediums.

We can also use sophisticated first and third-party data resources to make sure we’re delivering our messages directly to the people who are most likely to be receptive to them.

Our ability to accurately measure and monitor in real time has also improved dramatically, even over the past five years. While none of these marketing tactics work instantaneously, we can make adjustments quicker based on the real-time data collected, saving both money and time. We don’t have to wait for months to see trends and do A/B experiments to see if we can spike results or reduce waste.

As you begin to think about how you’re going to connect with audiences in 2021, don’t forget that there’s still plenty of life left in the tactics that you probably cut your teeth on early in your career. Be wary of the shiny-object syndrome that we’re all susceptible to and remember that, at least in the marketing world, you can teach an old dog some new tricks!

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:

The Power of Direct Mail in the Digital Age

The 5-Step Plan for Turning Prospects Into Customers

Guess What's Back?

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:
  • Chicago Botanic Garden

  • Noble Health Food

  • 2 New Lists From Various List Managers and Owners

Mike's Favorite Apps & Links:

Some interesting things to check out...

Mubi.com - MUBI is a global film platform that provides a hand-curated selection of films on demand, streaming ad-free on its proprietary technology.

Bigvu.tv - Your personal TV studio, featuring a professional teleprompter, captions & editing. For social media marketers, educators, and creators who want to make professional videos.

Ikeamuseum.com - Dive into the history of the iconic catalogue and see how our homes have changed and developed (not to mention catalogue layouts).

Socialprintstudio.com - Send them your photos and they will print them on an amazing array of products. Check them out.

Amp.dev - Whether you are a publisher, e-commerce company, storyteller, advertiser or email sender, AMP makes it easy to create great experiences on the web.

Veed.io - The easy way to create stunning videos, add subtitles and grow your audience. Use Veed.io to build your social following, create engaging marketing content, education videos and pretty much any other type of video content.

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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