Category Archives: knowledge center

3 Reasons to Care About Customer Loyalty

When it comes to boosting revenues, many companies focus on acquiring new customers. In fact, according to Econsultancy’s “Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2014,” 44% of marketers are placing a greater focus on customer acquisition than customer retention. Only 18% are focusing more on customer retention. However, focusing on acquisition to the exclusion of customer retention may not be the best strategy. Here’s why:

  1. The 80-20 rule applies in marketing, too. Research shows that 80% of a company’s revenues come from 20% of its customers. These 20% love your brand and find value in a relationship with your company. Identifying and courting those customers can be enormously profitable.
  2. The chances of making a sale to a new customer ranges from 5–20%, according to Marketing Metrics. By contrast, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer jumps to 60–70%. Your existing customers can be your most lucrative. You want to keep them.
  3. According to Peppers & Rogers, it can cost up to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. For this reason, it can take up to one full year before a new customer becomes profitable. Once you’ve acquired those new customers, you need to keep them.

On board with customer retention? Let us help you identify your most profitable customers and craft a great customer retention campaign!

Get Ready for the New USPS Promotions in 2016

Get ready for great USPS promotions in 2016! Just like in 2015, the USPS will offer a 2% discount on qualifying promotions that use interactive technologies that make your mail pieces more effective and cost-efficient, too.

The new promotional categories for 2016 are as follows:

Emerging and Advanced Technology/Video in Print Promotion (March – August 2016): As in 2015, the promotion encourages mailers to incorporate mobile and other print technologies into their mail pieces. In 2016, this includes Near Field Communications (NFC) and Video in Print, as well. The 2016 promotion also adds an A/B Testing option. To receive the 2% discount, mailers must use A/B testing protocols and provide results to the Postal Service, which will share data with other marketers. Shared data will not identify participating mailers.

Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Mail Piece Engagement Promotion (March – August 2016): This promotion is new to the USPS and will offer a 2% discount to mailers who incorporate advanced print innovations in paper and substrates, finishing techniques, and inks.

Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion: This is an extension of the 2015 promotion that encourages mailers to keep Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) envelopes and cards in their outgoing mail pieces. Qualifying mailers will receive a two-cent postage credit for each BRM and CRM piece returned during the promotion period. Mailers who participated in the 2015 Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion and either meet or increase their volume of qualifying BRM/CRM pieces will receive an additional one-cent (three cents total) for each returned BRM and CRM piece.

Mobile Shopping Promotion (July – December 2016): As in 2015, this promotion will encourage mailers to integrate mobile technology into their direct mail. The 2016 promotion will include a new social media component under which consumers will be able to connect with “Buy Now” features available on most major social media platforms.

Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion (July – December 2016): This is a continuation of the 2015 promotion that encourages mails of bills and statements that use color messaging to either address the recipient by name or use information relevant and specific to the recipient. The promotion applies only to bills and statements.

There has never been a better time to use postal mail. Give us a call — let’s get mailing!

Better Branding in Print

Print marketing does more than communicate a message about your products and services. It communicates about your brand. The elements of your printed pieces send a strong message whether you realize it or not. Here are five tips for communicating the right brand messages:

Have a consistent brand message across channels. From piece to piece and across channels (print, email, in-store displays), make sure your brand is consistent. Use the same color palettes, the same (or similar) imagery, and a tightly controlled logo. Create a similar look and feel, even if the design isn’t identical. All communications from your company should send an identifiable brand message.

Tell a story. Print is a great storyteller. Say you are selling fried chicken and wings. Instead of promoting “Wings 25% off this Friday only!” why not try something different? “It’s kick-off time and what’s for dinner? Not pizza AGAIN! Spice it up with our hot wings instead!”

Identify and target thought leaders. There are people out there talking about your brand. Find them and target them with brand-building messages. This builds word of mouth, which (when positive) is the most valuable marketing you can get. In the world of consumer marketing, these people are often called “instigators.” Find out who they are and create targeted messaging just for them.

Use testimonials. Whether it’s in print, online, or social media, people believe testimonials over traditional messaging. Begin collecting testimonials and add snippets to your postcards, direct mail letters, in-store signage, and other print marketing materials.

Don’t skimp on quality. Sure, you could print out those brochures on your in-house inkjet printer, but quality is part of your brand message. Having professionally produced print materials is a sign of a trustworthy business. Printing on the cheap sends the wrong message.

Every print document you send or display sends a brand message. Make sure you’re sending the right ones.

We Make 1:1 Printing Easy

It used to be that, in order to create powerful 1:1 print campaigns, you had to be both a marketing wizard and a database master. No more. Today, the software does much of the work for you. The secret is in the Web portal where your content, your templates, and your data are maintained in a centralized location with easy-to-use interfaces.

