Blog
Category: Direct Mail Marketing

21 Ways to Add Flair to Your Direct Mailers

21 Ways to Add Flair to Your Direct Mailers

Welcome to the Preferred Direct Blog

21 Ways to Add Flair to Your Direct Mailers

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Learn from the mistakes of others… You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself!”

How do you attract, inform, and appeal to your customers? How do you Add Flair to Your Direct Mailers? Do you use the telephone? Are billboards, radio ads, and glossy brochures more your style? Or do you wait for customers to walk through your door? That is what this article is about.  21 Ways to Add Flair to Your Direct Mailers.

Many highly-effective methods exist to promote a business. Direct mailers, however, consistently offer more bang for the buck than many other forms of promotion. If you’re new to the world of direct-mail advertising and promotion, you might be surprised at how easy, effective, and economical it can be. If you’re an ” old hand,” we have some new ideas and a score of suggestions you might not have considered.

Preferred Direct is a commercial printing and direct mail marketing specialist. Founded in 1987, our Norfolk-based company has built its reputation on creative communication and customer service. With more than three decades of collaborative success, helping businesses “tell their stories,” we have become leaders in the field. We continue to craft personalized solutions in the print, direct mail, and digital communications field. Here is a score of suggestions to energize your creative marketing mail campaign or 21 Ways to Add Flair to Your Direct Mailers:

  1. Keep the Message Bright. Convey your message graphically and with few words. Keep it simple and colorful. Rely on a single dramatic image to introduce a product, announce a clearance sale, remind customers of a deadline, or offer a discount.
  2. Upscale the Envelopes. Your choice depends on the message you want to convey. Be creative in placing your sales message on the front of your envelope. A good place to start is with your #10 envelopes.
  3. Include a Token Gift. A coupon for a freebie. A special discount for return customers. A refrigerator magnet, flexible jar grip or mini notepad are all easy envelope stuffers that have value for homeowners.
  4. Make Your Mailer Count. Use a direct mail piece as a calendar countdown to a special event. Choose an eye-catching large type font, and keep the message short and to the point to create urgency. Use color to distinguish your piece from other mail, and follow up with periodic reminders if that’s appropriate.
  5. Never Underestimate Postcards. At one time when people communicated regularly with picture postcards. The appeal still exists. Postcards are fun — and if they’re unique, they’re also sometimes collectible. Use a great photo or a humorous message. A postcard campaign can jumpstart a new promotion, or serve as a continuing reminder of your services.
  6. Sponsor a Charity. If your business supports a local organization during the holidays or throughout the year, include a pitch for support in your invoice mailings. Send special requests for support as needed. Customers like to be part of charitable efforts: Make it easy for them to participate and to lend a hand! Then send thank you notes for the support.
  7. Employ Special Shapes and Sizes. Let’s be honest. Standard envelopes can be easily tossed in the trash. But the impact of a brightly colored, oversized envelope can’t be ignored. Attract attention any way you can, but be sure your mailer conforms to postal regulations. (We can help you with that requirement.)
  8. Fold It Up! Flipbooks require customer interaction and promote engagement. Special folds encourage revisiting pages and allow prospective clients to reread your message in different ways.
  9. Die Cuts Tell a Story. It’s simplistic, but shapes add interest. There’s a reason: Our brains are wired to remember the unusual. Let us help you design a unique mailer that tells your story differently. There are endless possibilities.
  10. Add Sensory Surprise. All too often, a written message is forgettable. But there are other ways to elicit a response. Experiment with texture, scent, or even sound. While not for every business, scratch and sniff cards, a “touchy-feely” insert or a card that plays music will grab its share of attention. Maximize the element of surprise!
  11. Go for 3-D Appeal. The flat is not the only way to send your message. Small boxes and tubes don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but they are likely to garner lots of extra attention.
  12. Personalize Your Marketing Materials. Fight the “junk mail” label by personalizing your message. Don’t address mailings to “Resident.” Send birthday greetings and holiday cards. Offer a discount on an anniversary-year purchase, or make a customer feel special by providing incentives using Commercial Printing with Variable Data for continued business support.
  13. Keep In Touch through Newsletters. Let your customers know what you’re doing. It’s only natural to respond to stories of achievement and growth. So, if your business has a good story to tell, don’t hesitate to share it through a monthly or quarterly newsletter, circulated either digitally or in print. Yes, Preferred Direct offers digital services as well as printed and mailing services.
  14. Shine a Spotlight on Your People. Recognize achievement, publicize promotions, and introduce new service technicians. Include photos. Use direct mailers to personalize your business. Add some flair to your marketing.
  15. Celebrate Your City. Partner with other local businesses to promote civic awareness and community celebrations. Show you care about your locale and your customers are likely to respond in kind.
  16. Get Behind Good Causes. While you’ll want to be selective about what you support, don’t feel that every mailer has to be only about business. Many worthwhile efforts can benefit from more public awareness. Always include your name and logo!
  17. Provide Usable Information. If you sell products or offer services, informative mailers about important topics are often welcome and appreciated. Be discerning, but don’t hesitate to share your expertise or communicate your concerns.
  18. Determine the Most Effective Delivery Option. Postage and delivery options affect price, and effectiveness varies. Know your options, or ask your direct mail printing partner for advice.
  19. Know Your Niche. Always consider the unique requirements of your business or industry, governing rules and regulations, and projected changes that will affect your message. Preferred Direct is HITRUST-certified with extensive experience with EOBs, and we assure that health care mailings are always HIPAA-compliant.
  20. Consider New Technologies. We agree that technology is changing the face of the direct marketing industry. We take pride in our ability to embrace new possibilities and pass new technological advances on to our customers.
  21. Track Your Success. No advertising and marketing program will be worth your time, energy, and money unless you know how well it’s working for you. Preferred Direct will work with you every step of the way to help you get it right.

