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By SCOTT KEFFER 

Believe it or not, direct mail aligns perfectly with the preferences of Boomers.

In the unending search for the holy grail of marketing, financial advisors are lately tempted by promises of quick and easy client acquisition through digital marketing miracles. From buying digital leads to endless social media posts, content marketing and webinars, the financial industry has embraced the allure of online strategies with hopes of waves of new affluent clients.

However, starting with a method is marketing backward. Marketing should always begin with your ideal client. Knowing their mindset is the recipe for success – embracing their desires, mastering their language, and resonating with their values.

The ideal client

The first and foremost consideration is defining the ideal client. Seeking to be everything to everybody positions you as nothing to no one.

My definition is an E.L.K. — Easy. Listen to you. Keep paying you the most — who is successful, serious and salt. Successful financially ($2 million to $25 million), serious about their money and future and salt-of-the-earth (loyal and trustworthy). Most importantly, they are in a position to become a client today and move their money to you now (ages 64-74).

That’s a Baby Boomer. Boomers own 51 percent of all wealth in the United States, have the most wealth per household, have the most money in retirement funds and have the most money in stock and mutual funds.

The normal and natural test

Prospects do what is normal and natural.

Think about this: Would an affluent Boomer normally and naturally go online to find a CPA, attorney, heart surgeon or financial advisor? The answer is no. Sure, there are always exceptions. However, in marketing, relying on exceptions is foolhardy and costly. Marketing must be sustainable and scalable to be successful.

Many mistakenly assume that the majority of retail purchases are made online. Not true. In 2023, only 15.6% of all U.S. retail sales occurred online, according to Statista. Furthermore, 84% of Boomers prefer visiting a physical store for their shopping needs.

Understanding the mindset of Boomers, who grew up in a world devoid of technology, unveils a picture of their unique set of values and preferences. Growing up with catalogue shopping, green stamps, waiting for the mailman, service stations, rotary phones, telephone operators, sending postcards while traveling, adjusting the antenna on the single black-and-white TV, vinyl records, having milk delivered to a box on the front porch and getting news from Walter Cronkite has stamped an indelible set of values and preferences on them.

Not surprisingly, Boomers align with traditional values, are most comfortable with conventional communication, and value information from trusted sources.

Typically, three kinds of people go online for financial information: 1. Hot tip investors seeking the latest stock “intel,” 2. DIYers seeking “how to” information, and 3. Price-shopping penny pinchers seeking a deal. None of these are the kind of people who make the best long-term, loyal clients.

The ideal marketing medium

Direct mail aligns perfectly with the preferences of Boomers. They trust the tangible.

According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), 92% of Boomers check their mail daily, with 91% stating that sorting through mail doesn’t stress them. Furthermore, 82% express a greater likelihood of buying from a business that sends them direct mail, considering it more personal than digital communications. These statistics reinforce that Boomers trust direct mail more than any other marketing channel.

Even Google and other popular brands rely on direct mail to get businesses to advertise with them. In a 2018 Vox article, they report, “Yet over the last few years, brands — including hot, digitally savvy, direct-to-consumer ones like Casper, Harry’s, Wayfair, Rover, Quip, Away, Handy, and Modcloth — have taken to targeting customers in the mail.”

Better yet, mailboxes are less cluttered these days, which means less competition. As advertising spending overall grew 50% (2015-2021), the dollars that went into Direct Mail dropped 17%, per Statista.

Here are five keys to make for direct mail success

1. Personalize the mail: Make it unique — Craft your message as if it’s a letter written to a friend. Address the dreams, desires, and concerns of a Boomer. Make them feel seen and understood, establishing an immediate connection. Use their name, acknowledge their individuality, and tailor your communication to resonate on a personal level with authenticity and sincerity.

2. Invest in presentation: Make it hard to ignore — Design your mailing package to be visually arresting. Invest in quality paper, eye-catching graphics, and a layout that demands attention. A well-presented letter not only reflects professionalism but also intrigues prospects, urging them to want more.

3. Appeal to both the heart and the head: Mix emotion with reason – Strike a balance between emotional resonance and logical persuasion. Connect with them emotionally and support your claims with rational arguments, data, and evidence. This harmonious blend creates a persuasive narrative that speaks to both the heart and the head, leaving a lasting impact and setting you apart from the crowd.

4. Include high-value content – Provide information that adds genuine value. Offer statistics, trends, and insights that position you as a source of exclusive knowledge, elevating the perceived value of your message. By sharing relevant and intriguing content, you position yourself as an indispensable resource, fostering trust and credibility.

5. Use familiar analogies and metaphors – Communicate complex ideas using relatable analogies and metaphors. Create a bridge between unfamiliar concepts and your prospects’ existing knowledge. Analogies serve as mental shortcuts, making it easier for your reader to grasp the essence of your message. By using familiar comparisons, you enhance accessibility.

In a world barraged with online noise, the key to success with affluent Boomers lies in delivering messages that are normal, natural, and, above all, trusted by them. Financial advisors can unlock a deep gold mine of affluent Boomers with little competition by embracing direct mail and crafting personalized, engaging marketing.

By SCOTT KEFFER 

ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK® CONTRIBUTOR

CEO, Scott Keffer International. Scott Keffer is an Advisor Growth Coach, Best Selling Author and Keynote Speaker, who you may have seen in or on NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, CNBC, Worth, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, among others. Scott and his team help financial advisors DOUBLE their income with HALF the clients, staff and stress!

Sourced from Entrepreneur

By RICK ELMORE

Direct mail fundraising can resonate with millennials and Generation Z, but a refined approach to direct mail campaigns is in order.

Direct mail campaigns targeting young audiences can seem like a paradox in the digital age, but they are far from obsolete. Millennials and Gen Z expect more from brands, and direct mail that hits the mark on personalization, design, and digital integration can surprise and engage them. This article gives you the lowdown on how to create direct mail campaigns that resonate with a young demographic accustomed to filtering out digital noise.

UNDERSTANDING YOUNG AUDIENCES: WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY VALUE

To ensure a successful direct mail campaign, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of the specific audience being targeted. The younger generations, including millennials and Generation Z, highly value elements such as authenticity, sustainability, ethical consumption, and digital savvy when considering marketing efforts.

