Direct Mail in a Digital World

    Six Powerful Reasons to Put Direct Mail Into Your Fall Marketing Plan

    It might be a “digital world,” but we’re also a world of people who still appreciate personal touches. With 9 out of 10 people headed to their mailbox daily, taking full advantage of this habit should be high on your marketing priority list.

    Take a minute and really think about it, people still appreciate getting their mail every day, sorting through it looking for the good stuff (letters, cards, positive messages, and special offers) – anything other than those bills-right?

    And the truth is – with most businesses trying to make it through spam filters using email marketing, there’s a lot more room in mail boxes these days for your direct message.  While email is a great piece of the marketing puzzle, don’t discount the power of putting something into the hands of the folks in the market area you wish to dominate. Less mail means more opportunity for your postcard to be seen and you have a captive audience.

    Here are six reasons why mail is not only relevant – but it produces results!

    1. It’s targeted. Many marketing vehicles aim at reaching out to as many consumers as possible, but it’s expensive and casts a wide net. Many people refer to this as a “shotgun approach.”  With direct mail you can match your mail specifically to your market or niche dramatically increasing your response rates. You can even now find the mailing lists for those you most want to market to by taking advantage of the specialty data selects from our friends over at Nielsen or look for our Lifestyle Interest data. Head over to our Mailing List page to learn more about all the affordable list options available to you.
    2. It’s personal.  Direct mail is your canvas.  You can address your customer by name, share specific offers, communicate information that’s specific to your area, and begin to create a top-of-mind awareness and trust. All of our marketing tools are editable so you can easily match your message with your exact target market.
    3. It’s flexible.   Add direct response offers and timely information and you again increase your response rates.  Some businesses wisely choose a campaign with similar branding to send month after month or quarter after quarter that helps consumers develop a recognition of their brand more easily.  Others mix and match their marketing messages – preferring to keep consumers alert and eager to see “what they’ll send next!”
    4. It’s tangible. The truth is, as human beings we’re tactile people. Engaging different senses is just smart business.   If I get a message from a professional I touch via email for example, it registers in the moment – but not necessarily long term.  If I get a message that’s directed to me and offers something of importance to me and my family and I can feel it, touch it, put it on the refrigerator or tack it to my bulletin board, etc. – then that message has a much longer shelf life-right?  And a better chance of getting a response – not just once but again and again.
    5. It’s measurable.  Direct mail is one of the few media channels that give you the ability to track your success.  Use a QR code or make a specific offer on a direct response piece and keep tabs on how many people click or call on that offer.  Adjust future mailings based on that response rate.  I always recommend making a direct response offer on every piece of direct mail as opposed to just a generic, ‘here I am’ type mailing.  Give people valuable reasons to reach out to you and they will!
    6. It’s easy and cost-effective.  Direct mail doesn’t have to mean big bucks. One of the things our customers appreciate most about our services in fact is that we do have the ability to provide short-run orders at extremely affordable rates unlike big mail houses which require you to order thousands at a time.  Not sure what pieces will work best with your budget?  Give us a call-our team is terrific about helping agents match their marketing to their market as well as their budgets!

    Hope that gives you some insights into why Direct mail is on so many business’s to-do list this season! If you need help finding the right pieces for you at the right prices-we’ve got you covered. 

    Call our marketing team at 877-222-6010 or email us at okiam@prospectsplus.com to learn how we can get your production hopping this next quarter in a very budget friendly way! 

      Football Schedule Postcards

      It’s that time of year again where legions of fans from coast to coast get their game on and answer to the battle cry – “Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?”

      Even if you’re not a fan, you have to appreciate their enthusiasm-right?  You also should appreciate the excellent opportunity to get your name, contact information and offer into the hands (and on the refrigerators) of local fans in your market ALL SEASON LONG with fun, game-changing football schedule cards!

      These handy handouts are many business owner’s favorite this time of year. Why?  Because they are TIMELY and results producing – and most importantly, consumers keep them, share them and sometimes even ask for more!  They are great way to be remembered and considered a resource.  And that is a winning combination in today’s competitive market.

