Why In the WORLD would I go to a Printing Company for Graphic Design?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 @ 11:45 AM

Universal Printing takes great pride in offering the best of all graphic communication worlds: Award Winning Graphic Design, G7 Master Printer level digital output and commercial printing, and the latest in Direct Mail, featuring variable data and cross-media marketing solutions.  Over the years, we’ve worked with a lot of clients and companies who find themselves getting into a 2- or 3-prong approach with their projects: One company for design, another print, and sometimes even a third to handle the mailing.  Not a very efficient process, in our opinion.  WE always want to focus more on what is in the best interest of our clients.  Here’s a few reasons why a “single source solution” makes sense.

Design + Print is time-tested!

Universal offers Graphic Design, with or without LatteThis concept has been used time and time again in the construction and manufacturing industries, known as Design/Build.  We apply the same same principles at Universal Printing. When the people who are designing a piece are the people who are producing the piece, “unexpected surprises” just disappear!  All of our Graphic Design professionals work closely with other members of our production team, giving us the advantage of keeping current on the latest printing techniques, being familiar with folding and finishing requirements, and also having direct access to paper merchants and their pricing models.

“Less Expensive” is
NOT the same as “Cheap”

Often time, our Design quotes are significantly lower than Agency prices.  Some might think that it’s about the talent of our staff or the quality of our product.  “More expensive” must mean “better,” right?  WRONG!  Our Graphic Design team has won several regional and national design awards, and is comprised of graphics professionals from the fields of advertising, magazine production, and Fine Arts.  The reason WE can offer such aggressive pricing is because we don’t have to cover many of their overhead costs.  They need to pay for their office space, utilities, equipment, and the occasional latte or two. Why help pay for the rent and electricity of THREE buildings?  OUR staff is in our own building, using our digital prepress equipment, so keeping everything under one roof keeps our cost down, which is passed onto you.  It’s just that simple!

It’s all about the Bundles!

Contractors do it. Restaurants do it. The cable TV and satellite companies do it. Insurance companies do it.  EVERYONE recognizes the power of bundling products and services. WE are no different.  When you bundle together design, print, and direct mail, you only have one point of contact to deal with.  One person to coordinate with keeps you off the phone and out of your email inbox, and lets you deal with all the other aspects of your job.  “One call does it all.”  “Set it, and forget it.”  “Have it your way.”  We can’t actually use those slogans, but you get the idea.

No More Finger-Pointing!

Keeping everything under one roof keeps it simple and eliminates unnecessary “he said/she said” or “finger-pointing.” Ever dealt with any of these scenarios?
  • The Mailer says the Designer didn’t setup the address panels properly
  • The Designer says the Mailer stuck unnecessary labels or tabs all over the finished piece
  • The Printer says the Designer didn’t set up their files correctly
  • The Mailer says the Printer didn’t supply enough finished pieces to process the mailing

These problems all go away when the Designer, Printer, and Mailer are all under one roof. We know, understand, and can implement those ever-changing Postal requirements at the Design stage.  Our files will always print without surprises and we’ll always print enough to ensure your entire mailing is processed timely and efficiently.  Not only will we save you time, save you money, and reduce your stress; who knows, maybe we'll even throw in a free latte.

 

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: commercial printing, digital printing, Graphic Design Durham, graphic design raleigh, green printing, internet marketing, email marketing, emarketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, Adobe Photoshop, variable data, cross-media marketing

New Printing & Marketing Technology: I want it, but where do I go?!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Nov 04, 2011 @ 12:30 PM

Technology makes a lot of things easier and more efficient.  Take QR codes for example.  EVERYONE has taken notice of QR codes, and more people want to know how to use them better.  This is true for a lot of the new technology now available for design, print, or direct mail.

Sure, there are free online service to create QR codes; but if you want to brand them, build in tracking code to see the impact, or use them along with your other marketing efforts to maximize your reach to your clients, then you need to find a graphic communications partner that can help you get the best results possible.

Universal Printing QR Code
Scan or click to see just ONE example
of how QR codes can work.


Direct Mail is another place where technology is making HUGE impacts.  Variable Data Printing can turn each postcard or letter into an individually customized ice-breaker.  Universal’s Symphony does just that AND MORE! Symphony takes your flat mail piece and turns it into a multi-channel cross-media marketing machine.  Immediately, you can see the advantages of customize your message to every individual on your list and track then your results in "real-time."