This age group sees trust in direct mail campaigns as significant and effective due to their appreciation of its tangible nature. Furthermore, this demographic views direct mail as an avenue for establishing emotional connections with brands.

The Millennial Mindset

Engaging millennials requires personalization, as it caters to their preference for genuineness, significant connections, and superior customer encounters. These individuals tend to trust physical documents, viewing direct mail as more reliable and authoritative compared to other forms of communication.

Generation Z: Digital Natives Craving Tangibility

On the flip side, Generation Z—also referred to as “digital natives”—spends a great deal of free time on online activities and multitasking with various devices. Nevertheless, they highly value tangible encounters with brands. They are particularly drawn towards businesses that showcase transparency, commitment, and offer real-life experiences that align with their values and offer genuine connection.

CRAFTING A DIRECT MAIL STRATEGY THAT RESONATES WITH YOUNGER CONSUMERS

In order to connect with younger consumers, a successful direct mail approach must include the following elements: personalization, handwritten correspondence, integration with digital platforms, and relevant content. These tactics effectively target younger audiences who prefer online shopping or in-store purchases through various digital channels. By making them feel valued, these techniques enhance engagement and brand loyalty.

Personalization Is Key

Direct mail has proven to be a powerful tool for personalization, as evidenced by the success of campaigns such as Trustpilot, Charity Navigator, Shopify, and NerdWallet. These companies have used direct mail in targeting millennials and Gen Z consumers with great results, increasing sales and garnering significant social media interaction.

These well-executed direct mail efforts have captured the attention of young consumers who are typically difficult to engage through traditional marketing methods. By tailoring their messages specifically to this demographic, these campaigns have not only worked, but companies have benefited.

Handwritten Mail: A Personal Touch

Handwritten direct mail can be integrated into direct mail initiatives through mechanically written letters and postcards. This approach allows businesses to maintain the personal element of mailed communication while reaching a wider audience. For businesses looking to streamline this process, services like SimplyNoted offer automated handwritten letter services that can help scale personal touch in direct mail campaigns.

Integrating with Digital Platforms

Integrating digital marketing platforms with direct mail strategies can pay off, drawing on the strengths of both methods and reaching a wider audience. This integration allows for personalized messaging and targeted tactics such as Personalized URLs (PURLs) or QR codes, resulting in a seamless customer experience that drives higher engagement rates and improved response levels.

Content That Connects

Crafting captivating content for direct mail initiatives includes:

  • Creating influential messaging;
  • Implementing responsive customer engagement and assistance;
  • Maintaining a genuine brand image;
  • Producing compelling and enjoyable material; and
  • Generating user-created posts through competitions and interactive endeavours.

It involves establishing an emotional bond with younger audiences while steering clear of common mistakes made by brands in their direct mail campaigns.

DESIGN ELEMENTS THAT DRIVE RESPONSE RATES IN YOUNG AUDIENCES

The success of direct mail campaigns targeting young audiences relies significantly on design components. These features should include captivating graphics, interactive elements, and environmentally friendly materials. By incorporating such elements into their marketing efforts, businesses can expect higher response rates from younger consumers.

Eye-Catching Visuals

The younger millennial generation is drawn to vibrant colors, distinctive typography, and captivating visuals that resonate and elicit powerful feelings. Companies such as Earth Hour have successfully incorporated visually appealing elements into their direct mail pieces in order to connect with a younger audience.

Interactive Features

Engaging young audiences through direct mail can be made more interactive and appealing by incorporating personalized elements, using QR codes for easy access to digital content, providing coupons for discounts or special offers, creating a storytelling experience through unboxing, and including other interactive components in the mail itself.

Eco-Friendly Materials

Eco-friendly materials have become increasingly important for younger audiences. This demographic has a strong desire for sustainable products and retail, so using environmentally friendly materials in direct mail campaigns can potentially increase direct mail response rates. By committing to sustainability, companies can appeal to this generation’s values and showcase their dedication through eco-conscious mail initiatives.

MAXIMIZING IMPACT: COMBINING DIRECT MAIL WITH OTHER MARKETING CHANNELS

Integrating direct mail campaigns with other marketing channels such as social media, email, and event-driven campaigns can greatly enhance their impact. By utilizing the strengths of each medium, these strategies enable a wider reach to potential audiences.

Leveraging Social Media Influence

Social media can be a powerful tool in targeting younger demographics through direct mail campaigns. When social media handles and hashtags are included on mail pieces, recipients are able to engage with the campaign on multiple platforms. This allows for wider visibility with audiences who may not have been reached solely through traditional direct mail methods.

Email and Direct Mail Synthesis

Using both email and direct mail can boost the success of marketing endeavours. To connect direct mail campaigns with in-store visits, it is important to include calls to action, QR code scans, and URL links, then monitor the response rates from these elements. These tactics help bridge the gap between traditional postal mailing and online communication methods, effectively driving traffic to stores.

Event-Driven Campaigns

Integrating personalized URLs and QR codes in direct mail can greatly enhance event-driven campaigns by linking physical mail and online content. By creating triggers for sending out direct mail based on consumers’ individual interactions or events, a campaign can be refined and improved.

SUMMARY

In summary, the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns has been proven in capturing the attention and engagement of younger audiences like millennials and Generation Z. With a thorough understanding of younger consumers and their unique characteristics and preferences, marketers can design targeted direct mail tactics that resonate with them.

By RICK ELMORE

Sourced from Philanthropy Daily

 

By Lisa Anthony 

These tools and apps have features that can help small-business owners automate marketing tasks and track the success of their efforts.

Marketing tools can help small businesses maximize their marketing efforts to reach customers, build their brand and drive sales. These tools — including online marketing services, digital platforms and apps — can provide automated features to improve efficiency, plus analytics and reporting to monitor your return on investment. Here’s a look at some of the best marketing tools.

Email marketing tools

Email marketing can be a cost-effective way for a small business to promote its brand, develop relationships with new customers and increase sales. Software can simplify the process through features such as email templates, A/B testing options, lead capture forms for your website, and reports. There are a lot of email marketing software platforms to choose from, but here are our top picks:

  • Mailchimp: Our pick for best overall email marketing software, Mailchimp’s paid plans offer templates, testing, landing pages, forms and reports as well as access to creative design tools and 24/7 support. Paid plans start at $13 per month, and there’s a free option with limited features.

