There is no denying it. Modern entrepreneurs are experiencing greater success when they maintain personalized direct mail campaigns, while those who don’t fall behind. Direct mail maintains its high place in the marketing strategy ranks as reports reflect its steady and strong influence with more than 40% of the total local retail advertising share. American marketers spend about $167 per person on direct mail to earn $2,095 worth of goods sold (a 1,300% return). (printisbig.com)
The data that illustrates the value that businesses put on direct mail goes on with a survey of over 1,000 large businesses across 10 different vertical industries telling us that 60% of respondents’ campaigns were personalized or segmented. (print in the mix) Personalized printed media absolutely has a more powerful presence than does personalized email because the recipients know it takes more care and effort to customize print media than it does to churn out digital forms of the same, so businesses are spending money on direct mail because it has a proven record of profitability.
Nick Titus, Vice President of Marketing for Minuteman Press International, reminds us of the inherent magic of direct mail as he says, “Direct Mail has a physical presence. Unlike email marketing where you just have to click delete if you do not recognize the sender, direct mail requires the recipient to physically hold and look at your piece, then decide if they want to get rid of it or not. At that point, your message has been delivered and if your offer is good enough and you mailed to the right demographic, you should get a response.”
Jim Galasso, Minuteman Press Regional Vice-President (CT/NY/NJ), shares a story that illustrates the effects of utilizing marketing specialists within the business service industry in order to maximize results. He explains, “Direct mail! One day one of our owners was out selling small $300 express ads to reach 10,000 local mail deliveries. As he approached a very successful furniture company and they asked how much it would cost to take all the ads for themselves. With the help of his local Minuteman Press center, that furniture company now has sent out well over 1 million pieces with our local store owner. Chances are there are smaller furniture companies in the area with better furniture but not better advertising and promotion because they are not engaging in a direct mail campaign.”
Jim offers this one healthy example of business service industry leaders at work for their clients using an essential staple of modern integrated marketing strategy, direct mail campaigns, yet stories such as these and ones that are even more impressive are replicated by clients of marketing specialists in top-rated business service franchises such as Minuteman Press as a matter of course. This is why wise business owners continue to make sure that direct mail is central to their marketing plans.
Business service industry experts advise embracing and getting the most out of this winning method of marketing strategy by considering these well-performing direct mail tips:
Create envelopes that scream “Open ME!”
The strategic purpose of the envelope is to drive folks to get inside so, partner with a printing industry marketing team and test the results of different messages and designs for just the right effect, from adjusting the phrasing or rewording it completely to see if one version improves results over the other. Consider testing “blind” envelopes with a subtle design as sometimes they perform better than those with “teasers”.
Mike Maddalena, owner of Minuteman Press in Petaluma, CA, anticipates that his clients will continue to reap the benefits of the direct mail campaigns that his team has helped them build, sustain and grow. His clients are assured to have partners working as specialists in the area of direct mail campaign follow-up, so that as adjustments need to be made or new printed options prove to present greater opportunity to reach target markets, the design and production will continue to be top-notch. Mike shares, “We have slightly more than 10 percent of our ‘regular’ customers doing some kind of direct mailing on a regular basis. Customers are typically spending $1500 per mailing.”
Format – Formal or Fun?
It is a matter of knowing the audience and catering to their preferences so as to entice them to call, visit or otherwise investigate the brand further. A marketing specialist from a leading business service franchise can advise on these types of decisions and can also provide a reference library of exactly these types of samples. Nick Titus suggests, “Engaging your audience with a piece that has a pop quiz on it, a treasure hunt or a scratch off that leads them to your website and drives internet traffic. Some of the most successful direct mail campaigns are run in conjunction with other media.”
Matt Peretz, Minuteman Press International Vice President in New York, confirms the vitality of direct mail as he sees its beneficial impact on a regular basis. He adds, “Direct mail is a huge part of our business. Most printed marketing pieces get distributed to our customers in one of two ways; either it is being handed to them or mailed to them. With programs from the USPS such as Every Door Direct Mail, it’s easier and cheaper to get marketing pieces in the hands of your customers and prospects.”
Keep it Personal and Use Good Timing
Generic always loses compared to personalized communications in all categories. Simply using a person’s name is merely the start. The content needs to be personalized throughout. The flexibility afforded to direct mail campaigns with print-on-demand makes it possible to hone the smallest details based on real-time analytics. It also allows for greater ability to accommodate seasonal sales, such as a call to order pool supplies in early spring, or winter holiday reminders and specials. In conjunction with other sales and promotion efforts, direct mail can be used in situations such as when sales staff complete a call. They can drop a postcard in the mail on the same day with grateful appreciation and a special discount included. In the same way, direct mail can work with an email campaign to make it more impactful.
John Baum, Minuteman Press franchisee in Greece, NY, is a seasoned veteran of traditional marketing strategy such as direct mail and an expert when it comes to integrated marketing campaigns. He has seen the steady utilization of direct mail over the course of decades and how it continues to be central to the growth of businesses in all industries. John shared his thoughts, saying, “Being in the print business for more than 30 years we do have much experience in helping small businesses market with direct mail. It is our job to educate small business owners on how direct mail fits in with a total marketing program. Firstly, direct mail is effective when one is bringing a good offer to a prospect that has the use for it. To that end a good mail list that finds proper demographics is essential. Before considering a mail project the business needs to have a mail list that contains the prospects needed. The difference between direct mail and other forms of advertising is that you have the ability to connect with potential customers that clearly have a need for the product or service unlike radio, TV, newspaper or other means the advertising is going to a broader viewership.”
Analytics can be used to tweak and adapt each new campaign as needed to avoid any decline in response and to maximize success overall. John adds, “We have done projects where we have selected families with young children to promote birthday parties, in addition to households with teenage daughters that are juniors and seniors in high school to promote prom dresses for the upcoming prom season. We have found that the use of personalization in the mail piece brings our customers 30% more response than they would have received without the use of it. Good design and compelling word in an easy to read direct mail piece is an important element. We do direct mail for a wide range of our customers such as landscapers, exterminators, insurance agencies, daycare centers and others.”
Variable Data + Direct Mail = Award-Winning Campaigns
In October of 2008, Walter Sofko and Steve Ryan, co-owners of successful Minuteman Press franchise locations in Oregon, received an award for outstanding achievement for the ‘Best Customized Variable Data Campaign’ in the first annual PPI PrintROCKS! Awards, a region-wide printing competition hosted by the Pacific Printing and Imaging Association (PPI), a trade association for the printing and graphic arts industry. In addition to the Best of Category award won for variable data, “Minuteman Press Team” was also named ‘Best Printer for 1-20 Employees’. The company’s winning submission was a personalized variable data campaign for Point West Credit Union, located in Portand, OR. The successful direct mailing received over a 2000% return on investment. Total cost for design, print and postage was approximately $10,000. The one-time mailing generated about $1.4 million in new loans with a gross profit around $214,000. (Minuteman Press Team press release)
Consistently, when businesses are naive to the essential modern application of traditional marketing forces like direct mail, they face decline, while those with the foresight to partner with those trained in the design, production, implementation and analysis of direct mail campaigns continue to thrive with impressive and sometimes, award-winning profits.
Are you looking for a marketing boost? Find your local Minuteman Press design, marketing, printing, and direct mail services provider at www.minutemanpress.com
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