Our “can do” attitude has served us well over the past three decades. What can we do to help you? We believe we can help you attract and inform clients, advertise products, explain your services, create goodwill, and establish strong bonds with your customers. We don’t perform magic, but we consistently achieve results by working with you to create magical direct mail pieces. We do it all within your budget constraints and following your timeline. We respond quickly, and we meet deadlines. Why not schedule a call to discuss options? We’ll be waiting to hear from you. At the risk of tooting our own horn just a bit, we have comments and testimonials from satisfied clients all over the country to support our claims. Let us know how we can best help you with your specialty direct mail needs.

In Conclusion – If You Need Help – We Are The Marketplace of Ideas

Our collective experience over the past 30-plus years has reinforced the values that were exemplified at our founding: Service, Value, and Creative Response to Client Concerns. 

We practice those principles every day in every way, embrace new technology and modern materials, and continue to focus on creative problem-solving. We value your collaboration, comments, and service evaluations, and rely on your feedback as we move in new directions. We value the ongoing relationships we have established with our customers. We will Boost Your Marketing with Variable Data Direct Mail and Commercial Printing.

For each project, Preferred Direct will provide a project manager to work with you to guarantee fast, efficient, accurate and confidential processing of information for your commercial printing or direct billing project. Our Commercial Printing and Direct Mail Platform provides for medical billing services, municipal utility bills, statement generation, e-billing, and transpromo marketing, a company’s direct billing is completed in a timely and professional manner.

 

Call Preferred Direct toll-free today. 1-844-719-1848

 

Baum Envelope System 

HP 240T HD Roll to Roll Press

Xerox Roll to Roll Press

High Speed Inserter

Read More
Commercial Printing with Variable Data

Commercial Printing with Variable Data

Commercial Printing with Variable Data

You can improve your Commercial Printing with Variable Data. The ability to target specific customers based on personal preferences, including location, demographics, buying history, and numerous other factors, is one of the keys to planning highly-effective direct mail marketing. It requires attention to detail, the ability to identify and target distinct populations of recipients, specialized equipment, and the coordinated efforts of marketing personnel and printing/mailing specialists dedicated to keeping costs as low as possible. Not all commercial printers have that ability.

Also, specialized expertise is necessary to make targeted direct mail efforts possible. Personalization with Variable data is the key to a direct mail project.

Variable data printing (VDP) represents another step along the marketing continuum. With the ability to personalize the message without making time-consuming adjustments during actual printing, VDP allows text, images, graphics, and colors to be individualized with no slowdown in the process. The extent of personalization can be varied as needed, from recurring name changes to differences dictated by specific interests, buying habits, location, or other variables. The appropriate data is stored in a database file, retrieved as needed, and printed in one seamless operation. Personalization with Variable data is the key to a successful project.

Automation and Its Advantages

VDP has revolutionized direct mail, allowing customers to insert different names, addresses, and messages as desired, and to match each mail piece with a similarly-personalized envelope. VDP has altered the landscape of marketing; any direct mail piece, from a postcard to a multi-page invoice or Explanation of Benefits statement, can be personalized in a variety of ways. Marketing with Commercial Printing with Variable Data is the obvious best plan.

The advantages are multi-faceted. Variable data personalization isn’t limited to names and addresses, geographic regions, or specific wording changes. Graphics, colors, pricing, dates, and additional specifics can be changed and applied to target individual customers or appeal to previously-determined demographics. Personalized mail invariably increases the potential for engagement, helps companies “capture” potential customers, and boosts ROI.

VDP is versatile and almost infinitely customizable, allowing mailings to be more relevant. There is nothing like receiving an envelope in the mail and all text and images are all relative to me and things that are pertinent to me. Although costs may be incrementally higher, the measurable return is also higher. The effectiveness of commercial printing and mailing efforts depends, at least in part, on the sophistication of the printing equipment. At Preferred Direct, we employ the latest technology and state-of-the-art printers that produce high-speed and high-quality variable color or black & white printing ability, along with myriad finishing options.  This can all be accomplished with Print-on-Demand equipment reducing the need for inventory.

An Integrated Approach to Direct Mail

In addition to design and data, delivery is a prime requirement for an effective direct mail effort. Both time and cost are vital considerations. Postage either Presorted Standard or First Class Presort typically represents the most costly item in any direct mail program. At Preferred Direct the best possible postage rate is used for any planned mailing. 

