All around us, we hear about the benefits of going paperless. When it comes to marketing, that may not be the best move. In a world of social media saturation and clogged inboxes, direct mail has more power than ever. In fact, a recent Brand Science Study showed a 62% lift for digital campaigns that include direct mail. Even 100% digital companies like Google and Uber are using direct mail to advertise their businesses.
Now is not the time to give up print. But savvy marketers are making their print contacts even more powerful. Let’s take a look at a few ideas.
1. Focus on recent customers. These customers already like your products and have a relationship with your brand. To get them to purchase again, you may just need to send a simple reminder, such as a postcard or sell sheet, to nudge them into action. 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. These may be customers who shop with you most frequently or who purchase the highest volume. If you are prospecting, develop a profile of these customers and target new customers just like them. If you don’t know who your top customers are, a proactive investment in data analysis can reap big returns.
3. Be relevant. Do you know where your customers’ pain points are? Do you know what keeps them up at night? Don’t assume that all buyer motivations are the same. Get to know your customers and engage in sincere dialogue about what they want and why. This will pay off in more relevant communications and better results.
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 channel of print to its maximum advantage.
Tempted to shift marketing dollars to electronic media because it is less expensive? Think before you switch. While electronic media, including email, can be an important part of the mix, print remains the bedrock of an effective long-term campaign. Let’s look at five reasons you can’t afford to skimp on print.
1. Cut through the clutter. With less postal mail in the mailbox, your printed pieces get noticed right away. Let the competition fight it out in the inbox. You have prospect’s attention the moment they open the mailbox door.
2. Add instant credibility. During a time when any company can create professional-looking email, print tells the reader that you are the real deal. If you put it in print, consumers trust that you’re going to stand by your word.
3. Stay connected. More and more, people are tiring of 24/7 electronic connectivity. Make sure the prospect has your information at his fingertips when he unplugs from digital devices. Print never runs out of power.
4. Print makes sense. Print appeals to all five senses. It appeals to the eye, with rich colors and textures beyond what we can get on screen. As we reach out to experience the texture of special papers and finishes, it appeals to the touch. It appeals to our sense of smell, which is handled by the same part of the brain that handles memory and emotion. It appeals to our sense of hearing too, as the pages crinkle and slide. There is no better way to get prospects to taste your product than by mailing a sample.
5. You can’t hide from print. The same developers who introduced the electronic platforms are developing technologies to empower consumers to avoid them. Think TiVo and spam filters. The mail carrier, on the other hand, always delivers your mail.
Print versus e-marketing isn’t an either/or choice. Increasingly, marketers are using both together for a one-two punch. But some information just needs the pace and benefits of print, and it has never been easier or less expensive to get high-quality printed materials in the hands of your target audience.
Call us, we can help!
Tricks for Increasing Your Envelope Open Rate
Even the best written sales letter will be ineffective if it’s never read. This is why the envelope can be the key determining whether your direct mail gets opened or tossed. Here are some ideas for making your envelopes more enticing:
Oversize it. Anything outside of the standard #10 envelope will set your piece apart. Make sure the envelope is at least ¼” larger than your largest insert.
Stay clear of window envelopes. This makes your mailer look like a bill or bulk mail.
Get creative with envelope stock. Smooth, heavier stocks show off your color designs, while textured stocks, such as linen or laid, offer a high-end feel. Explore the myriad of options available, such as vellum, glassine, and polybag-type envelopes.
Use on-envelope messaging. Consider placing dynamic messaging on the front, back, and even inside of the envelope. Your copy should provoke curiosity, but not give everything away.
Change it up. While it’s important to keep the design consistent with your other printed materials, using the same envelope design for multiple mailings may work against you. Even a friendly prospect might assume he’s already heard the message inside.
Personalize it. Adding unique messaging for each recipient increases response rates, whether it’s through variable-data messaging, using a legible script font, or actual handwriting.
Use a real stamp. Postage stamps add another personal touch but may not be practical for larger mailings.
Use timing to your advantage. Envelopes have the best chance of getting opened if they are delivered on Tuesday, the lightest postal delivery day, or Wednesday, the second lightest day. Stay away from Mondays, the heaviest delivery day.
Don’t over-mail. Six weeks is a good interval between mailings. You want to stay fresh in your prospect’s mind without becoming a nuisance.
The abundance of creative options makes envelopes a versatile and highly effective vehicle for presenting your message. Get creative, personalize the experience, and change things up once in awhile!
The debate has been raging for a long time — which is more effective? Print or email? If you want people to understand and retain information, studies consistently show that it’s print.
“Print and Paper Play a Key Role in Learning and Literacy,” an e-book produced by Two Sides (2015), compiles data from a wide range of studies showing what makes print so different. While many of these studies cover students from elementary through college, they have a direct correlation to consumers reading advertising and marketing information.