      Here’s three ways business’s are using these terrific football schedule postcard tools:

      1. They’re mailing them to their current or past customer lists.  That keeps them top of mind with the clients and prospects that they are most focused on gaining business and referrals from.
      2. They’re ordering MAGNETIC versions of them.  Then either hand-delivering them to a geographic area, target mailing list or simply placing in envelopes with a note to their best customers.
      3. They’re using them as “freebees.” The magnetic versions of these are best – but a printed shell postcard does the trick as well for great giveaways at open houses, local coffee shops, community events and even local businesses that you’re networked in.  It’s a win-win!

      Affordable, timely and simple-to-order, you’re certain to score big with those in your market area with these football-friendly tools!  So if you’re ready for some football – and some referrals – click here to see the wide spectrum of game-day team schedules!

      Also, if you want to save 10% on your postcard order – please visit our Specials Page to find your corresponding code.  We even have a special code for ordering the cards with the magnetized backs! See them all here.

       

        Digital Direct Mail

        Advertising Online and Offline

        There is no doubt that the internet was a game changer for businesses everywhere. You can easily set up your business online with web pages and social media and then you can advertise that business through digital ads on major platforms such as Facebook, Google search and YouTube.

        The only problem is the fact that you are competing with millions of others who had the same idea; even worse, most internet users have become blind to these ads over time and click through rates have dropped dramatically.

        This doesn’t mean you should avoid all online advertising, we’re simply suggesting a very strategic multi-channel approach using both online and offline advertising.  Often, advice to business owners is given in objective terms.  (BTW, since when has marketing become “objective?”)

        For example, some study will show that email marketing is better than direct mail marketing or a business guru will write about why business owners should only use internet marketing. However, the truth is, most businesses will need a combination of multiple marketing strategies and tactics to maximize the advertising potential.

        So How do I leverage Both Digital and Direct Mail?

        Targeted direct mail, sent to a targeted mailing list still ranks among the most effective methods for advertising a specific message to a specific audience.  It’s customizable, it’s laser focused and it’s very easy to execute.  More on that later.

        In fact, according to a study conducted by Hubspot, direct mail yields an ROI of $27.00 for every dollar spent.  This is very strong relative to other marketing programs.

        Plus, you can determine the area to cover with your advertising and the demographics of the people you want to see your ad.  Besides calling homes or knocking on doors, (which we know you won’t do), Direct mail is the ONLY pro-active advertising vehicle around.

        Moreover, your direct mail will been seen.  The United Postal Service reports that 94% of Americans visit their mailbox DAILY!  I would call this a habit…and any form of advertising relative to a habit has a high probability to been seen.  In another study by The USPS, 60% of direct mail recipients were influenced to visit a promoted website on a direct mail piece.  They also tend to spend 28% more on average.

        The big “ah-ha” here?  You can use ultra-targeted direct mail to drive your perfect customer online.  You can add QR Codes with embedded tracking codes or include an exclusive coupon or promo code on the mailer.  Then simply use Google Analytics to track visitors and adjust your marketing based on the results.

        As mentioned earlier, using direct mail is even easier than ever.  You can literally, create a laser targeted mailing list, design a compelling postcard and mail it in only minutes.

        Check out, www.prospectsplus.com/pei or give us a call at 877-222-6010 and we’ll help you out.

         

          The most experienced marketers know that matching your marketing message to your specific audience is an often overlooked strategy that when implemented correctly can produce tremendous results.

          Let’s take a second and think about it at a very basic level…if you’re an insurance agent that specializes in auto policies to new drivers, you would want your mailing list to target parents with children in the household who have an upcoming 16th or 17th birthday (depending on the state law).  Then your postcard would need to be designed with images of concerned parents and teenagers and messaging that the parents can relate to.

          By now, you have probably heard the term “Big Data.”  The newest IBM commercials during spring golf tournaments seem to be making it a household name.  However, before big data started becoming popular, matching your message to your market was a strategy that was often more speculation than real science.

          Now I know what you’re thinking…I need IBM to help me do this? NO. (Sorry I scared you!)

          Here’s the good news.  With the advance of data research and the team at Nielson Media Group, PRIZM Data makes finding those customer segments a whole lot easier!  As leaders in the direct mail marketing space, we are excited to offer these laser targeted data segments to our insurance agents to help make their marketing easier – and more effective.

