5 Terrific Fonts To Transform Your Envelope

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I remember a heated philosophy discussion in college. The topic was beauty, and as budding philosophers we had to convince one another of our opinions. We debated the perennial question: is beauty in “the eye of the beholder?” We never concluded our discussion (pretty normal for philosophy) but it made me think.

When I was planning this blog, I recalled this debate with my fellow students. No, I still haven’t arrived at any conclusion, but I have come to a different but similar one. When you’re doing direct mail, it’s not beauty that’s in the eye of the beholder. It’s appeal. And the more appeal you can create with your envelope fonts, the better the open-rate for your mailers, translating to more profit.

If you want to add energy to your envelope, charge it with a new font. You might find that one font works better than others. And often, it’s fonts you might not expect. We’ve tested many envelope fonts, and these five fonts all have high open rates. But it’s for different reasons. So let’s look at five different fonts and see what makes them special and appealing to the eye.

envelope fonts

If you want to proclaim rather than tell your message, choose Impact. It does what its name implies—it has an impact! If you’re sending a #10 envelope and want to tease your customer about the contents with a teaser, use this font to do so. “Your Free Gift Inside.” (And for sales copy, try using this font for your headlines to snatch their attention.) It’s a font that stops your readers, grabs them by the lapels, and forces them to read. It’s like when Gandalf slammed his staff into the bridge to stop the smoldering Balrog—YOU SHALL NOT PASS! It’s got that effect.

Next we have Copy Doodles Brad. This is a handwritten font that resembles a harried or flustered person.  It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s ugly. But that’s not the point — and that’s why it’s effective. It’s such a hideous font that your customers will have a difficult time distinguishing it from a real person’s. So when to use this font? Use it only for marketing. It’s not meant for professional or business transactions (for that we recommend Arial or Calibri). Second, be sure it appeals to your customer. If you’re sending a marketing piece to doctors or engineers, you’ll have a difficult time selling your services with this font. Finally, be sure this font meshes with your industry. If you run a funeral home, don’t use this font. You get the point.

Now if Copy Doodles Brad is 100% informal, then Edwardian Script is 100% formal. This is one of the fanciest, most elegant fonts you can use. It harkens us back to the idyllic time of Jane

 Austen and Henry James. When should you use it? On invitations. Especially invitations to a wedding and other important events. For marketing, use it for an event you’re hosting—like a conference with an important guest speaker or for a swanky auction. It’s classic and timeless, and it’s sure to give the appeal of importance.

Arial. When Google launched Google Docs nearly a decade ago, they chose Arial as their default font. And for good reason. Arial is simple, straightforward, and easy to read. It doesn’t contain the dynamite of impact, but that’s not its purpose. And now with Google’s success, Arial has become one of the most used fonts—up there with Microsoft’s beloved Times New Roman. And because it’s so popular, your readers will have an instant familiarity with it. They’ll appreciate your simple, no-nonsense approach.

Finally, Corradine. Here’s a font we love here at Handy Mailing Service. It’s a script font, but it’s not as “scripty” like Edwardian. It doesn’t contain the restricted, Victorian feel of Edwardian. Instead, it has the appearance of someone with methodical, cursive handwriting. It’s easy to read, and it’s clear. It’s best to use this font on pieces where you want people to think you hand wrote them an envelope. It has that power. Try it out. It’s pretty cool.

These are only five envelope fonts, but they’re thousands you can choose for your mailing. But for any font, choose one with these two factors in mind.

  1. It must be consistent with your message.
  2. Your audience must be receptive.

If you’re a doctor or a lawyer and you’re running ads for your service, a font like Arial might work best. Do not use CopyDoodles Brad. People will think it’s a joke. But if you want to market to your audience as a dear friend, try using a font like CopyDoodles Brad or Corradine. They work great for that.

Remember, keep your brand in mind and study your audience for the envelope fonts that best suits them.

