Get More for Your Money

Consumers love to hear how they can get the most out of their money. It’s a great marketing tactic, and it’s no different when it comes to your marketing budget. Here are a few ways get the most bang for your buck.

  1. Use our “house” paper. Paper prices fluctuate often, so if you haven’t standardized on a specific paper, ask about less expensive options. If your piece doesn’t demand a specialty paper, opt to use our house paper. We purchase this paper in high volume, so it’s almost always the least expensive option.
  2. Print four-color in gang runs. The most expensive way to print four-color is for us to run the job by itself on the press. However, with a “gang run,” we run multiple jobs at the same time, then trim them down to size. This can be a great way to get excellent results for less money.
  3. Avoid bleeds. If color needs to go to the edge of the page, you can often get a similar effect less expensively by printing on colored paper. Without bleeds, your project might also require less paper or be able to be run on a smaller press.
  4. Clean and de-dupe. It’s not the most exciting job, but cleaning and de-duping your mailing list can drop your costs dramatically. With a clean list, you are only printing pieces that end up at their intended destinations. Thus, you aren’t sending multiple pieces to the same home or business.
  5. Try new formats. Just because you have always done a brochure for a particular promotion doesn’t mean it’s the only option. Experiment with a postcard or other format and see whether you get a better response rate. A little creativity can go a long way toward saving money.

Need more ideas? Let us brainstorm ways to help you get great results and the most from your budget.

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Are You Selling for the Short- or Long-Term?

When you create personalized print communications for your customers, are you thinking about short-term selling or long-term relationships? While getting the quick sale feels great, the biggest profits come from long-term customers who provide recurring revenue over time. Here are five reasons to focus on recurring personalized print programs rather than “quick hit” campaigns:

  1. Building relationships.

Personalization, by definition, is personal and implies a relationship. To establish a relationship with your customers, you need to get to know them. No one-off campaign, no matter how successful, can do that.

  1. Learning more over time.

At the beginning of a campaign, you are making educated guesses about how your customers think and act. As they respond, you learn more about them. This allows you to modify your messaging, offers and calls to action to have the most impact over time.

  1. Making more money.

As you learn which campaign elements are most effective at motivating your customers, your campaigns will be more profitable. More refined campaigns translate into higher response rates, higher conversion rates, and increased ROI.

  1. Maximizing investment.

Setting up your first 1:1 print campaign requires an investment in time and money. By developing programs rather than one-off campaigns, your set-up costs are amortized over the life of the program. As costs become amortized, your ROI per campaign goes up.

  1. Not continually having re-prove program value.

Unless you are the president or owner of the company, chances are you had to work with a team of others to make the initial decision to deploy personalized print communications. Each time you run another campaign, you need to go through the entire process again. With programs, you have the freedom to refine and maximize your efforts without having to re-prove their value before each deployment.

So think long-term. Programs allow you to develop and refine your marketing strategy over time and take advantage of the value of relationship-building. One-off campaigns can produce great short-term results, but the deepest profits come from investing in your customers for the long term.

 

5 Reasons Print Stubbornly Refuses to Be Replaced

No matter how frequently marketing gurus prophesy the demise of print, and no matter how loudly and publicly they do it, print marketing remains the bedrock of any successful multichannel marketing program. Let’s look at five reasons why print is here to stay.

  1. It’s just prettier. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your JPGs are; a beautifully printed piece will blow away your screen graphics every time.
  2. You can’t avoid it. When you communicate by email, recipients can’t see beyond the subject line until they open the message. With clear envelopes, windows, and exterior envelope printing, you start communicating your print message as soon as the piece arrives in the mailbox.
  3. Print is one of many touchpoints. Today’s complex marketing environment requires multiple touch points. According to the Online Marketing Institute, it takes six to eight marketing touches to generate a viable sales lead. Repetition is critical, and print is a critical channel in the mix.
  4. Print influences buying decisions. Marketers once thought that with the growth of e-commerce, printed catalogs would fade away. History indicates otherwise. Surveys find that consumers who receive printed catalogs are more likely (in one study, twice as likely) to make online purchases at the retailer’s website as those who do not.
  5. Consumers trust print more. 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. Print carries greater weight and authenticity than digital marketing. People continue to trust messages communicated in print.

Print remains irreplaceable in today’s “what’s in it for me?” world. While e-marketing is a necessary component in any multichannel marketing campaign, print carries benefits that online channels just can’t touch.

 

 

When Is Personal Too Personal?

One of the benefits of 1:1 marketing is the ability to increase the relevance of each communication by making the message more personal. By using the information you already know about the recipient, you can communicate on a more intimate, 1:1 level.

But this approach can also be misused. Individuals and businesses are very protective of their privacy these days, and rightly so. Customers want to know that their data is not only safe but that the marketers they do business with won’t misuse it.

What are some first steps you can take to ensure that your customers and prospects know that you care about their privacy?

  • Include an official privacy statement in your information-gathering materials.
  • If you are collecting data, include a notice of physical and data security procedures and a promise of confidentiality.
  • When personalizing your marketing messages, don’t disclose overly personal details (“Hey, Bob! Ready to default on that sky-high mortgage?”).
  • Be transparent. Provide full details about what respondents have to do to receive any prizes or promotional items.
  • Follow all opt-in regulations, including double opt-ins for email lists and providing the option to opt-out of future marketing contacts.
  • Assure that respondents’ information will not be sold to third parties.

