Learn How Small Businesses Can Vastly Improve Their Sales and Marketing Response Rates By Completing the Simple Exercise Below.

Posted by Robert Moura on Fri, Jul 06, 2012 @ 01:30 PM

Are you clear about what value you bring to your clients?

Do you speak your customers language?

Most of us speak in our marketing and presentations about what “we” do and the great tools “we” have to do “it” with.

Consider what drives you to buy from Vendor A over Vendor B.

Universal Printing Understanding Client NeedsIs it about them and their tools, or is it about you and how their tools solve your problems?

Consider the following when preparing your sales and marketing campaigns:

Speak in Your Clients Language

  • Understand their needs
  • Use their language and terms
  • Tailor the pitch to their business
  • Propose a solutions that solves their problems and needs, not yours

Here's the Simple Exercise:

Can you fill in the information (in parenthesis) below regarding your company?

How (who you sell to) can (insert verb) (insert problem) through (insert solution).

Universal Printing example for pharmaceutical marketing:

How (leading Pharmaceutical companies) can (improve their patient recruitment results and lower cost) thorough (leveraging the benefits of QR codes, mobile optimized web sites and social media).

Now do this exercise for your company and your customers and watch your results soar.

PS: Did you notice that the title of this article conforms to the exercise? Got your attention, didn't it?

Keeping it Simple and Clear -

Happy Sales!

Bob Moura

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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: tips and tricks, business solutions, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, emarketing

Top 5 Direct Mail Marketing Do's & Dont's

Posted by Robert Moura on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

Top 5 Direct Mail Marketing Do's & Dont's

Hitting your Marketing Target

The Basics...

  • Learn the basics of direct mail marketing because mistakes are expensive.
  • Keep it SIMPLE!
  • Identify your target. Invest in quality lists, copy, creative and printing.
  • Postage is expensive, you don’t want to waste it.
  • Measure, Measure, Measure.

 

Do

  1. Communicate benefits—early, often and clearly.
  2. Test lists, offers, copy, creative.
  3. Create a sense of urgency with deadlines and/or incentives
  4. Commit to a regular mailing schedule. Don't be a one shot wonder.
  5. Make specific goals (3 new customers) and objectives (increase product awareness) and calculate ROI (return on investment)

Don’t

  1. Buy cheap creative from someone that doesn't know direct mail
  2. Forget that a good list and a good offer are the main ingredients of your campaign’s success.
  3. Neglect to create a strong, clear obvious call to action.
  4. Make it hard for recipients to purchase or respond, give them options - e-mail, web, call 800#, landing pages, text messages.
  5. Forget to put several “seeds” on every mailing list.

Bonus Information

Personalization Improves ROI. Frequently by 2X to 5x the response.

An Info Trends study indicated personalized direct mail resulted in:

    • 34% faster response rates

    • 48% percent more repeat orders

    • 25% average order value increase

 

The Key is to personalize with RELEVANCE!

 

 

 

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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: Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, response rate, Symphony, Direct Mail tips for sucess

QR Codes: More than Just Internet Marketing Chic!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 @ 03:10 PM

QR codes are quickly gaining traction here in the US.  With almost 1/3 of Americans (ages 12 and up) carrying smartphones, and given the spontaneous and instantaneous nature of the web, it’s very little surprise that QR codes are becoming accepted at an amazing rate!  Add to this, the viral nature of most marketing strategies, and you get an even broader appeal.  Heck, even the US Postal Service sees the QR code potential, and is planning to run a special Mobile Barcode Promotion later this summer.

 

What are QR codes?

UP sample QR code | Scan it to get directions

QR codes (Quick Response) are 2-dimensional barcodes that were originally designed for inventory tracking.  You’ve probably used QR codes without even realizing it – like when you’ve rented a movie from any of those RedBox machines. The little checkerboard-looking code in the middle of that DVD case is a QR code which is scanned inside the machine to help it know which movies are available at that location. At any time, RedBox knows who has what DVD, where and when they returned it, or if it’s been reserved online and needs to be made unavailable until it’s picked up… all using QR codes.

Most smartphone and web-enabled phones have QR code readers available, allowing anyone to take a picture of any QR code and instantly trigger whatever event was intended.  In most cases, it might be a link to a specific website or video, but can also be used to add someone’s information to your phone's contact list, or to enroll in SMS/text message promotions.  The possibilities are endless, and MANY marketers are jumping at the chance to find now and creative ways to use QR codes.

 

Why use QR codes?

Aside from the “cool” factor which might appeal those who get excited by tech, there are so many practical reasons for using QR codes:

UP sample QR codes | Scan This and SEE!

Connect people anytime, anywhere – So many people have smartphones, and they almost always have them with them.  So if they want to snap the QR code in that moment, they are connected to whatever information you want them to see!    

Update info INSTANTLY – If you plan your QR code and links correctly, you can constantly update or change the information that’s being linked.   So you can update product information, switch linked videos, change the SMS/texting messages, or anything else you want to keep current…. WITHOUT having to change out all your QR coded pieces.

Possibilities are LIMITLESS – You can literally add a QR code to ANYTHING:  Posters, Banners, Flyers, Business Cards, Postcards, Envelopes, T-shirts, Tablecloths, Menus, Napkins, Place Settings, Table-top Displays, Vehicle Wraps, Window Clings, Billboards, and on, and on….  And when THAT list ends, you start to consider how many things you can LINK to: product videos, assembly or usage instructions, social media channels, e-promotional signups, discount and savings memberships,
new promotional information, employees interviews, testimonials, driving directions, contact information, and so much more!

 

I’m convinced!  Now what?

So you want to find out the most creative and innovative ways to use QR codes to help you stand out, arm your customers with up-to-the-minute info, or simple earn some extra COOL points?  Well, a great place to start is by giving us a call and speaking with any member of our helpful staff.  Our team of eMarketing Experts will be more than happy to consult with you on any project, and help you take your flat printed pieces to the NEXT LEVEL!

 

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: business solutions, digital printing, Social Media, internet marketing, email marketing, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, emarketing

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