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How To Instantly Improve Your Postcard

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Junk, junk… no, Capital One, I’m not interested in opening a credit card… jeez Bed, Bath & Beyond, leave me alone… no, I don’t want to donate more money… wait what’s this? As you dump the rest of the pieces into the trash, you take a closer look at this attractive, sexy, eye-catching, eyebrow raising postcard…

Alright, alright, so I took it a little too far. But isn’t that how we feel sometimes when sorting through the mail? You have your usual suspects that you plan to see once a week that you pay attention to for half a second. But man, when you come across a nice looking postcard, it stops you in your tracks as you examine the contents.

Everybody wants their postcard to be the one that catches attention but too often they end up in the trash with the rest of the junk mail. So how do you get your piece to be the one that survives the purge and even more, prompts the recipient to respond?

Let me share with you three tips to help instantly improve your postcard.
  1. Catchy Headline
  2. Color Scheme
  3. Clear Offer

Catchy Headline

When looking at a postcard, the first place your eyes go to is the headline. Usually, it’s the biggest piece of text because that’s the first thing you want your recipient to read. Concerning placement, I would suggest having it toward the top of the piece because that’s how the eyes read. Left to right and top to bottom. You want it to be super easy for the reader to locate your headline because this is the starting point for selling your postcard. Your headline is the way to get your foot in the door and keep the recipient reading.

Now, regarding the content of your headline, you could go a million and one different ways. So I’ll try to offer a little direction for you. Make it attention grabbing. This is your hook so it must entice the reader to keep reading. It needs to be obvious they will benefit from what you’re offering. Here are a couple good examples: “Make your neighbors jealous with a luscious, green lawn in only 60 days!” or “Enjoy 50% off your next oil change with us!” From the get go, the reader understands what you’re selling and how they can take advantage of this opportunity.

Color Scheme

One of the most common mistakes that I see made with postcards are poor color schemes. It’s critical that your postcard needs to stand out from the rest with eye catching and aesthetically pleasing colors. According to Kissmetrics, visual appearance is responsible for 93% of a buying purchase. And consumers say color is 85% of their decision for why they buy a particular product.

colors

When designing your postcard, the first guideline you need to stick to is brand unity. You want to make sure everything a consumer sees or receives from you emanates a common theme or appearance. This will help with your brand recognition and association in the long run. Second, make your color decisions a priority. Don’t allow this to be an afterthought or picked by random. Analyze the different elements in your piece and find ways to incorporate a consistent color scheme that works. If you aren’t sure how to do that, google color palettes, and pick one. Then stick to those 3-5 colors throughout the whole piece. You don’t want your postcard to look like Joseph’s technicolor dream coat or the outside of a circus tent. By sticking to some basic guidelines, I am confident you can create something that will have an positive impact on the reader.

Clear Offer

At the end of the day, the whole purpose of your postcard boils down to this: prompting action. Regardless of if you’re driving prospects to your website or advertising a big sale, you want to motivate the recipient to act. The primary way to do this is with your offer. You’ve led them on a short journey from awareness to consideration so now you need conversion. Providing a strong offer that is easy to understand is the way you can do this.

First, make it easy to locate. This thing needs to be “large and in charge.” The reader should never have to search or squint their eyes for what you’re offering them. The easier they can find it, the better chance they will act on it. You can achieve this by creating a burst graphic, or a “clip out rectangle” or a strong contrast in color. You need to lead their eyes toward it so do whatever you need to for that to happen. Second, make it easy to understand. Nothing is worse than seeing an offer that you can’t quite understand what is being offered. Let them know how you want them to respond. If you want them to go to your website provide the URL nice and big. Or, if you want them to bring the postcard into the store, write that in big bold letters. If your reader has to work hard to find out how to respond, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Make it simple and obvious for them to respond.

