How To Run A Successful Direct Mail Campaign

Long live Direct Mail!

No – Direct Mail hasn’t been superseded by email and telephone campaigns or posting on social media. A range of approaches widens your scope ; Direct Mail may reach the audience that other campaigns cannot reach. Sending out personalised mail to your customers or prospective customers and followed up with digital marketing can be a match made in marketing heaven.

Yes – Direct Marketing obviously costs something for design, print and distribution at the very least, so in order for it to be cost-effective it is crucial, absolutely crucial, that each campaign is carefully thought out to gain the maximum benefit for your company.

The 40/40/20 rule?

That old chestnut… it dates back to the 1960s, doesn’t it? Out of date, surely? But stop your inward groaning and take a look. It’s been shown, over time, that it makes sense. It still makes sense. Almost.

The rule says that 40% of the success of your campaign depends on your list selection, 40% on the offer that you communicate and only 20% on the creative aspect, the design of your flyer, postcard or letter. But surely, somewhere in those figures should be timing – it’s vital to send out your mailing at the optimum time. Let’s change those percentages to 30/30/20/20.

30% list selection – we can help

If you’re approaching current customers then, of course, you’ll already have a list – but make sure it’s up-to-date with the correct addresses and names of contact people. It really makes your company look slapdash if you get that wrong.

If you’re looking beyond your regular audience then constructing a database is extraordinarily time-consuming and buying lists online can be dodgy. At Mailing Expert, tell us the profile you have determined for your new prospects and we’ll be able to provide you with a carefully tailored, clean list so you won’t waste time or money approaching the wrong people – or people who don’t even exist!

30% offer – it’s up to you

Quite honestly, once your mailing is opened, your customer or prospect will be thinking, ‘So how does this benefit ME?’ Blabbing on about how great your company is simply won’t do (even though your company IS great!) You could offer a discount, a free gift or service, an ebook to download… It’s up to you to decide a) what you want your prospect to do, having read your communication, so you need a clear call to action, and b) what reward will they get for doing it?

20% creative – we can help

It IS important to get this right. It has to be compelling to engage attention – so we could help with size, design, copywriting, colours, images and top-class printing services. Choose the right medium for your message – should it be a postcard, a flyer, a greetings card or a letter? You don’t want your material to be mistaken for a piece of junk mail so make it look unique and classy.

20% timing – and follow-up

For time-sensitive campaigns, it goes without saying that your recipients must have enough time to receive the mail, make a decision and take advantage of your offer.

In general, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the very best days for your mail to arrive. Monday there is always a pile of stuff. On Friday, most people are winding down for the weekend ahead.

There are other aspects of time to consider too:

  • Industry peak times – people will be too busy to bother with mail so get it there beforehand
  • Seasons – does your product or service appeal to a certain sector at a specific time?
  • Theme weeks – if it’s not ‘Jam Doughnut Week’ it’s ‘Let’s Go To Work In Pyjamas Day’ – so could you target one of these?
  • Exhibitions – every sector has events and exhibitions – so find out when!
  • Current Affairs – what’s happening in the world? Could it be relevant?

The importance of follow-up is never to be underestimated. What’s the point of piquing someone’s interest with a carefully constructed communication then not doing anything else? A wasted opportunity and destruction of the initial interest you spent time and money trying to build.

So there’s the Mailing Expert Rule, hot off the press: 30/30/20/20

 

Mailing Expert

Wish you weren’t here? We’ll start 2017 off for you with our ideas for postcard campaigns. That’ll make you feel better!

Happy New Year to all of you from all of us and we hope you had a great time over the holidays – that’s if you were lucky enough to have a few days off. Well, here at Mailing Expert, we’re raring to go and the first thing on our minds is the humble postcard.

No, not holiday postcards. No, not saucy seaside postcards. What we’re talking about is the use of postcards in a direct mailing campaign and there are many reasons why this is an all-round Good Idea.

Here’s our top ten:

1. Postcards are the most cost-effective form of direct mail

Think about it – one piece of card, little copy to create, no envelope to stuff and seal, keeping costs down for high-yield campaigns. Small yet powerful!

2. People like getting postcards

Perhaps a postcard  reminds everyone of holidays, but whatever the case, the message is instant, without the need to spend precious minutes opening an envelope. Just a little tip – a postage stamp rather than a franking means your cards are less likely to be categorised as junk mail.

