Articles

Want More from Your Print Budget? Try This!

Direct mail is a highly effective marketing channel, but many marketing conversations must continue before they bear fruit. Your direct mail piece may prompt someone to visit your website, for example, but they often need another nudge. This is where retargeting comes in. Once a prospect visits your website, you can target them again (retarget them) on social media. This allows you to engage them further and complete the sale.

Retargeting is possible because once people visit your website, you can track their movements even after leaving it. Your target audience will be shown relevant digital ads on social media sites like Facebook based on the pages they visit.

Don’t Let Them Get Away!

Say you are a manufacturer of pool accessories. You have recently dropped your spring direct mail promotion and want to follow up with people who respond by visiting your website to look at fun add-ons like diving boards and slides. Buyers start flocking in, but most of them are only casual lookers. Some, however, are more interested. If they are curious enough to dive deeper into your product pages to look at the detailed specs, these are the buyers you want to capture.

For example, suppose buyers get to the details on your spiral slides but don’t make a purchase. In that case, you might retarget them with Facebook ads with real customer testimonials about how much their kids love the slide they are interested in. If they go further (say, they click through to the customer reviews) but still don’t make a purchase, you might target them with an urgent call to action that pops up in both their Facebook and Instagram feeds.

They grow up so fast! Use this 20% off coupon to turn your pool into a water wonderland they will NEVER FORGET!

Keep the Conversation Going

You make a significant investment in pulling people into the sales funnel, so keep the conversation going until they are ready to purchase. Retargeting makes the most of your investment in print marketing and can be a vital component of any lead-nurturing strategy.

 

Want More from Your Print Budget? Try This!2024-02-08T21:53:59+00:00

Why the Upper Left-Hand Corner of the Envelope Is Critical to Your Marketing Success

Where is the most critical area of the direct mail envelope besides the mailing address? The upper left-hand corner. Yes, where you put the return address! How you use this humble section of the envelope can be the deciding factor in whether someone decides to open your envelope or not.

Why is this space so important?

  1. It’s where customers recognize you. If the mailer is to someone you already do business with, they will often open the envelope simply because of that relationship. Even if they do not have an immediate need for your product or service, they will often open it because it is you. Play up that relationship and make sure your company is clearly identified. Add your logo, use brand colors, and ensure you can be recognized, even from a distance.
  2. It taps your brand reputation. Even if the recipient has not done business with you in the past, if you are a well-known brand that the recipient respects, they will often open the envelope out of curiosity. This is why brand-building is so essential. When you invest in building your brand, customers will often open an envelope simply because your brand has become familiar and they have a positive association with it.
  3. It’s where their eyes go naturally. In English, we read from left to right, so the upper left is where people’s eyes will naturally go first. This makes the upper lefthand corner the perfect place to add attention-getting techniques such as images, colorful brand logos, and callouts. Some companies have even added the signatures of celebrities. One nonprofit, for example, gained permission to use the signature of actress Natalie Portman above its logo to attract attention. If you go this route, ensure you have the correct permissions and that the signatures (or images) relate to the product or service you are marketing.

Take advantage of this powerful area of envelope real estate. Use it to create an emotional connection and tell a story, even before the envelope is opened.

 

Why the Upper Left-Hand Corner of the Envelope Is Critical to Your Marketing Success2024-02-08T21:52:50+00:00

Mastering the Unboxing Experience

Some packages are just fun to open. Regardless of the product inside, the experience of just opening the box is exciting and makes us feel special. We know brands that are masters at this. Apple. Ulta. Glossier. These companies have mastered the art of “the unboxing experience.” (more…)

Mastering the Unboxing Experience2024-01-25T01:49:59+00:00

Curbing Customer Churn: 4 Key Strategies

Customer churn is part of the business for even the most successful companies. New customers come, and some customers go. The question isn’t how to stop customer churn. It’s how to reduce it. What are some of the ways you can keep churn to a minimum? Here are four steps to get you started.

Identify customers at risk.

The first step is to figure out who you are most at risk of losing. Identify your most “inactive” customers. Who hasn’t purchased from you in a long time? Look for commonalities among them. For instance, if most are concentrated in a specific geographic area, ask yourself why. Are the demographics in that location changing? Is a new competitor moving in?

Assess your communication frequency.

Sometimes, customers churn simply because you aren’t communicating with them often enough. Don’t bombard them, of course, but don’t let customers slip through the cracks due to infrequent outreach.

Want to know why they are leaving? Ask!

