Author: Preferred Direct Marketing
How to Use Creative Solutions to Improve Your Commercial Printing. The value of commercial printing is dependent on both its content and presentation. Anyone can send a brochure or an explanation of benefits, but not every company can make the recipient wake up and take notice.
Creative solutions for commercial printing are a way to overcome the saturation that your customers feel on an everyday basis. (This way, your audience doesn’t have to feel as overwhelmed as you do when you’re considering how to create a more effective marketing strategy.)
Some marketers may believe that the physical media they send will only end up tossed in the trash, but contrary to popular opinion, print can still be the best way to talk to your audience. But that doesn’t mean that companies can send direct mail, print posters, or design swag without thinking about the implications of their graphics, words, and choice of media. Preferred Direct has witnessed marketing campaigns succeed and fail based on the creativity of their commercial printing.
If you’re interested in how to extract the most value from your print, we’ll give you both the information and advice you need to get it right.
Why You Need Commercial Printing
Commercial printing is the cornerstone for successful marketing today because it has the ability to cut through the virtual noise out there.
There’s no doubt that having a web presence is vital to your business, but with so much content out there, your message can easily lose information in a sea of text and graphics.
Your customers are used to ignoring ads online, but it’s not quite as easy to close out of something that’s in your hands or directly in front of your eyes. If you have a particular message you want to get out, it may even work better in print. Instead of having to search for the right keywords or navigate through several sections of the website to find the information, you can say exactly what you want to say in black and white (either proverbially or literally).
Companies can use commercial printing in an infinite number of ways today. From new digital technology to improved die-cutting techniques, it would be easier to list the things you can’t do! Once you understand the options available, you can determine how to apply them to nearly any campaign you run. Preferred Direct can show you how to do this without crushing your budget in pieces.
Conservation of both time and money starts with identifying the goals of each campaign. No matter how much you save on printing service, the money you spend won’t be worth it if no one remembers what you have to say.
Creative Solutions for All Your Commercial Printing
Businessman working for Creative Solutions
There are so many ways to change up your marketing without changing your brand or voice. If you’re struggling with how to present your ideas, the right printer can be the answer.
Preferred Direct has the staff and the experience to help you strike the perfect balance. One of our main specialties is finding ways to bring a little imagination to more traditional businesses, such as insurance and healthcare.
So we know just how important it is to avoid violating HIPAA regulations without letting it slow us down. We print, insert, and mail your explanation of benefits, so customers get what they need.
Our direct mail connects with people on a different level because we take the time to understand both your company and clientele before getting to work.
Whether you’re sending EOBs to your clients or doing an entire overhaul of your visual identity, creativity can play a role in every commercial printing job you tackle. As with virtual media, your company doesn’t have a lot of time to catch a customer’s eye before they either turn away or throw it away. (And no one is more familiar with the nature of this time-sensitive opportunity than Preferred Direct.)
We give you the means to capture people’s limited attention span, so you don’t waste a single cent of your marketing budget. Here are just a few ways to achieve the right hook:
Instead of including a separate form, perforate your direct mail and let your customers interact with it a little more. Or score the letter so after they’re finished reading it, they can turn it into an origami swan or paper airplane. To stand up to the US Postal Service, you’ll need a printer that can design mail that can withstand the pressure without complicating the design and functionality of your letter.
The graphics of your commercial printings can include anything from your logo to a sketch of a famous artist. When a picture can tell a thousand words, you typically want the visual components to reveal an easily discernible story.
Another tactic is to include an image that’s intriguing enough to spark the reader’s curiosity about the larger message. A 90-year old graduating from college may be unusual enough for people to stop and pay attention. If you happen to be advertising night classes for adults, this can be just what you need to get them invested.
This general service can refer to either the stapling or binding of your materials. If you need commercial printing for a presentation at a major conference, you can use a spiral or loose-leaf binding to give attendees a different way to interact with your company. Considering many professionals are visual learners, the right commercial printing can reinforce and drive home the key points of the presentation.
You can also use wire-bending for booklets and catalogs. If you want an even more lasting medium, a visually stunning calendar can be inspiring enough for customers to hang up at home or work.
Finishing includes die-cuts, collation, creasing, laminating, and gluing. Die-cuts are used to give your direct mail a unique shape. For example, inviting the form of a birthday cake to celebrate your company’s anniversary. Or maybe you want to print out coasters as a way to underscore a person’s transition into retirement. Preferred Direct can help you decide which finishing technique will strike the right chords with your audience.
