Archive for November, 2020

How to Use Direct Mail in Multi-Channel Promotions

November 25, 2020

Take a close look at the direct mail you’re receiving lately. You’ll probably notice a pleasant surprise: offers and newsletters that you’re actually interested in.

personalized direct mail

To some who don’t know better, direct mail may seem like an antiquated marketing method. But combined with the latest marketing tools, direct mail has gotten a facelift that can make it an important part of your marketing mix. Direct mail, when used in conjunction with other marketing channels, helps you improve your marketing results.

Today’s Direct Mail

Past approaches to direct mail usually meant creating one mailer that went to many people. In the old days, designing direct mail campaigns meant developing and/or renting lists, writing and printing content, and then sending it to recipients all at once.

Keep in mind, marketing efforts and the offers they contain, are much more effective when the audience is ready to buy. It’s not surprising that the effectiveness of direct mail was questioned. Besides the potential for misalignment between timing, mass mailings were often completely impersonal.

According to Patrick Groover “As technologies became more powerful, those using direct mail were able to reduce gaps between timing and also start to personalize messages and offers. It’s a known fact that personalize messages and offers out performs generic content. Additionally, direct mail marketers began using audience segmentation thanks to new analysis tools, which used data-driven information and grouped individuals with similar characteristics together.

While audience segmentation remains an important part of a solid market strategy, and has a desirable impact on open and response rates, it doesn’t address targeting and one-to-one communication. This requires defining and acting on real-time signals of buyer interest with highly personalized content that matches the exact target audience, which is where marketing automation excels.

Marketing automation leverages previously configured audiences and dynamically personalized content assets that are already tied to your overall campaign strategy and connects time-released materials to buying signals—enabling personalized direct mail at scale. With a sophisticated marketing automation solution, direct mail campaigns can be incorporated directly into your programs, so you can run, measure, and optimize them within one platform for true cross-channel marketing.”

Here are three ways to use direct mail in your multiple channel marketing promotions:

1. Personalization

Personalization increases the chances that customers and prospects will take notice of your offers and respond with the desired call-to-action.

If you’ve designed your creative with personalization and variable print in mind, it’s easy to call upon the correct messages, add elements of personalization, print the final mail piece on digital printers, and mail it on the fly.

A great example of using a specific personalized direct mail campaign is sending coupon offers to customers a few days before their birthday (search and read Talon’s blog on personalized postcards). The coupons could be for items that the marketer already knows the customer is interested in. The personalized format and timely delivery of this offer through direct mail greatly increases the likelihood that the customer will take action.

personalized direct mail

Above Photo: It’s always a good idea to send customers postcards to let them know you value their business. This postcard has a special “Birthday Sale” discount offer on the reverse side.

2. Time-Released Marketing

As you move away from a one-off mass marketing approach to a personalized one, consider using both email and direct mail.

According to Patrick Groover, “Direct mail adds a tangible element to your email campaign that makes your audience feel hand-selected and valuable. And aided by personalization, your offers and content can reflect the specific person and their buying stage, a relevant message, and other aspects through pre-set criteria. The addition of this step to your nurture campaigns adjusts the customer’s perception of your overall interactions by making it more personal, and if you’ve been missing them through email, it’s an opportunity to reconnect.”

3. Send Direct Mail to Key Targets

Direct mail can seem like an expensive investment when factoring in printing and postage costs. However, the response rates tend to be much higher than email. Part of the reason for this is that so much email winds up in spam filters and/or never read by the recipients. Today’s marketing automation platforms allow you to configure criteria that only targets the most valuable audiences with something more tangible.

In the past, it was very challenging or even not possible to determine the correct audiences when using direct mail. Marketing automation such as modeling allows you to more easily identify the most valuable prospects and send them highly relevant messages and offers.

If it’s been a while since you took a look at direct mail, it’s probably time to reevaluate it. Follow the above advise and you will see better results, and lower costs.