With this kind of attention to detail and an equal emphasis on cost and inventory control, our clients have come to depend on Preferred to provide unmatched service across the whole spectrum of direct mail printing and postage. As an industry leader, we know how to craft the most desirable and practical solutions using variable data. Our client-centric approach helps us “turn on a dime” when asked to respond to changing needs and demands. We can easily alter the specifications of any planned printing using variable data techniques and responsive printing technology. 

Advanced equipment allows us to complete printing projects in record time, whether they employ VDP and matched mail services or not. Our ability and our nationwide reach enable clients to request last-minute adjustments whenever necessary, to reduce inventory, and to respond quickly to new and changing situations. Best solutions are creative, cost-effective, scalable, and repeatable. Also, we work with our clients to determine the best solutions to all printing and mailing needs.

We stay abreast of the news in the field, and we help our clients determine and take advantage of the latest innovations in the realm of direct mail.

How to Craft Targeted Solutions

With expertise honed over three decades in business, we specialize in working with clients in the following fields:

  • Healthcare Industry
  • Municipalities
  • Financial Services
  • Non-Profits
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Insurance
  • Business and Services

We have no desire to design direct mail pieces that add clutter to a mailbox. Instead, our ongoing effort is to work with existing clients and to demonstrate to new clients our ability to produce effective, pertinent, targeted, informative, and eye-catching mail. We believe this approach adds value to commerce, actually gets opened and read, and elicits a favorable response. We are convinced that’s why our clients choose us and continue to use our services. 

Whether you require us to print individualized EOBs, announce an annual fund-raising effort, promote a holiday sale, or provide information for a new class of students, we “have your back” and will work enthusiastically to design a strategy that caters to your specialized needs, acknowledges your goals, respects your stated budgetary constraints and adheres to your deadlines.

Based on our experience, we will, if possible, suggest solutions that can save you time, money, and effort. And we will work with you to refine your lists and individualize your messages or images.

In addition to direct mail, we can respond to requests for SMS and Email marketing assistance, and help you target specific customers – “Target Marketing” – and prospects through digital resourcing.


 

The Marketplace of Ideas

Our collective experience over the past 30-plus years has reinforced the values that were exemplified at our founding: Service, Value, and Creative Response to Client Concerns. 

We practice those principles every day in every way, embrace new technology and modern materials, and continue to focus on creative problem-solving. We value your collaboration, comments, and service evaluations, and rely on your feedback as we move in new directions. We value the ongoing relationships we have established with our customers. We will Boost Your Marketing with Variable Data Direct Mail and Commercial Printing.

For each project, Preferred Direct will provide a project manager to work with you to guarantee fast, efficient, accurate and confidential processing of information for your commercial printing or direct billing project. Our Commercial Printing and Direct Mail Platform provides for medical billing services, municipal utility bills, statement generation, e-billing, and transpromo marketing, a company’s direct billing is completed in a timely and professional manner.

Call Preferred Direct toll-free today. 1-844-719-1848

Preferred Direct provides high-quality, high-quantity, fast and personalized direct marketing services including printing services, fulfillment services, fundraising services, direct mail marketing, direct billing, and emergency on-demand printing services. From design to finishing and mailing, Preferred Direct takes care to make sure they deliver high-quality products that can help increase your company’s ROI.

Call or click for a quote. (757) 461-2730 or Toll-Free 1-844-719-1848

10 Benefits of Direct Marketing for your Business in 2020

Here are 10 Astounding Benefits...

Marketing Tips for Nonprofits

Welcome to the Preferred Direct...

HP 240T HD Roll to Roll Press

Xerox Roll to Roll Press

High Speed Inserter

Read More
Why Direct Mail Is Still Relevant

Why Direct Mail Is Still Relevant

Why Direct Mail Is Still Relevant, even in the digital age in which we live, is because many people still prefer to get communications from companies by direct mail in print form. This is especially true when messages are tailored specifically for them. 

A majority of respondents to an online survey conducted by Consumer Action said that they prefer to receive all types of bills by mail—even if they’ve opted to pay the bills online. For medical, utilities, insurance, property tax, mortgage, and credit card notifications, 45 to 74 percent (depending on the account category) said they choose paper over electronic communications.[1]

And even with brands leveraging digital marketing and mobile apps, 73 percent of U.S. consumers still prefer to receive direct print mail. Why? because they can read it whenever they want.[2}

As you can see, direct mail is still relevant, especially when it’s personalized through variable data printing.

What Is Variable Data Printing and Why Is It So Important for Direct Mail?

Variable data printing (VDP) is a digital printing technique used to personalize print communications. VDP allows for various page elements, such as text and graphics, to be different on each piece of a print run. 

Variable data printing can involve something as simple as changing the greeting or name on each copy of a print piece (akin to a mail merge). Or it may be more complex, involving the customization of other text and graphic elements, according to customer information, address, or other data. For example, at Preferred Direct, our variable data detailer allows us to add custom messages, coupons, maps, and other elements to invoices, letters, notices, and more.