3. There’s a great opportunity for creativity in design

There’s nothing nicer than a colourful imaginative postcard dropping on your front doormat. Simplicity, clear imagery and a succinct message are crucial so your card has immediate impact.

4. Thinking outside the (post)box!

Super-creativity can add a touch of unforgettable genius to your campaign. We’ve heard of cards with messages that only show up when exposed to sunlight or are printed on indestructible material with a challenge to the reader to try to tear it in half. How to get your recipients engaged and likely to show your card to other people, which spreads your message even further.

5. A chance to clarify your objectives

When you’re describing your product, service or a special offer, it’s all too easy to burble on and confuse your audience. Not with a postcard! It’ll take a bit of time to hone your words into very few but then you’ll be clear in your own mind exactly what you’re offering – and so will your recipients.

6. Less to go wrong

In long correspondence, there’s a higher chance of making a mistake whether it’s a typo or an incorrect detail. It only takes a few seconds to proofread a postcard – but beware, a mistake on a postcard will show up big time!

7. The possibility of a noticeable increase in sales and revenue

A simple, effective carefully-considered direct marketing campaign with postcards can see a high return on investment for much less effort than other means – research says 20% more

8. People are more likely to keep postcards than other marketing material

Once read, there’s little aesthetic incentive to keep a letter, emails are often deleted  – but an attractive postcard might be pinned to a notice board, stuck into a diary or propped up on a  windowsill.

9. Multifarious uses…

Apart from information that needs to be confidential, postcards can be used to encourage new customers, promote your company, increase brand awareness, send greetings, direct people to your website, announce events and promotions…the list is endless

10. It’s fun to do!

Admin jobs and office work, let’s face it, can be tedious. Postcard campaigns allow you to give rein to your creative and jolly side – and all for the worthy aim of helping your company to grow.

At Mailing Expert we say HOORAH FOR POSTCARDS! Contact us at once on 01825 983033 or info@mailingexpert.co.uk to discuss your next campaign.

Mailing Expert

Happy birthday to us!

Five years old today

Happy-Birthday
On our fifth birthday, it’s a real time of celebration for us, because we’ve grown from strength to strength in just five short years. The time has whizzed by and the main thing is,  it’s been fun – hard work, but fun. What more could we ask?

We thought it would be a great idea to catch up with David Vaughan, the main man, to see how he’s feeling on such a momentous occasion, so we plied him with questions.

How did Mailing Expert all start up?

We wanted to created a environment where there was a focus on quality of service and consistency of approach. Having worked for a number of print and mail companies where the company priorities mattered more than customers, we wanted to work in a business where we could put people first and create symbiotic relationships that delivered real value to our clients.

How has the company grown over the past 5 years?

The business has grown through referrals and recommendations. Doing a good job for a client, big or small, is rewarding not just because it’s great to do a good job, but because happy customers are a great advertisement for what we do.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

We want to continue with steady growth, maintaining our focus on quality. In five years time we aim to have doubled the size of the business and be recognised as the best mailing company in Sussex for delivering customer satisfaction.

What has been the highlight for you in the time you’ve been in business?

Our first employee!  We took Mathew on as an apprentice. It’s been wonderful to see him grow with the company.

If you could change one thing, what would it be?

We sometimes hide our light under a bushel – we do fabulous things for our customers and forget that not everyone offers quality as standard.

And finally…how are you going to celebrate?

With cake!  We are also going to plant 5 trees (a fifth anniversary is represented by wood). This also symbolises our commitment to sustainability – we use environmental inks, paper that’s recycled or from managed woodland and recommend biodegradable poly-outers. We recycle all of our waste materials and packing – including staff drink cans and bottles.

Congratulations, David, and on behalf of Mailing Expert as a whole, we’d like to extend our thanks to all our clients, past and present. Without you, we wouldn’t be here.

Here’s to the next five years! And the next…

Mailing Expert

Universities and Student Unions – yes, timing IS everything with Direct Mail

…if not everything, it’s certainly a hugely important factor if you want your campaign to be successful and cost-effective, alongside targeting the right people with the right material.

Ignore lead-in times at your peril. We all know that, in the retail sector, preparing for next Christmas begins almost as soon as the decorations are packed away in the store cupboard in early January.  In the world of academia, reaching out to students so that they receive communications at the optimum time is no different and requires careful planning.

Why use direct mail for students?

Students, young people – surely they’ll be far more engaged with digital media or emails?  Certainly it’s a fact that they are swamped with electronic communications 24 hours a day. Therein lies the advantage of direct mailing.

