Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing December 2014 Newsletter.

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The Secret to Improving Your Marketing, The 5 Rules of A/B Testing

By Matt Zilli, Blog.marketo.com

According to Econsultancy, "Companies whose conversion rates have improved over the previous 12 months are performing on average 50% more tests than those companies whose conversion rates have not improved."

There are two types of marketers in this world: The 2 percent who would happily A/B test all the livelong day, and the 98 percent who emit an audible groan every time the topic gets raised. The latter group — the vast majority of marketers — complains: “I know I should be testing more, but…”

“But it’s hard.” “But it’s time-consuming.” “But I already think I know the answers anyway, so why should I bother to test?”

Although a paltry 44 percent of companies currently use split-testing software, I’m here to give you the bad news: testing is crucial. And it can’t just be a one-time event. Even Alec Baldwin agrees — at least in Glengarry Glen Ross. Did you know that his famous “Always Be Closing” speech came from an age-old marketing line?

Always Be Testing the Market

Sadly, that line isn’t catchy enough for a movie. But it’s the gospel of successfully evolving marketing campaigns.

Along with this gospel, there are five more rules of A/B testing that demystify what might seem like a tedious, overwhelming process.

1. Plan ahead

You’ve created a brilliant email campaign, segmented your lists, and designed a magnetic landing page. You’re all set to go, but in the eleventh hour, someone says, “Hey, maybe we should test this thing.” Collective groan.

No marketer in her right mind wants to adjust a campaign for A/B testing at the last minute. The best tests take time, so build testing into your process from the beginning, every time.

2. Be willing to learn… slowly

This might sound obvious, but if you’re not willing to learn from your tests, there’s no point in conducting them. The best way to learn from A/B testing is to test one variable within a large population so that you can be confident that your results are accurate across your audience.

If you insist on conducting multivariate testing to “save time,” consider hiring a Ph.D. in statistics to keep track of all the data for you.

Seriously, in a world where you’re always testing, you don’t need to be overambitious. Gleaning one useful bit of information from a campaign can take you much further in your ability to connect with your audience next time.

3. Measure what matters

A lot of marketers simply measure opens and clicks. But opens and clicks aren’t your end goal, are they? I’m guessing you’re looking to convert your audience, so test for what you actually care about.

You’ll want to find a tool that helps you measure performance based on any type of digital activity — for example, how many people who received an email invitation actually went on to register for the event. Opens and clicks have their place, but measuring based on your high-level goals is where it’s really at.

So, figure out what those exact goals are. Then test for them.

4. Test over time

One of the biggest misperceptions about A/B testing is that it yields quick results. But honing in on immediate numbers ignores a large segment of your audience.

Let’s say you have an automated subscriber email that gets triggered each time someone signs up for your newsletter. Try inserting an A/B test that sends variations of that automated email. However, you’ll still need to test the results over a period of time — say, a month, depending on volume – to see how ongoing signups respond to the two email variations.

The same concept applies to nurturing emails, where every recipient is on a different cadence, and results are tabulated over a long period of time.

5. Always talk about testing

Your entire company can benefit from the insights that testing yields, so talk about your testing. As a marketer, you’re closer to your customer base than almost anyone in the company, so you’re in a prime position to share insight into how your customers think.

And with the cold hard facts of testing at your disposal, ears will perk up when you begin to share what you learn. Make it a regular part of company meetings to impart the wisdom you’ve learned from your testing, and you’ll become the de facto customer expert of your organization.

To put testing into practice, you must first adopt the attitude that everything your marketing team produces is testable. This applies to the subject lines of your emails, the content of your campaigns, the day(s) and time(s) you send messaging, the copy on your landing pages… I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Over time, aim to test every minute facet of your marketing, fine-tuning your strategy, so you’re optimized for utter marketing success.

Basically, if you’re taking the time to create a campaign, take the time to test it. There is always something to test. Never miss an opportunity!

The Five Best Practices For The Perfect Direct Mail Campaign

By Justin Wong, business2community.com

Direct mail is one of the most effective ways of getting your marketing materials to your customers’ doorsteps.

Direct mail is very similar to an online landing page in some respects; you want to provide enough information for the consumer to take the next step without losing interest or throwing the piece away.

Direct mail is incredibly effective at reaching a geographic audience. If you’re looking to increase foot traffic to your store, a direct mail blast to the surrounding neighborhoods should make a noticeable difference.

Here are the five best practices for direct mail to get you started:

1. Include multiple elements

Different people like reading different things. Some people enjoy reading letters while some like looking at colorful photos in brochures. As a rule of thumb, we recommend using both brochures and letters in conjunction to maximize readership.