  • Constant Contact: If you’re looking for a free trial, Constant Contact has one of the best — 60 days with no credit card information required. In addition to solid email features, it can help with social media marketing. Plans start at $12 per month.

  • Campaigner: For businesses that want a more advanced platform, Campaigner offers features such as a full code editor, conversion tracking, a Facebook audience builder and a getting started video tutorial. Plans start at $59 per month with a free 30-day trial.

Content marketing tools

Well-written, engaging content is key to a successful marketing campaign. These tools, which use artificial intelligence, can help you write content for blogs, newsletters, videos and social media posts to get the attention of your audience:

  • Simplified: Simplified offers free features such as a content rewriter tool, a company bio generator and an AI writing assistant, plus additional paid features that can help you create content for your website, blog and social media.

  • Grammarly Business: Grammarly can help you write mistake-free content for your website, social media, documents, messages and emails. The free plan offers basic features. Sentence rewrites, word choice options and other advanced features are available in the business version at $15 per month per person.

SMS marketing tools

Short Message Service, or SMS, marketing is a way for small businesses to share product information, promotions and upcoming events with their customers via text message. SMS marketing software can automate the process with design tools, website forms and other features. Here are our top picks:

  • SimpleTexting: Unlimited contacts and keywords, a graphic generator tool and template options are just some of the features that make SimpleTexting our top SMS marketing tool. Plans start at $29 per month with a free 14-day trial.

  • SlickText: For small businesses that want to use SMS for promotions, SlickText stands out for engagement features such as contests, surveys, promo codes, coupons and loyalty reward options. Plans start at $29 per month with a 14-day free trial available.

  • TextMagic: If a pay-as-you-go plan is better for your marketing budget, TextMagic lets you skip the monthly subscription fee and purchase prepaid credits that can be used when you want. Pricing starts at 4 cents per outgoing text, and a 30-day free trial is offered.

Website analytics tools

Understanding the behavior of visitors to your website allows you to optimize your content and reach your marketing goals of retaining customers, attracting new customers and increasing sales. The best analytics tools can help you look at key metrics such as page views and conversion rates and even offer details about competitors:

  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics offers free analytics and optimization tools to help you monitor the activity on your website. This includes acquisition, engagement and monetization reporting.

  • Lucky Orange: Lucky Orange is an optimization tool that provides analytics, but it also includes heat maps of user behavior, session recordings, surveys and visitor profiles at every plan level, including the free version. Paid plans start at $18 per month.

  • Semrush: For businesses looking for features such as competitor analysis and keyword research, Semrush offers them along with advertising and social media tools. Plans start at $119.95 monthly, and a free account is also available with limited features.

CRM tools

Customer relationship management, or CRM, tools do more than just store your contact database. The best CRM software can help you organize your contacts and collect information on potential customers interested in your products and services. Some software also has features that can help you manage a sales team.

  • Zoho CRM: Our top CRM pick offers features to help you collect and sort data, schedule tasks, manage sales pipelines and generate reports. Plans start at $20 per user per month, and a free version with full features is available for teams of three or fewer.

  • Salesforce CRM: This is a platform that can grow with your small business and includes features such as lead management, automatic data syncs and customizable reports. Plans start at $25 per user per month, and free trials are available at most plan levels.

  • Freshsales by Freshworks: For small businesses working on a tight budget, Freshsales’ Growth plan is free and allows for up to three CRM users. It includes solid features, such as personalized messages, contact scoring and sales management tools. Paid plans start at $18 per user per month with a 21-day free trial.

Digital marketing tools

When you’re using digital marketing methods to promote your small business and brand, software can help you automate your efforts and also track your return on investment.

  • Constant Contact: In addition to email marketing tools, Constant Contact also has features to assist you with social media marketing, digital ads and engagement reporting. Plans start at $12 per month.

  • Hubspot: After purchasing a plan, you’ll have access to email marketing tools, a landing page builder and an online form builder along with features that help you track performance. Marketing Hub plans start at $50 per month.

  • Keap: For businesses that want dedicated support, Keap offers customer-success managers at all plan levels to help you meet your digital marketing goals. Plans start at $189 per month.

Social media marketing tools

When you’re using multiple social media platforms to engage customers, reach new audiences and generate brand awareness, digital tools can make the management of your efforts easier through features such as automated scheduling, calendars and channel boosting.

  • Buffer: For businesses on a tight budget with three or fewer social channels, Buffer’s free plan may be the right fit for you. Post scheduling, calendar view, Instagram tagging, Twitter hashtag suggestions and Facebook page mentions are some notable features. Paid plans start at $6 per month per channel.

  • Zoho Social: If you’re managing one brand on 10 or fewer social media channels, Zoho Social offers multichannel publishing, content scheduling, an image editor, a publishing calendar, user tagging and summary reports. Plans start at $15 per month, and there’s a free version for one user.

  • Hootsuite: If you want an app with few limits and advanced features, check out Hootsuite. Notable features include unlimited posts, unlimited scheduling, a social content calendar, recommended publishing times, content curation tools, post boosting and analytics. Plans start at $99 per month, and a 30-day free trial is offered.

Design tools

Design tools can make it easier to create visually appealing graphics and videos for your marketing efforts. The best tools offer templates, image libraries and photo editing.

  • Canva Business: With built-in tools like a drag-and-drop editor, customizable templates, AI-powered design tools and free photos and graphics, Canva is a top pick. A free plan is available, and paid options start at $12.99 per month per person.

  • Adobe Lightroom: If you’re taking photos of your product or team to share on your website, social platforms or other marketing materials, Adobe Lightroom offers editing tools, tutorials and cloud storage. Plans start at $9.99 per month.

Direct mail marketing tools

While not as popular as digital marketing, sending postcards, flyers, catalogs and other types of direct mail marketing materials through the U.S. Postal Service to a customer’s physical mailbox can help your business stand out from competitors. Here are some tools that can help you do it:

  • USPS: The Every Door Direct Mail, or EDDM, tool can help you plan your mailing of postcards, menus and flyers. It offers filtering options and the ability to map routes and select delivery addresses — plus, postage discounts are available for most businesses.