The ability to tailor print messaging to individual recipients has become essential for maintaining customer satisfaction and generating revenue. Customers expect brands and organizations to send personalized communications. And personalized communications mean that customers receive relevant content that drives them to action (e.g., pay a bill, purchase a product, or do something else that the sender desires).

Variable data technology has become essential for many different applications—such as statement generationcollection letters, and more—in a wide array of industries. Examples include:

Financial 

● Account statements from banks and credit unions

● Investment portfolios

● Credit card statements

Healthcare

● Medical bills

● Medical EOBs (Explanation of Benefits)

● Patient appointment reminders

● Collections letters

Insurance

● Invoices for premiums

● Policy updates

● Insurance EOB Statements

Municipal and Energy

● Invoices for gas, water, sewer, electric, trash

● Collections letters

● Special Notices

Communications

● Cable TV invoices

● The phone company and wireless provider invoices

● Collection letters

Sales and Marketing

●     Targeted direct mail marketing campaigns

● Sales letters

Nonprofit Organizations

● Fundraising campaign letters

● Event invitations

Colleges and Universities

● Financial aid statements

● Admissions letters

● Invoices

Retail

  • Revolving credit statements
  • Direct mail marketing pieces

The above examples are just a sampling of the many types of direct mail print communications that leverage variable data to make them more effective.

What to Look for in a Direct Mail Printing Provider

When choosing a direct mail printing services provider for your organization’s communications, there’s much to consider. Not all printing resources have the expertise or equipment to handle the demands of variable data printing. Using variable data is one of the reasons Why Direct Mail Is Still Relevant.

Below are some key characteristics to look for:

● Ability to handle a wide array of variable data printing applications

● Flexibility in how they can receive your data

● Experience with variable data printing applications in your industry

● Compliance with HITRUST and HIPAA 

● Advanced printing technology to ensure the utmost accuracy and print quality

● Services beyond printing 

Ability to handle a wide array of variable data printing applications

Your needs may evolve over time, so look for a direct mail print partner that has the knowledge, experience, and equipment to handle all types of variable data printing applications. 

No matter what your organization requires, at Preferred Direct, we are equipped with the expertise and technology in-house to create all varieties of personalized print pieces.

Flexibility in how they can receive your data 

Find out if the commercial printer you’re considering will allow you to send your information your way. 

When you work with us, we will accept your information via a secure FTP (file transfer protocol). We aim to make the process convenient for you.

Experience with variable data printing applications in your industry 

Every industry has unique concerns and nuances to address. Therefore, industry experience matters when selecting a print partner for your variable data, direct mail projects.

Preferred Direct has vast experience and a proven success record in many different industries, including those that must meet strict privacy and security requirements.

● Healthcare providers

● Insurance companies

● Financial services providers

● Colleges and Universities

● Businesses and Retail

● Nonprofit organizations

Compliance with HITRUST and HIPAA

Preferred Direct is HITRUST CSF certified. We approach every project with the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF), the most widely adopted security framework in the U.S. healthcare industry, in mind. Following HITRUST CSF standards means we handle our customers’ data in a way that meets regulatory compliance requirements and reduces risk. [DM1] 

We also adhere to the latest HIPAA regulations for protecting sensitive patient data. We apply the necessary security measures so that organizations have compliance with peace of mind. 

Advanced printing technology to ensure the utmost accuracy and print quality

Technology changes at a rapid pace. To ensure you get the best quality outcomes and efficient pricing from direct mail production runs, make sure your commercial printer has the latest equipment and software.

Preferred Direct has cutting-edge digital printing technology. Our HP T240 HD and Xerox® Impika®, presses deliver optimal production speed and cost-effectiveness for continuous feed inkjet printing. We specialize in accurate, high-speed lasering and ink-jetting, with the flexibility to communicate custom, personalized messages, thanks to our state-of-the-art equipment, software applications, and skilled team.  This is Why Direct Mail Is Still Effective.

Services beyond printing 

In addition to mailing database management, customization, and printing of your direct mail, we also:

● Match mail

● Fold

● Perforate

● Insert

● Postal discounts

● Deliver mailings to the post office

● Manage inventory

We also offer expert design services to give your direct mail the visual appeal needed to attract your recipients’ attention and engage their interest.

Learn More About How Direct Mail and Variable Data Printing Can Benefit Your Company

Why Direct Mail Is Still Relevant?  In summary, direct mail—particularly, personalized direct mail—remains an essential tool for building customer loyalty and improving bottom-line results. Keep in mind that working with variable data requires making privacy and data security a priority. Therefore, it’s critical to work with a commercial printing company you can trust to uphold the highest standards of quality and protect customer data. Fortunately, you don’t have to look further for a reliable partner for your personalized direct mail solutions. Preferred Direct has all of the experience and capabilities necessary to handle all of your direct mail and variable data printing needs. Contact us to discuss your next project!

 

  

Read More
Ultimate Guide to a Direct Mail Campaign

Ultimate Guide to a Direct Mail Campaign

What Is Direct Mail?

