Category Archives: Mailing Services

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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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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4 Questions You Have To Answer Before Mailing An Envelope

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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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