Universal Printing cross-media marketing SymphonyImagine this: You are using your Marketing and Advertising budget to reach your audience in multiple ways – Billboards, Direct Mail, TV or Radio adverting, email marketing, to name a few.  Without solid, dependable metrics data, you can’t even BEGIN to start making meaningful sense of your marketing spend.  Sometimes, having two or three solutions in place won't give you the apples-to-apples comparisons. This is why you need to consider a more robust solution provider, who can give you all of the tools, products, and services that you need!

After all, it just makes good sense to have ONE mail list that contains all the elements for variable data printing, pURL generation, direct mail processing sorts and requirements, QR code generation, variable image data, and more.  No more worrying about how to compare one list versus another, what special software you’re going to need to purchase, or how you’re going to even get all your valuable data back out you’re finished with your campaign.

Universal Printing has all of the tools needed to give you the fully-formed, robust solutions that you’re looking for.  Contact us TODAY and speak with any member of our helpful staff. Our team of eMarketing Experts will be more than happy to consult with you on any upcoming projects or campaigns, or help you create a custom solution that will take full advantage of all these new wonderful new technologies that you crave!

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: business solutions, email marketing, emarketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, variable data, QR code, cross-media marketing

Universal Printing's Elite Eight!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 @ 03:15 PM

NCAA March Madness 

"It's NCAA

Tourney Time,

Baby!!!" 

- The Legendary
"Dickie V"
Dick Vitale

Yes... Universal Printing produces a bunch of of projects and ships them all across the country and throughout the world, but our base of operations is smack in the heart of North Carolina. Specifically, the Triangle — That happy bustling region that includes Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, but also encompasses Apex, Carrboro, Cary, and Morrisville. 

Around here, we like our College Basketball!  We're surrounded by 4 of the 12 ACC teams (UNC, Duke, NCSU, and yes I'm counting Wake Forest!) and when it comes down to "Tourney Time," we are right here in the thick of it!

So in honor of "March Madness" and the NCAA Basketball Tournament, we're posting our own "Elite Eight" of our 8 most popular blog posts.  We hope you'll take the time to read or re-read them, or share them with friends and colleagues!  In the meantime, we'll be rooting for Duke and Carolina, and the other ACC teams representing the Atlantic Coast this weekend.

  1. Choosing Inks for Color Printing - Coated vs. Uncoated

  2. Tips to enhance your graphic design portfolio

  3. More about Color: Digital Color | RGB vs. CMYK

  4. Choosing Inks for Color Printing - Spot Color vs. Process Color

  5. Direct Mail... Back-in-the-day or Future Play?

  6. Choosing Inks for Color Printing - Metallics and Other Specialty Inks

  7. How to Save PDF files for Better Printing!

  8. Tweet me... Social Media and Commercial Printing CAN work together!

 

Universal Printing Blog Logo

Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, commercial printing, Universal Printing, blog, Social Media, direct mail, poster printing, Photohop

Choosing Paper for Your Printing Project... Part 2

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Feb 04, 2011 @ 03:00 PM

So you want to know even more about paper, eh?  I don't blame you. Our previous blog post went over some of the basics of paper, like the type of coating or finish, and caliper, weight and bulk.  This post will cover opacity, brightness, shade and grain. Let's get started!

Opacity is just a fancy way of saying the "show through" or "see though" quality of the paper: As in, how much will the printing on the other side of the page "show though." Some papers are categorized as "opaque" sheets, as opposed to "offset" or "bond" papers.   As a general rule, the thicker the paper, the less light gets though; however less bulky papers like vellum are thicker but less dense, leaving more chance for light (and printing) to come through.  Text-heavy projects like annual reports, manuals, or product brochures should be printed on paper with more opacity.

Next in line come brightness and shade.  It would sound like those are the same thing, but in reality they aren't. Brightness is the overall visual appearance of the sheet in terms of how much light they reflect. As you may recall, ink is slightly translucent, which means the brightness of the paper effects the brightness and vividness of the color. Brightness is measured on a scale of 0 to 100; which is to say a sheet measuring as 96 bright is more reflective than a 92 bright sheet.  

Shade refers to the whiteness of the paper. Don't be fooled and think we're talking about the color.  If the paper is light blue, dark blue, yellow, red, cream, natural, eggshell, that is its color. Shade is all about white: Blue White, Yellow White (also called Cream White), and True White.  Papers made with optical brighteners tend to have a cooler hue. These absorb warmer colors and give off more of a faint blue tint. Yellow white uses no brighteners and have a warmer more yellowish hue.  True white is a perfectly neutral sheet.