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6 Things To Consider Before Sending A Print Newsletter

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In the last blog post, I wrote about the factors you should consider before choosing an E-newsletter. In this blog post, I want to examine the factors of a print newsletter and whether to send one to your customers. I’ll start with the pros, the cons, and present my final thoughts at the end. The end might surprise you!

The Pros Of A Print Newsletter

Pro #1: It’s tangible. I love my Amazon Kindle. It stores thousands of books, lets me read in the dark, and each page is crisp. But I miss real books: the smooth page, using my thumb and forefinger to turn from one page to the next. Real books engage my senses and involve me at a deeper level.

It’s the same for print newsletters. Like books, you flip through pages to read the content. And you can’t beat the way they feel in the hand. Plus, with all the different paper types available today, you can get really creative with your newsletters.

Pro #2: Less competition. How many emails did you have in your inbox this morning? Over ten? I bet so. And that’s nothing compared to what many others receive. Combine personal with professional email, and you create a recipe for chaos. Your E-newsletter enters that maelstrom and mixes with a jumble of other emails. What are the chances your customer will read your E-newsletter?

Compare that with direct mail. I receive three or four mail pieces a day. Then, I pull them from the mailbox, sift through them, read the ones that interest me, and the others I toss them into the waste bin. I don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed like I do with email. At that moment, each piece has my sole focus for at least a few seconds.

Pro #3: Perceived value. Everyone knows email is cheap. So when your customer receives your E-newsletter, will they believe you’re cheap or they’re not worth sending a print newsletter to? It’s something to think about. Because while it’s convenient and affordable to send E-newsletters the upfront cost of a print newsletter might lead to higher sales in the end.

print newsletter

Click on this image to view our April newsletter!

 

The Cons Of A Print Newsletter

Con #1: Cost. Print newsletters cost more. Not only do you need to hire a graphic designer to design them or a copywriter to write them, but you have to pay for the print and mailing. Doing this monthly can get pricey.

That said — while the print newsletter does have a high upfront cost, in the long run it might not matter. What’s important is to look at the benefit of sending a print newsletter as a whole. If it’s converting more leads, then you might make enough profit to offset the cost of printing and delivery.

Con #2: Delivery speed. The print newsletter must travel to its target by good ol’ direct mail, which can take up to 10 days to deliver, depending on the postage attached. If you send your newsletter with plenty of time to deliver, then there’s no issue. But if you’re delayed in designing or writing your newsletter, you can’t afford it to take half a month to finally mail.

Con #3: No linking and tracking. You aren’t able to embed links to other content or track customer engagement.  While, you can see they’ve mailed, you can’t track metrics like words read, links clicked, and how long. You also can’t link a call to action, which might decrease the chance to turn leads into sales.

So what do you think? Is a print newsletter or E-newsletter better for your business? If you want my opinion – send both! This way you’ll reach all your customers, no matter where they are. In fact, take it a step further. Once you complete your newsletter, create social media posts with links to your newsletter. The more you share the better.

 

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5 Factors Of E-Newsletters You Need To Know

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As much as we complain about email, it’s one the greatest inventions of the modern age. The ability to send and receive a letter through the web is a triumph of the times. And while I hate opening my personal inbox and seeing 30-40 emails a day, I’m thankful for the technology.

If you’re not doing so already, you should email a monthly e-newsletter to your customers in addition to a print newsletter. The monthly newsletter keeps them engaged with your company while giving you ample opportunity to sell products and services to your customers. It’s also the best way for you to distribute important (and fun) information.

The E-newsletter (aptly named because you send it through an email) has a list of pros that make it a great option for distributing news and updates for your company. Let’s take a look at some.

monthly e-newsletter

The Pros of E-Newsletters

Pro #1: Cost. You can create, produce, and send with less money than a print newsletter. Apart from the cost of writing and designing the newsletter, you don’t need to pay a lot to send them. Once you design your first newsletter, you only need to plug in the new content each month. And since you’ll send an email, you don’t need to worry about the cost and time of production.