Direct Mail Advertising

Direct Mail Advertising.

Ultimate Guide to a Direct Mail Campaign is posted for you to learn the specifics of Direct Mail. Direct mail refers to the act of sending a physical medium to potential prospects, current clients, or existing members of your organization. It could be a letter, pamphlet, package, postcard — anything that sends a message about your business or organization.

There is some thought that direct mail is for B2C, but it can be an equally effective strategy for B2B as well. Preferred Direct is both a print and direct mail operation, making us a powerhouse for businesses Direct Mail Campaigns over the nation.

The Power of Direct Mail

The Power of Direct Mail

The Power of Direct Mail

Direct mail creates a tangible experience in a person’s hands, one that can reach the practical senses to connect with the emotional side. It may explain why the Direct Marketing Association found that house lists generated an average response rate of 9%, and prospect lists generated an average rate of 4.9% in 2018. The response rate had roughly doubled from the year before, making 2018 the most productive year since 2013. Studies have shown that people view direct mail as more trustworthy, perhaps because it requires more effort to send than your standard email blast.

What Kinds of Direct Mail Are Most Effective?

The 2016 data revealed the following ranking (in terms of response rate):

  1. Oversized envelopes
  2. Postcards
  3. Dimensional mail
  4. Catalogs

Oversized envelopes create a sense of anticipation, an itch that needs to be scratched. Postcards give people all the information they need with nothing more than a single glance. Catalogs are both enticing and easy to flip through to see if anything catches the eye.

And, well, you might be wondering what precisely dimensional mail even is. In short, it’s anything that isn’t flat. In other words, if you make your flyer into the shape of a paper airplane, there’s a much higher chance that someone will open it. You can also try making your mail more than 3/4″ thick. That also seems to hold a lot of appeal to recipients if you’re measuring based on the response rates.

How Does B2C Direct Mail Work?

How Does B2C Direct Mail Work?

A B2C Direct Mail Campaign doesn’t have a lot of rules, which is one of the reasons why it can be a fun project for marketers. Some people will send instant coffee to customers to show them just how easy it is to use the company’s services (as simple as adding hot water). This type of direct mail works especially well for startup businesses. Others will work the personalization factor, addressing a person as directly as possible.

So instead of just including the person’s name, they might also incorporate the school they go to, the type of financial account they have, or their specific insurance policy. Non-profit organizations often include coins in their direct mail pieces to prompt the recipient to respond.

Addressing a specific person means using variable data in commercial printing. You’ll need a company that can quickly alter a piece, so it’s as accurate and useful as possible. So if you’re trying to send information to your patients about their insurance policy, you can vary your direct mail based on the patient’s plan and coverage levels. Preferred Direct has worked with countless Direct Mail Campaigns across a wide variety of industries, and we’ve seen what works along the way and the solutions they provide.

How Does B2B Direct Mail Work?

How Does B2B Direct Mail Work?

Consumer direct mail will inherently be different from B2B, especially if you’re marketing or targeting a highly select group of people. We recommend personalizing every piece of mail that goes out (similar to B2C efforts). Some businesses have even gone so far as to create personalized portraits or cartoons for each prospect. (Trust us when we say there are enough freelance artists out there to make this little gamble worth your while.) Others will send leftover swag to companies for everyone to enjoy, or create a fake press release or news article that details how their business can help recipients solve a problem they already have.

Whatever it is you do with your B2B direct mail, you need to consider the end product of each campaign. If the colors of your brand are a little dull or the artwork is a bit smudged, it can create a negative association with your company long before the reader ever really bothers to learn what you had to say.

What Is Digital Mail?

What is Digital Mail?

Digital mail is a way for you to personalize your correspondence using computerized tools and therefore more targeted. Digital Mail allows you to manage your mail through your Smart Phone if you like.

Mostly, it’s a way of piquing your audience’s interest without dramatically increasing the time or cost of the project. One of the biggest reasons why email campaigns and virtual advertising fails is because it rarely addresses the reality of the consumer’s life. A financial account holder who’s never invested before is unlikely to care about an opportunity with a minimum buy-in of $20,000. Parents of a toddler aren’t going to rip into a brochure that details the myths and facts of student loan debt.

For some, using variable data may have been difficult to do in the past, but this has largely been changed by the technology of the day. Rather than plates having to be swapped out every time you wanted to change artwork or wording, database-driven printing equipment can be programmed to go from one piece to the next seamlessly.

How Can I Best Personalize Direct Mail?

Direct Mail CampaignOne word: segmentation! If you’re not segmenting your lists, you’ll end up sending meaningless junk to people. You’ll end up wasting your direct mail budget! A marketer’s job is to comb through their audience to better understand what’s driving people’s habits and to make the mailing more targeted.

Variable data can be incorporated into direct mail, but you first need to know how to best work with that data. Ideally, you’d want to send a different message to every customer and prospect. Customers and prospects want to feel valued, especially given the level of competition in the business world today. And while this is a tall order, you can get closer to this goal if you can start paring your list by everything from age to income to lifestyle.

