Archive for March, 2012

How to Target Your Mail For Direct Impact

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Direct mail can be one of the most misunderstood, underestimated, and miscalculated tools in marketing. It’s not just the business owner who falls in to these traps, but many marketers are unable or unwilling to communicate the realities – mostly positive – of direct mail campaigns.

Direct mail can prove to be an extremely effective tool within your marketing tool chest – especially when combined with other marketing tools like QR codes, social media marketing, personalized URLs or just your website. Take note that successful direct mail programs result from scientific direct mail processes. We won’t evaluate every single component, but let’s look at 3 common and COSTLY mistakes many businesses make when using direct mail. Then we’ll look at the 3 tested and proven fixes that lead to an effective and successful direct mail campaign for restaurants.

Direct Mail Mistakes & Solutions

Mistake #1:
“I’ll get as large a mailing list as I can, then just “blanket” my immediate location with our campaign.”

Executing a “blanket” strategy – by simply taking a large list of addresses and sending your campaign to those addresses – is the BIGGEST waste of your money and creative energy.

Solution #1
The same level of thought that you put into buying food inventory for your restaurant’s menu should be reflected in acquiring you mailing list. In buying inventory, you base your acquisition decisions around the preferences and characteristics of your customers. When acquiring a mailing list, the logic should be similar – you acquire a list primarily based on the characteristics of the customers you want to reach. For example, if you’re an upscale wine bar, you are better off sourcing a mailing list with individuals that have household income levels above the median income for your region, are college educated, and those who like wine. Your ROI can be 50% -60% greater on a targeted mailing list versus one that is not targeted. In addition, your list should be sourced from extremely reputable sources, because list quality varies widely and even a good initial list will age over time and become inaccurate. The good news is that MODsocket provides tools that allow you to leverage high quality lists from Dunn and Bradstreet, EquiFax and others, and to use very precise demographics in your own targeted direct mail campaign.

Mistake #2:
“Since my last direct mail campaign did not work for me, then that proves direct mail doesn’t work!”

Basing a decision on the ultimate effectiveness of direct mail on just ONE campaign is a bad idea – even if it worked great the first time. Would you say that franchising does not work, just because the first location you opened was not a success? You most likely wouldn’t.

Solution #2
Test! Test! Test! With direct mail, you must test your campaign carefully and often. When testing, use a sample from your overall mailing list and send to that sample. Once you’ve picked a random sample, divide that list into two equal parts and perform a ‘split test’.

Your first ‘run’ should be considered the baseline campaign or your control. From this initial distribution, you can establish a baseline response rate that serves as a measuring stick to evaluate changes in the response-rates of follow-up campaigns. Now that you’ve laid the foundation economically and smartly, you can make changes to your campaign for improved results. However, only change ONE thing at a time.

Now, testing is essential; but don’t go crazy with it! Possibly, start by changing your offer – this is almost as important as the quality of your list. Then review the success. Next time try change your graphics. Finally, try changing the dimensions of your direct mail piece. You many find that smaller is better and more convenient for the prospect, or that larger works better for a specific reason. MODSocket makes it extremely cost effective for restaurants to test, and re-test their direct mail campaigns at a relatively very low cost.

There are many components to testing your direct mail, but these few areas will really make a positive impact on your results and bottom-line.

Mistake #3:
“Let’s focus on telling our prospects how awesome we are!”

When you solicit, nobody cares about YOU. They care about what you can DO for THEM – i.e. YOUR OFFER!

Solution #3
Pay special attention to your content. Your headline, opening lines and offer must speak TO the reader not AT them. Your target audience wants to know “What’s in it for me?” or “Why should I spend my time and money with you?” Depending on your target audience, certain concepts around green/eco-friendly, healthy, fun, excitement may perk their ears. No matter what your demographic looks like or responds to, there are a few words we ALL react well to:
Free
Offer expires …
New
Only
You

After you’ve completed these tweaks to launch a successful campaign, don’t expect to get a 40%, 50% – or even 60% response rate. Success for direct mail range ranges between 0.5% & 3%. Restaurants with well-crafted campaigns and offers can experience between 2%-3% response rate within the first few months.

If you mailed to 10,000 people and 200 – 300 people (a combination of new and existing customers) to responded within 6 months, that’s a winner! Consider you now have the opportunity to create new repeat customers who bring their friends, and it’s easier now to see the potential of your campaign.

USPS TO REPEAT DISCOUNT PROMOTION FOR QR CODES

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Building upon last summer’s mobile barcode promotion success, the USPS is offering it again from July 1, 2012, through August 31, 2012. Once again, TC Delivers can help you attain the additional discounts for this promotion.

Here is information to help you take advantage of this revised special offering:

· Qualifying mailings are Presorted and automation mailings of First-Class Mail cards, letters, and flats and Standard Mail (including Nonprofit Standard Mail) letters and flats with a mobile barcode inside or on the mailpiece.

