Direct Mail

Professional people shaking hands in an office

Turning a Bank from “Stodgy” to “Personal”

Do you always need lots of data to make your mailings seem personal? No. Take the example of MB Financial, a Chicago-based financial institution that used segmentation to achieve great results. It’s a formula that any company can follow to make its mailings feel more personal and increase conversions without personalizing them down to the individual level.

 

MB Financial wanted to target more than 430,000 small companies in the Chicago area. MBF has 86 branches, but it wasn’t connecting well with its audience. Small businesses saw the bank as an old, stodgy institution like all others. MBF wanted to put a more friendly face on its branches and make banking at each location seem more inviting and accessible.

 

To do this, MBF developed a four-pronged messaging strategy: “We deliver the personal attention you want, the banking services you need, business advice you can use, and business connections you wouldn’t expect.” The heart of the campaign was direct mail, but it also used radio and digital media ads.

  • First, MB Financial used customer modeling to identify 30,000 small businesses that were its most likely prospects.
  • Second, it broke its mailing into highly versioned segments, one for each local branch.
  • Third, it created targeted postcards that appeared to be coming directly from the bank manager at each SMB’s closest branch.

 

Each postcard included a photo of the branch manager, a personal message from the manager, and an invitation for the recipient to call their direct line. To sweeten the pot, MB Financial included an offer to receive “bonus cash” for opening an account or line of credit.

 

The results? High visibility and a 205% increase in sales leads attributed to the direct mail campaign alone. What a great way to make a large business seem small!

 

Inspired? Let’s discuss creating a similar campaign to reach your target audience!

Brain cell neurons making direct connections with each other

Why Our Brains Prefer Direct Mail Over Email

Want to geek out on marketing science? Check out neuromarketing, a field examining consumers’ responses to marketing stimuli. Neuroscience looks at how the brain receives and processes information, and neuromarketing looks specifically at the impact of this process on the various marketing channels. Spoiler alert: These studies consistently find that while email is an important channel, it isn’t for everything. Especially for higher-end products that require more thought processing, direct mail is a better approach.

 

How do researchers come to these conclusions? They use three primary methods:

 

Eye tracking: Camera and infrared technology that monitor eye movements in speed and duration of attention. Eye tracking tracks visual attention in reaction to predetermined areas of interest.

 

Core biometrics: Sensors placed on participants’ fingertips that measure heart rate, skin conductance (sweat), motion, and respiration: Core biometrics gauge the depth of emotional engagement.

 

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FRMI): Brain scanners measure changes in oxygenated blood flow to reveal regional activation during a task or experience. FRMI pinpoints specific deep brain activity beyond surface cognitive function (e.g., empathy and reward).

 

What do these methods show? A good example comes from one study conducted by Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision Making in concert with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG). The study found that while participants could process the information from digital ads more quickly than from print ads, the details weren’t retained or recalled as easily later.

 

What made participants more likely to retain and recall that information more easily in print?

  • They spent more time with physical ads.
  • They had more robust emotional responses to those ads.
  • While they stated similar preferences and willingness to pay for the item, whether it was delivered in physical or digital format, their brain activity indicated a greater subconscious desire for printed products.

 

“These findings have practical implications for marketers,” note the report’s authors. “If short on time, the digital format captures attention quicker. However, for longer lasting impact and easy recollection, a physical mail piece is the superior option.”

 

So, there you have it! When given a choice between print and digital media, especially for products and services that require deep cognitive processing, the brain loves print.

 

 

Effective Communication Breeds Customer Loyalty

Are you up for a surprise? In a customer satisfaction study of 10 major industries, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents indicated that they were delighted with the products or services they purchased, yet 88% said that they were willing to switch providers for any reason!

 

How can this be? If customers are happy with the products they buy, how can they switch so easily? Because so many companies offer products and pricing similar to one another’s. That’s why maintaining customer loyalty takes more than the basics. You have to make people feel valued, not just by offering them great stuff, but by how you treat them. Give them a great customer experience.

 

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, 73% of consumers consider customer experience important in purchasing decisions. This means that all things being equal, they will go where they feel most valued and appreciated.

 

That’s why a consistent, high-quality drip of customer communications is so important. It makes customers feel noticed and valued, not just when you want them to purchase something.

 

• Set up a series of “nurturing” mailers throughout the year. Make it a continuous client contact program that demonstrates that you are sincerely grateful for their business at regular, pre-planned intervals.

