Archive for June, 2013

Make Graphics and Colour Sell!

When you think about marketing that packs a punch, your thoughts most likely turn to the list, the pitch, and the incentives. But when it comes to the design, how much thought do you put into your images and the colour of your graphics? As long as they look good, is that enough? No! One of the secrets to powerhouse selling is knowing how images and colour influence the buying decision.


Graphics have better recall than words, so they are a critical part of the mix. Your target audience will remember the images, even if they don’t remember the text, so your images have to do more than look pretty. You need to select images that communicate the same message you are communicating through your copy.

Colour is an emotional trigger, as well. Every shade has both a positive and a negative connotation, however, so it needs to be selected carefully.  For example . . .


  • Red is a dominant colour that might successfully evoke an image of love and passion, but it might tap into the darker feelings of rage and violence, too.


  • Green can stimulate thoughts of money and self-actualization, but greed and envy are associated with this hue, as well.


  • Yellow is associated with happiness and joy, but if you are marketing products to men, it can be seen as childish and inappropriate for merchandise associated with prestige.


Great marketing starts with a relevant list and a great message, but they only tell half the story. Pair a great list and powerful message with an understanding of the critical roles of graphics and colour and your efforts will be outstanding.

Smart Strategies for Maximizing Print

All around us, we hear about the benefits of going paperless. When it comes to marketing, that’s just not a smart move. When our in-boxes are clogged with spam and any company can look big and successful online, print carries a gravitas that inspires confidence and trust.

Now is not the time to give up print.

But smart marketers are making their print contacts even more powerful.


1. Focus on recent customers. Clients who have purchased from you recently know who you are. They just need a simple reminder, such as a postcard or sell sheet, to give them a reason to buy from you again. If you’re looking to stretch your marketing dollars, focus on recent customers first.


2. Know your top customers. Pay particular attention to retaining customers with the highest profit margin. Then target prospects with similar profiles with the presumption that you will be able to serve them profitably as well. If you don’t know who your top customers are, a proactive investment in data analysis can reap big returns.


3. Be relevant. You can only satisfy buyer motivations if you understand what your prospects love and hate—their hearts’ true desires and what keeps them awake at night. Knowing your customers and engaging in sincere dialogue about what they want and why they want it will pay off in repeat sales and quality referrals.


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

And hot on the heels of my last post….

Personalization Creates 30% Lift

Looking for proof that personalization works? Consider the case of one historical museum that used personalization to create a lift in donations of 30%

For the past decade, the museum had been using direct mail as its primary way to solicit donations. After years of success, however, effectiveness was starting to wane. The museum wondered if personalizing the message to each recipient would breathe new life into its efforts.

To find out, the museum split its mailing in half.  To the first half, it sent a traditional static newsletter. To the second half, it sent a personalized newsletter. Personalization included the person’s name, the state in which they lived, the number of charter members in that state, and prefilled the response forms to make sending in a donation easier. The results?

  • Among those actively contributing, response rates increased 30%.
  • Among less active but still donating members, response rates increased 25%.
  • Among both active and less active members, the value of the donations increased.

Why did this campaign work?

In this case, personalization taps into the recipient’s sense of responsibility to the organization. “They know me — they are relying on me,” not just as an anonymous donor, but as someone the museum relies on by name.  When you call someone by name, there is a responsibility that comes with that, especially in the world of fundraising.

Including the number of charter members in the recipient’s state also taps into the sense of collective responsibility. “Look how many other people are deeply supporting this cause. I should be more committed, as well.”

Finally, the pre-filled form removed one of the barriers to responding to any campaign—the need to fill out a form, address an envelope, and add a stamp. If all the recipient has to do is drop a check in the envelope and put it in the mailbox, that alone can elevate response.

Whether you are a nonprofit organization or not, the lessons are clear. Call your customers by name, tap into collective responsibility (or collective participation in some kind of benefit), and make it easy to respond. Then watch your response rates soar.


Direct Mail More Effective Than You Think

We’re used to hearing that the average direct mail response rate is 1.0% – 1.5%. But according to a new study from the Pew Research Center (“Internet and American Life Project,” April 2013), this view needs to change.

According to the project, the average response rate for direct mail is now 4.4% for both B2B and B2C mailings. In 2012, envelope-sized direct mail letters achieved a 3.4% response rate when mailed to a house list and a 1.28% response rate when mailed to a prospect list.

In the study, the Pew Research Center also cites a recent Direct Mail Information Service report that more than three-quarters of direct mail is opened by the recipients. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of these recipients read the contents.

What is accounting for the growing response to direct mail?

In part, it is less mail in people’s mailboxes. As email and other electronic media channels continue to proliferate, the mail that consumers do receive tends to stand out and get noticed.  There is also an increase in targeting, personalization, and customization (see Wheeler’s for more info on these tools), that makes the mail more relevant. Relevant mail tends to get a better response.

So next time you are about to cite the stat that direct mail has an average response rate of 1.5%, stop and think again. Direct mail has always been an effective marketing channel. As today’s direct mail techniques become more refined, its effectiveness is becoming that much greater.

Want More Loyalty? Reward Your Customers!

Want more customer loyalty? Considering developing a loyalty program if you don’t already have one.  Not only do loyalty programs help you hang onto those customers you’ve worked so hard to get, but active participants spend more money with the companies whose loyalty programs they participate in.

Consider the following data: [1]

  • ·         Three-quarters of U.S. consumers used at least one loyalty program in 2011, up from 68 percent in 2009. (Colloquy)
  • ·         Seventy percent of persons from higher-income households ($125,000 +) are more loyal to companies that offer rewards programs. (Maritz)
  • ·         Customer spending is 46% higher with companies that offer reward card programs. (Total Research Corp & Custom Marketing Corp’s Loyalty Monitor Study)
  • ·         60+% of U.S. households said that loyalty card programs were important in their shopping decisions. (AC Neilsen)

Loyalty programs can be personalized based on individual customer buying habits or you can send general alerts, discounts, and other rewards to all of your participating members. Rewards programs can also be implemented using direct mail, email, and mobile so you can match the marketing channel to the preferences of your customers.

While many people associate loyalty programs primarily with coupons and discounts, research has shown that over-emphasis on these incentives can actually decrease engagement. For example, among the affluent, offers that give exclusive access or elite status (such as an opportunity to purchase a bottle of wine their own personal batch or receive advanced notice of rare, special-released bottles) can be more effective.

When developing a loyalty program, think about what really motivates your customers and what is most likely to drive engagement. It may be different for different segments of your audience. Also consider matching marketing channels to customer preferences (direct mail, email, mobile). Like your rewards offers, it might be different for different segments of your audience.

You’ve worked hard to bring in those new customers. Now keep them!


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