The process starts by brainstorming a marketing project and working with us to set up the rules, develop layouts, and pre-approve content, such as text blocks, images, and databases. Then you (or anyone you choose to give access to) can log in, make selections about what is to be included in the marketing piece, and click “OK.”

If the user wants to customize the piece (change colors, headlines, or other elements), this can be done within pre-set limits that you determine. Personalization can often be applied by using drop-down menus that, with a little training, anyone in your staff can use.

Once the project is complete, the user checks out as they would at any other online store.

Making 1:1 marketing easier is that the person ordering the marketing materials doesn’t have to be the one designing it. A designer creates the piece, we upload it and set the parameters for personalization, and using templates and rules, the user can select and customize the piece and place the order. Often, all they have to do is fill out basic information and use the drop-down menus provided. Elements are flowed in, the rules applied, and the piece produced and shipped to the right location automatically.

This workflow requires a time investment to set up, but we’ll be there to help you.

What’s important to understand is that the barriers to entry are lowering for 1:1 print marketing. Software has come a long way, and it’s making personalization easier and more accessible than ever.

 

Personalization Is Easier Than You Think

Whether it’s in print, email, or online, customers expect a personalized marketing experience. According to InfoTrends, 60% of Boomers and beyond (ages 55+) want a personalized experience. Among Millennials (ages 13-34) and Gen-Xers (ages 35-54), this rises to 67%.

But while “personalization” can carry the connotation of complex and expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Even with a basic customer list, a few simple steps can help you deliver a more relevant, targeted experience.

  1. Use their name creatively.

Don’t just use the customer’s name in the opening text. Use it creatively in images or sprinkle it in unexpected places throughout the document. Add the couple’s name to the place card on the table. Emblazon it across the mailbox in front of an image of a home for sale. Integrate it into the design in unexpected, eye-catching ways.

  1. Target by a single, simple variable.

Will it help to target the mailing by gender? How about by ZIP code? Would it help to add a map? (This works great for new businesses or new branches or locations.) This is data you already have. Use it!

  1. Append the database.

Still think you don’t have any variables you can use? Do what’s called a database “append” in which you purchase simple variables like home ownership or household income for the names you already have. Appends are not expensive and can boost your marketing effectiveness exponentially.

Talk to us about how you can put your existing data to use to create a more personal relationship with your customers. You probably already have more information than you think!

More Reasons to Love Color

We all know the value of color images in your marketing mix, but what about the messaging? Study after study shows that when messages are in color, they have a powerful impact on your bottom line. Among the benefits:

  • Helping readers find information more easily (great for insurance policies, contracts, and other lengthy documents)
  • Reducing errors (highlight instructions or account information so people get it right the first time)
  • Slashing payment time (highlight the amount owed and the due date and watch your invoices get paid faster)
  • Increasing the ability of readers to understand and retain information (great for sales presentations)
  • Increased recall of the marketing message (great for everything)

Next time you want to draw your readers’ attention to a specific area of text, consider using color. Make phone numbers or payment information stand out. Highlight discounts in brightly colored starbursts. Use arrows or colored bullets to focus attention on key points in brochures.

Take the example of the State of California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). The FTB used to send out plain tax notices, but the documents were confusing and the FTB consistently experienced slow payments and high volumes to its call centers. So it added highlight color and personalized messaging. Key information was displayed in blue, guiding taxpayers through the document and providing specific instructions. The result? Faster payments and fewer mistakes. This translated into millions in additional interest income and, at an average cost of $15 per call to the call center, significant savings from reduced call volume.

Color matters—not just in your graphics, but in your messaging. Let us help you use color to make you money and save you money, too!

Snatch Customers Before Your Competitors Do!

Investing in direct mail for customer acquisition? Your competitors are! As their efforts become more proactive and strategic, how do you plan to attract those same customers before your competitors do? Here are three proven strategies for grabbing attention in the mailbox.

  1. Use dimensional mail.

In a stack of envelopes, a padded envelope, a package, or some other three-dimensional mailer gets attention. Usually, these are opened first. While dimensional mailers cost more than flat mailers, they get response rates that can make your mouth water. According to the Direct Marketing Association, dimensional mailers receive response rates 200% – 300% higher than flat mailers. So when your marketing ideas take shape, make it a literal shape!

  1. Try out unusual finishes, folds, and bindings.

Tangible elements are what make the print channel stand out. Consider using some of the many spot coatings, textured coatings, die cuts, pop-outs, and foldouts that your customers don’t see every day. If you have been meaning to investigate fresh new options and still haven’t had an excuse to do it, now you do.