 

• Use the data you’ve collected to grow your relationship with these customers. Offer valuable tips, newsletters, and case studies that remind clients of your commitment to service, value, quality, innovation, and loyalty.

 

• If you are going to cross-sell or upsell, make those suggestions valuable and relevant to your customers based on the information you have collected, such as their past purchases or subscriptions that are expiring.

 

• Ask for their feedback. People love when you ask their opinions. Now act on what you learn. Communicate through tangible actions that you not only care about what they have to say but are willing to act on it, too.

 

Direct mail isn’t just for customer acquisition marketing anymore. It is a critical part of effective customer retention.

Customers

Be Authentic and Connect with Customers

Increasingly, marketers understand the power of emotions. Product features and benefits are essential, but someone’s need, fear, or desire often motivates the actual purchase. Just look at some of the most iconic brands on the market. Johnson & Johnson doesn’t sell Band-Aids based on their adhesive properties. It shows a crying child being soothed by a loving parent. Nike doesn’t sell shoes based on the resilience of its soles. It shows athletes overcoming obstacles and achieving greatness.

 

Here are three ways you can tap into emotion in your marketing.

 

1. Think “simple” or “complex.”

 

Simple sales are those for which people can make quick, easy decisions based on numbers: This product is 10% cheaper than that one. That product offers 25% more longevity than the one I have. However, with complex decisions like financial, insurance, and medical products, emotion plays a much more significant role.

 

What makes me feel safe? How can I best protect my family long-term? When writing your product copy, think about which category your products fall into.

 

2. Be authentic.

 

Nobody likes a phony. That includes customers. Honesty makes consumers feel connected and creates trust and respect for the brand. Consider Allstate Insurance. In its 30-second slice-of-life commercials, homeowners fall prey to their humanness by opening car doors into oncoming traffic or crashing into parking lot barriers because they’re looking at their children’s birthday balloons in the rearview mirror. We’ve all done it. It feels natural and familiar. Be honest, and make your brand something people can relate to.

 

3. Think beyond the sale.

 

Show an interest in your customers and prospects beyond the sale. Drop them tips and tricks that help them with everyday problems. Create emotional engagement that transcends the immediate need. Stanley Steemer does this well. It sends a high number of direct mail pieces and emails every year. While some of these pieces are designed to sell, cross-sell, and upsell, the majority are tips for various household cleaning projects. This is information people can use whether they end up purchasing Stanley Steemer services or not.

 

Emotion and brand connection sell. Maybe not right away, but over time. So be honest, be relatable, and invest in your customers long-term. It takes more effort, but it pays off in the long run.

Direct Mail Trends

The 5 Most Consistent Direct Mail Trends That You Can Apply Now

The national direct mail database Who’s Mailing What! (WMW!) recently analyzed its database of more than 130,000 mail pieces to find the strongest, most consistent direct mail trends over the past 20 years. We’ve picked five that we think are most relevant to small to mid-sized businesses. How many of these do you see in your own marketing?

 

1. Postcards are on the rise

 

Between 2009–2021, the number of postcards being mailed increased by approximately 20%, while self-mailers and envelopes declined slightly. This trend is in line with the next one, which is…

 

2. Businesses are using less copy

 

Over the past 20 years, WMW! found that the number of words used in direct mail pieces has declined, on average, by 62%. Direct mail is also using shorter sentences, more concise paragraphs, and bullet points. Many campaigns have replaced the text with images, charts, and graphics that provide quick, easy comprehension in today’s fast-paced world.

 

3. Focus on print-to-digital

 

Whether businesses are engaging with their audiences with QR Codes or driving them online to their websites or social media channels, the interaction between print and digital channels is rocketing. The use of user names (@ username), QR Codes, and digital CTAs such as “follow us” or “visit our website” have doubled in the past four years.

 

4. Sustainability messaging is hot

 

Buyers care about the environment, and they appreciate brands that show they care, too. The WMW! database was established 20 years ago, and of the direct mail messaging that contains a sustainability element, 75% has come in the last five years.

 

5. Even young companies are using direct mail

 

When WMW! looked at the age of the companies in its direct mail database, it found that the percentage of companies founded in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s was nearly identical. Very young companies like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Payson are all using direct mail.

 

Why has direct mail remained strong, even in the age of digital? Who’s Mailing What! editors wrapped it up concisely:

 

  • Done right, it has a higher response rate than digital channels.
  • It reaches audiences that digital channels don’t.
  • Using paper, ink, and interesting finishing, even young companies can stand out from their older, more established competitors.