Pro #2: Speed of Delivery. Another pro of E-newsletters is that delivery is instant. Once you’ve written and designed the newsletter, load your email list and hit send. Can it get any easier than that? Also, you can set up delayed delivery and other cool features that make sending newsletters even more effective. So what’s the easiest way to start sending them? Here’s a few websites that make sending e-newsletters a breeze: Campayn, Constant Contact, and MailChimp.

Pro #3: Hyperlinks and Calls to Action. Another great benefit of E-Newsletters is the ability to embed hyperlinks and calls to action within the newsletter. Within any given month, you can link articles or calls to action within the newsletter to give your customers a deeper engagement with your company. And from well-designed software, this process has become intuitive. You give your customers an easy, direct path to a buying decision. Because of this, the odds are much higher that they act on what they’re reading, compared to having to go online if they receive something in print.

These three benefits alone might cause you to consider this option, but a monthly E-newsletter is not without their problems. Let’s look at three of them.

The Cons of E-Newsletters

Con #1: It’s mixed with other emails. There’s a common phrase called “junk mail” that refers to the type of marketing pieces we toss in the trash. Most people think of direct mail when they hear this phrase. But if you think there’s a lot of junk direct mail, consider the amount junk email. The amount of junk email we receive on a daily basis outweighs junk direct mail by 10 fold. And if customers won’t read a direct mail newsletter, what are the chances they’ll read an email newsletter?

Con #2: Little assurance of delivery. While you can have confidence your newsletter will deliver in a timely manner, the same cannot be said about the assurance of delivery. How is this possible? How can something deliver quickly but not really deliver at all? The reason? Spam. It filters emails based on a number of various factors. And while it may deliver, your customer might not open it, let alone read it. There’s already a small open chance when it goes into the inbox, and spam only decreases those chances.

In an upcoming blog, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of a print newsletter. And then we’ll compare and contrast the monthly E-newsletter with the print newsletter, to help you decide the best fit for your business.

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An Easy Guide To Choosing The Right Offer

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You’ve finished writing out your sales letter or just finished the design on your latest postcard. Everything’s looking good but you realized you haven’t decided on what the right offer is going to be. You have a couple ideas but you need to finalize what you want to do. It’s time to set the hook to reel in the big fish with your mail piece. But first, what type of offer should you use?

Well, let’s explore a couple different types of offers that you could try out.

  1. Percentage and dollar off discounts
  2. Low or no risk experiences

choosing the right offer

Percentage And Dollar Off Discounts

As they say, “there’s nothing new under the sun,” and that definitely includes discount offers. But why are they so effective? We all know and understand that receiving 10% off or $5 off your first purchase might not save you that much. But it got you into the store, didn’t it? And you ended up buying more than expected didn’t you?

There’s something about a good sale or discount that makes it near impossible for our minds to reject. So when going about setting the right offer, how do you land on one that is effective for the customer, but also for you? If you’re going with the route of a monetary discount, always rely on this principle, “whichever one sounds like more.”

You want your offer to be irresistible so you need to choose the one that gives the highest perceived value. Consumers want to feel like they are getting the best deal and a large part of that is based on their initial impression of the offers. So, if your dollar amount is $50 off compared to a 15% discount, there’s a good chance that the $50 dollars off would outperform the percentage. Because a lot of people aren’t going to be doing that calculation of 15% in their head. The $50 off just sounds like a better deal. Studies have shown that even though two different offers give the same discount, whichever sounds like a better deal will outperform the other. And in some cases, as illogical as it sounds, a discount offering less, can still perform better because of the perceived value.

So how do you pick which one? The answer is to test them. Send out an A/B split on your next mailing. Make Offer A percentage off and Offer B dollars off. Compare how they perform and make adjustments with each mailing. The best way to find out which offer you should use is by testing.