Boring Science Fact: White light is built of all colors (ROYGBIV) and travels in wavelengths. Blue light has a short wavelength and travels faster, while red and yellow light have longer wavelengths and travel slower. So a Blue White sheet appears to be visually brighter than a yellow white sheet because your eyes actually "see" it first!

Finally it's time to talk about Grain. We all know paper is made from trees, so it would stand to reason that if wood has a grain, so should paper!  In order to make paper, all these trees are ground down into fibers and mixed with water, resin and other stuff (which altogether is known as pulp) and run through huge paper machines that form them into large rolls. Between the speed these machines run and the process the paper pulp goes through, the fibers naturally all tend to line up in the same direction which is the grain direction.  Paper is then cut down, and can be either long grain or short grain. Long grain means the grain direction runs with the longest side, and short grain means it runs along the shortest side.  

The grain direction of your paper can play a very critical role in your project. You've likely heard the expression "going against the grain."  All paper is flexible, but it's always more flexible along the direction of the grain. This is important when thinking about folding projects. When you fold against the grain, the fibers break and crack, which appear ragged and less crisp.  This can easily be addressed by scoring a piece, which pre-creases the sheet and breaks down the fibers in a more controlled way.

Fortunately, we never expect our clients to know everything there is to know about paper.  If you need help picking paper for your project, please contact our helpful Sales or Customer Service Representatives or a member of our award-winning Graphic Design team. They’ll be more than happy to get you started.  We also get to work with some wonderful paper vendors that are always willing to assist with answering questions or providing samples of any paper you can imagine. 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: printing, graphic design, commercial printing, Universal Printing, printing services, business solutions, direct mail, poster printing

Choosing Paper for Your Printing Project... Part 1

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 @ 12:30 PM

Paper comes in all colors, weights, and finishes; and sometimes our customers know EXACTLY what paper they want. More likely, we'll take in a project where the client won't have a clue what they want, or even need.

When choosing paper, we need to know some paper lingo. Let's start with the surface of the paper. Is it Coated or Uncoated? There are different types of coating, based on how shiny it is. Gloss is the smoothest and most reflective. It’s perfect for photos or flyers; anything that needs a quick visual POP. Matte is on the other end of the scale. It reflects very little light, so it’s easier on the eyes when reading text. Paper companies don’t have any rules for how they categorize coatings. There are a lot of in-between terms – Silk, Satin, Dull – but each is still coated and takes ink very well. Some papers are coated on one side and uncoated on the other, called C1S (for “coated 1 side”). With both sides coated it would be C2S, but it's generally just called Coated.

Uncoated sheets have different surfaces called Finish. Most common are Smooth, Vellum, Felt and Embossed. Again, some paper companies like to be fancy and come up names like “Super Smooth” or “Laser” to describe the finish of their paper. Ink lays down well on most of them, but you’ll want to be careful when using toner-based printers or copiers. This is especially true with Embossed papers like Linen (cross-hatched like fabric) or Laid (similar to corduroy) since the toner won’t sink into the deeper crevices of the paper.

Once you know what the surface is, you’ll want to figure out the thickness. This can get VERY confusing, since it involves three aspects: Caliper, Weight and Bulk.

Caliper is the actual thickness measured in mils (1/1000”) or points.  Paper that measures 0.010” thick is 10pt, 0.014” thick is 14pt, and so on.

Weight is the “basis weight,” which is how much 500 sheets weigh at a specific sheet size: 25” x 38” for text weights, and 20” x 26” for cover weights. If 500 sheets of 25”x38” paper weighs 80 lbs, that would be 80lb text and 500 sheets of 20”x26” cover weighing 100 lbs. would be 100lb cover. Often “lbs” is replaced with the “#” symbol, so 100 lbs = 100#. Get the idea? Good! Let’s move on.

Bulk is the overall density of the paper. Like how the metric system measures “mass” instead of weight (on the moon you would weigh less, but your mass still takes up the same amount of space.) It’s a formula that considers Caliper and Weight.  In simple terms, thicker sheets have more bulk. Also, coated sheets have less bulk then uncoated sheets, which helps explain why 100# coated cover feels much thinner and less stable than 100# uncoated cover.