What makes print so valuable for information retention and learning? According to the studies, print readers . . .
- Experience less mental fatigue.
- Report significantly lower levels of eye fatigue.
- Find it easier to concentrate.
- Retain more of what they read.
- Score better on reading comprehension tests.
Some of this has to do with mentally “mapping” information in relation to other information or “landmarks” (for example, creases or smudges, page numbers, location of information on the page). Such spatial maps “have been shown to improve learning, retention and comprehension overall.”
Students reading on screen also tend to be more easily distracted. They read more superficially, have shorter attention spans, and have shorter reading sessions. All of this translates into poorer comprehension and retention of content.
In fact, in a comprehensive study of students at five major universities (Cornell University, Indiana University, University of Minnesota, University of Virginia and University of Wisconsin), most students preferred print textbooks over e-texts. Negative aspects of e-texts included “poor readability, eyestrain, insufficient resolution for graphics, zooming and scrolling difficulties, and difficulty annotating.” Faculty also expressed the belief that e-texts did not “enhance student outcomes” and preferred printed texts for class instruction.
This doesn’t mean that print is superior in all cases to electronic communications. But when you are communicating detailed information that needs to be analyzed and processed, print has benefits that electronic communications do not.
Want to find out more about print’s role in learning and literacy? Download the fact sheet here:
In a world in which people have already checked their email, logged into Facebook, and responded to a dozen text messages before they drink their first cup of coffee, what is the enduring allure of print? Let’s look at five reasons print marketing remains the anchor of any great multichannel marketing program.
1. Print is beautiful. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your JPGs are, a beautifully printed piece will blow away your screen graphics any time. Print has a richness, depth, and allure that mobile devices and laptops can’t match.
2. Print communicates beyond the subject line. When you communicate by email, recipients can’t see beyond the subject line unless they open the message. With clear envelopes, windows, and exterior envelope printing, you can communicate a tremendous amount of information in print before recipients even open the envelope.
3. Print plays well with others. Today’s complex marketing environment often requires multiple touch points. Not everyone will respond to your message through the same channel or at the same time. Print remains a critical channel in the overall mix.
4. Print influences buying decisions. Marketers once thought that, as e-commerce became mainstream, printed catalogs would fade away. History indicates otherwise. Surveys consistently find that consumers who receive printed catalogs are more likely (in one study, twice as likely) to make online purchases at the retailer’s Web site as those who do not.
5. Print is credible. Open your e-mail. How much junk email do you receive? Unless it comes from a known brand, people are skeptical of claims made by email alone, and for good reason. Print still carries greater weight and authenticity than digital marketing. Combine that with personalization and you have a communication people feel they can trust.
Print remains a critical component in today’s fast-paced, “what’s in it for me?” world. While e-marketing is a necessary component in our multi-channel marketing environment, print — particularly 1:1 print — brings benefits that online channels just can’t touch.
Call us today to chat about how print can help your company succeed.
Quick! Define commercial printer. “What? You mean the guy who prints my stuff?” If that was your answer, maybe it’s time you took another look.
At one time, the printer was the guy with ink under his nails. He wasn’t the idea man. He was the guy who ran the press. He knew paper. He knew ink. He was the one who could take someone else’s idea and get it done. Somewhere along the line, that changed. Over time, print shops became more than just a place to output print.
At the Center of It All
Printers have always been at the center of marketing campaigns. They know how to manage color so it outputs best on press. They know what finishing techniques can be produced most cost-effectively for which designs. This is more than someone who puts ink on paper. It’s a consultative partner who can save you time, money, and hassle at the stages before and after the press.
Over the years, this consultative relationship has grown. Printers have improved the cost and quality of their clients’ marketing campaigns simply by offering their expertise.
Now, as part of their growing value proposition, printers have begun adding a wide range of services that transform their customers’ marketing capabilities. First, printers added binding and mailing services. Now they are offering software solutions, print-on-demand, online storefronts (Web-to-print), 1:1 marketing, cross-media, email services, personalized URLs/general URLs, survey services, database management, and much more.
Printers are no longer just printers. They have integrated into the customer’s business to become part of its marketing department or advertising agency.
So, quick—name three services your printer (whether it’s us or someone else) provides beyond merely putting ink on paper. Can you do it? If not, it’s time to look again.
When we think about colour in print marketing and direct mail, we think about stunning images and eye-catching graphics. But colour packs a punch in letters, product brochures, and other text-heavy documents, too. What makes colour so powerful?
Here are just a few of the benefits that colour provides:
- Increases recall dramatically. Studies show that colour increases recalls in the 80% range.
- Gets attention. People are about 40% more likely to select or read materials when they are in colour.
- Helps readers find information more easily. This is great for insurance policies, contracts, and other lengthy documents.
- Reduces errors. Highlight instructions or account information to help people get it right the first time.