  • Mailchimp: With an address finder and direct mail campaign automation, Mailchimp can help you send postcards to promote events, announce deals and provide other information to customers and potential buyers. Cost per card (with postage) ranges from $1.03 to 79 cents, based on quantity.

  • Click2Mail: If you want more than postcards for your direct-mailing efforts, Click2Mail offers flyers, letters, notecards, booklets and brochures, plus tools that can help automate the printing and mailing process. Price varies depending on mailing.

Project management tools

Project management software can help you manage your marketing projects from start to finish. The best ones help you break marketing projects into manageable tasks with assigned deadlines and offer customizable dashboards to track progress.

  • Jira: For businesses with small teams of 10 users or fewer, Jira’s free plan offers unlimited project boards and customizable workflows, plus reporting and insights. Paid plans start at $7.75 per user per month.

  • Monday: Designed for marketing and creative work, paid Monday Work Management plans offer unlimited dashboards and items to track tasks, projects, customers and any other information you want. Paid plans start at $8 per user per month, and a free version supports two users and limited items.

  • Asana: If you want to track more than marketing projects, Asana can help you manage a variety of different projects with list, board, calendar and timeline views. Plans start at $13.49 per user per month, with a free option available with basic features.

» MORE: Free or low-cost ways to advertise your business

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By Lisa Anthony 

Lisa is a small-business writer at NerdWallet and has more than 20 years of experience in banking and finance. Read more

Edited by Christine Aebischer

Sourced from nerdwallet

By Joy Gendusa

What is direct mail automation, and how can it benefit your business? Here’s an in-depth guide.

Automation has made many aspects of our lives easier, both professionally and personally. If you’ve ever used dictation to send a text or have separate “home” and “away” settings on your smart doorbell, you’ve likely benefited from automation.

When most people think of automation, they think digital. But automation has evolved to help us in the offline world, where its effects can be felt all the more keenly.

Case in point: Research shows that direct mail messaging has a deeper, more significant impact on our emotions than digital alone, resulting in stronger recall a full week later. Participants in the same study also demonstrated more neurological activity when interacting with direct mail versus online-based ads.

Translation? Humans are hard-wired to respond to tangible — as opposed to digital — stimulation. Leveraging it at key points in your marketing and sales funnel could be the key to unlocking untapped revenue.

Not only do I use direct mail automation in my own business, but I’ve also mailed 23.2 million automated mail pieces on behalf of clients nationwide, so I know what it takes to create and run a successful campaign. Here are some basics to get you started on the right foot…

What is direct mail automation, and what can I do with it?

Direct mail automation is a technology that automatically prints and mails postcards, letters or other offline material based on a pre-programmed trigger. It also goes by the names “triggered mail” or “programmatic direct mail.”

Triggers can be programmed from your website, CRM (customer relationship management system), or a third-party source like Zapier, and these triggers can be based on behaviour, data or timing — or any combination thereof. Contact details aren’t even required in some cases; the automation handles that for you while protecting everyone’s privacy.

Some examples of direct mail automation:

Ecommerce retailers can target browsers that abandon their shopping carts. The next day, those shoppers receive a postcard from you with a 15% off promotion to nudge them back online to finish their purchase. You can also target all website visitors regardless of whether your website has a shopping cart or not, though I suggest targeting people who spend at least 30 seconds on your site. This is usually called “direct mail retargeting” and works just like digital retargeting, but offline.

A moving and storage company could target homeowners whose homes were just placed under contract. Even inaction could trigger a mailer. Let’s say that as soon as a customer hits the 3-month mark of inactivity, they get a postcard in the mail to remind them to give you a call or make a purchase.

There are so many ways you can take advantage of this technology to bring in more leads and keep your current customers engaged. I recommend you analyse your customer base and existing funnel and ask yourself a few things. Are there any noticeable commonalities among my customers that I can take advantage of? Is there any point in my funnel where a large number of people drop out? These places are likely prime opportunities to add direct mail automation.

How does direct mail automation work?

I don’t want to get too technical because, if you ask me, it isn’t how direct mail automation works that’s important — it’s more about what it can do for your business.

That said, most people still want to get a little peek under the hood to see how the magic happens.

Automated direct mail is possible thanks to something called an API, which stands for Application Programming Interface. In plain English, an API is basically how one software program talks to another software program, a bit like a translator.

With direct mail automation, you’re telling a software program what to do. For example: When someone spends more than 30 seconds on my website, send this postcard. If someone calls me once and we don’t speak again for a week, send this other postcard.

From there, the software connected to your website (if you want to target visitors) or your CRM (if you want to target one-time callers) needs to be able to speak directly to the software that will trigger your mailing. This is where the API comes in — it makes it possible for your website to tell a printing press what to mail and who to mail it to. It’s just following your directions!

Automation allows you to do the work of setting up the marketing one time, and then you can let it run on auto for as long as you like.

If only 20 people visit your website a month, then you only have to pay for 20 postcards. If you’re concerned about sending out too many cards a month and overextending your budget, you can also set up limits. So, if you can only afford to mail 500 cards a month, then once the system registers you’ve hit your 500th card, it will stop mailing.

Probably the most important benefit of triggered mail is that every mailer is hyper-targeted to the prospect you want to convert. In many cases, the recipients are warm leads who have already shown some kind of interest in your products or services — now you can strike while the iron is hot without lifting a finger.

How do I choose an automated mail provider?

Not all mail automation providers are the same, so you need to do your research and ask a lot of questions before handing over your credit card.

The first thing to look for is print quality. Some direct mail automation providers only specialize in the software/API, meaning they don’t actually print anything. Instead, they farm out printing and mailing to a network of providers (often prioritizing lower costs over quality). This can result in a lack of quality control.

Ideally, you’d want to work with an automation provider that doesn’t outsource the real work to third parties, because if something goes wrong, you’ll need direct support to handle the issue.