Next, paper is classified into two categories: Text and Bond. Cardstock has more categories: Bristol, Index, Cover and Board. Bond or Writing is your general multipurpose paper. It ranges from copier-grade 20# bond all the way up to nice fancy resume-type papers like 28# writing. Text is what’s often used for books, newsletters, flyers, etc. Here’s where confusion starts… in terms of thickness 50# text is equal to 20# bond, 60# text equals 24# bond, 70# text equals 28# bond, and so on.

Bristol, also called Vellum Bristol, is a lightweight cardstock. The surface is a little rougher since it isn’t compressed when it gets made. It feels a little thicker, even though it’s not as dense. This makes it less expensive and is often used for mailers and single-use pieces. Index is smoother and feels thinner and is often used for tabs, file folders – and you guessed it – Index Cards!

Cover is the general usage term for most cardstock weights. It’s usually made to match their companion text weights, so it is usually used for newsletters and books so all the text and cover sheets in the same piece would match. Board is used mostly for display pieces, pocket folders, posters, etc. Unlike other stocks, which are listed by weight, Board is generally selected by thickness (10pt, 12 pt, etc.)

There are so many paper choices available and every single one of them is just waiting for a printer like us to start slapping some  ink on them. We love paper – we love, love, love it. If you need help picking paper for your project, please contact our helpful Sales or Customer Service Representatives or a member of our award-winning Graphic Design team. They’ll be more than happy to get you started.

Also check out Part 2: Opacity, Brightness, Shade and Grain.

 

Universal Printing Blog Logo

Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: printing, graphic design, commercial printing, Universal Printing, printing services, business solutions, direct mail, poster printing

Guess What!? The Post Office wants to make Direct Mail easier on YOU!

Posted by Universal Printing on Wed, Dec 29, 2010 @ 11:30 AM

Printing and mail go together... like peas and carrots. They just do. Even in this highly sophisticated era of internet based marketing, SMS messaging, and email blasts, there is a strong argument for direct mail. (In fact, Universal Printing president and owner, Bob Moura, has posted 2 great blogs on that topic. If you haven't read them yet, here are the links: Direct mail... Back-in-the-day or Future Play? Part I and Part II)

Another thing we can count on, is knowing that the United States Postal Service will ALWAYS change their rules, rates, and regulations. Again... they just do.  But THIS time it's beneficial to YOU!

Last week, the USPS issued a press release announcing their plans to expand "simplified addressing" to businesses. For the longest time, this is something that has primarily only been available to the government.

What does this mean?

In a nutshell, it means that business can now expand their reach to a larger audience without having specific names and addresses. You can essentially address your pieces to "Postal Customer" or "Occupant" and it can be delivered to every residence or PO Box in a particular region.

In their press release, the USPS goes on to explain "Simplified addressing will serve as the on-ramp for many small businesses trying to reach their audiences within a specific geographic range. It will allow them for the first time to take advantage of the most effective marketing channel there is — direct mail."

To review their entire press release, follow this link: U.S. Postal Service to Expand Simplified Addressing for Businesses

USPS announces Direct Mail changes that increase your reach!

Tags: commercial printing, business solutions, internet marketing, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, direct mail, response rate

Do You Have a Multi Channel Marketing Plan for 2011?

Posted by Universal Printing on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 @ 10:35 AM

 

Universal Printing Multi Channel Marketing 2011

With 2010 rapidly coming to an end, it's a perfect time to evaluate your 1st Quarter marketing goals for 2011. It really doesn't matter what industry you're involved in, EVERY company, group or organization uses marketing to some degree. If you're anything like us, you're most likely focusing your marketing efforts on growing new business and maintaining existing clients. Whether it's finding new leads, or developing existing customers, you need to maximize every chance you have to deliver your message. Your BEST option is an Intgrated Multi-Channel Marketing Campaign.

Symphony, our Multi Channel Marketing software product, offers a complete cross media solution that will get your message out there utilizing multiple conventional, digital and social channels. Not only will you dramatically increase your net impressions (or "touches"), but you'll also be able to track your results utilizing your campaign dashboard and ROI calculator!

Here are a few helpful things to keep in mind when you're planning your integrated marketing campaign.

1- Use a Cross Media approach: Your competitors are either already doing this, or will be VERY soon. There are so many ways to communicate with your audience and if you're not using all of them, you're leaving chips on the table. Utilizing mass media options like radio, newspapers, magazines, and billboards, as well as one-on-one methods like email and direct mail are all great. But shouldn't you also be taking advantage of the latest technologies that integrate all these channels and add text messaging, flash video, QR codes and other social media to reach your audience and measure responses?
 
