ALLPRO Direct Marketing Blog

  • How Much Personalization Is Too Personal?

    personalinfoWhen you are personalizing print or email communications, it’s important to remember that there are real people on the end of the line. Good use of data can be very effective, but the poor use of data can make people uncomfortable.

    One marketer caused a stir, for example, when it targeted men with a personalized communication that used their names with “Jr.” added to the end to represent the son they might have some day . . . if they aren’t careful. Needless to say, plenty of recipients were uncomfortable with that approach! This is something many industry commentators call “the creepy factor.”

    So how can you personalize your content in a positive way without crossing the line? Here are three tips.

    1. Protect private data. There is a difference between selling educational materials and selling refinancing offers. If you’re selling educational books to children, for example, you might want to know that your neighbor down the street bought a set of the same materials. But you probably don’t want a mortgage company outing you as a good candidate for a refinancing offer.
    2. Make sure your data is current. Keep your data clean and current. One company was criticized for marketing to recipients as if they were one step from a retirement home when, in fact, many of them were not even retired. Use surveys to stay in touch with your customers and get to know them. If necessary, use third party data houses to fill in critical details.
    3. Be considerate. Use the data in a way that is respectful and considerate of the person receiving it. You may not want to let recipients know just how much you know about them upfront. Some marketers start with basic targeting and segmentation, then layer that communication with name personalization, rather than using highly personal details overtly.

    Remember that data is just data. When it comes to personalization, it’s what you do with that data that matters. Need help making sure that your use of data is a good one? Talk to us—we’re here to help.

  • Three Direct Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

    An expertly designed direct marketing campaign can spark interest and generate a response, but certain mistakes can mean the downfall of any good campaign. Not only can these foibles waste money, but they can also keep you from achieving your sales goals. Here are some costly direct mail mistakes that marketers should avoid.

    Avoid Marketing to the Wrong Audience

    An effective marketing campaign should target the demographic most likely to be interested in the product. Going too broad with direct mail advertising not only wastes money, but it also can irritate potential customers of future campaigns.

    Avoid Weak Calls to Action

    A good call to action, or CTA, nudges the consumer to take immediate action, and proper phrasing can make a world of difference. A successful marketing campaign will avoid vague language in the CTA by telling the consumer exactly what they should do next. Rather than “sign up today,” try “sign up for your free trial today.”

    Don’t Forget to Follow Up

    Make sure to maintain a relationship with the consumers that you have established a connection with. If you've made a sale, follow up with a "thank you" email or call to show appreciation. If the consumer didn’t buy the product, follow up to find out what went wrong.

    Keep in mind that direct mail marketing is relationship building with the consumer—it may not guarantee a sale every time, but it opens the door of communication. The consumer will be more open to buying from you at some point in the future, if not today.

  • Direct Marketing Then and Now

    Direct marketing practices are changing in today’s world, but many of these changes are rooted in the industry’s history. It’s important to understand the history of direct marketing in order to predict where the industry is headed.

    Direct Mail Marketing

    Direct mail marketing traces its roots back to Benjamin Franklin, who used it to market Poor Richard’s Almanac. It surged in popularity in the 1800s thanks to the Montgomery Ward and Sears catalogs, which provided people in rural areas access to the products they wanted without leaving their homes. For some companies today, direct mail marketing has turned into email marketing to encourage people to shop online.

    Telemarketing

    Telemarketing took hold in the 1970s when technological advances made it easier for companies and their customers to interact at little or no cost. Eventually, public perception of telemarketing changed, prompting the government to pass laws banning companies from cold-calling prospective customers. Telemarketing is challenging today, but businesses that take the right approach find that a person-to-person connection still pays off.

    Direct Response Advertising

    Direct response advertising was traditionally used by businesses that sent customers a postage-paid envelope, making it easy for them to order a product. The practice was adapted for television through the use of toll-free numbers to call, and later for email, where companies sent customers links to specific products on their websites. Today, businesses create product ads that are displayed to potential customers on the websites and social media platforms they visit.