Another thing to be wary of is cost, of course. Some direct mail automation providers will charge “tech fees” on top of the usual costs associated with printing and mailing — this is where they have a chance to generate their own profits, rather than just skimming a little off the top of every mailer. If you’re working directly with a print and mail house, you’ll likely find zero tech fees.

You also want to consider your options for the design of your mailer. Every direct mail automation provider will allow you to upload your own design, but there are benefits to using a template instead, especially if it’s professionally designed and results-based.

At my business, PostcardMania, we’ve delivered more than 250,000 direct mail campaigns and mailed more than 2 billion postcards over 25 years in business. That experience has allowed us to fine-tune a design formula that prioritizes real returns. The result is a gallery of industry-specific templates based on designs that have been road-tested to generate calls, clicks and revenue — like this real estate investor who made $70,000 after mailing a little more than 100 automated postcards over the course of a year. Often, a proven design translates to a greater likelihood of bringing in more revenue.

I’ve often witnessed small business owners throw their money away on low-quality mailers that didn’t live up to their expectations. So, if you invest a little more in an experienced mail provider that is an expert in automation, you’re much more likely to see results.

What are the steps to start my first direct mail automation campaign?

Once you’ve shopped around and found the direct mail automation provider you want to work with, you’ll want to set up an account and get started by connecting your account to your website or CRM. Each platform has its own steps and processes you’ll need to complete to make this happen, so I won’t be able to walk you through it step-by-step from here. Hopefully, you’ve chosen a provider that makes it easy to set up your first order and can provide support if needed.

I suggest testing your connections in a controlled environment all the way through to mailer delivery before turning them loose on your live website or CRM. That way, you’ll be able to test the automation for design, messaging, timing, print quality and more by just paying per mailer. The more mail your automation triggers per week or month, the more your price per piece should go down.

Once you’re happy with your automation, set a weekly budget and check back often to track the incoming results.

It shouldn’t be a headache. With this technology in place, you’ll impress customers, get ahead of your competition and foster a growing and thriving business that is attentive to every customer’s needs.

By Joy Gendusa

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor. Founder/CEO of PostcardMania. Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998 with just a phone & a computer (no funding or investments), and today we generate $97M annually with 365 staff. I’m passionate about helping small businesses succeed at marketing and grow — because when small business does well, we all win.

Sourced from Entrepreneur

Sourced from The Drum

This month’s Ideal Insights from Adstra highlights privacy issues and growing trends on the national and state level.

“Renewal is not just innovation and change. It is also the process of bringing the results of change into line with our purposes.” — John W. Gardner

This month’s update

As the world around us is starting to awaken from the pandemic, so too is the level of marketing we are seeing at our clients. We are seeing increases with our clients on both our direct mail and digital audience activities. Interestingly enough, we are also seeing an increase in combined direct mail and digital marketing campaigns. On our Non-profit side, we are seeing more than twice the number of multi-channel campaigns than we have in either of the last two years. So, what is driving this interest? Multi-channel or omnichannel marketing has always been one of those often discussed but has yet to catch fire ideas. While we cannot offer a definitive answer, we can certainly provide some insight and guidance behind the recent increase in efforts.

First up, the need to solve the impact of the announced postal increases. While digital marketers fear the impending changes of cookie deprecation and MAID tracking, direct mail marketers fear the announced cost increases in postal and printing rates. The return on direct mail campaigns is equally driven by response rates and executional costs. Marketers can adjust to small changes in cost but are challenged by major shifts like those proposed. Direct mail certainly has a place for marketers in the future, but it needs an enhancement to make the ROIs continue to work at scale and enable access to newer and younger audiences.

Second up, marketers are faced with the continuous shift away from engagement with mail by the younger generations and the bifurcation of consumers’ attention across multiple media channels. No single media has the scale of mindshare and engagement to make many traditional marketing approaches work. The walled gardens certainly offer some of the best opportunities to engage customers, but it is often on the garden’s terms and eliminates most of a brand’s ability to effectively manage the communication journey. For those brands that can exist off the older traditional direct mail audience, they can still get by, but the runway is shortening as that audience continues to age out of the business sweet spot. Never is this more true than in the non-profit space, where organizations are desperate to find younger donors and secure their long-term relevancy.

Together these two factors are driving the need to try something new. And this is where multi-channel campaigns fit in. Direct mail still has the many benefits of delivering the relevant materials to help convert customers to buy or donate, but digital offers the low-cost opportunity to build brand awareness and stimulate the discussion around a potential purchase or donation. Like anything that is new, however, success on multi-channel campaigns has been limited. In many instances, we see brands simply declare that it just doesn’t work.

Much of this we believe has to do with the starting audiences. Models tuned to direct mail response often misrepresent the value or promise of digitally engaged prospects. And digitally defined audiences do not reflect the ability to engage in a direct mail piece. Brands need to start the audience definition process anew, just like they might with any new product launch. If you haven’t looked into or understand how a multivariate test works, we might suggest educating yourself here. There needs to be far more testing of ideas and approaches before declaring multi-channel marketing as a no-go. Marketers need to better understand the entire customer engagement process and make sure their campaigns fully and effectively support that engagement.

For many campaigns, marketers see the digital component as simply brand awareness building and the direct mail piece still as the method of transaction. But in some cases, and with some audiences, it may be better to invert the thinking. Couldn’t the direct mail piece be the brand awareness piece and the digital component of the transaction vehicle? The problem with this scenario for many brands is that their websites are not tuned to transact but rather to support the company’s broader brand-building efforts.

In one of our client’s recent tests, we saw a 250-300% increase in traffic to their website out of the campaign, but effectively no increase in conversion. This was a clear case of opportunity missed because the website was not set up to close the deal. The overall campaign results showed no lift in performance, but it was clear this was more a self-inflicted failure vs a failure of the campaign itself.

In thinking about customer engagement, we would also point out here the need for consistency and alignment in messaging among channels. Where the messages are aligned at the individual level, brands are far more likely to see success than in those situations where they are not. For one publisher client of ours, they were able to drive an 80+% lift in direct mail performance for an insurance company they were working with by supporting the highlights of the direct mail materials and telling customers to keep a lookout for the mail piece. Given the success of that campaign, the publisher tried to support their own direct mail subscription offers digitally, only to find out they depressed response rates around 20%. The reason, the direct mail piece had long been designed to look like a “bill”, so customers simply paid for the subscription. By raising awareness in the digital campaign that it was an “offer”, not a “bill”, the response lift is driven by a sense of obligation disappeared.

