Why Paperless Is Not a Smart Move

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All around us, we hear about the benefits of going paperless. When it comes to marketing, that may not be the best move. In a world of social media saturation and clogged inboxes, direct mail has more power than ever. In fact, a recent Brand Science Study showed a 62% lift for digital campaigns that include direct mail. Even 100% digital companies like Google and Uber are using direct mail to advertise their businesses.

 

Now is not the time to give up print. But savvy marketers are making their print contacts even more powerful.  Let’s take a look at a few ideas.

 

1. Focus on recent customers. These customers already like your products and have a relationship with your brand.  To get them to purchase again, you may just need to send a simple reminder, such as a postcard or sell sheet, to nudge them into action. If you’re looking to stretch your marketing dollars, focus on recent customers first.

 

2. Know your top customers. Pay particular attention to retaining customers with the highest profit margin. These may be customers who shop with you most frequently or who purchase the highest volume. If you are prospecting, develop a profile of these customers and target new customers just like them. If you don’t know who your top customers are, a proactive investment in data analysis can reap big returns.

 

3. Be relevant. Do you know where your customers’ pain points are? Do you know what keeps them up at night? Don’t assume that all buyer motivations are the same. Get to know your customers and engage in sincere dialogue about what they want and why. This will pay off in more relevant communications and better results.

 

Print marketing is evolving. Success is no longer based on trying to get a static “same to all” message in front of as many people as possible. It’s about marketing smart and marketing relevant and using the tangible, confidence-building channel of print to its maximum advantage.

Make Your Direct Mail Stand Out

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Every day, postcards, flyers, and other direct pieces and other printed material bombard us. How do you ensure that yours stands out in the crowd? Here are four highly effective methods for designing printed material.

1. Grab Their Eyes: People can’t read your message if they don’t see it. The first thing you must do is grab their attention. There are two complimentary techniques for doing this:

  • Pick the perfect images. People are hard-wired to respond to images. Bright, vibrant, compelling imagery will hook your audience every time.
  • Tweak the design to appeal to your specific audience. For example, if the audience is young and hip, give them a more edgy typeface that angles off the page. If they are more upscale and sophisticated, let white space and elegance be your guide.

2. Change the Shape: Interesting shapes stand out and make people want to touch your design. Shape the piece to convey your message or intrigue your audience. Shapes that follow the contours of an image or that contain different angles make your piece more appealing.

3. Add Texture: Choose paper that includes a texture, add an emboss or deboss to your design, or try a contrasting spot varnish. If the piece is on glossy paper, use a matte finish or vice versa. These tricks add both texture and visual appeal.

4. Fold It: An innovative panel or a fold that goes in the “wrong” direction adds mystery and interest to your piece. Try adding slotted folding panels or multiple folds to increase the uniqueness of your design.

Ask Us

We have other ideas and examples to show you, and we can help you build your file to accommodate these tricks easily. Intrigued? Give us a call!

Don’t Skimp on Print (Here’s Why)

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Tempted to shift marketing dollars to electronic media because it is less expensive? Think before you switch. While electronic media, including email, can be an important part of the mix, print remains the bedrock of an effective long-term campaign. Let’s look at five reasons you can’t afford to skimp on print.

 

1. Cut through the clutter. With less postal mail in the mailbox, your printed pieces get noticed right away. Let the competition fight it out in the inbox. You have prospect’s attention the moment they open the mailbox door.     

 

2. Add instant credibility. During a time when any company can create professional-looking email, print tells the reader that you are the real deal. If you put it in print, consumers trust that you’re going to stand by your word.       

 

3. Stay connected. More and more, people are tiring of 24/7 electronic connectivity. Make sure the prospect has your information at his fingertips when he unplugs from digital devices. Print never runs out of power.

 

4. Print makes sense. Print appeals to all five senses. It appeals to the eye, with rich colors and textures beyond what we can get on screen. As we reach out to experience the texture of special papers and finishes, it appeals to the touch. It appeals to our sense of smell, which is handled by the same part of the brain that handles memory and emotion. It appeals to our sense of hearing too, as the pages crinkle and slide. There is no better way to get prospects to taste your product than by mailing a sample.

 

5. You can’t hide from print. The same developers who introduced the electronic platforms are developing technologies to empower consumers to avoid them. Think TiVo and spam filters. The mail carrier, on the other hand, always delivers your mail.

 

Print versus e-marketing isn’t an either/or choice. Increasingly, marketers are using both together for a one-two punch. But some information just needs the pace and benefits of print, and it has never been easier or less expensive to get high-quality printed materials in the hands of your target audience. 

 

Call us, we can help!

Thinking Direct Mail? Think Timing

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When we think about the benefits of direct mail, we think of tangibility, message retention, and breaking through the clutter. But when GrayHair Software thinks about direct mail, it thinks about timing.

In a recent e-book, GrayHair, which provides software for postal tracking and multichannel marketing services, described multiple benefits of direct mail in a multichannel marketing strategy based on the timing benefits direct mail provides. Let’s look at three of them.    