Need help with your marketing or direct mail?   To learn more about our services, or discuss your direct mail needs, here’s our home-page link and contact information:

Talon Services Include: Direct Mail Services, Long Island New York, Personalized Letters, Laser personalization, NCOA services, mailing lists, mailing list cleanup, Address Correction, Merge Purge, Duplicate Eliminations, Mailing Services, Presort, Direct Marketing data processing, Postage Savings

Five Ways to Tell Your Story so People Buy

By Ed Heil,     November 18, 2020

How do you tell your story so that people actually care and buy your goods or services? Here are 5 ways…

direct mail and sales and marketing

One of the most common challenges I hear from business leaders and marketers is this: “We have a hard time telling our story”. They have a desire to tell people who they are and why they’re important and yet they stumble when trying to explain this in a way that’s interesting or engaging. In essence, they have no idea how to tell their story — they are not interesting, so people are not interested. So, what’s the secret? How do you tell your story so people actually care? Here are 5 ways to start telling stories that people actually care about:

1. Share your “why”

In the words of leadership consultant, Simon Sinek, people don’t care about what you do, they care why you do it. Why do you do what you do? What is the deeper meaning of your work? Is it to manufacture seat belts? Or is it to save people’s lives? At StoryTeller, our “why” is to challenge the status quo of marketing. Dig deeper and tell people why you do what you do, not just what you do.

2. Find real stories

You want to know how to tell your story so people care? Then, try telling an actual story, rather than rattling off information and statistics about your product or service. People engage with storytelling because they connect their personal lives and experiences to the stories they hear. As a result, they comprehend and retain stories more than facts and figures.

3. Use pictures and video

We are visual creatures, and statistics show people are more likely to watch a video than read a blog or an article. Video and still images are used to provide visual descriptions, show people how to do something, or introduce the viewer to someone. Often, an overview video like this can be a powerful first step to sharing your story with your prospects and customers.

4. Maximize digital channels

Some businesses still rely heavily on print collateral to share information about their business with prospective customers. While print was once a tried and true component of any sound marketing strategy, it’s no longer enough. If you’d really like to tell your story to your target audience, it’s time to reallocate your resources and invest in your online properties. Between your website, YouTube, and social media channels, you have more outlets than ever to share your story. And, frankly, no one is going online to look for a brochure.

5. Less of you, more of them

Most businesses approach their marketing like a used car salesman. They spend a lot of time talking about the features and benefits of their products and services. They focus more on what they believe are salient aspects of their product and less time on the customer problems that they solve. Rather than listening carefully and answering questions proactively, many marketers are stuck in the past, making sure they are shouting their message at the consumer.

Of course, this is the easy stuff. The challenge for you as a marketer is determining how best to tell and share your stories in a way that provides valuable information to your prospective customers.

Need help with your marketing or direct mail?   To learn more about our services, or discuss your direct mail needs, here’s our home-page link and contact information:

Talon Services Include: Direct Marketing Services, Postage Discounts, Bulk Mail, Bulk Mailings, Laser Letters, List Rental Fulfillment, email blasts, File Maintenance, Digital Printing, Direct mail data processing, database services, Dupe Eliminations, NCOA processing, List Rentals

Terrific Books to Improve Your Marketing

November 12, 2020

These seven items will improve you and your company’s marketing. That means more sales, and more profits:

Talon Mailing & Marketing, providing direct mail advice and tips

Thanks to the Internet, the way marketing people do their jobs has changed significantly and changed forever. We’re now using ideas and technologies that we couldn’t have imaged twenty years ago. While the Talon Mailing & Marketing blog shows that direct mail still works quite well, there are other technologies as well. Today’s marketing changes include digital marketing that helps us engage prospects through a wide variety of media outlets (i.e., Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat). For better or worse, we are also now more accountable than ever before for our business’s marketing results.

While the changes can seem overwhelming, what we marketers actually should do, has not changed. Regardless of whether a business is a brand new, or a well-known company, we’re still basically working with other people and companies to make our business and marketing a success.

We need to remember and understand the importance of staying current and delivering value. And we should be mindful that we should increase our knowledge about new marketing techniques and technology, as well as how to persevere and prosper in a challenging business environment.

Below are some wonderful books, a blog, and a video website to help you become better marketers.