- Slashes payment time. Highlight the amount owed and the due date with colour and watch your invoices get paid faster!
- Increase the ability of readers to understand and retain information. This is great news for your sales presentations.
When you want to draw your readers’ attention to something or when you need to draw out an immediate response, you can’t beat the use of colour. Make phone numbers or payment information stand out in a letter. Highlight discounts in a brightly coloured star-burst. Use arrows or coloured bullets to focus attention on key points in a brochure.
Looking for ways to incorporate more colour into your direct mail or marketing collateral?
Contact us. We can help.
Cell phones. iPods. Laptops. Tablets. Where, in the ever-expanding channel mix, is there room for print? The Print Council recently put out a brochure, “Why Print? The Top Ten Ways Print Helps You Prosper,” listing ten reasons marketers should include print. Let’s look at several of them as they relate to a specific type of print—1:1 print—with our own take on why marketers can’t live without it.
Print stays put. Unlike e-mail, which disappears within hours beneath hundreds of other e-mails, print stays where you put it. If it’s a personalized piece, the recipient might even tape it to the wall or tack it to a bulletin board. It’s not unusual for people to hold onto 1:1 print pieces for weeks, even months, after the promotion has expired.
Print is portable. With print, there are no cables or wires. No batteries to run down. It doesn’t have to be turned off on an airplane, and no software needs to be updated. It’s readable from all angles, and you can scan entire pages quickly, even multiple pages at once.
Print drives higher ROI. Direct mail has a proven relationship to ROI. When you pair that with segmentation, targeting, and relevant personalization, ROI goes up even more.
Print drives online behavior. Web sites are powerful marketing tools, but something has to drive traffic to them. More and more, marketers are seeing that as print. Use print, and traffic (and revenue) goes up. Drop print, and traffic goes down. According to a recent ComScore survey, online consumers who received a printed catalog were nearly twice as likely to make an online purchase at that retailer’s Web site.
So want results? Think print! More specifically, think 1:1 print. Need ideas? Contact us today at 519-254-5237. We’d be happy to help.
On an almost daily basis, we are presented with sales and marketing materials that are meant to get our attention and prompt us to make a response.
How can you stand out in the crowd? There are several easy-to-implement, yet often-overlooked considerations that can greatly improve the effectiveness of your company’s efforts.
Stand out physically. A traditional 8.5 x 11-inch sheet will easily blend into a pile. Consider using different shapes and sizes to make your materials “harder to lose” and easier to notice.
Make ‘Em POP! Various print and finish elements can increase the “volume” of your message over that of your competitors. We offer a host of options that we are happy to discuss with you.
Be compelling. A common marketing mistake is to focus on the features rather than the benefits. If your materials don’t quickly answer the “what’s in it for me” question, there is little chance that the rest of your content will garner attention. Real-life content, such as testimonials and case studies, can help draw a lot of attention.
Invest in quality. If you’re utilizing direct mail to deliver your message, consider a study by G.A Wright Marketing that found that the use of high-quality paper and color applications alone can increase your response rates by nearly 50%. Specifically, the study showed that a four-color promotional mailer printed on a heavy gloss paper stock had more than a 40% higher response rate than an identical three-color version printed on a lighter matte paper stock.
Even the smallest improvements in effectiveness can significantly impact your company’s success. If your materials aren’t delivering their full potential, it might be time to revise them using the ideas above.
Need help? Wheeler’s is happy to assist in any way we can. Call us today.
There is a bewildering variety of printing papers available, and deciphering a print quote can seem like reading a foreign language. Here are some of the most relevant terms you need to know.
Basis weight is the weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of a paper at its basic size, or the size of the uncut sheet supplied to the printer. For example, the basic size of book paper is 25 x 38 inches, and a ream weighing 70 pounds would be 70-lb. book paper. Sometimes metric is used: 70-lb. book paper is equivalent to 104 g/m2.
Cover, card, and other thick stocks are often specified by thickness, measured in “points.” This is often abbreviated “pt.”— for example, “8-pt. cover.” One point is 1/1000th of an inch, so this means that the stock is 0.008 inches thick.
Paper grade refers to the end use of that paper. Bond paper is used for letters and documents, book paper for books, offset for offset printing, and so on. Digital presses generally have their own grades. Thicker grades include cover, bristol, tag, and index.
Paper is often coated during manufacture, which improves the reproduction of fine halftone screens and color fidelity. C1S means “coated one-side,” which is useful for labels, packaging, and other materials destined for single-sided printing. C2S means “coated two-side” and is preferred for two-sided commercial printing.
Brightness refers to the percentage of light that is reflected from the sheet’s surface. Basic white copy paper has a 92 brightness. Brightness by component wavelength (red, green, or blue) is also determined for papers, as papers can reflect different amounts of certain colors, imparting a color cast to a printed piece if you’re not careful.
Looking to learn more about paper? Just call – 519-254-5237