Overall, our experience suggests that if you stay aligned and consistent in messaging at an individual level you should expect to see a 5-20% improvement in ROI. And we believe that will only get better as experience and ability to market at an individual level improve. As we learn more through the campaigns we have in the market now with our clients, we will continue to report back on the successes and failures. There is a future in multi-channel marketing, we just need to get there together.

Privacy highlights on the national level

Senators Amy Klobuchar, John Kennedy, Joe Manchin, and Richard Burr introduced the Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act of 2021. The bill would “give consumers the right to opt-out and keep their information private by disabling data tracking and collection” and “mandate that users be notified of a breach of their information within 72 hours,” the sponsors said. The Verge, Gizmodo, andArs Technica reported on the bill.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the Data Protection Act of 2021, which would create an independent Data Protection Agency to “protect Americans’ data, safeguard their privacy, and ensure data practices that are fair and transparent.” The legislation expands on similar legislation the Senator introduced last year. “In today’s digital age, Big Tech companies are free to sell individuals’ data to the highest bidder without fear of real consequences, posing a severe threat to modern-day privacy and civil rights. A data privacy crisis is looming over the everyday lives of Americans and we need to hold these bad actors accountable,” said Senator Gillibrand.

R Street called on Congress to take steps to protect Americans’ data from its adversaries by passing a federal data security law and data privacy law. A white paper published by the group “seeks to reframe the need for data security and privacy legislation to acknowledge a stark reality.

Greg Bensinger, a member of The New York Times editorial board, cited the 6% of U.S. daily users who have opted into data collection on Apple’s latest software update as evidence of consumers’ demand for more privacy. “Consumers have no federal rights to privacy, leaving tech companies to put in place policies as they see fit. And critics allege Apple may be coming out with the changes to get ahead of regulatory pressure and an ongoing antitrust lawsuit over its app store. Advertising is only a small part of Apple’s business, meaning it can afford to take a cut in revenue while sticking it to competitors. Ironically, Apple will have to act even more like a regulator itself to ensure that app developers are following the rules of its new software,” he wrote. “Companies did just fine for decades marketing to consumers without access to their every movement or keyboard and mouse click. And with 94 percent of Americans saying they liked it that way, it’s time for advertisers to listen.”

Consumer concerns about data privacy and the need to meet regulatory requirements like GDPR are the main barriers to growth in mobile marketing, according to WARC’s survey of over 500 marketing professionals in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

Privacy highlights on the state level

Connecticut – Bloomberg Law, Connecticut Post, and Hartford Courant reported on failed efforts to include data privacy legislation in omnibus budget legislation in Connecticut.

New York – Legislation that would require companies to obtain opt-in consent from consumers before processing their data for ad targeting and would allow class-action lawsuits over violations was approved by the Senate Consumer Protection Committee in New York.

As we are constantly trying to feed helpful content out to our client community, we encourage you to visit our content blog where you can get our latest thoughts on industry issues. While you are there, you can also check out the new look and feel of our website. Our goal was to provide a clearer understanding of Identity, Data, and all the services we have to offer.

Should you look for more help on these topics, please reach out and we would be happy to help. Email us at [email protected]

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Sourced from The Drum

By

Brands that use direct mail as well as email can send triggered postal campaigns, thanks to a new integration between PostcardMania and Zapier.

The service is available to users of over 238 CRMs and marketing platforms, including Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive and Acuity Scheduling, PostcardMania says.

Brands can add trigger-based direct mail to marketing pipelines and funnels on an ongoing basis, the company says.

Zapier allows users without technical skills to connect unrelated web applications such as their chosen CRM and PostcardMania’s API, it adds.

Presumably, a triggered direct mail campaign would work best when done in tandem with a triggered email effort.

In one potential use cited by PostcardMania, a local gym can send a triggered postcard to someone who signed up for a free one-day trial pass, saying, “John, here is your 1-day trial pass to your local gym. Thanks for signing up!”

Such businesses can send such personalized postcards for $0.55 to all new leads added to their CRM, regardless of low numbers. This would have been impossible in the past, the firm claims.

By

Sourced from MediaPost

Direct mail is experiencing something of a renaissance, with innovation and more robust measurement giving this traditional medium a new lease of life.

After years of fire-fighting to dispel myths about its effectiveness and measurement, direct marketing – and in particular direct mail – is enjoying something of a revival.

Industry and creative innovation is re-engaging advertisers and media agencies that had perhaps fallen out of love with this traditional medium. While the arrival of the Joint Industry Committee for Mail (JICMail) the audience data standard in January adds another layer of authority to the channel.

The numbers are looking positive too. After a period of decline, direct mail ad spend rose 5.9% year on year during the third quarter of 2017, according to the latest data from the Advertising Association and Warc. It is the third largest media channel in the UK after online and TV, with annual ad spend standing at £1.7bn in 2016, and while spend was down 9.1% between 2015 and 2016, it is predicted to rise 0.9% in 2017.

Separate data from IPA TouchPoints suggest it is well received too, given 38% of people buy or order something after reading mail and 87% of adults keep some mail for longer than one month.

Not surprisingly, the direct marketing industry is full of confidence and determined to get its voice heard in 2018.

New data audience standard

The launch of JICMail has already brought renewed focus to direct mail. A joint venture between the DMA, IPA, ISBA, Royal Mail and postal operator Whistl, it is designed to encourage best practice and provide brands and media agencies with more robust measurement of mail readership, reach and the frequency of exposure to each item.

Run in a similar way to BARB’s data on TV audiences, a nationally representative sample 1,000 people operated by Kantar TNS will photograph the mail that comes through their letterbox and record what action they take over a four-week period.

For geographic targeting it provides the most accurate approach and can deliver something tangible which other forms of media cannot.

Patricia Lavender, Thames Water

Despite the positive mood, the DMA’s managing director Rachel Aldighieri is not complacent. She says there is still work to be done, including the need to demonstrate that direct mail campaigns are not hard to implement or measure.