“Who Moved My Cheese?”

In today’s world, marketers are functioning in a constant state of change. We can no longer “rest” on previous accomplishments and ideas. We need to keep improving what we do, and how we do it.

This book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” is packed with motivational ideas for prospering with all this change. Written by one of the co-authors of “The One Minute Manager,” this book is a quick read but loaded with great wisdom.

The book, takes a metaphorical journey through a maze with mice – while they deal with unexpected changes. “Who Moved My Cheese?” illustrates that by embracing change, you can actually control your destiny.

Seth Godin’s Blog

Seth Godin is an expert marketer, a business person, and a consumer. His blog and his daily emails, provide inspiring thoughts that encourage his readers to think outside the proverbial box.

Many of his posts are short, but spending a minute each day reading them, can inspire you to solve problems creatively or realize that you can take a new direction. Godin has written 18 books, including “Linchpin,” “Tribes,” “The Dip” and “Purple Cow.”

To visit Seth Godin’s blog click here:

“How to Win Friends and Influence People”

Marketers are the newest members at the boardroom table. But like everyone else, we need to communicate effectively with other senior executives as we drive our marketing and effectively communicate with customers and prospects. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” provides insights into building interpersonal relationships that produce desired outcomes.

The first edition of this book was written over 80 years ago by Dale Carnegie, however this book is by no means outdated. It provides wonderful insight into handling people, winning friends, dealing with difficult personalities, bringing people over to your way of thinking and gives solid advice on how to become a great leader.

The book, which focuses on success based on interpersonal relationships, has been updated three times, most recently in 2011. The newest edition, titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age,” extends relationship-based business success into the current digital age.


This recommendation is not a “great read” because it’s a video. None the less, it is a terrific resource for uncovering other inspirational material. We all could use more inspiration, and TED videos never fail to spawn ideas — whether they’re about a new marketing campaign, a new product or a better way of leading others.

The basis for these videos is an almost unlimited number of powerful live TED performances held throughout the world. The videos cover a wide range of topics, including business, marketing, and many other subjects. The videos are free to watch and these presentations provide inspiration for marketers and people of all professions.

The TED blog also posts lists of books recommended by TED speakers. Visit their website or youtube (many Ted videos are on this platform as well). Here is a link to their website:

“Leadership Is An Art”

Originally published in 1987, this work illustrates ideas and beliefs that will help leaders achieve the many things that need to get done (in the most effective and humane way possible).

As you know, we are often counted on to motivate and lead (this includes ourselves, our colleagues, and our customers). With this in mind, “Leadership Is An Art” stresses the importance of initiating ideas and creating a lasting value system within organizations. This book provides insights on motivating and creating leaders.

“Getting to Yes”

We often encounter situations in the business world where we need to convince colleagues and team members to agree to something. Regardless of whether that something is a new campaign, a different technology, or defining the optimal user experience, we often need to reach a consensus.

“Getting to Yes” offers a straightforward, universally applicable method for negotiating disputes without getting angry or giving up more than we should.

“7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

Marketers must make an impact and meet the objectives defined by the business. “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” provides a philosophical view of what it takes to be constructive and add value.

Written by Stephen R. Covey, the book documents seven traits of successful people (e.g., be proactive, think win-win, synergize) and why those traits make a huge difference in succeeding.

Need help with your marketing or direct mail?   To learn more about our services, or discuss your direct mail needs, here’s our home-page link and contact information:

Talon Services Include: Direct Marketing Services, Postage Discounts, Bulk Mail, Bulk Mailings, Laser Letters, List Rental Fulfillment, email blasts, File Maintenance, Digital Printing, Direct mail data processing, database services, Dupe Eliminations, NCOA processing, List Rentals

Which is Better, Direct Mail, or Digital Marketing?

November 10, 2020.      By Kyle Curtis,

So which method provides a more reliable return on investment (ROI)? Here’s the rundown:

Question about direct mail?

The holiday season is nearing, meaning more people are willing to spend a lot for their loved ones. In fact, seasonal shopping is so popular that last year alone, the United States spent over $110 billion in the retail sector. If you have a business, whether it’s a clothing store or a cosmetics company, joining this trend is a must — and the best way to boost your brand this festive season is with the best marketing plan that includes either digital marketing or direct mail marketing.