Once you have identified your most inactive customers, create a plan to re-engage them. As part of this plan, send surveys to gain insights into why they are disengaging in the first place. Offer incentives to participate. If customers don’t respond to your surveys by email, follow up with direct mail. Print communications don’t get caught in spam filters and are more likely to be opened and read.

Recognize and engage your top customers.

One of the best ways to reduce customer churn is to keep active customers happy. Pay attention to them. Offer insider deals, and tell them, “Thank you.” Everyone likes to feel noticed and appreciated. Make your best customers feel valued by offering them something special.

Customer churn is a part of business, but high customer churn doesn’t have to be. So engage both groups—lapsed and engaged customers—each in their unique way. Sit down and create the right channel mix, with the right messaging and offers, to address the specific needs of each group. Then, watch your churn rate drop.

 

Curbing Customer Churn: 4 Key Strategies2024-01-12T20:12:12+00:00

Is Personalized Print Over-Hyped?

We hear a lot about personalized printing—addressing recipients by name and tailoring the content based on what you know about them. This approach takes additional time and expense, including refining and analyzing marketing databases, creating customer profiles, and developing messaging for personalized communications. Does it make a difference?

According to the recipients themselves, the answer is a resounding yes!  Research from Epsilon, a provider of third-party data, has found the following:

  • 90% of consumers see personalized communications as “somewhat” or “very” appealing.
  • 80% of consumers say they are likelier to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences.
  • 75% of consumers say it is “very cool” when they receive personalized offers.

According to Epsilon, consumers are very willing to provide personal information when they know it will be used to benefit them, providing personalized offers, product recommendations, and deals. More than two-thirds (68%) agree that “it is worth giving my personal information to a company” in exchange for these benefits.

Do consumers feel confident that their personal information is secure? More than half (57%) say yes.

Consumers not only desire personalized experiences, but they do so because they expect those experiences to provide them with tangible benefits and are willing to trade some of their privacy to get them.

So, is personalization worth it? Consumers themselves are telling us yes! So, if you’re still on the fence about this investment, let the resounding consumer verdict guide your decision. Personalization is a strategic investment that yields tangible benefits and customer trust, and that is worth the investment…in spades.

Is Personalized Print Over-Hyped?2023-12-07T21:05:43+00:00

Searching for Business Leads? Emphasize Content Strategy

Inbound marketing has never been more critical. With the prevalence of information on the web, buyers do most of their research before ever contacting a salesperson. 60%-70% of buyers will be at the end of their sales journeys before they reach out to talk to you.

How do your potential customers find you once their initial research is complete? Content marketing. Whether in print, email, website, or social media, content is how your audience learns about you. It’s how you establish yourself as a thought leader and convince them to take a closer look. With the right combination of print and digital—at the right time—you can showcase your value and close the deal.

According to DemandGen, the plurality of B2B buyers (47%) use three to five pieces of content before they are willing to engage with a salesperson. Only 23% will talk to a salesperson after three pieces or less. However, the type of content they are looking for varies by the stage of their buying journey. In the early stages of research, buyers are looking for the following:

  • Listicles[1] (81%)
  • Infographics (72%)
  • Blogs (66%)
  • Video (62%)

While much of this content is digital, printed pieces can deliver this type of content with the added tangibility and value of a piece you can hold in your hands. For example, convert wordy product brochures into listicle format to make them easier to read and remember—segment brochures by vertical market to increase relevance. Create infographic-style designs for your prospecting postcards. Add video to your printed pieces using QR Codes or augmented reality.

In the middle stages of research, buyers are looking for something different:

  • Assessments (58%)
  • Webinars (50%)
  • Case studies (40%)
  • Interactive content (40%)

Here, too, you can incorporate printed elements. Include published case studies and industry research in your presentation kits: follow-up video presentations or webinars with printed information packets. Follow up your assessments with personalized reports.

In the late stages of research, buyers’ content needs change again. They are looking for:

  • Case studies (39%)
  • User review (38%)
  • Analyst reports (36%)
  • ROI calculators (28%)

In this stage, prospects are on the verge of becoming clients, so use the highest quality print to convey deep value to your audience. Incorporate specialty finishing like embossing, spot coatings, and dimensional printing to give credibility and professionalism. Use digital and print to send the message, “We are a company you can trust.”

If you sell into the B2B market, knowledge of the buyer’s content journey can be invaluable. Craft and deliver the right content at the right stage, and you have a winning recipe for success.