“2018 will be about elevating the craft of direct mail,” she says. “You only have to look at the DMA Awards to see how mail campaigns can be beautifully crafted around the copy, images and even the material used.”

Ikea created an embroidery-style mailing to resemble an email

She cites retailer Ikea’s embroidery cross-stitch mailing, which resembled an email. It was created by agency LIDA and sent to Ikea’s loyalty scheme members to encourage more people to sign up for marketing emails.

“Best practice means being creative and memorable but avoiding being gimmicky,” says Aldighieri. “You have to think about the customer benefit and entice, intrigue and entertain those being targeted.”

GDPR is nearing

The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May could be good news for direct mail.

As both processors and controllers of personal data, direct marketers need to be aware of how GDPR will affect them, but Aldighieri is convinced it provides opportunities for brands to be more innovative with data.

Door drops are already proving a useful way to get consumer permission, particularly for charities. According to JICMail data, 61% of all door drops opened are read, looked or glanced at, and the average door drop is shared two or three times within a household.

“GDPR is a chance for the industry to transform how it operates and, rather than scaremongering about fines, it is a chance to talk to brands about the potential for mail and what can be achieved if you are more creative,” says Aldighieri.

READ MORE: How Cancer Research UK is preparing for GDPR

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has confirmed brands do not need consent for postal marketing if they can use legitimate interests. The Data Protection Network has a test that marketers can use. There are also concerns that cold data will not be as widely available and worries about fines are real, but the ICO has said it will be a pragmatic regulator.

Ripe for innovation

Direct marketing is a channel which has had to innovate in recent years. The launch of the JICMail audience data standard is regarded as a game changer by many in the industry, while the use of programmatic direct mail is getting marketers excited.

The ability to send personalised direct mail to potential customers who have abandoned an online basket or browsed particular pages is motivating many brands.

Royal Mail is supporting tech startup Paperplanes in this area. The company is able to track customers’ online behaviour and deliver personalised mail within 48 hours to nudge people into making a purchase.

Tyre giant Continental has been testing the technology. Its resellers were becoming frustrated by too many lapsed customers so the brand’s business optimisation manager Jeff Book decided to run specific, personalised campaigns. Relevant deals were offered based on historic transactional data and the store customers usually visited.

Programmatic direct mail re-engaged lapsed customers and boosted sales of tyre checks, wheel alignment, servicing and MOTs. One retailer saw a 20% increase in MOT bookings within 12 days thanks to the targeted mail reminders.

“This technology has enabled us to completely re-invent the way we engage with our end customers through direct mail,” says Book. “It is important we can help our smaller distributors, and the conversion rates and increased sales revenues have been impressive.”

One brand seeing benefits from more traditional direct mail is Thames Water, which is using the channel to convey complex behavioural change messages to customers.

Senior marketing manager Patricia Lavender worked with agency 23red to create the brand’s ‘Bin It – Don’t Block It’ campaign. The aim was to stop pipes being blocked by fat, oil and grease. Nearly 600,000 mailers were sent up to three times to 225,000 homes to provide advice and give people a free container to collect fat.

“Providing advice and the container shows that direct mail can still be relevant, engaging and memorable as well as heightening awareness of an important issue,” says Lavender. “We had 69% spontaneous recall of people seeing or hearing of the campaign through direct mail.”

Thames Water says 90% of recipients said the mail made them think the company was educating people, and 87% said receiving it made them consider how they dispose of fat, oil and grease. More than 80% had or said they would use the fat trap.

“Direct mail complements and reinforces out of home and digital messages within customers’ homes where that ‘bad’ behaviour takes place,” says Lavender. “For geographic targeting it provides the most accurate approach and can deliver something tangible which other forms of media cannot.”

The renewed interest in direct mail is obviously welcomed by Royal Mail, and MarketReach managing director Jonathan Harman is particularly optimistic.

“We are benefiting from a reappraisal of the media mix and a need for more transparency in marketing and advertising,” he says. “We are putting new standards in place for how mail works and have good incentives for mail users.”

He says innovations such as programmatic direct mail are busting the myth that mail is slow, while brands are getting a better understanding of consumer attitudes to direct mail.

“Marketers have more knowledge of how people value well-crafted mail containing relevant information,” he says. “Mail underpins a multi-media campaign and brands should always look at the price per impression because mail is passed on.”

Sourced from Marketing Week

By Laura Forer

The two biggest misconceptions about direct mail, according to an infographic by direct marketing company US Presort, are that it is challenging to track results and it is too expensive.

But the reality, the infographic explains, is that direct mail has become more easily trackable since the USPS applied the Intelligent Mail Barcode, which allows marketers to follow every piece to a prospect’s mailbox. And the CPA (cost per acquisition) can be just slightly above that of email.

However, direct marketing needn’t be an isolated tactic or channel. The graphic lists others—including call-tracking, email, and social media—that can be integrated with direct to create a seamless multichannel marketing campaign.

For instance, 42% of direct mail recipients prefer to respond online, the infographic claims, and brands that invest an extra 25% in additional channels double their response rates, on average.

To see more about how direct marketing fits into your multichannel approach, check out the infographic:

By Laura Forer 

Sourced from MarketingProfs

By Bruce Rogers

A Series of Forbes Insights Profiles of Thought Leaders Changing the Business Landscape: Lewis Gersh, Founder and CEO, PebblePost

Direct mail—the physical kind that gets delivered by a person to a physical address is not going away any time soon.  Despite the shift to digital, direct marketers still spent nearly $50 billion last year on the channel in the U.S. alone, according to eMarketer. Now along comes PebblePost, which enables marketers to marry the best of digital marketing with the impact of physical direct mail.  PebblePost’s founder and CEO, Lewis Gersh calls it “programmatic direct mail.”

“We invented programmatic direct mail. We have a trademark on it. When I was talking about this three years ago, people were saying, ‘Well, what the hell does that mean?’ And mostly we were kicked to the curb with it.  Now marketers are telling us that we’ve created the first new channel since search and social, which if that’s true, we’ll take that to the bank for decades,” says Gersh, an entrepreneur turned longtime investor in the digital marketing and adtech space, now back to CEO and operator to bring this vision to fruition.