Low Or No Risk Experience

But what if offering a monetary discount isn’t the best option for your business? Then, consider giving them a low or no risk experience. This could look like a “30 Day Free Trial” or a “60 Day Money Back Guarantee.” You have the greatest chance of making a sale when the consumer feels like it is a very low risk or no risk purchase. Ease their mind and concerns, by giving them the chance to try out your product without risking anything. And if your product and services perform as they should, you already have the sale made. You give them the opportunity to take it for a test drive. At that point, the odds are in your favor that they’ll convert into a sale.

Above all though, keep in mind who your target recipient is and what you’re trying to sell. If they’re spending several thousand dollars, they’re going to have more concerns thus needing less risk. Go with the free trial for them. But, if you’re selling a service that normally costs $75, use a monetary discount to get them in. Keeping these factors in mind will help you decide on the right offer.

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How To Create Deadlines That Drive Response

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To this day, I still remember reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet in my English Composition class my senior year of high school. After we had finished working our way through the book, we had to write a comprehensive six-page report. We had to detail every nuance and writing strategy we absorbed from the book. Let me tell you something, the only thing that made me write that paper was the deadline given by my teacher. Because if it wasn’t for that, I probably still wouldn’t have written that paper to this day…

Deadlines are motivating factors to take action on things. They give us a sense of urgency to make an immediate movement toward a decision. Deadlines in offers do the same thing. They motivate people toward a decision or commitment, regardless if it involves a sale or not.

your deadline

So how do you choose the best deadline for your offer?

There are generally two different types of deadlines:

  1. Limited period of time
  2. Limited spots or opportunities

Limited Period of Time

Limited period of time is the one you’re most familiar with because it’s used more often. This could be an actual expiration date such as “expires 4/15/18.” Or, “order product Y in the next 48 hours to claim your special pricing.” A specific time where your offer ends gives a definite stopping point to your customer. This can motivate them to act quickly because they may have a fear of missing out on this good deal.

A factor to consider with a timing deadline is exactly that. How much time should you give in your deadline? Well, the answer depends on what you’re offering and how you want the recipient to respond to your offer. If you’re simply driving them online to your website to claim a limited time printable coupon, the deadline could be as short as a week. Because you know that it won’t take very long for the customer to perform that action.

But, if your offer requires your customer to walk into your store, then it’s a good idea to give them a couple weeks so they have ample opportunities. You don’t want to set the deadline too short for fear of not giving your customer enough time to redeem your offer. But, if your deadline is too long, there’s a good chance your customer will put your offer on the side of the fridge and forget about it until a couple months after it expires.

Limited Spots or Opportunities

The second type of deadline you can use is limited spots or opportunities. Here are a few examples of what that can look like. “We can only schedule appointments with the next five people who call this number.” Or, “Our inventory is running low and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Don’t wait and place your order before we run out!” Or, “Limited seating available: only 12 seats left. Claim yours before it’s too late!”

As you can tell, these give the customer a great deal of urgency because they’re informed there’s a chance they can miss out on this opportunity. By limiting the number of people who can redeem this, you provide a more competitive feel for the recipients of this offer. Plus, it allows you to control how much you’re giving away with your offer. You gain control from both a financial perspective as well as a timing perspective. Especially if you can only handle a certain number of appointments in a certain amount of time.

Your Deadline

Lastly, when making the decision of your deadline, the important question to answer is this. What is the goal of your deadline? As we talked about, with both types of deadlines, there are different factors that come in to play. Understand how you’re wanting recipients to respond to your offer and pick the deadline accordingly. As always, be sure to test. Try out a two-week deadline and see how it compares to only allowing 10 spots. You can always switch up the type of deadline with each offer you send out. Find what works best for you to drive more traffic to where you want it.