Seeing a little tab peeking out from between an envelope can win customers over in spite of themselves. They may know it’s a marketing ploy, but that little tab presents an itch that nearly demands to be scratched. These kinds of creative inserts can be exact without a lot of time and hassle with the right printer.
Preferred Direct uses machinery that can handle both big and small jobs alike. Duplication CDs, DVDs: customers still want to receive packages in the mail. Marketers can send a DVD that includes live testimonials or demonstrations of a product, or they can send mystery gifts for customers who completed an online survey. They could even create a CD that gives the recipient special instructions to enter a contest or take advantage of a special promotion. If you need a company to print the DVDs, mail them out, and meticulously recreate your logo or artwork, Preferred Direct can help.
The Versatility of Digital Printing
Savvy marketers know that their audience is looking for messages that are inherently speaking to them. In an age of data, people want their information used in a way that will benefit them, not the companies that collect and hoard everything from their nickname to their social security number.
Digital printing makes use of digital files rather than a printing plate, and it allows marketers to collate their data so they can change the message of their commercial printing based on the person who receives it. If you’re using variable data, digital printing is usually your best choice.
Preferred Direct can give you ways to integrate segmentation into commercial printing, so you’re not wasting time or money. Even if you’re using variable data for commercial printing, digital is both fast and cost-effective. It does have a downside, though, in that it can’t always provide the same degree of resolution as other forms of printing. The colors, bleeds, text, margins, and finishing for digital print will be different from traditional options, so marketers may need to focus more on the idea they’re trying to convey. Beyond merely filling in each person’s name, you can do so much more to individualize your more significant point.
Preferred Direct can provide the advice and guidance you need to maximize digital printing. So if you’re attempting to advertise a drop in interest rates, you may want to divide your lists based on the most likely reasons your customers would want to take out a loan. For example, new college graduates may be looking for a starter home while families may be looking for ways to finance their children’s education. Digital printing gives you the chance to alter each image to pique the recipient’s curiosity.
Print On Demand
Digital printing makes use of print on demand services, making it simple to change information without slowing down the printing process easier. Let’s say it’s time to order directories in bulk to promote a new service at your school. Your larger institution has five locations and slightly different services and pricing for each one. While you could print off a general flyer that lists the information for all five sites, you can also print flyers that are specific to each branch.
This way, people can glance at the flyer to get the information they need rather than having to hunt through the text to find their specific school. Or maybe you want to send out an FAQ regarding a new type of insurance plan, but you want to include a customized quote for each person you send to. You can use your collated data to generate different quotes for each new piece of direct mail. Whether your list is 5,000, or 50,000, Preferred Direct has the expertise and technology to perform print on demand services without bumping up your budget.
Combining Physical and Virtual Media
Your marketing is an open book for you to fill. However, you’d like it. Following the rules of marketing can certainly get you far, but breaking the rules may get you even farther.
Commercial printing is a tried-and-true way to open a customer’s eyes to a new opportunity, but there are ways to integrate commercial printing campaigns in the with the rest of your marketing efforts. So if you’re already investing plenty in your digital strategy, there’s no reason you can’t use commercial printing to strengthen virtual campaigns for an even more impactful message. Preferred Direct is not only familiar with these techniques, but we also understand how and when to incorporate the best. Here are just two ways we’ve seen marketers get results:
Much like commercial printing focuses your marketing on one message, QR codes can do the same.
Once the customer scans the image, they’re taken directly to the information they need to know. But QR codes can do even more for a company by giving marketers real-time information about how the customer is using your commercial printing.
Once a QR code is scanned, it’s stamped with both the time of the scan and the user’s general location. This is a great way to understand the true reaction of your customers. If everyone is scanning the code immediately, it’s a sign that your campaign is creating a strong impression. If they’re waiting to scan it, it may signify that customers feel they need more time to peruse the data. It’s a sign that you’re marketing to people who are invested in what you have to offer. And of course, if no one is scanning the code, it’s an indicator that you may need to rethink your marketing segmentation.
A Marriage of Data Between print and virtual mediums, you’re collecting an awful lot of information about your customer. And yet, somehow, data slipes through the cracks of companies all the time.
To avoid asking the same question to your customers, you really need a way to combine all the details you receive — regardless of where it comes from. Print can be a great way to engage your customers first before deploying a pop-up ad that practically demands their email address.