          So what is PRIZM Segmentation?  According to Nielson, “Segmentation links your customer data with household-level and neighborhood-level demographics, syndicated survey and primary research data to reveal exactly what types of consumers are currently using your products or services. Any customer files, lists or survey data with complete addresses or at least a ZIP Code can be coded with Nielsen’s segmentation systems. This allows you to identify your best prospect segments with the greatest efficiency for effective marketing strategies that align with marketplace demands.”

          Or check out this one minute video to get a sneak peek.

          Smart right?  So what does that mean to YOU as an Insurance Agent?  Marketing just got more interesting…(and more effective!)  For example, you can actually execute that new driver auto campaign with just a few clicks of a mouse vs months of research.

          Here’s another example, you may want to target folks like baby boomers or as Nielson categorizes them, “New Empty Nests” or “Beltway Boomers”, who might have an interest in downsizing their larger family homes now that the kids are grown. Starting to see how this can work for you as well?

          If you want to have some fun, it’s time put your “Mad Scientist of the Insurance World” hat on download the Prizm selects here.  From the basic – High income consumers, renters, baby boomers, etc. to the customized PRIZM selects – you can find the folks you most want to work with.

          For a great resource to help you use launch a laser targeted postcard campaign using postcard designs matched with Prizm segmented lists Click Here.

          Need help? Give our team a call at 888-222-6010

            Direct Mail Selling

            In this day and age of digital marketing, postcards still retain its relevance as being a highly effective marketing tool to attract the attention of potential customers. 

            In fact, according to the United States Postal Service, over 90% of households visit their mailbox daily!

            A common mistake we see all the time?  Explaining vs. Highlighting! 

            Postcards should be used to highlight the benefits provided by your particular product or service.  Don’t ever make the mistake of using them to explain the benefits of a product in great detail.

            So what’s the difference between “Highlighting” and “Explaining?”

            On the surface this appears to be an east question to answer.  Highlighting is simply calling attention to something, pointing something out or providing emphasis.  Explaining is making a product or service clear to someone by describing it in more detail or revealing relevant facts or ideas.

            However knowing how much of each to make your postcard effective is key to your success.  Here’s a general rule of thumb.  If your product or service is well known, such as pizza, then spend time highlighting the key differentiators of your pizza.  Mama’s unique recipe for unbelievable flavor, massive slices to fill you up or fresh farm-to-table ingredients so you know you’re getting great quality.

            Conversely, if your product or service is unknown or unique to your market, then more explanation will be required.  For example, if you offer a new technology, you will need to take a few sentences to explain what the technology will do for the customer.  Be careful you don’t spend too much time explaining the technology…people don’t care.  They want to know what’s in it for them. “WIIFM”…(more on that topic in another post.)

            Simple Rule to Live By

            Don’t try to close sales directly from your postcard.  There’s simply not enough space to provide all the information needed to do so.  I know this can be challenging.  We spend all day working in our business consequently our minds are programmed to think internally.  Use the postcard instead to make an immediate impact, grab the reader’s attention and then lead them to the next step that can close a sale; i.e., visiting your sales webpage, coming to a grand opening, or using a coupon.

            For a great resource to help you create the perfect responding postcard template – head over to http://www.prospectsplus.com/Page.asp?name=Best-Postcards 

            There you’ll a list of the 10 Critical Best Practices of Postcard Marketing.   Or if you get stuck and need help designing a highly responsive postcard, give our team a call at 877-222-6010.  We love this stuff!

              Every Door Direct Mail

              What Is Every Door Direct Mail?

              The United States Postal Service began a program called Every Door Direct Mail in 2011 designed to make it inexpensive for small business owners to perform saturation mailings.  EDDM allows you to promote events, offer coupons, announce sales and online promotions, send thanks, and build new customers in your target area at the lowest possible price.

              The EDDM Retail Option

              The USPS offers two different options for the EDDM program: EDDM Retail and EDDM BMEU. When using the retail option, a business can send a mail or postcard without the need to address each piece individually or obtaining a permit for the targeted area. Your business can use this program to select the carrier routes of your targeted market and generate the necessary paperwork for the mailing. Your business can send up to 5,000 pieces of mail per day, having filled out the required postal forms and labeling.