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Two Killer Strategies To Personalize Your Mail Piece

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A few weeks ago, I hired a guy to come out and build me a privacy fence. When he finished, he invited me to the backyard for a final inspection. Walking back there, I recalled something I said to him during the estimate. “Jason, more than anything else, I want you to build this privacy fence straight across the top.” He remembered what I said – because my fence is straight. And I don’t mean just straight. I mean razor-blade straight. He went above and beyond my expectations. It feels like Jason listened to me because he personalized my fence the way I wanted.

privacy-fence

Personalize Your Mail Piece

In a similar way, you should think about personalizing your mail piece as much as possible to drive traffic and increase sales. Let’s take a look at two of the ways you can personalize your mail piece.

  1. Include personal fields from your list in your letter
  2. Send different offers to different types of customers

Personal Fields In The List

Let’s start with personal fields in the list because they’re the primary way to transform a mail piece from generic junk mail to personal letter. And the more you personalize your mail piece, the more you’ll drive leads and increase sales.

It’s spring time and you’re an HVAC company wanting to mail to locals. You ask your mail house to give you a list of prospects in the surrounding area. You write your sales letter, create the enticing offer, and now, you’re almost ready to mail.

But you hesitate. In the past you’ve written generic sales letters, and you haven’t received much business. You want to try something different, but you don’t know where to start. Let’s see what we can do.

We can start with the salutation. Instead of using “Dear Friend” or “Dear Neighbor,” let’s use “Dear First Name.” This way your prospect will feel like you’re addressing just him, and he won’t feel like a victim of a mass-mailing campaign.

Next, look for some other fields in your list you can use. How about the “city” field? In the next paragraph alter your copy to add in a “city” field. Say something like, “In Wichita, we only have 5 more appointments we can book this week, so please call now to reserve your spot.” Not only do you include their name but also their city. It’s becoming more and more personal.

But let’s go even further. If you have a customer list, you can really take your sales letter personalization to the next level. Let’s include a unique field. You probably have a lot of information about each customer such as: years of service for, lifetime customer value, dollars spent in the last year, and so on. Find a creative way to place that in your sales letter. Say something like this: “Last year, Mike, you spent $250 dollars as a member of our quarterly check up program, so this year we’re offering to you – for a limited time – a program renewal for only $199.”

Remember, the more personal data you can include in your letter, the more personal your letter will become. Include as much as you can without going overboard with too much data.

Send Different Offers

The second way to use personalization is to segment your list according to the offers you want each person to receive. As mentioned before, this is where a customer list can become very advantageous when incorporating personalized data with each customer.

Here’s an example of what that could look like. You’re rolling out a big time “Memorial Day Extravaganza Sale” and you want to send out a postcard to your customer list. First, divide your list into three different categories based on dollars spent in the last year. Second, create three different levels of offers you’re wanting to give away during this sale. Third, assign an offer to each category by filling in the corresponding field in your list.

Now when you print that postcard, using the variable field in the list, recipients from category “A” will receive offer “A.” And recipients in category “B” will receive offer “B,” and this will continue with category C. So what may this look like in your campaign?

This could mean your bottom feeders, who didn’t top $500 on the year, would only receive 10% off, but your big spenders of over $2,500 on the year would receive 25% off. The beauty in this is that you can completely customize and create as many different offers and levels as you’d like. All you need to do is make sure the offers match up with the recipients in your list.

Well, I hope you can find ways to personalize your mail piece in your next campaign. Remember, try to include personal fields or send different offers.

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The Great Debate: Postcard or Letter?

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Chocolate ice cream or strawberry ice cream? Red vines or Twizzlers? Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Coffee or tea? And lastly…. postcard or letter?

Everyday we have to make decisions where we pair two things side-by-side, and then decide which one we’re going to choose. Now granted, it’s a little easier to make a decision when you’re deciding between two chocolates. But how do you make a decision when you’re planning a direct mail campaign that costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars?

Let’s take a look at the age-old question: should I send a postcard or letter?

postcard or letter

Before we dive into this discussion, I want to bring your attention to three different questions. It would be wise for you to answer these, before making the grand decision.