Once you have the information in hand, you can start filling in the details of your customers that ultimately drive their decisions. They may be more likely to fill out a more involved form online once they’ve answered a simple question on the paper. Who’s Opening What Before determining your specific creative strategy, it helps to know the general statistics on the pieces of direct mail that are resonating the best with your audience.
The problem is that it’s not always easy to know who exactly is reading what, and it’s not always easy to quantify the ROI of your commercial printing. Just because a campaign didn’t spark a lot of direct interest, doesn’t mean that it didn’t spread general awareness that was worth its weight in gold.
Conversely, campaigns can have a strong response without necessarily converting to actual sales. Without going into people’s homes to observe their behavior directly, it’s been found that oversized envelopes tend to trigger larger response rates. At the other end of the spectrum, postcards are also popular because they’re easy to read and absorb without expending a lot of brainpower.
A quick update that people are due for their annual checkup can inspire an immediate call to get it out of the way. Message and Medium The type of commercial printing you use depends on your message: Simple: From special events to new products, you can print postcards or flyers as a way to get the key points across. In-depth topics: We recommend brochures, booklets, or pamphlets as a means to teach customers about a detailed subject. Cost efficiency: Shelling out serious funds on a quality poster can give you widespread appeal without needing to mass-print countless pieces of direct mail. Uniqueness: Direct mail can make a person feel singled out, especially if they’re being invited to a members-only event. Of course, these are merely suggestions. To find out how to best speak directly to your customer, you may want to try A/B testing with your commercial printing.
People may be willing to read your pamphlet, so they can better understand your message rather than try to understand a postcard that merely hints at a new initiative your company is taking on. With A/B testing, you can send a letter to one group of customers and a pamphlet to another. The best way to test your market is for both segments to have similar characteristics (e.g., age, income levels, etc.).
You can then measure the responses from each group to see which one made a bigger impact. If the pamphlet had more interest, you could focus on how to improve the content, so it generates an even higher response rate. Saving Money on Creative Solutions It’s not always easy to justify spending money on commercial printing, especially not when an email is essentially free to send. To make the risk feeling a little less precarious, Preferred Direct can ensure a virtually wasteless campaign.
Our technology includes the Xerox Impika and HP T-240 HD, both of which produce remarkable results. It’s full-color, high-speed, and true roll-to-roll perfection, eliminating the inconsistencies that can make your commercial printing look unprofessional. In other words, we’ve invested in the machinery, so you don’t have to. If you’re considering a piece of direct mail with complex folds, the technology makes it possible to design the folds without direct intervention from staff. This helps us keep our costs down (and yours by extension) while giving us the means for better inventory control.
The Ideal Partner
Preferred Direct has been in business since 1990. We may not know everything, but we do know quality printing.
Over the years, it was only inevitable that we’d become expert marketing strategists too. We make it possible for you to find smarter ways to use the leverage you’ve already built. Your clientele, mission, initiatives, staff: these are all assets that can make your bottom line go through the roof. If you’re interested in vertical integration, we understand and anticipate your needs long before you even realize you have them.
Creative solutions can jazz up even the most basic of marketing, but sometimes it takes an outside eye to notice new ways to lure customers in. No matter the budget or deadline, we find ways to color within the lines you set for us while still providing new ideas and strategy choices. From the initial contract to the last leg of the project, we let you set your level of involvement. And if you happen to change your mind at the last second (maybe you’ve decided that you need A/B/C testing instead of just A/B), we’ve got you covered there too.
Commercial printing may not be quite as flexible as a digital strategy, but there are ways to make changes without drastically going over-budget. Instead of choosing a bargain-basement web-to-print fulfillment company, choose someone who will always be there for you whenever you call. Contact us today to receive reliable printing services and creative solutions to your toughest marketing questions.
What Is Direct Mail?
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
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):
- Oversized envelopes
- Dimensional mail
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?
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?
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?
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?
One 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?
Here’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?
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.
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.
We have been asked dozens of times, “How Print on Demand Benefits Inventory Control.” You will learn in the following article.
Print marketing materials are still one of the best ways to raise awareness of your services. According to a survey from FedEx, four out of five small business owners say that print marketing helps them stand out among the competition.
Our world may be increasingly digital, but there’s something about the feel of print that enhances trust and appeal. What you might not know is that you can get all the benefits of print marketing while keeping costs under control by using print on demand companies. Learn what print on demand is, how print on demand works, and the benefits of print on demand for inventory control.