              The EDDM BMEU Option

              BMEU is the Business Mail Entry Unit. The BMEU option allows for larger businesses that already have a mailer’s permit for payment and tracking. With this option, businesses are not limited to sending 5,000 pieces a day, and BMEU is also able to offer greater flexibility regarding the type of qualifying mail pieces. For postcard marketing the most important reason for choosing EDDM BMEU is the higher volumes one can send daily.

              The Benefits of EDDM

              Aside from the tremendous benefit of not requiring an address list or incurring the additional costs of addressing each mail piece, you’ll realize great savings on postage costs with EDDM, since EDDM averages just $0.175 per piece. Your mail piece will be delivered by the letter carrier with the day’s mail on whichever carrier route(s) you select. Your business can benefit from targeting every address easily, reducing production costs, and simplifying the process of mailing.

              How Do I Know if EDDM Is the Right Choice?

              EDDM works best for businesses that need to target a specific area rather than a specific demographic. For example, if you own a donut shop in a particular area and you want to get coupons or a grand opening message out to the surrounding area, EDDM saturation mailings may be your best approach. However, if you’re a business that wants to target retirees who are interested in traveling, EDDM may not be the best use of your business’s investment because you need to invest in targeting a very specific audience. When EDDM is the right choice for your business, you’ll appreciate the significant savings and convenience this program offers.

              Who Uses Every Door Direct Mail?

              Consider EDDM for inviting customers to a grand opening, sending out coupons, announcing special events, highlighting your business hours and services you offer, or simply thanking customers for their ongoing business. EDDM has proven to be a good fit for a variety of businesses, including restaurants, auto dealers, health care professionals, home improvement companies, pharmacies, clothing stores, coffee shops and flower shops. It’s certainly worth considering for your next postcard marketing campaign.

              To find out if your business is a candidate for Every Door Direct Mail, contact us today at 877-222-6010.  We’ll be happy to spend a few minutes helping you make the right call.  Or to learn more about EDDM and even explore mailing routes on a map CLICK HERE.

                Direct Marketing Images

                The correct use of images in your marketing is just as important as the text – sometimes even more important.

                You’ll find that strong visuals have a powerful impact on drawing people into taking action. 

                So how do you know if you’re choosing the right image?  There are four main things to think about when choosing an image for a postcard marketing campaign:

                1. Match your image to your target market.
                2. Your images should support an effective call-to-action.
                3. Tailor your images to drive conversation.
                4. Test the effectiveness of your images.

                All four of these tasks are related. Let’s go ahead and jump into the first topic.

                1.) Match Your Image to Your Market

                Relevance generates response.  Meaning, the more your target customer can relate to the image on the postcard, the higher the attraction will be.  If you sell motorcycle parts for touring bikes, perhaps an image of a baby boomer with a satisfied look on their face as they ride the open road.  Make sure your customer “sees” themselves using your product or service.

                2.) Images Should Support an Effective Call-to-Action.

                What your postcard readers see can elicit a response which determines what they’ll do next, whether it’s going forward with a call-to-action or throwing your postcard in the trash bin.

                Your image needs to create or stir some emotion in the person it is being seen by. People are usually enticed to purchase things based on an emotional response, not reason.

                Think about it; if you got a postcard in the mail today asking you to donate to an animal abuse charity, and on that postcard it had a picture of a happy dog jumping in the air and catching a ball, what emotional response might you have? At best, feelings are mixed – your image is not supporting the action you want the reader to take. Now, if you got a postcard with a sad looking dog tied to a chain you’re going to have a different response from the postcard outlined seen above. This visual will pull you in more because the visual is more dramatic and fits with the overall message.

                3.) Tailor Your Images to Drive Conversation.

                A good rule of thumb is to look for images that will get people talking. Not only do these images tend to be the best options for creating an emotional response, they can often help cement your message in the reader’s mind as they ponder it internally or discuss it with others. A great marketing campaign can elicit such a wide conversation that people are talking about your company and its marketing to their friends, family and online, quadrupling the reach of your postcard marketing. Use images that will be a conversation starter and you can’t lose.