2- Engage your audience: You have less than 3 seconds to deliver your message and request some kind of action. "Less is more." Keep your creative clean and simple, your message clear and concise, and your offer appealing.
 
3- Measure your results: Even if you ARE using all the media options available to you, do you have one central place to track and analyze all your results?  Using seperate tracking URLs for different mass media campaigns will help you see which channels are most effective.  You can do the same with social media pages or QR codes too.

4- Don't forget to follow-up: You've delivered your message, made your impression, and learned as much about your leads as you can. What next? Micro sites and landing pages add power to any campaign. Of course there's the "Thank You" page, and auto reply "Thank You" email, which should always include a way to "refer a friend." But don't miss out on a chance to use surveys to gather valuable client preference information. Utilizing rules based logic allows for dynamic responses and automated follow up based on stated preferences! Real-time lead information is automatically sent to both sales and management. You should also consider integrating SMS or text options for lead follow-up. 95% of all text messages sent get read! 

5- Now INTERACT with them:  Adding personalization to your direct mail or email pieces will get noticed faster. Going one step further and giving them a pURL or link to a personalized website is more likely to keep their attention. As long as you are providing clear actions and strong reasons to continue, you will get more chances to learn what your potential leads want from you.

There's a timeless saying: "Knowledge is power." Symphony helps you harness that power and use it to increase your lead generation and plan future marketing efforts with real measurable information.

So go ahead... Use our cross media solution for your multi channel marketing, and get INTEGRATED!  To help get you started, our friends over at iContact have posted some GREAT ideas to help get your creative juices flowing.

Tags: commercial printing, Universal Printing, business solutions, email marketing, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, pURLs, response rate, email blast

Five Ways to Save Money on your Direct Mail!

Posted by Universal Printing on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 @ 01:37 PM

Have you ever though that the United State Postal Service was confusing?  Constant rate changes, endless amounts of regulations, crazy exceptions to ever-changing requirements.  What's more, later this Spring there will be even more changes in place when the USPS finalizes their adoption of Intelligent Mail Barcodes, which will become the only method of barcoding eligible for automation discounts.

In an effort to help our clients better prepare their direct mail pieces, we wanted to provide our Top Five things to consider when designing your mail pieces.

1) Keep it Clean...

When designing your address panel, you need to keep the address area free and clear of any printing that could get picked up by any OCR equipment. Generally the best practice is to keep this area in the bottom right-hand corner of the mail panel, and measuring a minimum of 3 3/4" in width and 2 1/2" in height. (Note: the exception to this rule is in newsletters, magazines, or other flats. More on THOSE further below!)

2) Know your Folds...

Crucially important in setting up folded pieces, is making sure your address panels are oriented correctly.  As a general rule, ANY open edges of your folded piece should be at the top and left of your panel.  Right angle folds (in half, then in half again) will have folded edges at the bottom and right of the panel, as shown in the diagram. Trifolded pieces would have the folded edge along the bottom of the address panel. This allows the piece to run cleanly through all of the automated machinery when the Post Office is sorting. More Automation = Better postal rates!

Right Angle Fold for Direct Mail

3) Don't Crowd the Barcode...

Barcodes help automate the process, which again reduces the cost of postage.  Designers are often tempted to add some kind of "vertical line" in the middle of a postcard to seperate the address panel from other information.  But there's a chance that this can get picked up by OCR scanners as part of the barcode, throwing off the presort. Best to let some good old-fashioned "whitespace" do the job.

4) Flats are Different...

If your piece is bigger than 6 1/8" tall and 11 1/2" wide, than it is a "Flat." Flats will costs more to mail than letters and postcards do, but there are still ways to get some automation discounts. The address block on any newsletter/magazine or other similar piece is at the TOP of the piece, where the folded or stitched edge is to the right.  This means if the mailer panel is on the BACK cover, it's along the top. If it's on the FRONT cover, than it's at the lower left corner and looks upside down.  This isn't a mistake... it's just the way it is.

Direct Mail Front Sample Direct Mail Back Sample

5) When in Doubt, ASK!

If you're not sure how to design your direct mail pieces for best use of space, best postal rates, and keeping all postal regulations in mind, just ask!  Our Direct Mail / Mail Processing department is always up to date on the latest USPS rules and regulations. You can also consult your local USPS Mailpiece Design Analyst. Follow this link find your local MDA.

For other helpful information about setting up your Direct Mail pieces, visit the Direct Mail Postal Regulations page on our website.