1) Gain control and greater visibility.

Direct mail tracking allows you to determine the precise time that your mailer arrives at the target destination. This can provide you with critical insights.

Let’s say you mail out a postcard intended to drive traffic for your weekend sale. Most of the customers arrive on Saturday, which is day two of the sale. Did they arrive on Saturday because the extra hot weather on Friday kept them away from the stores or because your mailer simply did not arrive on time? Mail tracking helps you figure it out.  

2) Boost response with timed email delivery.

If you know what date the direct mail offer hits, you can time an email follow-up for the next day or the following day to reinforce the message and spur recipients to action.

3) Determine the best channel for delivery.

Using A/B testing across both print and digital channels, you can test the effectiveness of marketing channels the same way you test offers, messaging, and other marketing components. Don’t assume you know which channel your customers will best respond to. Test it!

With mail tracking, you can think about direct mail in a whole new — and testable — way. Want to see how postal tracking and tighter channel integration can benefit your marketing campaigns? Let us help!

Want to Personalize? Don’t Do This….

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When marketers talk about producing “personalized printing” or 1:1 printing, they are talking about printing that communicates with a customer in a way that static direct mail cannot. By definition, this approach is based on knowing something about each customer, even if it’s just name and address.

When done correctly, however, 1:1 printing is more than just “personalizing” a document. After all, you can personalize something well or you can personalize it badly.

There is an industry pundit who is fond of telling the story of receiving a personalized marketing pitch from a hotel in Las Vegas. The mailer was fully personalized based on the details of his recent visit. In personalizing the piece, however, the hotel assumed that the man stayed in the hotel alone because he was single. In fact, he was married, and his stay there had been tied to an industry event. When the mailer arrived, it featured a scantily clad woman on the front of the card, paired with a salacious invitation. Unfortunately for the marketer, the pundit’s wife collected the mail that day. Needless to say, the invitation never made it inside the house.

Personalization alone doesn’t create relationships or sell products. Relationships are developed by knowing your customers and sending relevant communications that pair your products with the needs of your customers in an appropriate and beneficial way.

Something as simple as a quick list append to identify marital status would have saved this hotel’s mailing. There are other pieces of demographic information that can help improve, not just the “personal” nature of a mailing, but its relevance, as well. What additional pieces of data might help improve your next personalized mailing?

Now’s the ideal time to ramp up for Fall Sales

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The Summertime Marketing Opportunity

Have you ever noticed that your mailbox gets emptier in the summer? That retail POP displays don’t turn as frequently? As the weather heats up, marketing typically slows down. The good news is, as your competitors take a break from marketing, this opens a window of opportunity for you.

Late summer is an excellent time to nurture leads and fine-tune your marketing strategies in preparation for the Fall. With less in the mailbox, you get bigger bang for your buck, especially when your competitors are asleep on the job.

Here are three ideas for maximizing your impact:

1. Dive into the world of QR Codes. Consider using QR Codes on your marketing materials, either inside or on the outside of the envelope. If you’ve been mulling the opportunities offered by print-to-mobile strategies, now is the time to put them into action.

2. Crank up the volume. Do you need to update your mailing list? Been thinking about launching a customer newsletter or creating new in-store displays? Summer is a great time to invest in creative print marketing because the results will really stand out. Can you imagine your target audiences going to their mailboxes and finding nothing but a direct mail piece from you?

3. Invest in a redesign. Is your stationery looking a little outdated? Is your marketing collateral a little stale? Use this time to freshen up your image and bust out with something new!

Take advantage of the summer window to nurture leads, stand out in the mailbox, and make a major impact in your “mindshare of customer.” See where the possibilities take you!

Print versus Digital – the debate continues….

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Print Bests Digital for Driving Purchases

Want proof that print drives sales? Just ask the researchers at Temple University, who found that print has more impact than digital when it comes to increasing reader engagement, recall, and ultimately, purchases.

The study was sponsored by the Postal Service Inspector General’s office (OIG) in conjunction with Temple’s Center for Neural Decision Making. The study found that print ads are more effective than online ads in five of nine categories and equal in two of them.

Researchers found that, while digital ads grab attention more quickly, readers lose interest in them more quickly, too. Print holds attention longer, which translates into greater emotional response and absorption of the message. This, in turns, leads to more sales.

The categories in which print bests digital?

  • Review time  (amount of time a reader spends with an ad)
  • Stimulation (emotional reaction to an ad)
  • Memory speed and confidence (how quickly and confidently a reader remembers the advertising source and content)
  • Desirability (subconscious desire for the product or service)
  • Valuation (the subconscious value a reader places on the product or service)

If you’ve been tempted to buy into the hype that digital ads are superior to traditional print marketing, think again. Try adding targeting and segmentation for an even more effective combination.

And Wheeler’s can help you…..

The lowly envelope.