Privacy standards, both in print and online, are always evolving. So stay abreast of the discussion. Talk to your customers to find out any other concerns and address them. The more you can assure your customers that their personal information is safe with you and that it will be used appropriately, the more you will win their trust.

 

 

Best Practices in Personalized Marketing

If you want great marketing results, it’s important to personalize text, images, and other content based on what you know about the recipient. But just dropping in data-driven content doesn’t guarantee success. Sometimes other factors can dull your results. Maybe the offer is great, but the design is so uninteresting that nobody reads it. Or the headline is snappy and the design is great, but there is no incentive for people to respond.

Let’s look at three best practices that need to be the foundation of any personalized print campaign.

  • Traditional marketing rules apply. Even with personalized marketing, traditional rules hold firm. Ultimately, all of the elements — creative, message (including personalization), offer, segmentation, call to action, and incentive —need to come together to determine success.
  • Focus on relevance, not “personalization.” It doesn’t matter how “personalized” a document is. If it isn’t relevant, it is worthless. Take the shoe market. You don’t want to sell orthopedic shoes to teenagers. You can deck out the mailer with text messaging terms, pictures of X-Games, and use all the contemporary lingo, but it’s not a relevant message unless a teen needs to purchase a birthday present for grandpa.
  • Know your customers, then market to what you know. When the National Hockey League began 1:1 communication with its customers, it asked them to fill out a survey that indicated that 40% of the of NHL’s fan base lives outside their favorite team’s home market. That means these fans can’t easily go to games or access highlights. Imagine the opportunity for the league! So ask yourself, what don’t you know about your customers now that might allow you to create relevance in a more powerful way later? Do a customer mail or email survey. Use what you find out to speak directly to the needs and interests of your customers.

Investing in your marketing database and developing an intimate understanding of your customers takes time, dedicated resources, and manpower, but it is one of the most important investments you can make. Personalization is a powerful tool, but to get the big pay-off, it cannot work alone.

 

Did You Know Personalized Printing Is Green Printing?

When you think about personalization, do you think about lower cost per lead, higher per order values, and increased ROI? You should. But you should also get excited about how personalized printing helps you go green.

Here are three reasons why:

  • Targeting means you send out fewer pieces of mail—saving trees, chemicals, and fossil fuels.
  • A cleaner database means that your recipients deliver fewer pieces right to the trash can.
  • Digital production has many green benefits, including no plates, no chemicals, and no spray powders.

Say you are a small college printing four-color catalogs to mail to prospective students. Each catalog is 252 pages, covering the full range of disciplines and activities. As a result, only 25% of the material is relevant to the prospective student. Now, instead of printing 252 pages, you print 64 pages of material relevant to each student. Not only does this increase the effectiveness of each booklet, but you’ve just reduced your consumption of paper, ink, and chemicals by 75%.

As another example, in a static mail campaign, you might send out 15,000 postcards to a generic list. With personalized mail, you are likely to select only a percentage of that list. This might be the top 10% of your customers, customers who are most likely to purchase certain products or customers who, based on defined triggers (such as an expiring auto lease), are most likely to be in the market for a new purchase. Now, instead of mailing 15,000 pieces, you might mail only 1,500. Not only are these offers more targeted and relevant, but you’ve just reduced your printing and mailing volume by 90%, a huge slash in your carbon footprint.

It pays to be green. Not only should you consider green alternatives because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s good business. Consumers want to do business with companies that are good stewards of the environment.

So double marketing dip

3 Tips for Optimizing Your Multichannel Marketing

Want to energize your print campaign? Combine print with other media to amplify its effect.

The most common channel pairing with print these days is email, but you might also want to consider text messaging, banner ads, social media (such as Facebook), and search engine advertising, as well. Each channel has different benefits depending on your marketing goals and the target audience you are trying to reach.

No matter which channels you choose, here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Maintain consistent branding across all channels.

Different media have different requirements, so you can’t maintain 100% cross-channel consistency all the time. But whenever possible, use the same images, color schemes, primary messaging, and offers to maintain a consistent brand image and a consistent brand message.

  1. Think strategically.

Know what role each channel is supposed to play. If you are going to combine email with print, what are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to create awareness and anticipation of the print piece? Are you using email as a reminder to respond? Maybe if you’re driving traffic to a campaign-specific website, you might want to consider banner advertising in demographic hot spots.

  1. Create appropriate channel-audience pairings.

Ensure that you are selecting the best combination of channels to communicate with your target audience. You’re not going to reach as many retirees with text marketing as you are Millennials, for example, and social media preferences vary, as well. Sixty-five percent of GenXers and Baby Boomers say their favorite social media network is Facebook, and while Millennials overall prefer Facebook, too, among younger Millennials (ages 18-24), the favored social media network is Instagram.

There is a learning curve associated with multichannel marketing, but the ability to amplify and reinforce your marketing message can be invaluable. Need help matching your channels to your marketing goals? Just ask!