  • Super Shoes Rocks Personalized Content

    Lead gen3Super Shoes Rocks Personalized Content
    Recently, we heard about a major retailer who rocked its print personalization, and we wanted to share its success with you. We hope you find it inspirational as you plan your print marketing for the upcoming year.
    Super Shoes sells more than 200 shoe and apparel brands in 40+ stores in eight states. To increase the effectiveness of its direct mailings, Super Shoes decided to get personal.  Super Shoes started with channel preference. While many of its competitors were turning to digital marketing, the retailer knew that its customers still preferred to receive direct mail promotions like postcards and catalogs.

    "We have an email database, but our customers tend to respond more to print," says Matthew Willard, marketing director at Super Shoes, as quoted in 1to1 Media.
    Super Shoes layered in attitudinal behavioral attributes (which can be purchased much the same way as demographic data) and past purchase histories. This allowed it to target its mailings based on demographic and psychological profiles. Customized content included images, copy, messaging and offers.
    Super Shoes had tested different mail formats (postcard, oversized postcard, newspaper insert, catalog) and found that an oversized postcard was the most effective for its customer base.
    It sent eight different versions of its mailer and tested against the generic version. The results? The generic offering had a 2.5% conversion rate. The personalized mailing had a 6.7% conversion rate.
    Want to personalize your next direct mailing and see how your conversion rates soar?

    Give us a call. 888-679-0255 or visit: www.allprodm.com

  • TAKE ‘STOCK’ OF YOUR PAPER WHEN MARKETING WITH POSTCARDS

    No matter how lucrative your business offer is or how brilliant your design is, your print investment will go down the drain if you use lousy paper stock for your promotional documents. Especially when opting for direct mail marketing through postcards, having a robust piece of paper is a must else you might end up seeing someone use your coveted postcard to clean his pet’s poop.

    postcard

    THE POSTCARD PAPER STORY
    Nicknamed, the Penny postcard, a Massachusetts-based envelope company created the first postcard in the US, back in 1873, made on thin pale white card. The mid 20th century saw the advent of linen postcards made of inexpensive card stock with high rag content that gave it a fabric-like feel. For the first time, this paper stock permitted printing of more colorful and vivid themes on postcards. And then came the Photo chrome era, making way for still photographs finding their place on postcards made of firm and durable paper. Today, the sky is the limit as far as innovation in this industry is concerned. Over the years, postcards have evolved to not just be a messenger of news but a very crucial direct marketing tool, too, and that’s exactly why one needs to be extremely careful about making it more appealing – not only with respect to its content and presentation but also the very material with which it is made.

    PAPER OPTIONS – WHAT’S IN THERE FOR YOU

    The thicker your stock, the more elegant your postcard will appear. Best printed on thick 16-point paper stock, you can opt for myriad coating options to suit your need and budget. From laminated and ultra violet (UV)-coated cover stocks to uncoated heavy card stocks, there are options aplenty.

    Gloss finish cards such as laminated cover stocks are instant attention grabbers, especially if you are into a light-hearted business and plan to use some pop colors in your postcard. The lamination also protects the card from physical damage. If you have a higher budget, perk up the protection layer by using UV-coated cover stock. Not just protection from handling errors, the water-based coating of this stock also renders it a rich finish, adding to the elegance of your card.

    card

    If you are aiming to approach your customers with a subtle appeal, opt for matt finish cards with uncoated heavy cover stocks that almost give the touch-and-feel of a greetings card. In fact, if you are creating the post cards for a small target group and plan to write a hand written personalized note, this is the way to go. A word of caution, however, is that uncoated heavy cover stocks being susceptible to handling damages are ‘shipped’ instead of mailed. For mailing, opt for the uncoated cover stock that’s a brilliant combination of sophistication and durability. And if you really want to make a statement, you could go for recycled paper stock that’ll surely strike a chord with its environment-friendly appeal.

    Now, get set to look out for a direct marketing and printing company who can provide you with all these options at a cost-effective rate. Discuss your theme, aim and target audience, and don’t forget to ask for paper samples to know what you are getting into. Customers are more likely to link the class of your product or service with the quality of your postcard’s paper stock. Remember, the first impression is often the last one, so put your best foot forward to make it an everlasting one.