                4.) Test the Effectiveness of Your Images.

                You will want to see if your images are getting the response you would like. You may want to divide your tests into groups so you can have more control over it as a whole. Run a couple of small split campaigns and see how they do in each area. Each time, modify and perfect your marketing message.

                Follow these four tips when you’re choosing images and you’ll see a marked increase in your postcard marketing results. 

                Need help?  www.prospectsplus.com offers multiple design options.  Design your own, customize “Done-for-you” templates or have a custom postcard created specifically for your business.  Call, click or chat today to speak with one of our target marketing experts.

                  Direct Marketing Data

                  Demographics and Psychographics in Marketing

                  Marketing is a lot of Subjective “Guess Work”.  We get it…  

                  Sometimes you even pay to figure out what doesn’t work.  It can be very frustrating.

                  But technology and “Big Data” (There’s that word again) can remove a ton of that frustration.

                  It’s no secret that matching your marketing message to your marketing segment is a classic one-two punch strategy that works.  It’s the best way to find the hand-raisers and referrals you are looking for.

                  Before big data entered the arena however, that was a strategy that was often more guess-work than real science. Fortunately, with the advance of data research and the folks over at Nielson, PRIZM Data makes finding those segments of the consumer population a whole lot easier!

                  As a general rule of thumb, the term ‘demographic’ refers to an individual or group’s physical traits: location, ethnicity, gender, age, etc. The term ‘psychographic’ will generally refer to the same individual or group’s mode of thinking.

                  So, something like how they spend their money, what they like and dislike, and how they “tick.”

                  As customer needs become more specific and complex, you will need start using both target demographics AND a target psychographic in your marketing plan.

                  Increasing Direct Mail Response Rates with Demographics and Psychographics

                  The use of demographics and psychographics can play an important part in targeted postcard marketing when fine-tuning the audience for your postcards.

                  Assume you are trying to market a new men’s gym. With the correct demographic data you can specifically target local households that have male residents between the age of 18 and 60. With the right psychographics data, you can zoom in on those residents who have been shown to have an interest in health, fitness or self-improvement, or are more likely to be interested in them. Targeting just these households will see your marketing costs go right down, and your response rates shoot right up.

                  Mixing Demographics and Psychographics

                  Although demographic and psychographics are two different marketing data collection methodologies, they do share some similarities. For example, one can infer through cultural stereotypes that men are not interested in the “best birth control pill for your body” as men do not generally take hormonal birth control.

                  What one is doing here is taking largely demographic data and converting it to psychographic data by simply having a basic understanding of general human rules and cultural stereotypes. This understanding, although not always necessarily the most politically correct to publish, can have a tremendous impact on a small business’ profit margin if performed correctly and the data is accurate.

                  Some large companies have whole departments dedicated to finding both psychographic and demographic data and use this to their advantage. The fact is, with this information the opportunities for targeted growth are almost endless.

                  With today’s technology, you can leveraging both target demographics and psychographics, with one simple click of a mouse.

                  Head over to www.mapmymail.com and take a look through all the data segments we have available.

                  From the basic – High income consumers, baby boomers, etc. to the customized PRIZM selects – you can find the folks you most want to work with.

                  You can also head over to see a comprehensive, detailed listing of PRIZM code data segments here.

                  For a great resource to help you use all the tools at your fingertips, visit the Resources page on www.prospectsplus.com

                  There you’ll see how to easily match the free reports that are available with the postcards that work for the demographics you like!  Need help? Give our team a call at 877-222-6010

                    In planning your ad campaign for your business, you have probably wondered what kinds of offline advertisements are most effective.

                    What is your best choice in an accountable and measurable transaction that is data rich and can provide your business with the best return on investment (ROI) for your advertising dollar?

                    You’ll need a method that appeals to your potential customers and results in a list of solid leads and/or action on your best offers. For these purposes, direct mail marketing with postcards is still one of the best tactics.

                    The Numbers behind Postcard Marketing

                    In 2012, the Direct Marketing Association released the results of a limited survey they had performed. In this study, postcards were mailed to people listed in a current customer file.