What is Print on Demand?
Print on demand is a custom printing process. The need determines the print run size. Print orders are planned as they come in, rather than guaranteed before the print run is determined.
Let’s say that you have a customer in another state that you have been supplying print material, in this case, it is informational healthcare books. You normally would order the yearly quantity in this case 50,000 books. Now, with print on demand, you only order what is needed at the time maybe 2,000 books.
In other words, if you normally print 50,000 books per year and these are kept in inventory until a quantity is needed but you end up throwing away 12,000 because you didn’t need them, it will be reflected in your budget. Not with print on demand.
The print on demand model was developed after digital printing. Before then it would not have been economically feasible for a printer to set up for a job to print a small quantity.
With print on demand, files can be printed as needed, when needed, and only in quantity required — even if it’s a small quantity. Since the file is saved, documents can be printed any time without extra work or costs on the part of the print shop or you, the business owner.
Cutting back on print paper comes with financial and environmental incentives.
Another benefit of print on demand is you can get paper marketing materials for that important brochure or updated healthcare material without worrying about the need to meet traditional printing order minimums.
It’s easier to maintain a print inventory with print on demand because you can see your existing print stock at a glance and order precisely what you need saving you money.
Print-on-demand benefits all sorts of printed materials, not just marketing materials. For healthcare and medical fields, print on demand is practical for informational, and customer service oriented print campaigns, such as pamphlets or books that explain the benefits of a given health insurance plan.
Healthcare and insurance companies can also create customized printed documents for their customers, including EOBs. Just be sure that your data is sent through a secure FTP site,
With the traditional printing process, the setup costs represent a large portion of the total job costs. The cost is amortized over the total print run, so it’s a marginal cost per item printed. With digital printing, there’s not as much to set up, so it becomes cost-effective to do smaller jobs that would not be economically feasible with the traditional printing process.
The benefits of a small print run carry over to inventory and management, as well. For example, consider a large print job, where your business must order dozens of boxes of material, which then sit around in storage until your company uses them. If you have enough storage space onsite, then you can store items in your building. If you don’t have enough storage space, your business will need to assume warehousing costs to pay for physical inventory.
Switching to print on demand reduces inventory accounting, storage costs, handling costs, and waste.
How to Print on Demand
Now that you know the benefits of print on demand, you might be wondering how print on demand works.
The process starts well before printing. At Preferred Direct we want to make sure that your graphic design and the finished product looks great. Also, that it will meet your needs, and that the work is cost-effective.
We offer a range of printing services with or without variable data. We offer binding and finishing solutions and we will always talk through the options with you so you know how to get the look you need for each print job.
We are a very hands-on printing provider, so we work one-on-one with all of our clients through the design and fulfillment process. We’ll make sure you understand all of the factors that affect the print job, so you know what variables affect the quality of the product or our approach to keeping your sensitive information secure.
We are HIPPA Compliant and HITRUST (CSF) Certified
When everything is ready, we’ll do the print job for you. Online proofs and tracking are available through our secure FTP site.
How Print on Demand Affects Inventory Control
Inventory management may not be something you give much thought to, but print-on-demand offers significant inventory control benefits over the traditional print process.
As mentioned above, the traditional print model comes with a high setup cost. For high-volume items, where you know the materials will move before they become dated, traditional printing may be the right choice.
There’s another result from the traditional process, which is high amounts of waste. If you over-estimate the number of copies you will need for a brochure or flyer; then you could be left with boxes of material that are soon outdated. Companies often don’t question the drawbacks of the print model — or how the waste impacts their bottom line by tying up capital.
The quality of digital printing has improved, where printed products now rival the quality of offset printed items. As a small business, whether you’re in financial, health, or nonprofit sectors, it’s never been a better time to use print-on-demand services. The costs per-unit comparable to traditional print jobs, but the financial savings and inventory control benefits exceed what regular printing offers.
Inventory control shows you at a glance how many copies of print items you have. You can check how much stock you have and order additional copies either as often as you need or when you hit minimum stock levels.
With inventory control, your business will always have the right number of copies in the right place when needed — say, for an upcoming brochure mailing. By ordering low quantities, you can keep costs affordable while reducing the expense of the item storage and disposal.