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What is your goal for the mailing?
  3. How do you want your recipient to respond?

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Before starting any mailing, regardless if it’s a postcard, sales letter, newsletter or something else, you should always finalize who your target recipient is. This is critical for developing an effective and pointed mail piece.

The first place to start with, is this mail piece going to be B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer)? This is an incredibly important factor. If it’s B2B, then that probably means you’re trying to persuade a business owner, or higher-up executive. So, will you have a better chance with a multiple page sales letter or a 6×11 postcard? There’s no doubt that the sales letter will be more effective. Especially if you’re trying to sell someone on your services, there’s little chance you’ll be able to do it on a postcard. Because, you don’t have enough time or space on the postcard to give your entire spiel.

One other thing to think about is the delivery of your piece to the recipient. If it’s a postcard, will it even reach the desk of your target? Remember, nearly everpostcard or lettery business has a “gatekeeper” that determines if your mail piece is worth the time to read it. However, if you’re mailing to a consumer who doesn’t have someone screening their mail, it’ll be a lot easier for them to receive your message with a postcard.

What Is Your Goal For The Mailing?

Second, what’s your goal for the mailing? Are you just letting your customers know about the new location you opened up or are you running a special on one of your services? In these cases, a postcard is definitely more than suitable for the job. However, if you’re trying to sell a monthly service they sign up for and have to commit to for six months, it will probably prove beneficial to write them a sales letter. Determining the goal of the piece can provide great insight on how you want to send your message.

How Do You Want Your Recipient To Respond?

Lastly, how do you want your recipient to respond to your mail piece? Are you wanting them to bring the coupon into your store to redeem? Postcards would be an easy and cost effective solution. Maybe you’re trying to drive them to your website to order something, a postcard is the way to go. However, if you’re trying to capture more referrals, this is when a letter could be most beneficial.

As you can tell, there are a hundred factors to consider when deciding between a postcard or letter. But a general rule of thumb is this: if you’re mailing B2B, go with a letter, but if you’re mailing B2C, go with a postcard. And just remember, you can always test with a smaller quantity, before going big. Keep on testing until you find something that works, then stick with that for as long as you can.

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3 Types Of Evidence Your Pieces Mailed

By | Data Processing | No Comments

Have you ever left for work and suddenly remembered you forgot to lock the door? I know I have, and it’s a nasty feeling. I can’t focus on anything, knowing an intruder might be tearing my place apart and soon dash with my hard-earned property. It feels like things have slipped from my control.

You might feel something similar when you send mail through your mail house. You worry about a flurry of questions: Did the pieces make it to the post office? How do I know they mailed all the pieces? Did they mix my mail with another person’s? Did they mail on the right date? If only you had verification – that’s it. Then you’d have peace of mind and could finish the day knowing all’s okay.

Just breathe. Relax. We got you covered. When you send a mailing out, there are a few ways to prove your mailing made it to the post office and mailed as promised. Here are three ways to know that your pieces mailed.

Postal Verification Form

For whatever postage class you’re mailing, you’ll receive from us a Postal Verification Form, an official document from the USPS that details a number of things about your mailing. It provides information about the number of pieces mailed, the mailer ID, postage class of mailing, postage cost, and much more. We receive this from the Post Office and are happy to send it to you at no extra cost.

Below is an example of a postal verification form.

pieces mailed

Seeding Your List

We also ask that before you send us your mailing list you put “seeds” in it. A seed is a name in your mailing list known only to you. These aren’t necessarily people you want to market to, but just people who’ll receive your mailing. You can make up a name or use a real name and have all the addresses go to a location where you can check on the mailing. Again, you don’t need to tell us anything about these seeds; these are just for you to know that your pieces mailed. It also assures you that your pieces are produced with high quality and accuracy since you will received a “live” mailed piece.