  • BASICS OF DIRECT MAIL MARKETING THROUGH CUSTOM-MADE PRINTED POSTCARDS – WHAT WORKS, WHAT DOESN’T

    As per a recent response rate report by the US’s Direct Marketing Association, 54% of mailed postcards are actually read by recipients as against only 30% in case of sales letters; 23.4 percent of consumers respond to postcards versus a mere 7.9 percent for letter-sized envelopes, and most importantly, at about 54.10 dollars, postcard marketing capitulates a far more lucrative cost-per-lead compared to other marketing tools.

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    Well, now that you have decided to woo both prospective customers as well as make your existing clients feel valued by sending across quirky little postcards, don’t jump the fence by spamming them with jarring notes. Direct mail marketing through printed postcards could act as a great promotional tool only if implemented the right way. Go by the following thumb rules to make the most out of your postcard marketing plan.

    WHAT WORKS

    Size matters: Choose the size according to the message that you want to convey. While standard sized cards should suffice for holiday reminders or Thanksgiving wishes, if you are aiming at splashing across a special offer or discount, or displaying multiple product photos, opt for oversized cards.

    Custom designs: Focus on a design that goes with your industry type and at the same time does not look like an advertisement. There are already many out there to haunt customers so they don’t want one more to land at their doorsteps. Having worked with a wide array of industries, experienced postcard printing companies have an expertise in dabbling with different formats, templates, colors and designs to create customized cards for your business type and your specific target audience – they know what works best for whom.

    Getting personal: Your postcard must look professional but certainly not robotic. At the very first glance, it must strike an emotional chord with the one who’s reading it. Having a little personal note always works, generating more leads than those that read like regular promotions.

    Suitable timing: While spamming your audience with too many postcards in a month can irk them, not sending one when it’s needed can be equally harmful. Holiday, birthday or Christmas reminders and greetings have always been a hit. On the other hand, letting them know in advance about a special three-day discount or any cool offer whatsoever always makes a good impression.

    pc1

    WHAT DOESN’T WORK

    Information overload: Get rid of fluff. Nobody has the time to sift through tons of paragraphs to get to the point. Make a statement with a headline that’s direct, and then create an intrigue, leaving some room for curiosity. You really don’t have to say it ALL on that tiny card. Keep the message crisp yet informative, professional yet pleasant.

    Jargons and typos: Nothing can be a bigger put off for customers than a spelling error (that you want to pass off as a typo) or a bombarding word that doesn’t convey anything. Simplicity and accuracy is the key to successful mail marketing through post cards.

    Jarring colors: Be careful with the colors and graphics. If you’re dealing with a serious business, say cancer treatment drugs or mutual funds, stick to formal solid colors instead of going all funky. If you’re running a fashion store, a veterinary clinic or a party accessories store, you can afford to experiment with the pops and the neons, illustrations and cartoons.

    Wrong target: A hit-all strategy may not always work yet make a dent in your pocket. If your postcard doesn’t reach the right prospect group, you achieve nothing out of the whole campaign.

    So, arm yourself with the right strategies and you’ll not only create awareness about your product or service but also see your card find a place in the customer’s living room instead of the trash bin.

  • SMART IDEAS TO TURN LEADS INTO CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS FOR LIFE

    Once you bring in valuable customers through a prospecting campaign, it’s easy to think you’ve accomplished your goal. But really, you’ve just gotten them in the door. Now what? How do you maintain that relationship so they stay engaged and continue to buy from you over time?

    Once you’ve landed a customer, it’s time to move into customer retention mode. This requires a plan. There are a number of ways personalized printing can play a key role in that plan.smart

    Lot of companies send personalized newsletters or note cards now and then. Many will send personalized reminders several days or weeks in advance of a product or service renewal, as well. Those are great ways to stay in touch with customers, but more and more companies are doing them. Here are five more unusual ideas that will help you to really stand out from your competitors.