As you begin to make your lists more specific, you can use A/B testing to quantify your response rates. So let’s say you create a small list of people. They’re all roughly the same age, they all live in a similar neighborhood, and they all share vital traits in terms of their profession.

As an example, you send one half of the list a letter detailing how you can help them save some cash with your services. You send another half a letter discussing exactly how your business helps customers save time. From there, you can measure the response rates to see if people care more about their money or their time. There are many ways to A/B test your mailing piece. You can test colors, call to action, fonts, etc  The key is to test and test to be sure that you are getting the best response or the response you want.

Why Wouldn’t I Send an Email?

Consumers are consistently facing a deluge of email. When this strategy was first debuting, marketers found success in carefully constructed email campaigns. However, the influx has made it such that even the most dramatic of subject lines are not getting the desired results.

People receive 121 emails a day on average, meaning it’s become much more of a chore than anything else. In contrast, people still enjoy checking their mailbox, especially when they get something interesting or fun from time to time.

How Much Does Direct Mail Cost?

How much does direct mail costHere’s the rub if you’re comparing the two most common forms of communication: email is virtually free, but direct mail will cost you a little more. The largest expense for a Direct Mail project is the postage.

Direct Mail can end up affecting your ROI, but we still think it’s worth the risk.

Direct mail can cost anywhere from a few cents a project, the graphics collating of the data to the bindery of the medium.

If you’re looking to save a little cash on your project without compromising the quality, you’re in luck. The machinery used for direct mail has improved in the past few years, making it possible to handle high volumes and complicated design requests (whether in terms of graphics or folding). If you’re looking for commercial printing, it helps to pick a company that knows the value of a good investment.

Preferred Direct has the Xerox Impika and the HP T-240 HD printer, both of which have managed to blow us away with their efficiency and results. Print on Demand projects is high-speed full-color printing at its finest. What that means for your direct mail campaign is that no drop of ink is wasted, and no detail is overlooked. You can use the paper stock that fits your brand, so you can rest assured your direct mail is making the right impression.

How Does the Post Office Work with My Direct Mail?

The post office looks at everything from the size of your mail to the thickness to the shape.  Their visual inspection of the trays or sacks and the accompanying paperwork, whether First Class Pre-sort or Standard will be necessary for the mail’s approval. If everything isn’t labeled correctly, carriers may treat your direct mail without the kid’s gloves it requires. You don’t need your carefully crafted folding job to end up flattened at the bottom of a postal bag. Preferred Direct knows the U.S. Post Office requirements inside and out, and we make sure your mail is delivered precisely how you intended it. Why go through all that effort if customers or prospects end up with a half version of what you meant to send?

How Can I Use Direct Mail with Inbound Marketing?

Inbound is all about working with qualified leads, and direct mail is all about creating them. The more interest you can generate through your outbound efforts, the more you can grow your inbound efforts. Use direct mail to educate people about what it is you’re trying to do and watch how your efforts encourage them to take the next step.

As with any inbound strategy, you need to find customers where they are. It should come as no surprise to you that some people won’t even look at their mailbox because they’re too busy looking at smartphones. But for marketers in industries like insurance, finance, and education, you’re likely dealing with homeowners who are still interested in the mail.

You can also work with opt-in lists to create more inbound success. The people on your opt-in list have already asked for you to send them direct mail. Those who inherently have an interest in your company may be more likely to follow-up on your specials or promotions, which can lead you to more profitable relationships. Sending just the right number of publications can encourage customers to upgrade without annoying them.

Or you can try following up a virtual sign-up with a physical one. So if someone subscribes to your email list, you can send a thank you with direct mail. Or you can send an interesting case study that showcases how you help people just like them. Doing something a little different can help your company stand out.

Can I Cross Commercial Printing and Digital Marketing?

Yes, and the results can be surprisingly effective. Some people will direct customers or prospects to the website instead of asking them to call to make an appointment. Some will offer incentives to sign up for their app, but only make those incentives available to those who receive their direct mail.

You can also print a scannable QR code on your direct mail piece. The data will show you how people are interacting with your mail piece.

What Should I Look for in a Direct Mail Company?

A direct mail company needs to be able to keep up with you. Despite the many (many) printing companies who advertise cut-throat rates online, the moral of the story is that your level of service matters. If you need to make last-minute changes to your direct mail, you need a staff that can make it happen.

With Preferred Direct, you get a project manager who is looking after all the details on the project. They’re the ones coordinating different employees, so no request is falling through the cracks. These pros are also here to help guide you through the process of direct mail. So if you have questions about segmentation, branding, or A/B testing, we show you how to make the most of your hard-won lists.

How Can Direct Mail Directly Affect My Profits?

Conclusion.

Conclusion.

A Direct Mail Campaign is a great way to strengthen your branding efforts. The more times you can connect with your customers on different levels, the more likely they are actually to remember you. So while your direct response rate may not be 100%, that doesn’t mean you haven’t made another impression on your customers.

Your virtual communication, physical media, and broadcast efforts may all differ based on the audience and the communication method. Still, the essence of the brand and the messaging stays the same.