 

 

[1] Listicles are articles written in a list-based format.

 

Searching for Business Leads? Emphasize Content Strategy2023-12-07T21:03:28+00:00

5 Tips for Avoiding Packaging Missteps

When properly designed, great packaging protects the product, grabs the shopper’s attention, and becomes your in-store salesperson. Common oversights, however, can cause this opportunity to fall flat. How can you avoid common packaging pitfalls and maximize your on-shelf opportunities?

  1. Ensure structural integrity. Failing to consider the carton’s durability and strength requirements can lead to structural collapse, inadequate protection of the product, and compromised user experience. Don’t overlook this critical element. Conduct thorough assessments of the product’s weight, dimensions, and fragility, ensuring that the structure provides optimal protection and functionality throughout the product’s lifecycle.
  2. Don’t over-complicate design elements: Another common oversight is the tendency to overcomplicate design elements, resulting in cluttered or confusing designs. Complex graphics, excessive text, and abundant visual elements can overwhelm consumers and dilute the brand message. Instead, prioritize clean and concise designs that convey the product attributes with clarity and elegance.
  3. Ensure brand consistency. Inconsistencies in color schemes, typography, and visual branding elements (colors, fonts, imagery) can lead to a disconnect between the packaging and the overall brand identity, weakening brand recognition and consumer trust. Before designing any packaging, clearly understand your brand’s established visual identity (if you aren’t sure what your visual identity is, let us help you establish one!) and ensure that all of your design elements align.
  4. Consider the user experience. Product packaging may be beautiful, but if the user needs help opening or removing the product, the experience flops. Ensure that your designs include user-friendly features, such as easy opening and closing mechanisms, clear instructions on the outside of the package, and intuitive product placement within the package itself. Conduct comprehensive user testing and incorporate consumer feedback to optimize the user experience and create packaging solutions that delight rather than frustrate.
  5. Incorporate sustainable practices. Today’s consumers want brands to be kind to the planet. Neglecting to incorporate eco-friendly materials, recyclable components, or sustainable production processes can diminish the brand’s reputation in customers’ eyes. Prioritize eco-friendly and recyclable materials and integrate sustainable production methods to demonstrate a genuine dedication to the environment and resonate with conscientious consumers.

These may be common design pitfalls, but they are avoidable! With a little extra effort, you can elevate the quality and protection of your folding carton packaging and foster consumer engagement, brand loyalty, and sustainable brand growth at the same time.

 

5 Tips for Avoiding Packaging Missteps2023-11-10T20:16:32+00:00

Why Storytelling Works in Marketing

No matter what is happening around us, most of us will stop and listen as soon as someone starts telling a story. That’s the power of storytelling. It works in marketing, too. People care about the details of your product’s costs, benefits, and specs, but once you start telling a story, that story has stopping power that can be more powerful than facts and figures.

Here are three tips for communicating a great story in your next direct mail or multichannel campaign.

  1. Exude honesty. Buyers can quickly sniff out a gimmick, so engage them through authenticity. Be real, honest, and genuine. Think honesty only hurts you? Look at Avis. In the 1960s, the company was lauded for its campaign “We try harder,” which catapulted the #2 rental car company from 18% market share to 34%, not by acting like the market leader, but by advertising its status as an underdog that had to work harder to win its customers.
  2. Showcase your brand’s personality. Does your brand have a personality? It should! Look at some of the best brand storytelling in TV commercials. They often have spokespeople with characters that buyers can relate to. We all laugh at Allstate’s “Mayhem” character but relate to him, too. Likewise, our heartstrings are pulled when the Green Mountain Roasters coffee grower from a remote mountain village in Sumatra, beaming under his floppy hat, extends his hands to show off his beans. These are characters (and stories) people identify with and remember.
  3. Create characters that your audience will root for. Even characters like Mayhem are likable. You feel bad when a tree crushes Mayhem, or he is run over by a car. You root for him to be okay, just as you want your family to be. As you root for the character, you subconsciously root for (positively identify with) the brand.

What might this look like in your marketing? Create characters your audience can relate to and tell stories about them. Say you sell adventure gear. You might create the fictitious character Riley, the fearless explorer who never backs down from a new adventure. Or, if you are a makeup brand, you might create Maya, a trailblazing makeup enthusiast who embodies the spirit of self-expression and individuality. Tell how Riley’s Adventure Gear backpack saved the day during an unexpected winter storm or how your new eyeliner collection helped Maya win 10,000 new followers.