Tags: graphic design, printing services, business solutions, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, direct mail

Direct mail... Back-in-the-day or Future Play? Part II

Posted by Robert Moura on Fri, Nov 12, 2010 @ 11:28 AM

Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing.

As promised in Part I I will do some of the math to make the case for direct mail as compared to pay per click and email blasts. I stated that we in the printing and direct mail industry had allowed the folks in the web-based world (email blast, SEM and banner ads etc.) to improperly equate a web-based “click” response rate to our typical “direct mail” response rate.

Conventional Response Rate Wisdom says:

- A web-based campaign, generally speaking, considers a 5% response rate to be very successful.

- A direct mail campaign is successful with a 1-3% response rate.

This is where the improper comparison starts. The 5% response rate in the web-based campaign is defined as a “click”. A “click” is when someone “clicks” on the link to VIEW information. The 1-3% response rate in direct mail is when someone BUYS something and/ or takes the action that the direct mail piece was requesting!! If you want to compare apples to apples then you must compare the web-based click rate of 5% (which is more properly defined as the VIEW rate) with the “Click” or VIEW rate of direct mail, which is 79% (The Household Diary Study Mail Use & Attitudes in FY 2009)

 USPS Mail readership

 

Note that almost 100% of the recipients receive the direct mail piece in their mailbox while at least 30% of email is never delivered because of SPAM filters. When you calculate the cost of a pay per “click”, or VIEW, at an average $2-$4 compared with a cost per “direct mail click” or VIEW of $.90 (roughly $.30 postage + $.60 print 2sides and address and mail) you have a much more apples to apples comparison.

My point is that you need to have accurate information before you decide on one approach or the other based on potentially biased statistics. Or before discarding direct mail out of hand as irrelevant. Have you checked your good old fashion mailbox lately? It is probably the least competitive and cluttered space for you to get your message across to your clients, not to mention that most young folks don’t have land phone lines and they don’t take kindly to spam on their "sacred cell phones", but they do all have dwellings with mail boxes!!

Our belief is that great marketers should deploy both types of direct marketing campaigns. When web-based and direct mail marketing is deployed properly the synergies can produce fantastic results far greater than the sum of the individual parts!

This is why at Universal we utilize and offer our clients both conventional direct mail as well as Symphony, our multi channel marketing software, that incorporates pURLs (Personalized URLs) as part of our marketing strategy. This combination definitely provides a real lift to the response rates of both types of campaigns. In addition with Symphony you have a real time dashboard and can measure results and modify campaigns so you can decide for yourself if your specific campaign goals and objectives have been met.

Tags: email marketing, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, pURLs, response rate, email blast, Symphony, click rate, clicks, pay per click, sem

Direct mail... Back-in-the-day or Future Play?

Posted by Robert Moura on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 @ 11:30 AM

With all the talk of social media, cell phone apps, email marketing, spam and the list goes on and on of “relevant” ways to keep in touch with and obtain new clients, I've asked myself if good old fashion direct mail is a back-in-the-day solution or a future play?

I don’t know about you, but I assume that Google and Yahoo know a thing or two about marketing, and I have been receiving direct mail from them recently promoting new ways to advertise my business and promote my products on their sites! Seems like a pretty strong case for direct mail to me. Can you appreciate the irony? Google and Yahoo using snail mail to promote their high tech web services.

Google and Yahoo Direct Mail pieces

Let’s face it, mail volumes are way down. Have you noticed how your mailbox (the physical one that sits outside of your house) contains about one third the daily volume of mail it used to just a few short years ago? Have you also noticed how your e-mail and PDA inboxes are jammed packed with SPAM? Which is the least competitive space to get your clear message through to your clients?

My point is that it seems to just make good sense to be a contrarian from time to time and take advantage of the not so obvious opportunities that occasionally present themselves. There are lots of wonderful gems to be found on the path less traveled!

With cost-per-clicks ranging in the $2 - $8 range a 30-cent stamp (rough cost for an average size direct mail postcard) seems pretty darn cheap. You know it will be delivered to the recipient and you know that they must at least look at it (click it) before they throw it away!

Food for thought – The printing and mailing industry has allowed the e-mail and pay-per-click folks to make some fairly absurd comparisons of the response rates and costs of snail mail vs. pay per click and e-mail blasts. Conventional direct mail Response rates do not necessarily translate equally to click rates. A common sence comparison of facts might surprise you. I’ll do some math next time!


Bob Moura
President

Tags: printing, commercial printing, printing services, business solutions, Social Media, direct mail