It could mean having a well-designed card to hold in your hands, with your name on it, which doesn’t disappear in a flash, deleted with one click of a button, replaced in a minute by the next post on social media.  It has a shelf life, it gives a sense of ownership and also has a proven record for generating responses.

Direct mailing can also be used, when a student is enrolled, to send a comprehensive pack about the university or college, with booklets and multiple leaflets.

This sort of interaction must not be dismissed as old school. How much easier it is to make a printed communication reflect the brand and image you’d like to convey. How much more memorable than an email. That’s not to say that it’s an either/or decision – either direct or digital – but choosing the right combination of the two to best reach your target audience.

As an educational establishment, how can you use direct mail?

The possibilities are many:

  • Introduce the place of learning to prospective students
  • Inspire curiosity and a desire for more information
  • Send out a full prospectus to those who have expressed an interest
  • Invite people to open days and campus tours
  • Build your brand and keep your name at the forefront of people’s minds
  • Making sure new students know where to go and what’s on for Freshers’ week

It’s a meaningful and powerful way to interact. And of course, it can also be used to keep in contact with past students, for notification of events and to build networks for fundraising.

And what about timing for universities?

Student mailings have to be timed carefully as there is only a small window between receiving the data in August from UCAS, it going through clearing and then getting material sent out before the student is due to leave home for university in September.

There are other elements which must be factored in which will also have a bearing on your mailing.  How much time is needed between you submitting your order to allow  companies like Mailing Expert to design, print and distribute? Not to mention stock deliveries from sponsors which may be required for inclusion.

Most student mailings are planned roughly 4-6 months in advance, but some information is not confirmed until a week before, so all of us  really need to be on our toes, even if it is the middle of the summer when holidays are on our minds.

Success is the result of a solid process underpinning every mailing. We are called Mailing Expert for a very good reason. If you have academic mailing to carry out, please call us.

Mailing Expert

The font of all knowledge? Part 2

As promised in Part 1 of this series, this blog will address the issues and opportunities generated by the use of fancy fonts.

Fancy fonts are fun!

There are literally thousands of fonts to choose from these days, some of them completely free to download, some of them requiring a licence. In fact, it would be quite easy to drown in a sea of fonts that are now available and it’s for that reason that many people stick to what they know. However, with careful thought, it’s not necessary to be over-cautious. Success may come to those who are prepared to go that little bit further to find something out of the ordinary to make their brand stand out from the rest.

Even the names suggest a sense of fun and originality. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Bleeding Cowboyif you know Uckfield, this was used on the shop front and website of Elysium Engraving
  • Ecofont – actually takes regular fonts and fills them full of holes so less ink is used when printing!
  • Charcuterie Ornaments – “homage to the inventiveness, passion, and care of peasants” – apparently.
  • Doctor Cosmicucumber – the less said the better…

They certainly raise a smile in a world which can be dull and monotonous.

Web safe fonts – myth or reality?

Thinking about websites, in years gone by, only a few so-called ‘web safe’ fonts could be used, because it was impossible to see a fancy font on a computer which hadn’t already got it installed.  A default font would appear instead. This meant that all text on the internet looked pretty much the same.

One of the ways round this was to replace written text with an image of the writing, such as a .jpg. Such a clunky solution! It looked sloppy, considerably slowed download time and was a sure way to deter anyone from bothering with your website.

Without getting too technical, in these enlightened days there are a number of developments which allow an astonishing array of fonts to work well across the whole array of digital media. CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), such as Google Fonts or Typekit, do exactly what is required, freely delivering content like fancy fonts to consumers.

This aside, it’s still important to test your font choice to make sure it performs well across different environments. For example, email coding is not yet that adventurous, so sticking to tried and tested fonts in that medium is probably best.

Consider legibility

Not all fonts have been designed with legibility in mind. They’re simply created to make a bold typographic statement and not intended for large chunks of text. If you choose something that is too overpowering, it may distract people from your message – they’ll be too busy admiring (or hating!) the typeface instead.

Especially where websites are concerned, it’s best to use highly fancy fonts only for decorative purposes or for headlines. They’re a great way to get attention. For the body of your text, restrained is better because it’s easy to read. For print purposes, it’s slightly less of an issue because people dwell for longer upon cards, flyers, letters and brochures; however legibility must still be a paramount consideration.