· The mobile barcode must lead the recipient of the mailpiece either to a web page that allows the recipient to purchase a product or service on a mobile device, or to a personalized URL, which leads to a web page that is unique to an individual recipient.

· Qualifying mailings may receive an upfront price reduction of 2 percent of the eligible postage.

· Participation requires electronic documentation.

· Commingled, combined and co-mail mailings are allowed, but a separate postage statement is required for pieces with mobile barcodes.

Using mobile barcodes is a great way to integrate direct mail with mobile technology. Get more information, including updated FAQs, on the RIBBS website or by emailing mobilebarcode@usps.gov .

We’re number one, says U.S. Postal Service

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The U.S. Postal Service is the most efficient in the world, according to a British study.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Despite its financial difficulties and relatively heavy work load, the U.S. Postal Service has been declared the finest in the world by a British study.

The USPS was declared number one for efficiency among the Group of Twenty major global economies, according to findings from England’s Oxford Strategic Consulting.

“We’re the world’s leading postal service,” said USPS spokesman Roy Betts. “This report validates that fact.”

The U.S. Postal Service scored the highest for efficiency, even as it delivers far more letters per employee — 268,894 in 2010 — than other services in the G20. Japan Post, which came in second, delivers 103,149 letters per employee, and Australia Post, which placed third, delivers 166,776.

But delivering letters is not the way of the future, according to Scott Jackson, author of the study and visiting professor of management psychology at Oxford University.

“The key thing about the U.S. Postal Service is [that] it’s extremely efficient compared to its colleagues around the world,” he said. “But unfortunately, it’s very efficient on the sort of the thing that’s going to be the least important in the future: delivering letters.”

Jackson said that postal services in other countries have branched out to provide other services, but those applications wouldn’t necessarily work in the U.S. For example, he said Siberian post offices sometimes sell groceries because there are no other grocery stores available. But such a model would probably flop in the U.S., where grocery stores abound.

For years, email has been siphoning away the prevalence of so-called snail mail, and this has hit the U.S. Postal Service in the pocket book.

The USPS, which does not receive taxpayer support, lost $5 billion last year. A main problem is the requirement to make multi-billion dollar payments to pre-fund healthcare retirement benefits, though Congress has shown some leniency by allowing that payment to be postponed.

Postal Service makeover

The USPS has flirted with the idea of scaling back to five-day delivery from the current six-day system. But this is unpopular with Congress, which has the final authority. The U.S. Postal Service has also been considering a plan to slow down next-day service.

In its effort to cut some $20 billion in costs, the USPS plans to close post offices around the country. But it has delayed the closures until May 15, allowing Congress some time to devise a plan to save it.

The U.S. Postal Service serves more citizens per post office — 8,409 — than the next seven countries below it. Brazil, which placed ninth, has 10,278 citizens per post office, but its postal service only delivers 72,364 letters per employee.

The one area where the U.S. Postal Service lagged behind other nations was in the number of parcels delivered. It delivers 2,633 parcels per employee, compared to 7,975 in Japan and 6,633 in Australia.

Lakeland Postal Processing Center Closing

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

LAKELAND | The U.S. Postal Service made it official Thursday: The mail processing center on Lakeland Hills Boulevard will close and be moved to Tampa.

To see the complete article printed in The Ledger please click on the following link

http://www.theledger.com/article/20120223/NEWS/120229716

Effective Direct Mail Campaigns

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

It is not that difficult to have an effective direct mail campaign that draws in customers both new and old. It only takes a little bit of work to create an effective system for your company.

The first and most important concept to make sure to take care of when having a direct mail listing is to have a clear objective of what you want to accomplish with your mailing. Do you want more customers or do you want to offer an incentive to get the customers that you have already to come back to purchase more? Having an idea of what you want to accomplish with your mailings will help conserve money and make your direct mailing campaign effective.

Make your direct mailing campaign personal. People like to receive letters in the mail from friends and relatives and not junk mail. Making your direct mailing campaign more like a letter to a friend than a junk mail add will keep your advertisement from being thrown away.

Give incentives everyone loves to get something whether it be a discount or a free item. An incentive can be aimed at returning customers to keep them coming back for more or to new customers not yet familiar with your company. Incentives can work for either customer category.

Why should they use your company? Put in the direct mail campaign the benefits and reasons why they should come back to use your again or use you for the first time. Make sure they know why you are better than any of your competitors out there. However, keep this relatively humble. No one likes an inflated ego.

Never forget to leave a way for them to contact your business. Should they come into a store, call your over the phone or visit your website. It would be a travesty to have a customer that wants to use your product and is sold on your advertisement but has absolutely no way to reach you to take advantage of that new found knowledge.

Taking these steps will help make your direct mail campaign effective in bringing in customers to your business. Not only to save you money but to also increase your profits. With these things in mind you too can run an effectively keep your business in the minds of the average consumer, bringing your business to the next level.

TC Delivers is your go to source for direct mail fulfillment. With three full service operating centers, TC can help you acquire the most effective data base, and mail your project at the most economical rates. Contact TC Delivers for more information.