  1. Try new mailing formats.

Not all mailing formats are created equal. There are many different formats available: postcards, folded mailers, mailers placed into envelopes, envelopes that are personalized, envelopes that are not personalized, window envelopes, and more. Envelopes and mailers can be different sizes, thicknesses, and colors. Experiment with colored substrates, clear envelopes, and on-envelope personalization.

It’s time to get noticed! If you need some ideas or want to test new formats, substrates, and finishing options, just ask.

 

What Do Your Mailings Say About You?

Remember the old phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? That’s true in marketing, too. What do your marketing campaigns say about you?

Let’s look at two different approaches.

Dear homeowner,

We’re having a big sale! Come into our showroom this weekend and check out our wide variety of merchandise. You’re sure to find something you can’t resist! Take advantage of big discounts all day!

In the eyes of the recipient, what does this say about the company sending it? It tells her that the company wants to cast a wide net. It just wants to get people in the door as inexpensively as possible.

Now let’s look at another approach.

Dear Michael,

Thanks for being one of our best customers. We’re thrilled that you’ve chosen us for your golfing needs. On Thursday, we’re having an exclusive sale on sporting equipment for our top customers only. Bring in this coupon and get a 25% discount.

What underlying marketing message does this send? It tells the customer that the retailer is interested in him individually and values his long-term customer loyalty. It tells him that the company values his business enough to make an investment in him, by understanding his preferences and needs (through collected data), and by sending him a high-quality communication.

When you send out marketing communications, you are really sending two messages: your written marketing message and a subtle, unspoken message about the recipient’s value to you. Are you sending the right messages?

Want More Sales? Drip It!

What is drip marketing? It is a powerful form of marketing in which marketers gradually “drip” content out to customers and prospects over time. Drip marketing includes a wide variety of channels, including direct mail, email, newsletters, and social media. It can be used for brand building, product introduction, cross-sells, and a variety of other marketing goals.

Let’s look at how one marketer used drip marketing with direct mail to get 1400% ROI.

Phase #1: Step one was sending an eye-catching, high-gloss trifold mailer that grabbed instant attention inside the mailbox. Once the mailer was opened, recipients were greeted with name personalization, relevant text, and a personalized URL that allowed them to enter an email address and download a free, high-value white paper. They were also encouraged to fill out an optional survey to provide the marketer with more insight into their individual needs.

Phase #2: Step two was a follow-up mailing to nonresponders. This mailing built on the name recognition built by the first mailing, but it was tweaked to differentiate the two. The piece also included a personalized URL.

After the second mailing, the marketer was swamped with responses — so much so that the third mailing was delayed for several weeks so that the response team could keep up.

Phase #3: The third mailing went to people who had not responded to the first two mailings. The marketer used an invitation-style A7 envelope with full-color brochure insert, personalized note, and personalized URL. To sweeten the pot, respondents were offered the chance to win a sporting package or high-end coffee brewing system.

The results? The company exceeded its sales goals by 400% and achieved more than 1400% ROI!

What made this program such a success? The marketer understood that sometimes it takes more than one contact to build name recognition and trust. In a drip campaign, each piece builds upon the next, and in the end, you gain results not possible with a single marketing touch.

Want to tap into the power of drip marketing? Give us call!

Data Mining: Not as Hard as You Think

Data mining. The very phrase strikes fear into the hearts of many marketers. The ability to connect the dots to reveal buying habits and other customer behaviors is often seen as complex, expensive, and within the purvey of only the largest companies. But basic data mining is well within the grasp of any sized marketer.

The first step is to understand the field headings in your database. What data are you capturing? Most databases have basic information, such as name, address and purchase history. Are you also capturing information such as age, gender and home ownership? If so, this tells you the types of queries you can run.

Running queries simply means asking questions of the data. If you are a retailer, you might ask, “Which customers purchased hardwood flooring last month?” If you know that these customers are also likely to purchase area rugs and hardwood conditioning products, this gives you a great start.

Run a variety of sorts. Is there a relationship between hardwood flooring and gender? How about income? You might find that data you once thought irrelevant, such as the date of purchase, has more relevance than you think.

Even basic software, such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access, provides data mining capabilities that allow you to run sorts yourself. You can also purchase add-on data mining modules or third-party software. There are plenty of outsource providers that specialize in this process, too. Many will use the moniker “business intelligence” or ETL (extract, transform, load) companies. Costs can be very reasonable.

So get curious. Take a few hours to run a variety of sorts just to see what you can find. That curiosity could make a big difference to the bottom line.

Need help? Just ask!