When you’re relying on print on demand to keep inventory levels low, you need a supplier who will be able to deliver orders efficiently and effectively. Inventory control will ensure the customer never runs out. Many print shops can complete a job in anywhere from one to three days, once you’ve done the initial setup work of creating and refining the order. At Preferred Direct, we work with businesses in a range of industries, including education, nonprofit, medical, and insurance. To get a quote for printing services, or to learn more about what sets us apart from other printing companies, contact us today. Call Toll-Free: 1.844.719.1848.
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.
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.
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.
Direct mail has been hailed as a great marketing tool to reach new customers, but those customers don’t come out of nowhere. You have to build a direct mail database before your marketing messages can be sent. Some companies make the mistake of putting all their efforts into their marketing materials, when in fact, who you target is just as important, if not more! Here are tips to build a strong direct mail database.
Know Your Target Demographics
Before you build your direct mail database, you’ll need to learn your target demographics and psychographics.
Demographics can be: age, gender, ethnicity, location, marital status, education level, income and occupation.
Psychographics can be: interests, hobbies, lifestyle, attitudes, etc.
How do you figure out your target market?
1. Look at your current customers. Try to find threads of commonality in demographics and interests.
2. Look at your competition. Find out who they’re advertising to and determine niches within that market they may have overlooked.
3. Make a list of the benefits of your product or service. See if you can narrow down who your product or service will most appeal to.
4. Determine your geographic scope. How far in your area do you want to reach out? You can advertise on any scale from local to county to state to national depending on your company and budget.
5. Use trade journals specific to your industry for insights on industry consumers. Likely, your industry has already done their research on target customers and their behaviors, so why not use these very valuable insights?
Through research and surveys you can determine your target audience’s demographics and psychographics. You can hire outside companies to conduct surveys or you can conduct them yourself. Here are some tips on creating an effective survey.
Once you’ve identified your target market, you’re ready to build your mailing list.
Building Your Direct Mail Database
There are two ways to build a direct mail database: encourage customers to sign up and/or buy a mailing list.
1. Use promotions, newsletters and incentives to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list. By offering a free product, service, or a sizable discount, you can gather information for your direct mail campaigns. The quality of your list matters. Gather information including, name, gender and mailing address at minimum. If you can collect demographic information, that’s even better but be aware that the longer the form to fill out, the less likely a person is to complete it.
2. Purchase mailing lists. There are two types of mailing lists: compiled and direct response. A compiled list is usually pulled by geographic area and can be segmented by demographics, income etc. A direct response list is a list made up of people who’ve responded to direct marketing in the past (whether direct mail, infomercials, etc.)
You can purchase mailing lists from direct mail companies like Preferred Direct. Click here to learn more about Preferred Direct’s mailing lists.
Analyze your Database to Create a Better Campaign
Once you’ve created your direct mail database, how can you use your database effectively? Analyze it! Here are a few tips to utilize your database to identify better with your prospective or current customers and get better return on your investment:
1. Analyze Demographics. Are the people in your database wealthier or more modest? What age range? Do they have children? What’s their ethnicity? When you create your direct mail fliers/postcards/mailers, choose images that appeal to their particular lifestyle. For example, if your list is mostly females with children, make sure any photos or images you use include this.
2. Analyze Geographic Data. Where do the people in your database live? Do they live in urban, suburban or rural areas? Is there anything major in their local or state environments that you can mention that will help them connect with you? Use photos that reflect geographic region and lifestyle.
You can find ways to connect to the people in your database by appealing to them through database analysis. This makes your database work harder and better for you. When you are creating your direct mail piece, keep in mind opportunities for variable data. Variable data means you can print different offers, incentives or information for different demographics or psychographics.
Do you need help creating your direct mail database? Preferred Direct is a commercial printer and direct mail company that can help you put together your mailing lists, and completes the direct mail process from start to finish. Click here to learn about Preferred Direct’s direct mail services.
At Preferred Direct, we make sure to keep your cost down. You will have a project manager who keeps your print jobs on track. Our project managers stay on top of your print jobs and can answer any questions you have along the way. We even provide emergency print services for those fast approaching deadlines. We also provide tracking so you can be assured that your shipment is arriving in a timely manner. One of our printers is the Xerox Impika®, a top-of-the-line machine that prints quality materials fast, ultimately saving you time and money. When choosing a commercial printing company, you can count on Preferred Direct to be cost effective, speedy, and customer-friendly.
Call us toll-free today at 1-844-719-1848 or click here for an online quote.
Sources: crmtrends.com, wikihow.com, sageagestrategies.com, inc.com, smallbusiness.chron.com