To help you choose the best one for your marketing campaign this holiday, here’s a rundown of direct mail marketing vs. digital marketing.


Although direct mail marketing requires more time and effort, even with the USPS courier rates and expenses for the materials used in making the mails, it’s relatively cheaper than digital marketing. That’s because most sites charge you a set amount to advertise with them, which can be expensive and unreliable since you wouldn’t know how effective it is. However, with direct mails, you can decide to send a small batch first before expanding, saving you more money and the opportunity to improve.

Every time you need to send direct mails to donors, you can decide on an amount based on your reach instead of being forced to pay a set amount, making it easier to upscale your choices after seeing the initial response to your content.

Response Rates

Direct mails receive higher response rates since it follows a more targeted approach. In fact, direct mail advertising has an average 9% response rate for house listings and 5% for prospects. Meanwhile, digital advertising has a 0.1% click-through rate. That’s because most people go through over 5,000 digital ads daily and the average worker receiving over 100 emails every day — leaving your ads to get buried in the noise.

Return On Investment

Direct mail marketing remains a favored advertising strategy because it provides a more reliable return on investment (ROI) than digital marketing. In fact, direct mail has a median ROI of over 29%, while digital ads only have 16%. That’s because most businesses focus on building their companies and brands online, allowing direct mail to be a less competitive and more reliable sector. Plus, direct mail has a higher ROI rate because consumers tend to read direct mail more than digital content. After all, on-page ads aren’t as appealing as personalized mails received at home.


Direct mail marketing is more flexible when it comes to its advertising options. In digital marketing, organizations can only choose one website they want to advertise their brand on or how they want to send these ads to their consumers. Meanwhile, in direct mail, you have plenty of options, ranging from postcards to brochures.

‘Personal’ Touch

More than 57% of consumers say that receiving direct mails makes them feel more appreciated. That’s because direct mails can be personalized to tailor the potential buyer’s interests while digital marketing can be generic, making consumers less likely to engage with digital content.

Although direct mail marketing has been dubbed as ‘old school,’ it’s the touchpoint you need to implement into your marketing efforts and sales strategies to see the best results. However, in the end, a great marketing strategy isn’t about comparing direct mail marketing with digital marketing. It’s about incorporating various marketing channels to provide an omnichannel experience for your customers this holiday season.

Need help with your marketing or direct mail?   To learn more about our services, or discuss your direct mail needs, here’s our home-page link and contact information:

Talon Services Include: Direct Marketing Services, Postage Discounts, Bulk Mail, Bulk Mailings, Laser Letters, List Rental Fulfillment, email blasts, File Maintenance, Digital Printing, Direct mail data processing, database services, Dupe Eliminations, NCOA processing, List Rentals

10 Direct Mail Mistakes to Avoid

By Craig Simpson,
November 5, 2020

Any one of these 10 errors can ruin your campaign. Keep this list handy and refer to it before you set up a direct mail campaign.

**photo description here**

Believe it or not, the USPS really does know a thing or two about direct mail marketing. Not only do they provide a delivery service for your packages, but after years of delivering direct mail they have compiled a helpful list of what not to do with your campaigns.

1. You don’t identify your audience. I say this a lot, but it’s worth saying again, the more you target your most responsive prospects, the more effective your mailing will be. Mailing to a random sample of names won’t get you the sales you want. On the other hand, it’s amazing how precisely you can refine your lists to reach just the people you want. So spend some time analyzing your best buyers. What is their demographic? What are their other interests? Then use that information to define your most promising mailing universe.

2. You’ve rented a bad mailing list. Your list broker is your connection to the best lists available. So first, make sure you are working with a reliable list broker. Second, make sure you are mailing to lists that are up-to-date and carefully selected according to your criteria. If you’re not sure, ask questions – especially if your mailing did not perform as expected. Make sure the problem wasn’t in the list.