A combination of different fonts may be effective but we all have to be careful not to create a mish-mash that’s confusing to the eye. Fonts come in families, so you could use variations of one typeface to make the final result more cohesive.

Interesting research about fancy fonts

To round up this blog, we’ve been fascinated to read some work undertaken by neuroscientists Hyunjin Song and Norbert Schwarz of the University of Michigan. They have discovered that, in certain circumstances, using harder-to-read fancy fonts can be a positive, even though it slows down the reading process. Apparently, it suggests to a consumer that more effort and skill is needed to create the product or service. They used restaurant menus as an example, presenting subjects with the same menus – one printed in fancy and one in simple font. The skills needed by the chefs to produce the food on the fancy font menu were rated much higher than for those on the simple menu – hence, higher prices could be justified!

It’s always a balancing act, isn’t it? Overdo this idea with your own marketing material and people may not bother to struggle through it, which they would as a captive audience reading a menu in a restaurant.

Here at Mailing Expert, we can help you to design material using appropriate fonts to make the end results both compelling AND legible.

 

Mailing Expert

9.3 million pounds to design, print and distribute a leaflet?

Her Majesty’s Government should have asked us at Mailing Expert.  Not that we’re after the £9 million(honest!), just that we could do the same job, to exactly the same standards for less; no expensive London advertising agency or PR company. Just your local SME! We think the British taxpayers would be very pleased about that.

With over 30 years in the print and Direct Mail business, this sort of mailing service is second nature to us – and it’s something we do very well, if the testimonials and repeat business from our customers are to be believed.

As an SME, our overheads are relatively low so our prices are always competitive, our design and printing services are top notch, using print media from digital, laser and inkjet to full litho printing.

We have access to a range of postal options, working closely with Royal Mail (and other postal suppliers) who offer postage discounts for a variety of services and we also offer a door to door leaflet option too.  We understand all the variables so can select the very best arrangement for you.

For most Direct Mailing campaigns, we offer a fully-managed data service, to make sure your leaflet gets to the right addresses.  Since the EU Referendum leaflet is destined to go to every household in the UK, perhaps, in this case, such clever filtering and data verification is superfluous!

Anyway, NEXT TIME, Mr. Prime Minister, just give us a call and we’ll do you a very good deal.

And everyone else – we know your Direct Mailing requirements won’t be quite as large, but no job is too small for us at Mailing Expert.

Why not drop us a line or give us a ring?

 

Saving the planet with eco-friendly Mailing Expert

A paperless society – will it ever happen? With increasing use of email and text, with documents sent electronically with the advisory, ‘Please consider the environment before printing,’ you may be forgiven for thinking that print will be extinct as dinosaurs in a few years’ time. Here at Mailing Expert we disagree.

Ha! As a company which specialises in printing, we would say that wouldn’t we? Here’s the thing: printed material does have its place in our lives and always will do. Obviously, we’re not anti-printing, but we ARE against wasting resources.

Interesting facts about paper consumption

(We think they’re interesting, anyway!)

  • Despite the global push for sustainability, by 2012 consumption of paper had increased by nearly 50% since 1980
  • In the UK, it is estimated we consume the equivalent of 4.48 40-foot high trees per person per year
  • Belgium has the worst record of all (8.51 trees per person per year) but can be slightly excused as a nation, since they have the EU headquarters in Brussels – think of all those huge documents required in countless languages

Print responsibly at home

Many, many people print off emails and electronic documents at home. This may actually be less environmentally-friendly than a company sending out responsibly-produced paper material in the first place.

How many times have you printed something off and realised you have an almost completely blank ‘page 2 of 2’? That’s a waste! Do you use eco-friendly ink and recycled paper or paper from sustainable sources? Something to think about…

Are electronic devices always the most eco-friendly option?

If you don’t print stuff out and feel very virtuous reading from your PC or tablet, then consider this too: such devices need power, so in using them, we deplete the earth’s natural resources. Disposing of them when we upgrade to the latest model creates a huge e-waste problem since most end up in landfill sites.

Direct Mailing can make environmental sense…

If you:

  • use FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) certified or recycled paper
  • choose eco-friendly inks, for example, vegetable-based ones which don’t use harmful chemicals
  • minimise waste and, if some is generated, dispose of it in an environmentally-responsible way

Practising what we preach

At Mailing Expert we have a strong conscience when it comes to environmental matters and we make sure that anyone whose products or services we use has robust policies in place too.