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Tricks for Increasing Your Envelope Open Rate

Even the best written sales letter will be ineffective if it’s never read. This is why the envelope can be the key determining whether your direct mail gets opened or tossed. Here are some ideas for making your envelopes more enticing:

Oversize it. Anything outside of the standard #10 envelope will set your piece apart. Make sure the envelope is at least ¼” larger than your largest insert.

Stay clear of window envelopes. This makes your mailer look like a bill or bulk mail.

Get creative with envelope stock. Smooth, heavier stocks show off your color designs, while textured stocks, such as linen or laid, offer a high-end feel.  Explore the myriad of options available, such as vellum, glassine, and polybag-type envelopes.  

Use on-envelope messaging. Consider placing dynamic messaging on the front, back, and even inside of the envelope. Your copy should provoke curiosity, but not give everything away.

Change it up. While it’s important to keep the design consistent with your other printed materials, using the same envelope design for multiple mailings may work against you. Even a friendly prospect might assume he’s already heard the message inside.

Personalize it. Adding unique messaging for each recipient increases response rates, whether it’s through variable-data messaging, using a legible script font, or actual handwriting.

Use a real stamp. Postage stamps add another personal touch but may not be practical for larger mailings.

Use timing to your advantage. Envelopes have the best chance of getting opened if they are delivered on Tuesday, the lightest postal delivery day, or Wednesday, the second lightest day. Stay away from Mondays, the heaviest delivery day.

Don’t over-mail. Six weeks is a good interval between mailings. You want to stay fresh in your prospect’s mind without becoming a nuisance.

The abundance of creative options makes envelopes a versatile and highly effective vehicle for presenting your message. Get creative, personalize the experience, and change things up once in awhile!

5 Design Tips to Make You Stand Out

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Your customers are buried under an avalanche of conventional and uninteresting print materials every day. How can you elevate your marketing collateral, direct mail, and displays with simple design changes, no matter what your budget? By creating a unique visual identity.

Being unique doesn’t mean throwing out the basic tenets of marketing and design. But with a little creativity, you can incorporate out-of-the-box typography, an unexpected use of color, or a dash of purposeful discontinuity that will build an engaging and memorable experience.

Here are some tips for creating a lasting impression:

  • Communicate with clarity, humility and brevity. Try some light humor, if appropriate.
  • Use typography as a design element. Experiment with different fonts and selective kerning to convey a specific image and tone, from classic to playful to edgy.
  • Pick unique imagery.
  • While stock imagery is readily available and affordable, stock images can make your marketing look like everyone else’s. Custom photography is worth the investment.
  • Use placement and color of images as part of the design. An image that is tightly cropped or bleeds off the page in an unexpected way will capture the reader’s interest. Try black-and-white, selectively colored, or sepia-toned photos for something a little different.
  • Select papers and finishes to further set your piece apart, taking into consideration textures, coatings, varnishes and unusual shapes and sizes.

Be creative, but don’t skip on the basics, such as including all special fonts in the files you send to us. Skipping this step can lead to printing delays. Also, in your enthusiasm to be different, avoid using techniques that make copy difficult to read, such as over-hyphenating, using too many windows, and filling every space with text.

Need help with color or design suggestions? Just ask. That’s why we’re here.

Do People Learn Better in Print?

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The debate has been raging for a long time — which is more effective? Print or email? If you want people to understand and retain information, studies consistently show that it’s print.

“Print and Paper Play a Key Role in Learning and Literacy,” an e-book produced by Two Sides (2015), compiles data from a wide range of studies showing what makes print so different. While many of these studies cover students from elementary through college, they have a direct correlation to consumers reading advertising and marketing information.

What makes print so valuable for information retention and learning? According to the studies, print readers . . .  

  • Experience less mental fatigue.
  • Report significantly lower levels of eye fatigue.
  • Find it easier to concentrate.
  • Retain more of what they read.
  • Score better on reading comprehension tests.

Some of this has to do with mentally “mapping” information in relation to other information or “landmarks” (for example, creases or smudges, page numbers, location of information on the page). Such spatial maps “have been shown to improve learning, retention and comprehension overall.”

Students reading on screen also tend to be more easily distracted. They read more superficially, have shorter attention spans, and have shorter reading sessions. All of this translates into poorer comprehension and retention of content.

In fact, in a comprehensive study of students at five major universities (Cornell University, Indiana University, University of Minnesota, University of Virginia and University of Wisconsin), most students preferred print textbooks over e-texts. Negative aspects of e-texts included “poor readability, eyestrain, insufficient resolution for graphics, zooming and scrolling difficulties, and difficulty annotating.” Faculty also expressed the belief that e-texts did not “enhance student outcomes” and preferred printed texts for class instruction.

This doesn’t mean that print is superior in all cases to electronic communications. But when you are communicating detailed information that needs to be analyzed and processed, print has benefits that electronic communications do not.  

Want to find out more about print’s role in learning and literacy? Download the fact sheet here:

http://www.twosidesna.org/US/New-Fact-Sheet–Print-and-Paper-Play-a-Key-Role-in-Learning-and-Literacy

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