    1. Send a discount for no reason
    Everyone likes to be appreciated. Send a coupon with a discount on your customer’s next purchase “just because.” It will surprise them and foster goodwill.

    2. Send reminders for someone else’s special day
    Offer to collect important dates for birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions for your customers’ loved ones, such as spouses, children, and parents. Send gift ideas with unique insight from your area of expertise and offer discounts on purchases. Everyone needs help with gift giving.

    3. Encourage customers to sign up for sneak peeks and exclusive insights
    People like to be in the know. Encourage your customers to sign up for your newsletter, friend you on Facebook, or connect with you on Instagram or Pinterest. Give them insights into product development or offer them unique ways to use your products and services they might not have thought about. Experiment with “send your best idea” contests via social media to foster more engagement and get your customers talking about you.

    4. Say “thank you” for loyalty and longevity
    If you know when your customer first began working with you, why not send a personalized thank you card and gift commensurate with the value of their business?

    5. Ask their opinion
    Use personalized URLs or online surveys to ask customers’ opinions about your company, your offerings, or bounce new product ideas off them. People like to do business with companies who care about what they think and that make them feel included.

    The more you can engage your customers beyond the sale, the more you earn their goodwill and loyalty. So when it comes to customer communication, think beyond the initial purchase. Think about building a relationship for life.

    SMBS FLOCK TO PRINT

    For small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), marketing is still about print. In 2012,
    local newspaper advertising was tops for marketing investment, with 64% of SMBs buying local newspaper ads, followed by online ads (62%), ads in local publications (54%), and direct mail (45%).

  • HOW TO BUILD A SOLID CUSTOMER DATABASE WITH STEP-BY-STEP BEST PRACTICES

    Want to generate more leads and increase your ROI? Get personal! Personalized printing, especially in an integrated, multi-channel campaign that includes personalized URLs, QR Codes, and other channels, can reap huge benefits. Let’s look at the results of three real-life campaigns:

    mobile* An agricultural products manufacturer combined personalized postcards, personalized landing pages (via personalized URL or QR Code), alongside high-value incentives, to achieve a direct mail response rate of 54.8%. In addition, 33.8% of recipients stopped at its booth or one of its partners’ booths at the show.

    * A childcare company used personalized direct mail, personalized landing pages (via personalized URL or QR Code), and personalized maps to achieve an ROI of 2,200% based on new enrollments and an average childcare service length of four years.

    * An environmental hygiene company used personalized direct mail, personalized reminder postcards, and personalized URLs (allowing prospects to get more information and request a free sample) to achieve a response rate of 12.3%. More than 200 sales appointments were scheduled.

    But results like these don’t just happen. They take good planning and strategic execution. Here are five best practices that can help ensure that your results will be extraordinary, as well.

    1. Traditional marketing rules apply

    Start with great creative, snappy copy, and compelling incentives. Personalization gets results, but you still need to implement the basics of great marketing.

    2. Focus on relevance, not data

    Data is just data — it’s a number or a piece of information in a spread-sheet. Use your data to speak to the recipient in a way that means something to them. You want them to say, “Hey! That’s me!”

    3. Segment your list first

    Unless you are mailing to a highly targeted audience to begin with, try focusing on one segment of your list at a time. Target your message to that portion of your audience, then build the 1:1 messaging on top.

    4. Pre-fill any forms

    Not all personalized communications use forms, but if they do, pre-fill them. This reduces barriers to response.

    5.Integrate personalized printing into a multi-channel strategy

    Using multiple channels to communicate with customers reinforces your message over time. This is a proven strategy that increases effectiveness, increases response rates, and builds your brand.

    Lead generation using personalized printing is highly effective. Building in best practices makes it even more so. Talk to us about personalizing your next lead generation campaign.

    More Mobile Than Toothbrushes!
    In 2012, consumers worldwide had nearly 5 billion mobile subscriptions. That’s almost a billion and a half more active mobile subscriptions than toothbrushes sold. You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. Are you making mobile part of your multi-channel mix?                                      

    Source: Responsys (2013)

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