 

The numbers don’t lie – direct mail still works!

Direct Mail

Want Better Direct Mail Copy? Tighten It Up!

Want Better Direct Mail Copy? Tighten It Up!

 

What’s one of the keys to creating great direct mail copy? Keeping it tight!

 

Over the years, the amount of copy used in direct mail campaigns has dropped. In fact, according to Who’s Mailing What! (WMW!), a national database of direct mail, the amount of copy used in direct mail pieces has dropped by a whopping 62% over the past two decades.

 

WMW! discovered this trend after analyzing its direct mail database for its “Top 21 Direct Mail Trends for 2021” report. It cites Amazon.com as a prime example:

For years, [Amazon has] been mailing letters to remind Prime members that they’re entitled to watch Prime Video, but there’s a big difference in word count from 2014 to 2021 example. [In the 2021 piece,] you see…

 

  • Shorter sentences,
  • Much smaller paragraphs, [and]
  • A few bullet points.

 

This finding is consistent with what we are seeing elsewhere in the direct mail space. Shoppers are busy, and they have limited time to read. Rather than text-heavy copy, more and more mailers are using images, charts, and graphics that readers can digest quickly.

 

The trend toward shorter copy ties in another trend on WMW!’s list—the growth in the use of postcards. With any direct mail piece, but especially postcards, you have only a fraction of a second to grab someone’s attention and get your message across before they move on to something else.

If your direct mail copy – whether a letter, a postcard, or any other marketing piece — looks text-heavy, think about where you might be able to tighten up. Where can you use charts or images instead of words? Can you break concepts into bullet points? Imagine that you only have half the space to work with – what information can go?

Buyers are busy, so make it easy on them. Tighten it up!  Need help? Talk to us about our services ☎ 713.956.8555

Brand Awareness

Is Brand Awareness Worth the Investment?

Is Brand Awareness Worth the Investment?

 

We all want to sell more products and services, and for decades, brand awareness has been the subject of research and study. Is this a good investment of your marketing dollars? To what extent does brand awareness truly influence the final purchase decision? As it turns out, quite a lot.

 

Here are the results from one fascinating study:

 

  • In a blind study by the University of Newcastle and the University of South Australia, 85.5% of subjects chose the familiar brand in the first trial, even if they preferred a less familiar brand.

 

  • Even when testing brands during an initial trial, consumers were more likely to purchase the product from a familiar brand name, even if they preferred the taste (or, by extension, the look, smell, or function) of an unfamiliar brand.

 

  • Consumers were not only likely to choose the more familiar brand but were more likely to make the decision more quickly – 9.8 seconds faster.

 

What does this mean for you? Get to the consumer early. Stay in front of them and don’t quit! Repetition is critical. One statistic we regularly run across is that the average person remembers three to five brands per category. To get in there, you have to push someone else out and then stay there.

 

This is where consistent drips of brand messaging can pay off in a big way. Send a direct mailer and follow up with an email. Invest in retargeting with social media ads for visitors to your website. Create constant reminders of who you are and what your brand offers.

 

Creating brand awareness is not always about getting someone to buy right now. It’s about staying top of mind—and keeping your competitors out in the cold—so that when your target audience is ready to buy, they think of you.

Source: “Brand Awareness Effects on Consumer Decision Making for a Common, Repeat Purchase Product: A Replication” (Journal of Business Research)

Self-Mailers

Do Self-Mailers Have Benefits Over Direct Mail Envelopes? You Bet!

Do Self-Mailers Have Benefits Over Direct Mail Envelopes? You Bet!

For many businesses, direct mail letters are their “go-to.” They are inexpensive to produce, can include BREs and other inserts, and depending on the design, can seem more personal than self-mailers. Still, the popularity of self mailers is growing. They, too, are inexpensive and have many benefits.

Self-mailers are created when a single piece of paper is folded to create a self-contained mailing format. Depending on the size of the sheet, self-mailers can be folded into two or more panels. They can be sealed using glue lines, wafer seals, or glue spots along the edge. SEO tools

Let’s take a look at some of their benefits:

  • Because they require no envelope, self-mailers have no envelope or inserting costs. This makes them a great option for tight budgets.
  • When unfolded, self-mailers provide lots of real estate for graphics and messaging.
  • Even on digital presses, self mailers can be printed on a wide variety of substrates, including heavier substrates.
  • While we tend to think of self-mailers as simple, folded formats, their substrate flexibility allows them to include pockets and interior panels into which you can insert gift cards, reply cards, or small samples.
  • Because self-mailers can be digitally printed, they can be fully personalized like any other mailer.