          Carbon Offsettingwe use FSC® recycled and FSC®  mixed recycled stock from renewable sources for our print and envelopes. We also use bio/photodegradable plastic for our poly-wrapping and poly bags

          Re-using – wherever possible we re-use boxes, envelopes and other items. Our digital ink cartridges are sent back to the manufacturer to be refilled.

          Recycling – all our excess stock, boxes, pallets and staff items such as bottles and yogurt cartons are recycled

          Promoting responsible practiceson all our envelopes and carrier sheets we include a logo to remind recipients to recycle. The logo can be tailored to our clients’ needs – but most like the polar bear idea!

Recycle             Save a Polar Bear

Use our services and you’ll be sure you’re dealing with a company who cares about their clients AND the future of the planet.

 

Mailing Lists like that first pancake?

Are your mailing lists like that first pancake you try your best to cook? By this we mean shapeless, full of holes and only fit for chucking in the bin. Mailing Expert is here to help you to achieve perfection with mailing lists – and we’re pretty good at pancakes too!

Mailing lists serve a purpose – just like pancakes…Pancake Fail

Originally, pancakes were created as a way of using up all the leftover food before the season of Lent begins, when it was hoped that everybody would fast, or at least be abstemious. Mailing lists were created not as a means TO fast but TO BE fast! That’s to say, when your company has a marketing campaign, having a mailing list is a super-efficient way of getting your message out to the right people, whether it’s by direct mailing by post or virtually by email.

…but they’ve got to be good

Nothing worse than a crêpe pancake! (See what we did there?) Actually, there IS something worse, and that’s a mailing list which has duplicate addresses, contains out-of-date information, is not targeted at the right demographic profile…you get the picture?

Fascinating statistics

In Britain, we use an astounding 52 million eggs on Pancake Day which is 22 million more than on a usual day. And, if you employ our services here at Mailing Expert, we’ll be able to provide you with equally fascinating information using the responses to your mailing, issuing a fully-formatted data file which shows the results of your campaign. This will highlight trends and patterns, allowing you to hone and refine your approach so you’re even more successful next time around.

Mailing Expert is flippin’ marvellous!

Just like the best of all pancakes that you want to try again and again, we’re brilliant at mailing lists. We can provide high quality integrity-checked prospect data targeted to your exact requirements – and that includes phone lists too, not just mailing addresses – from a staggering 4 million business locations and nearly every UK household.

We can ensure we don’t duplicate anything on your existing lists, we can append telephone numbers so you can make follow-up calls once you’ve mailed out. It’s as crucial to have a clean database as it is to have a clean frying pan when you’re making pancakes!

Top Testimonials

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Lemon & Sugar Pancake. Yum!

Britain’s favourite pancake, a YouGov survey shows, has the traditional lemon and sugar topping.
When it comes to mailing lists, Talkmarketing, the telemarketing, telesales and cold-calling company, based in St. Leonards-on-Sea, favours Mailing Expert:

“The key to a successful telemarketing campaign is in the data. Katie and I work extremely well together because I get all this information from my client and then Katie inputs all that information into her data system and voila we then have targeted data.

Mailing Expert are thorough, they cleanse their data regularly and work with associate companies who have high and expert cleansing processes.

Data purchased is always run through the TPS ‘Telephone Preference Service’ so all the legalities are in place.”

Mailing Expert – as popular as lemon and sugar-topped pancakes!

 

MEL LogoEX

We are Mailmark enabled! Good news for your company

Royal Mail Mailmark™ means intelligent mail!

Nothing to do with needing a dictionary to read all the long words in your communications — to do with an innovative way of tracking your post at every stage of its journey. This is very much more advanced than ‘Signed For’ mail.

We’ll put a smart barcode on the mailing we’re sending out on your behalf. Royal Mail scans it at various stages and automatically sends us detailed data so we know where it is and when it will be delivered.

What’s in it for you?

Knowing exactly when your mail will land on your client’s doormat allows you to follow up with a call or more information at the very best moment; therefore helping you with staffing costs too.

We’ll be able to make sure that your mailing has reached its target – and identify glitches accurately, like wrong addresses, which will make for more effective campaigns in the future.

We can even add extra data to the barcode if you require, like returns information, reference or campaign codes for your customers to scan at an event or in-store.

Mailmark™ is for bright sparks — and that’s you!

If you would like more details please contact us at Mailing Expert on 01825 983 033 or email us at info@mailingexpert.co.uk.

Mailmark