                    This list consisted of customers who had opted into the company’s mailing list and of customers with whom the company had done business. The response rate on this mailing was 2.47%. This is eight times the industry average!  A similar mailing was done targeting prospective customers. These were customers whose names had been acquired through a lead supplier. Response rate from this list was 1.12%.

                    Let’s try comparing these results with data gathered by the United States Postal Service (USPS).

                    In their 2012 Household Study report, the USPS surveyed a broad public audience regarding response rates for various types of mailings. They found that the greatest percentage of people (23.4%) across the board indicated that they would respond to a postcard advertisement or request for donation.

                    That’s almost a quarter of US households!

                    The only other type of mailing to come anywhere close to this high percentage response rate was over-sized envelopes. Even so, only 16.6% of those surveyed said that they would respond to advertisements or requests for donations that they had received in larger than letter-size envelopes. This survey was conducted across all demographics in the US.

                    What Is So Appealing About Postcards?

                    Customers like the fact that it is easy to see what the message is about. Additionally, they appreciate the thriftiness of the format. It is not wasteful of resources, and it does not waste their time. Messages are usually concise, brief and easy to understand. Those surveyed also said they like the fact that it was easy to keep the postcard as a reminder of the offer in case they wanted to think about it and respond later.

                    Business owners’ reasons for preferring postcard marketing are similar to those of postcard recipients. Postcards are low-cost and provide an impressive return on investment when compared to all other means of offline direct marketing.

                     

                      Direct Marketing News
                      There is an important correlation between the success of direct mail marketing and the type of marketing strategy chosen.

                      Direct mail marketing through brochures, newsletters, postcards, catalogs sales letters and flyers has been proven to be the most effective and the most profitable means of marketing.

                      Using direct mail marketing is a popular choice for those wanting to reach a large amount of customers for the least amount of money, but it takes a solid strategy to really reap all the rewards.

                      There are four major components of a successful marketing campaign that play an important part in creating the perfect marketing strategy. Choosing the right target market, promoting the right message, presenting the right offer and creating the right campaign all are critical when using direct mail marketing.

                      Identify the Target Market

                      Perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing to use direct mail marketing is the target market. Although direct marketing is considered a wise choice when it comes to making marketing dollars stretch, it’s very important to start with identifying the target market. Consider this, if a popular, hip rock star was to send out thousands of flyers promoting the concert to a religious group of older women, it’s almost guaranteed that there would not be a good turnout simply because the wrong target market was chosen. If the direct marketing is to be successful, the correct target market must be identified.

                      Promote a Consistent Message

                      Promoting the right message and choosing the correct design are also critical parts of creating a successful marketing strategy. Promoting the right message goes hand-in-hand with identifying the target market. Not promoting the correct message and design could have a negative effect on the success of direct mail marketing, especially if consumers are not clear about what the marketing message is. It’s safe to say that if it’s hard to decipher what exactly is being promoted, people tend to lose interest and the direct mail marketing can become useless.

                      Think about the need that your product fulfills and the problem that it solves for the customer.

                      Present the Right Offer

                      When creating a successful marketing strategy, it’s important to know what offers to present to the consumer, as well as how to present the offer. Timing is very important when it comes to choosing the right offer. For instance, a zoo might decide to offer discounts during off-seasons in order to boost sales. In this case, consumers who normally wouldn’t choose to visit the zoo in the middle of the winter might be tempted to go if there were some incentives to go during off-peak season.

                      Run the Right Campaign

                      When creating a successful market strategy, a lot of emphasis must be placed on creating the right marketing campaign. How long the campaign is expected to last is critical when creating the perfect strategy. In the case of the zoo, it may be wise to present certain offers during the off-peak season and not the peak season.

                      How often the campaign or strategy is used is also very important. When creating a successful marketing strategy, it’s important to keep the campaign fresh and to change up the strategy in order to avoid having a boring campaign.

                      Setting concrete expiration times is also an important part of building a successful marketing strategy. Setting expiration times for campaigns and promotions also helps to create a sense of urgency. All of these components play an important role when it comes to creating a successful marketing strategy.