2. Give people many different ways to respond

One of the biggest difficulties of direct mail is that getting a response may not be easy. Unlike an online ad, people can’t just simply “click-through” to a sales page. To minimize this, I always recommend giving your recipients multiple ways to respond. Give them a URL to your website, the direct line of your sales centre, and a form for them to fill out.

3. Have a compelling call-to-action

Just like any other advertising campaign, having a strong call-to-action will make the difference between someone taking your offer versus throwing your materials in the trash. Be clear about what you’re asking people to do.

4. Don’t be afraid to spend some money

If you don’t have in-house experience, we recommend hiring or contracting a design firm to give your materials a professional sheen. If you have the time or budget, test the design with a few focus groups or online surveys to see which design is the most popular. Don’t cheap out with the print quality for direct mail either! You need your colors and images to be bold and crisp to attract attention. Saving a few bucks on printing will cost a lot of conversions later on. Appearances are everything!

5. Repeat the most important information

It’s impossible to predict where the reader will actually start reading. Only a small portion of readers will actually read the entire text. Some will skim the headlines, some might only read half of the first paragraph, and some might just look at the images.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your call-to-actions are clear and repeated throughout all the elements. Anyone who looks at any of one section of your materials should have a clear idea of what the offering is and why they should care.

10 Goals For Marketing Success

By Jean Gianfagna,  lifehealthpro.com

The most important step in developing a business-to-business marketing strategy is the first one: setting your goals.

Why have you decided to invest in marketing? What do you want that investment to achieve for your business?

Here are the 10 goals that belong in your smart marketing strategy and why they matter:

1. Differentiate your firm. In every industry, many companies sell similar products or services. Why is your business different? Why should customers choose you? Stake out a clear position in the marketplace that differentiates your company from others.

2. Tell a compelling story. Marketing is how you tell the story of your business to your prospects. Create a compelling narrative that convinces prospects of your ability to serve their needs and reflects the quality of your people, products and services.

3. Prepare to sell. Marketing plays a major role in facilitating the sales process. Equip your sales team with effective tools to demonstrate your products and services and engage in a meaningful sales dialogue with prospects.

4. Generate leads. Everyone wants to generate new business. Use marketing to deliver relevant messages to your prospects with a great offer that will make them say “tell me more.”

5. Nurture leads. Selling business products and services often involves a lengthy sales cycle. Marketing can help you stay visible with prospects as they make their decision to buy. Send ongoing communications, including solution-oriented content, to demonstrate your understanding of prospects’ needs, your capabilities and your interest in their business.

6. Improve customer retention. Smart marketers build deep, lasting relationships with customers and focus heavily on bringing value to the customer relationship. Your marketing strategy should detail how you will support that relationship and remind customers of their value to you.

7. Cross-sell and up-sell. What else can you sell to the people who buy from you? Your marketing strategy should include offers, tactics or promotions to increase order size, frequency and sales of related products and services.

8. Raise awareness. Your company needs to be visible wherever your customers and prospects turn for solutions to their challenges. Develop a plan of integrated marketing tactics to increase your awareness at trade shows, conferences, publications, the Internet and social media.

9. Capitalize on customer data. You have one big advantage over your competitors: You know what your customers buy. Use this data to tailor marketing messages to customers’ needs, and use insights from the data to identify and target similar prospects.

10. Test something new. A static marketing plan—same targets, same channels, same tactics, year after year—is unlikely to deliver a improved outcomes. Test new channels and approaches to see if you can produce better results.

As the baseball great Yogi Berra once observed, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Setting clear marketing goals will help you focus your efforts, use your investment more efficiently and make the most of your marketing opportunities.

  Ticket Giveaway!   

Talon has great seats for you to win.

We are giving away a pair of tickets to see the New York Islanders!  To win, be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to leave a voice mail.   Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11. 

  • Tuesday December 23rd, 7:00PM.  Islanders vs. Montreal Canadiens

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:

The Secret to Improving Your Marketing, The 5 Rules of A/B Testing

The Five Best Practices For The Perfect Direct Mail Campaign

10 Goals For Marketing Success

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:
  • Healthiest You

  • Trinity Road

  • 5 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

GolfNow.com - provides discount golf tee times at over 5000 golf courses (including private and semi-private courses).

internetarcade - You can now play over 900 classic arcade games for free in your browser thanks to the Internet Archive, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that collects web pages, text, audio and other information that exists in digital formats.

Visme.co - Easily Create online Presentations, animations, animated HTML5 banners, infographics and other rich visual content free in your browser.

Reverb.com - A New and Growing Marketplace to Buy and Sell Music Gear Online.

Flvto.com - Convert your favorite youtube videos to any format. Enjoy your music in high-quality sound, upload your ready-made mp3 file to your iTunes library, your smartphone, or your tablet.

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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