If you want to learn more about how direct mail can help you, Preferred Direct is here to give you a few tips. We have the equipment, know-how, and professional experience to provide you with more than just standard advice. And while we can’t get into the specifics of your campaign right now, we can undoubtedly dive right in when you give us a call.

 

Read More
3 Ways to Improve Your Direct Mail Campaign

3 Ways to Improve Your Direct Mail Campaign

Direct Mail Campaigns can be hit or miss for companies of every variety, and few things are more frustrating than a low ROI for each unit you send out.

You may not expect your direct mail to be kept in a keepsake box until the end of time, but it’s certainly not meant to catch a customer’s used chewing gum before they’ve even looked at it! The good news is that there are some simple strategies that can lead to higher response rates.

1. Capitalize on the Captive in Your Direct Mail Campaign

A direct mail piece isn’t as flashy as the bells and whistles of an internet advertisement, but this isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. Direct mail often comes across as more trustworthy to customers than digital ads, likely because it requires more effort to create and send.

You also have a captive audience in front of your piece, one that won’t be distracted by the next email or pop-up ad. You’re giving your customers a reason to slow down and concentrate, and they will take the opportunity to do this if the mail is presented in the correct way.

Now is the time to breakdown the message you’re sending customers. For example, if you’re sending direct mail that’s more involved, such as an Explanation of Benefits, you have a tremendous opportunity to draw the reader in by using everyday language. When you make your materials reader-friendly, the reader has a better chance of understanding how you can help them.

Email is an exceptionally cost-effective way to reach your customers, but its ease and affordability have all added up to a lot of noise out there. When the average person gets 121 emails a day, you can’t rely on a clever subject line anymore. A regular mailbox was never meant to hold that kind of volume, which is why most people still like checking their mailbox to see what they got.

2. Segment Your Lists


Imagine you’ve been looking to take a college-level course in the film for fun. You don’t want to get a degree in film and pursue a life in Hollywood, but you do think it would be interesting to learn how people make captivating movies. If you received a piece of direct mail from an educational institution about how to take one-off classes to better oneself, you’re likely to sit up and take notice.

This kind of precise marketing or Target Marketing is possible when you segment your lists. While most companies separate customers based on demographics and location, you can take it one step further. The most successful businesses will collect and analyze information from a wide variety of sources. For example, they may have customers take an email survey about what exactly they’re looking for from their healthcare or financial planning. Or companies will set up loyalty programs, track customer behavior, and devise promotions that speak to customers on their level.

When you’re segmenting your lists, you can use variable data to improve the quality of your direct mail campaign. This tactic will change the wording and graphics of your direct mail piece without slowing the printing process down. The right print on demand company can not only handle the volume and specificity, but it can also get it done as quickly as possible.

No matter how segmented your lists get, reputable printers have the technology to handle the details. A segmentation strategy all but eliminates the need to come up with a clever slogan or to overspend on paper.

When it comes down to it, the essential element you’re trying to convey to your audience is that you’re a company that can be trusted. When you can speak directly to a customer on their level, you show you’ve done your homework.

3. In Your Direct Mail Campaign -Think Different

Each marketing channel your company uses needs to vary according to several factors while still maintaining cohesion. For example, you might use email as a way to notify patients of their upcoming appointments and direct mail to promote new services.

It’s the color, formatting, and wording that connect your brand to each medium, so the customer still walks away with the right impression of the company.

To do this in such a way that people listen, you may need to break the rules. The most commonly read type of direct mail is the oversized envelope, perhaps because it calls to the recipient to find out what’s inside. Postcards are also high on the list, likely because people can merely glance at the direct mail to understand the takeaway.

Other companies will create dimensional mail in the form of paper boxes, airplanes, etc. These unique pieces of mail catch the eye and win your customers over in spite of themselves. Even the most conservative companies can still be creative with their communications.

For those who want to send more conventional material, you might consider offering recipients an incentive that they won’t receive anywhere else. For example, inviting them to a private event or providing a special discount over direct mail. This can help generate the buzz you need to entice more people to open your communications.

Preferred Direct is a print on demand company that specializes in marketing and branding our clients to their customers. There are so many ways in which companies can take a wrong turn when it comes to direct mail campaigns. Segmentation can undoubtedly come across as helpful, but it may also come across as invasive.

Creativity is certainly recommended, but you don’t want to spend big for folding paper airplanes unless it’s worth the returns.

We’re here to help you find a strategy that works, regardless of your budget, deadlines, or customer volume.

We use inventory control to reduce waste while still leaving enough flexibility in case your plans change. We take advantage of automated solutions that will save you time and money, yet again, provide personal customer service and tailor-made advice.
When it comes to direct mail, you need a printing company that looks out for your brand. We also know our way around compliance laws and ensure that each piece of mail meets all HIPAA and HITRUST restrictions. If you’re looking for a company that can handle some heavy demands and saves you money on the postage, we’ve got you covered.

Read More
Do you know your EOBs?

Do you know your EOBs?