Storytelling doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to be authentic.  So, use direct mail, email, and mobile marketing to tell different aspects of your brand story. Then make it a great one!

Why Storytelling Works in Marketing2023-11-10T20:15:30+00:00

Staying Top of Mind with Customers: Strategies for Lasting Engagement

In a world brimming with choices, staying top of mind with customers is a coveted position. It means your brand is the first one they think of when they have a need or desire. But how do you get top of mind? Let’s look at four ways to get (and stay) in this coveted position.

  1. Find Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The foundation of staying top of mind is a clear and compelling Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your USP defines what sets you apart from the competition. To discover your USP:

  • Identify your brand’s strengths, whether it’s quality, affordability, innovation, or exceptional customer service.
  • Know your target audience’s needs, pain points, and desires.
  • Study your competitors to find gaps in the market that you can fill uniquely.

Once you have your USP, consistently communicate it in all your marketing materials.

  1. Be Consistent in Design

Visual consistency is essential for brand recognition. Your logo, color scheme, typography, and overall design aesthetic should be uniform across all marketing channels. Consistency breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds trust.

  1. Be Proactive

To stay top of mind, you need to stay out there. This requires producing a steady stream of high-quality content that addresses your audience’s needs and interests. Share this content on your website, blog, social media, and email newsletters. Host events, webinars, or workshops to showcase your expertise and connect with your audience.

Consistency in your messaging and content is critical to establishing your brand’s authority and reliability.

  1. Use Multiple Touch Points

To reach a broader audience and increase your chances of staying top of mind, use multiple touch points, including direct mail, email, social media, and events. A multi-channel approach ensures that your brand remains visible to a diverse audience.

Staying top of mind with customers is a dynamic process that requires a combination of unique value propositions, design consistency, proactive messaging, multiple touch points, and impeccable timing. Remember, top-of-mind status doesn’t happen all by itself. It’s something you have to create.

Staying Top of Mind with Customers: Strategies for Lasting Engagement2023-10-24T14:23:05+00:00

The Power of Sustainable Packaging Materials

As consumers actively prioritize sustainability, many brands turn from plastic to paper-based packaging to align with their customers’ values. As part of this commitment, many are also speccing environmentally certified substrates. What are environmental certifications, and how can they enhance your brand image and reputation?

Environmental certifications let your customers know that the materials used in your packaging meet strict sustainability standards. These certifications indicate that the fiber was responsibly and sustainably sourced in ways that also support biodiversity and protect ecosystems.

Brands can choose from various reputable certifications, each with its unique focus on environmental stewardship.

Here are the three most common:

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC is an international non-profit organization that sets standards for responsible forest management. FSC-certified forests must meet rigorous criteria related to the environmental, social, and economic aspects of forest management. The FSC label indicates that the wood or paper comes from responsibly managed forests that use practices that support biodiversity, protect indigenous rights, and maintain the long-term health of the ecosystem.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Another well-known certification program is SFI. Primarily active in the United States and Canada, SFI focuses on promoting sustainable forest management practices that include harvesting practices and practices relating to water quality, biodiversity, and wildlife habitat while supporting local communities and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). PEFC is an international non-profit organization that provides a framework for the mutual recognition of national or regional forest certification schemes. PEFC does not have its own forest management standards but rather endorses and recognizes the standards of its member countries or regions. It emphasizes customizing criteria to local conditions and is active in multiple countries worldwide.

How can selecting packaging substrates with one or more environmental certifications benefit you? By doing the following:

Demonstrating corporate responsibility. Consumers today actively seek brands that embrace sustainability. Designing environmentally certified packaging indicates that you are doing just that.

Building trust and credibility. Environmentally certified substrates send a clear message to consumers about a brand’s authenticity. Consumers are likelier to trust a brand that walks the talk and invests in eco-friendly practices.

Aligning with customer values. Utilizing environmentally certified substrates creates a shared value system with ecologically conscious buyers, fostering customer loyalty.

Differentiating from competitors. Adopting environmentally certified substrates sets your brand apart from competitors and positions you as an industry leader.

Designing with substrates with environmental certifications such as FSC, SFI, and PEFC is a powerful way to improve your brand image and foster consumer trust. Environmental certifications provide a tangible assurance of that commitment. When their badges are incorporated into your packaging design, they speak loudly to your customers that your sustainability values align with theirs.

The Power of Sustainable Packaging Materials2023-10-13T16:13:17+00:00