Blog
Tagged: variable data

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
How Commercial Printing Can Elevate Marketing Results

How Commercial Printing Can Elevate Marketing Results

Welcome to the Preferred Direct Blog

How Commercial Printing Can Elevate Marketing Results

Tips for Elevating Marketing Results with Commercial Printing

Professional commercial printing can make a difference in how customers perceive your company. Think about it; every marketing and sales piece that you print represents your brand. The more polished and professional your print marketing materials are, the more prospects will view your business as credible and trustworthy.

Benefits of Commercial Printing Services and Print Marketing

Print marketing pieces by a commercial printing company give people a well-prepared, tangible way to learn about your brand and have your contact info close at hand. In this digital age, commercial print services supplement your online marketing messaging—which makes you more memorable as the print pieces reinforce what customers see online.

Moreover, print marketing collateral helps build awareness of your business’s online presence. By sharing your website URL, email address, and social media profiles in your print communications, you can steer people to connect with you online.

How to Use Commercial Printing Services to Boost Your Marketing Results

Here are some tips for how to get optimal results from print marketing products created by a  commercial printer:

  • Partner with a reputable, experienced commercial printing company that understands what it takes to create marketing materials that will have a maximal impact.
  • Use a professional graphic designer if you don’t have that expertise and skillset in-house.
  • Use a professional copywriter if you don’t have that expertise and skillset in-house.
  • Make sure that your brand elements (logo, colors, terminology, etc.) have consistency across your print marketing materials.
  • Make sure all of your contact information is on your print products.
  • Include social media information so that people will know where they can connect with you online.
  • Proofread your print marketing materials.
  • Consider print-on-demand and inventory management services to save your business money and time.

Examples of Print Marketing Materials That Work

Rack cards

Rack cards have many uses and do well where there’s a lot of foot traffic. Some of the locations where you may have seen them include visitors’ centers, restaurants, hotels, and landmarks. Many different types of businesses have success with rack cards. For example, they can help efforts to promote fundraising events, live entertainment acts, charitable causes, tourist destinations and attractions, food festivals, and more. Rack cards are an inexpensive way to attract attention and communicate the most important information about what you want to promote.

 

Brochures

Brochures deliver a means to include more details than rack cards while still in a print format that’s convenient for people to take with them. They are cost-effective and easy to distribute at events or locations where you want them to be accessible to your target audience. Also, brochures allow you to communicate your brand’s value and essential details about your products and services in a tangible form.

 

Catalogs

Catalogs are critical drivers of sales and brand loyalty. Often, print catalogs are the catalyst for getting prospects to visit a retailer’s website or visit a store. Also, many retailers have found that sending catalogs to customers who have made online purchases often results in additional sales from those same customers.

 

Flyers

Flyers offer a simple, short-and-sweet way to grab people’s attention and impel them to learn more about your business. They’re easy to hand out or leave as a take-away at trade shows.

 

Newsletters

Print newsletters allow businesses to provide more in-depth information to readers than do e-newsletters. Moreover, a print newsletter is convenient for readers to pick up and read it at their leisure. People can enjoy them when they have time and aren’t distracted by a barrage of online notifications and emails.

 

Direct mail postcards

Personalized direct mail postcards can be highly targeted, enabling your company to reach ideal prospects easily. Moreover, they’re very affordable to produce and mail. As more and more customers are becoming inundated by email marketing messages, print marketing postcards help make brands stand out.

 

Signs and posters

For local events and fundraisers, signs and posters can help raise awareness and generate word of mouth. When strategically placed within communities, they serve as a powerful grass-roots marketing tactic. Of course, the more attractive they are (professional design and superior print quality), the more attention they’ll attract.

 

Sales packets

Usually consisting of folders with a variety of sales and marketing collateral, sales packets help move potential B2B buyers one step closer to making a purchase. An exceptional sales packet will reinforce the positive impression your sales team made during their sales visits.

And there’s more

These are just a few samples of the types of print marketing materials that your business might benefit from. Meanwhile, your imagination and creativity expand the possibilities. And you can count on our team at Preferred Direct to help you brainstorm ideas to differentiate your company from your competition.

Best Practices in Commercial Printing for Print Marketing

Not all commercial printers have the same technology, equipment, and capabilities. That’s why it’s critical to ask questions and ensure you’ll be getting the best quality, turnaround times, and value.

At Preferred Direct, we use digital printing and inkjet printing to produce stunning, cost-effective marketing materials.

 

Digital Printing

Digital printing allows us to send text and images in digital files directly to a printing press. Unlike traditional offset printing, it doesn’t require the time and cost to create a printing plate. With digital printing, you get high-quality graphics that make a strong first impression.

 

Inkjet Printing

Inkjet printing allows for fast and accurate printing of custom elements, such as addresses, barcodes, indicias, and more. Plus, it’s highly cost-efficient for creating large quantities of personalized marketing pieces.

 

Cost-cutting On-Demand Printing Using Variable Data

To keep costs extremely affordable for our customers, Preferred Direct does all of our printing on two roll-to-roll presses for cost-effective on-demand printing. This approach ensures you won’t have to pay for pieces you don’t need and will never use. Also, on-demand means you avoid the printing order minimums that come with traditional printing.

With on-demand printing at Preferred Direct, we print the number of items that you need now. And, we can use variable data (text and images) to customize marketing materials to your individual recipients. Whether catalogs or brochures or newsletters or other communications, that personalization will help you create marketing pieces that drive interaction and results. With printing on-demand, you pay an inexpensive cost per unit even when you only need a small quantity printed. And, when you want more units printed, there’s no need to start from square one again. We save your digital files and can print additional pieces as you need them.

Besides the cost-saving benefits, on-demand printing also conserves paper, making it a more environmentally friendly option. Many customers seek to do business with eco-conscious companies. By using on-demand printing, you can strengthen your value proposition and set you apart from your competition.

Print Inventory Management for Saving Time and Money

To ensure we can meet your on-demand printing needs quickly, we offer inventory management at our facility. Different marketing projects require different sizes and styles of paper and envelopes, and we can store large quantities of whatever your jobs will need. Our inventory management services ensure that when you need a print piece produced, we’ll have the resources on hand and ready to go. You can also get weekly or monthly stock level reports to keep tabs on your current inventory.

Next Steps for Marketing Success with Professional Print Marketing Materials

To learn more about how a commercial printer can help you achieve your marketing goals, contact us. Share your challenges and aspirations with us! Using our extensive commercial printing expertise and capabilities, we’ll create marketing materials to elevate your brand without deflating your bottom line.

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

 

 

Envelope Press

HP 240T HD Roll to Roll Press

Xerox Roll to Roll Press

High Speed Mail 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
Commercial Printing

Commercial Printing

Roll-fed Print on demand press

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 Puzzle PieceCommercial 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

Creative Solutions

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:

Perforation

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.

Graphic Design

Graphic design. How much does direct mail costThe 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.

Bindery

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

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.

Inserts

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:

QR codes

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

Commercial Printing ConclusionPreferred 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.

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