Do you know your EOBs?Health insurance companies provide EOB’s or Explanation of Benefits statements after individuals receive their health care services. Given that individuals’ health information is deemed sensitive and protected under HIPAA, it’s crucial to understand EOB requirements.

The EOB Statement

To have a better understanding of “Do you know your EOBs?” it is important to note that at first glance, an Explanation of Benefits statement closely resembles a medical bill. The EOB usually says at the top “This is Not a Bill”; however, it may look like the recipient owes money.

EOB forms give details about a specific medical insurance claim that was processed by the insurer. It explains how much of the insurance claim was paid by the insurance company and how much is outstanding, based upon the costs of the care provided and the individual’s health insurance plan.

To illustrate with an example, consider an allergy screening. The allergist charges a set fee for service, and a health insurer pays a certain amount of that, which is dictated by the individual policy, deductible amounts, and other variables. Individuals usually pay a co-pay at the time of appointment but may owe more money later once the insurer processes the claim if there’s a difference in the service cost and what the insurer will cover.

In addition to details about the specific procedure, the Explanation of Benefits forms usually contains policy-specific information, which adds context. After summarizing the recent claim, the EOB form will usually summarize the deductibles and any other out-of-pocket claims for the year.

This way, the insured can better understand what they owe by reviewing how much of their deductible they’ve already paid. While EOBs explain medical billing information to the insured, they can be challenging to understand, and errors can happen. Many patients need to call their insurer to ask targeted questions, so they can better understand both the EOB form and any subsequent medical bills that arrive.

EOBs generally come after any medical or dental service is provided. Dental EOBs are similar to medical EOBs in form and function and have the same requirements. However, since dental insurance is limited in its coverage, patients who need extensive dental procedures may owe far more than they would for medical care.

Mailing Requirements

While some patients choose to view their EOB form online, many patients are reluctant to view sensitive information online and would prefer to receive a hard copy by mail.

Our Statement Generation or print on demand services make it simple to create and mail personalized EOB statements to users as the need arises. HIPAA’s privacy rule affects statement generation and EOB mailing requirements. HIPAA mandates that an individual’s health conditions, demographic information, services received, and payment for services be kept confidential.

Thus, any medical information, including adolescent children, that mentions the past, present, or future health care information (including fees for services rendered) must respect the privacy rule regardless of how the data is transmitted (via direct mail or electronically).

Given that your medical organization must comply with HIPAA, any direct mail or electronic service you work with must have a thorough understanding of HIPAA and its privacy laws, and be able to send out confidential medical information in an appropriate manner. Knowing your EOBs is important. Preferred Direct complies with all HIPPA requirements.

An insurer cannot be held liable if a patient’s confidential information is disclosed when all proper measures are taken. However, if an insurer does not take proper steps to preserve the integrity of private information, and they are found to be negligent, they will face fines that range from $100 to $50,000 for every violation.

Digital communication companies, like Preferred Direct, provide insurers with a range of medical statements, including EOBs, medical bills, plan benefits, and other healthcare forms, electronically or hard copies. While healthcare marketing materials may not have any private patient information, thus be exempt from HIPAA.  An individual’s sensitive medical forms must have their confidentiality protected.

How to Send EOB Statements

Preferred Direct is a knowledgeable partner for insurers who want to outsource their billing to a third party who can provide fast, accurate, and confidential statement generation or electronic communication services. Since digital communication companies specialize in printing and sending campaigns, hard copies, or electronically, they can do it efficiently.

Outsourcing this service also saves time while allowing employees to focus on mission-critical tasks. Patients enjoy receiving accurate materials promptly.   Preferred Direct’s communication services generally accept health data in a variety of formats, including .csv, .xls, or .txt. Digital communication companies using the supplied data will generate an accurate Explanation of Benefits statement.

Preferred Direct also offers e-billing services, in which medical bills and EOB statements can be generated and electronically transmitted to patient online portals or emailed, streamlining the EOB mail process for insurers.

Since forms must be addressed to individual patients, look for a direct mail shop that offers variable data printing, in which patients’ names and other unique data can be included in the mailings for customized, meaningful communication.

To ensure security and confidentiality protection, insist upon a direct mail provider that has a HITRUST and HIPPA certification, which is the most common security framework for healthcare data in the U.S.

Preferred Direct, has HITRUST certification and keeps up to date with all HIPAA requirements so that we can serve our insurance industry customers.

Not only are we attentive to the healthcare industry requirements, but we also offer highly efficient direct mail services. Since we use match mailing and postage automation services, we can efficiently process and send an Explanation of Benefits statements to their members while saving the customer money.

We create and maintain customized printing products for our customers, and we update our in-house stock with measures for inventory control. This way, we’re always ready for your next mailing. Whether you’re looking to outsource all of your medical statements or only need help with EOB mailing, we can take care of everything quickly and accurately.

Conclusion

When you are dealing with EOB statements you must be certain that all HIPPA rules are met.  Be especially careful with any and all information relative to the person, and that information should be treated with the utmost confidentiality.

There are savings to be had by outsourcing the EOB statements to a competent print and mail production house.

 

Read More