Your Mailed List

After we run your list through our data processing software we can email you that mailed list if you would like. This is the same list we run your envelopes, your cards, your newsletters – whatever – with. And it matches the exact mailed count listed on the Postal Verification Form.

If you have any more questions or would like to know more about direct mail, check out our other blog posts here or give us a call. We’d love to chat.

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4 Questions You Have To Answer Before Mailing An Envelope

By | Mailing Services | No Comments

Whenever I’m drawn in by a book’s flashy cover or edgy title, my mind hearkens back to my grade school librarian, Mrs. Gabriel: “Alex, don’t judge a book by its cover.” She was right – the best books often have the worst covers or titles. But while her advice works in the book world, it does not apply to direct mail.  

In direct mail, the people receiving your mail pieces ARE judging. And the covers aren’t cardboard rectangular covers. They’re envelopes –  the “covers” of your direct mail piece.

Your envelope is like the first sentence of a book. The whole message hinges on that first sight. Your envelope might contain sales dynamite inside, but it’ll never detonate if your customer doesn’t open it. So spend ample time crafting each part and parcel.

Here are four questions to consider before mailing an envelope:
  1. Do you want to use a stamp or permit?
  2. What kind of font do you want to use?
  3. Will it have teaser copy to entice the reader to open it?
  4. What size do you want it to be?

Stamp or Permit?

We’ve found that when mailing an envelope, using a stamp has a better open-rate than a permit. Stamps are warm and welcoming; permits are cold and corporate. Do you want to be in the ranks of banks, mortgage lenders, and utility companies? Probably not, right? If you want to sell your product or service, choose a stamp.

Now, choosing what kind of stamp … that takes more thought. Is there a stamp consistent with your brand? Do you want to appear professional? Do you want to present yourself as a friend? Are you a non-profit company looking for donations? What kind of postage rate do you want to mail at? These are some questions to consider when deciding. The USPS offers a variety of stamps. You’re sure to find one or two that fits your brand. Oh, and here’s a pro tip: place the stamp on slightly crooked. It’s more human. We’ve done this for customers, and while it requires a little more time and setup, it’s worth it.

The Font

After you decide on a stamp, select a font that stays consistent with the message you are trying to send. If your tone is more formal, then choose one that gives that appearance. But if you are trying to imitate a personal letter, then definitely choose a handwritten font. Modern technology has blessed us with a plethora of handwritten fonts that can be applied using machine. You can choose an elegant font like the ones on many envelopes for weddings invitations. Or you can choose a font that resembles the signature of a harried doctor. There are even fonts that resemble the scribblings of children. And like the stamp, you can rotate the address block at a slight angle to make the envelope feel more human.

mailing an envelope

Example of an envelope with a handwritten font, teaser copy and a stamp.

Teaser Copy

You may want to consider using teaser copy for your envelope. This can persuade your customer to open your envelope. We’ve seen thousands of different teasers over the years, and our customers continue to use them with success. Don’t overdo it though.  If you present teaser inconsistent with your sales piece, you risk losing the recipient’s trust, which will kill the whole sale. Use teasers that persuade them to open, but also present an honest message about the contents inside. And try using variable data in the teaser like, “Hey, Dave, check this out!” The more personal the teaser, the higher the chance for a better open rate.

Size

The size of the envelope matters. Bigger is often better; these types of envelopes are easier to notice, and they’ll stand out among the other mail. We’ve even used FedEx envelopes before to market our company, and we encourage our customers do the same. They work, because governments and banks often send their documents in this way. They do cost more, however, so calculate your potential return on investment carefully. On the other end of the spectrum, consider sending a really small envelope. Like the one you would receive a note card in from your grandma.

Just remember this, whatever you decide for the envelope needs to stay true to what message you are sending with your mail piece. Keeping a unified tone with your piece allows the reader to develop trust with you and your package. So when in doubt, always let that be the deciding factor for your decision.

There’s more that can be said about mailing an envelope, so subscribe to our blog to make sure you don’t miss another post!

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