Self-mailers are readily identifiable as marketing mail, so they can have lower response rates. For this reason, some businesses use them for mailing to people with whom they already have a relationship—loyal customers who will open them simply because of their relationship with the brand. Others use them for campaigns in which people want promotional mail. Examples include promotions around clearance sales, new store openings with discounts, and free samples. We see them heavily used around college recruiting, as well.

In the end, choosing the correct format depends on your target audience and the goals of the campaign. Testing will be critical in helping you identify when and where each format will work best for you.

Signature Aspen - Mail

Top Reasons Consumers Open Mail

The more you know about why the mail gets opened, the more you can tweak your campaigns for maximum effectiveness. Recipients’ top reason for opening any direct mail piece is that they are interested in the products or services you offer. But did you know that there are other reasons that recipients open their mail, too? These include:

  • Having a positive view of the company.
  • Seeing reading direct mail as a leisure activity.
  • Seeing the production quality (printing/images/paper) as exceptionally high.

Personalization

Add personalization on top, and you have a potent combination! Why? Personalization increases the chances of your mail being relevant to the recipient. For example, If you know someone’s age and marital status, you can use profiling to assign them to a life stage that gives you insights into their buying habits and needs. Likewise, if you know that a customer regularly buys books by a particular author, you can alert them when that author releases a new title.

Direct Mail

Studies have found that recipients also open direct mail pieces because they have a positive view of the company. This tells us that regular, ongoing branding plays a key (if indirect) role in sales. When you invest in branding campaigns, even if you aren’t selling anything in those campaigns, this increases the likelihood that the recipient will open your direct mail piece. Even if the recipient does not have an interest in the product at the time, if they like your brand, they are likely to check out the offer anyway.

Production Quality

Want to increase the effectiveness of your direct mail even more? Studies have found that adding high-quality printing, imaging, and paper quality can increase open rates as well! When a piece is of very high quality, recipients feel obligated to open it and see what you have to say.

Combine these with personalized messaging, and your marketing pieces will have incredible stopping—and converting—power.

Would you like to CONTACT US? You can expect to receive a response back QUICK by calling, messaging, or emailing us!

Direct-Mail

Direct-Mail Top 11 Eye-Popping Stats

 

11 Direct-Mail Eye-Popping Stats

When it comes to ROI, some channels are just more effective than others. Knowing the effectiveness of each channel puts you in control. For example, did you know that one channel has an open/read rate of 42%? Or that recipients of content sent via this channel purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more than those who do not? Which channel is this? It’s direct-mail. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Here are nine more statistics about direct-mail that you should know.

 

41% of direct mail recipients look forward to checking their mailboxes each day. (Source: Gallup)

 

73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct-mail because they can read it whenever they want. (Source: Epsilon)

 

Direct-mail offers a 29% return on investment. (Source: Marketing Charts)

 

Consumers aged 45-54 are the demographic group most likely to respond to direct-mail pieces. (Source: Data & Marketing Association)

 

80–90% of direct mail gets opened, while only 20–30% of email does. (Source: United States Postal Service)

 

Only 44% of people can recall a brand immediately after seeing a digital ad compared to 75% of those who receive direct mail. (Source: Marketing Profs)

 

Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than email. (Source: Ipsos/Canada Post)

 

Brand recall is 70% higher for consumers exposed to direct mail ads than to digital ads. (Source: Ipsos/Canada Post)

 

30% of Millennials say that direct mail is more effective at getting them to take action compared to 24% who say the same of email. (Source: Direct Marketing News)

 

Think direct-mail is a marketing rock star? We do, too! Talk to us about creating your next direct mail campaign.

 

Editor’s note: Thanks to Small Business Genius for compiling many of the stats cited here. https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/direct-mail-statistics/#gref

 

Signature ASPEN is one of the best commercial printing companies in the city of Houston. We provide Direct-Mail services to its targeted areas. Furthermore, we offer top quality services to our clients by offering competitive rates on direct-mail. Signature ASPEN are very confident in offering top quality service and are willing to help in anyway to accomplish the needs of our targeted areas.

 

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