3. You rely on unclean data. Every list requires a little regular “house cleaning.” You must even perform an NCOA on your own house file (compare the file to the National Change of Address list and update the addresses of those that have moved). You also want to make sure to NCOA lists you buy or lease. This will keep you from mailing to inaccurate addresses, or outdated addresses of people who have moved. Then you want to scrub all your lists of duplicates – especially if you’re mailing to more than one list that may be drawing from the same population. And you want to compare all your lists to Suppress files of people who are deceased, in prison, or whom you don’t want to receive your offer for some reason. An unclean list will cause you to waste money – and you won’t be reaching the true prospects you need to reach.

4. You do not presenting a compelling offer. There has to be a reason why people should respond to your offer. If you just send a piece with information about your product, and no special offer, there’s no reason for them to respond at this time, even if they’re interested. But, if you are offering a special price, a two-for-one deal, a bonus gift, a year of market alerts to go with your financial course, or some other special benefit, people are more likely to read your piece, and order.

5. Your message is impersonal. The more you can personalize your message, the more your prospects will feel that you are speaking directly to them – that you understand what they need and how to fulfill that need. Don’t talk about “people in general.” Use the word “you” – a lot. Write copy that shows you know their mindset. If you can put their name in the piece, that’s great. Even better is offering them a personalized URL (PURL). You want your prospects to read your sales piece and feel as though you are sitting across the kitchen table from them, presenting your message as though you were an old friend. If you can establish that kind of rapport with your reader, your orders will add up quickly.

6. You don’t indicate a call to action. One of the biggest mistakes newcomers to direct mail marketing make is failing to “close the deal.” You don’t want to have anything vague about your offer. By the time prospects finish reading your piece, they should know exactly what to do. Not only that, but they should have a sense of urgency to reply to your “limited time only” offer. So, make it clear what they should do (order this product, sign up for a free trial), how they should do it (call, e-mail, etc.), and when they should do it (right away, but certainly within the next 10 days).

7. You use mediocre creative components. Your sales piece has to sell. That means it should be motivating, interesting, irresistible. If your prospects look at the headline and it does not catch their attention, they will toss the piece aside and you’ve lost right out of the gate. Track your mail campaign and keep working on the offer, the benefits, and the description of your product. You must appeal and connect with your target audiences. Keep working on your piece until you get a good response – and then don’t stop. The best direct mail marketers keep improving their pieces so they get an even better response the next time. Which brings us to the next mistake . . .

8. You don’t test continuously. Even the most successful sales pieces will eventually run out of gas. Times change. People change. Your competition changes. To keep growing your business, you have to keep up. That’s why you have to test, test, test. Try new formats. New offers. Even a change in a headline can make a big difference. Do everything you can to keep improving your performance and your business will continue to grow.

9. You don’t use tracking mechanisms. A critical part of your testing program is to be able to track how each variation did at pulling in orders. A tracking mechanism must be built into your mailing plan. For example, you can stamp a code on each piece, on the order form perhaps, or on the mailing label itself. Then instruct mailroom staff or phone operators to make a note of the code for each order that comes in. If you have a large operation and are expecting many orders, you might even have a different toll-free number for each variation in the piece.

10. You have poor or no follow-up. You want to welcome your customers with open arms so they’ll have a pleasant experience and want to order again in the future. So, prepare yourself to be able to respond as quickly as possible to orders or requests for information. Get those orders filled. You’ve worked so hard and spent so much money to get people to respond. Don’t disappoint them at this stage. Prove to them that you really are everything you said you were. Make the most of every customer, and your business will grow and grow.

Craig Simpson has managed thousands of direct mail campaigns and grossed hundreds of millions in revenue for his clients. Simpson is the owner of Simpson Direct Inc. He blogs at:

Need help with your marketing or direct mail?   To learn more about our services, or discuss your direct mail needs, here’s our home-page link and contact information:

Talon Services Include: Direct Mail Services, Long Island New York, Personalized Letters, Laser personalization, NCOA services, mailing lists, mailing list cleanup, Address Correction, Merge Purge, Duplicate Eliminations, Mailing Services, Presort, Direct Marketing data processing, Postage Savings