Just like there are programmatic or automated means to combine data on audience segments and digital channels to buy targeted display, email, online video and other digital advertising formats with little need of human intervention, PebblePost created a fully integrated digital platform for campaign management tools, real-time analytics, next day optimization capabilities, collateral uploads and changes, AB testing, frequency capping, suppression, control groups, all in a digital interface. Now output is a piece of tangible media mailed to an actual person with a physical address.

For example, according to Gersh, PebblePost can transform digital activity on a website into a postal address and dynamically render a personalized physical piece of direct mail zip-sorted into a postal hub in under 24 hours fully automated every day. “It’s much more than just a presence on the site, then send out a piece of standard collateral. There’s some direct mail shops that do that kind of thing. What we do is all the behavioral hierarchies. Did you browse, keyword search and cart abandon? What was the page-level information? There are progressive hierarchies, so, for example, browsing for a blazer scores differently than cart abandoning socks. Whatever the goal is for that campaign, we then go to our campaign management system after collecting all that front-end site activity and we run frequency capping, suppression, AB testing, control groups, audience tagging, etc.  After that, we go to our address graph where we’re able to convert about 70% of that digital activity into a postal address,” says Gersh.

PebblePost then dynamically renders a pre-production print file on a zip-sorted basis across all of that activity, all of those addresses, all matched to the appropriate collateral which is then sent through an API to digital printers. Those pieces of collateral come out of the printer and into a postal hub every day in under 24 hours from that online activity. About 1,500 site events are processed to assign and create each piece of mail.

 While PebblePost doesn’t own the digital printers themselves, they integrate their software with many of largest digital printers. Marketers can then track the tangible media back to purchase behavior and close the loop on measuring the return on their marketing investment. The company is building a database of first-party data from its customers that gets anonymized and is used to enhance their system so everything gets more efficient and match rates go up.

“No one has ever done it before. Display advertising today generates on average a .02% response rate on all impressions compared to direct mail’s 1%. PebblePost averages 8% to 10% of all mail sent results in a purchase.  That’s eight times more effective than traditional direct mail and about 400 times more effective than digital,” says Gersh. “We’ve created an opportunity that has more revenue potential than AdWords.”  Google’s AdWords business now represents some $80 billion in annual revenue.

The New York City-based PebblePost is growing fast and working to expand.  It has taken on $23 million in venture funding over three rounds, most notably from RRE Ventures, Greycroft and Tribeca Venture Partners. Over his career, Gersh has been more investor than operator, but sees PebblePost as the opportunity of his lifetime and is committed to personally growing the business as CEO.

“I’ve been in this space for 20 years and built the largest portfolio of retargeters of any fund in the country. I founded a venture fund at the seed stage, with $150 million under management, investing in about 65 companies, half of which were ad retargeters. I led investments in companies like FetchBack, Chango, Tapad, Sailthru, Movable Ink, Mass Relevance, iSocket, 33Across and others that are leaders in the space.”

According to Gersh, 90% of buyer intent data is online, yet 90% of purchase decisions are made in home and 90% of purchases are made in store. “How else do you go from digital into the home where somebody can examine something and save it for considered purchase to then drive them to a store or drive them online or to an 800 number? I think we’re the only game in town. You can try to do it across device and catch them at home but efficacy is poor,” he says.

Gersh grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York where his parents had a public relations and promotions company. They were in the music industry, representing big name music acts like The Who, Blondie, Ray Charles, AC/DC, Meatloaf and others. The family then moved to Glen Ridge, New Jersey.  He went to high school at a boarding school in Sedona, Arizona, then on to college in Santa Cruz and then San Diego State where he was captain of the triathlon team, completed Ironman competitions and lived in New Zealand and Australia for a couple years after graduation.

“My parents were really big about pushing me into adventure. I spent my summers working on commercial fishing boats in the Bering Sea and a horse ranch in Colorado.”  He then settled down to a more conventional academic life. He went back to law school. Got a doctorate in intellectual property law from the University of New Hampshire.  His entrepreneurial life began after moving back to New York to work for John O’Donnell, who had built Sony Home Video, Sony Laser Optics, Sony Motion Pictures and Sony Music Video when he left to start his own venture named Worldly Information Network.

“I went to work for John as general counsel and met the founders of AOL through one of our investors Mitsui.  I then started Worldly Investor, which was a joint venture with AOL and Omnicom in 1998. “We became the largest provider of free investing newsletters on the web and were on track to deliver a billion transmits of email in 2000. And back then a billion was a lot. After I sold the company in 2002, I used the leftover office space and became the “accidental” VC. I started an angel investing firm called Gersh Venture Partners, later changing the name to Metamorphic Ventures, and after that adding partners. I had my first hit with IndustryBrains which was the first B2B cost-per-click ad network. And then after that had success with FetchBack, Chango, Tapad, Sailthru and all these great retargeting companies,” says Gersh.

But Gersh missed the operating side. He left the fund in 2014.  “I wanted to discover a new way to leverage programmatic — my definition which is ‘data-driven decisioning with high levels of automation that continuously enhance the efficiency and efficacy of the marketer’s goal.’ So, one day I was at my farm upstate on my tractor cutting hay in a field and the idea started gelling and I called a buddy of mine who eventually helped found PebblePost, and said, ‘Think I got a big idea, let’s grab a beer.’ The rest is history.”

“It’s so ironic that after 20 years of my life building the largest portfolio of digital retargeters, to leave to go back to the operating side to bring innovation to digital and direct mail, my friends are like, ‘Dude, are you sure?’  I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.”

Bruce H. Rogers is the co-author of the recently published book Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Service Firms Become Thought Leaders

By Bruce Rogers

I write a column on thought leaders changing the business landscape and am the Chief Insights Officer for Forbes Media responsible for managing Forbes’ Insights thought leadership research division, as well as the Forbes CMO Practice. I am the co-author of “Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Services Firms Become Thought Leaders” now available on Amazon http://amzn.to/OETmMz as the previously published “In the Line of Money: Branding Yourself Strategically to the Financial Elite” available on Amazon http://amzn.to/AuHRN9

Sourced from Forbes

Photo courtesy of PebblePost. Lewis Gersh, Founder and CEO, PebblePost