Archive for category Uncategorized

Five Tips for Direct Mail Marketing


By Doug and Polly White, Entrepreneur.com

April 6, 2021

Direct mail can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool. But done poorly, it can be a black hole into which you pour money without a return on your investment.


Talon is located on Long Island, New York and does direct mail services


Below are five tips to help you ensure that you remain on the right side of the ledger.

1. Identify your mailing list.

If you’re going to mail, an obvious factor is your list of names and addresses. There are many sources here. If you’re offering a credit product, the credit bureaus are an excellent source of names. However, there are rules about the types of offers you can make, and the penalties for non-compliance can be severe. So, know and follow the rules. Beyond that, you’ll find literally hundreds of vertical lists that you can purchase.

2. Test and learn.

Direct mail should be a never-ending cycle of testing and learning. Dimensions you’ll want to test include:

  • Market segments. Blindly mailing a list of names will not likely be fruitful. Instead, identify segments of the list you expect to perform better than others, based on the specific offer you are making. When you buy a list, it may lack the data you need to ensure effective segmentation. There are services, such as Epsilon, that allow you to append additional information to the lists you purchase to enable segmentation. For example, you may have names and address, but still want to add income or net worth to improve targeting.

  • Offers. Test multiple offers, all substantively different. For example, if you reduce your price by 10 percent, does volume increase enough to cover the lost margin? Remember: One offer may be more profitable with a particular segment, while another may win in a different segment.

  • Creatives. Does a “stealth” envelope (whose contents aren’t discernible) deliver better results than one that highlights the offer on the outside? Continuously test your current champion against new challengers. Even champions’ performance will degrade over time. Ultimately, you need a group of proven winners that you can rotate in and out, testing new challengers at each step.

  • Cadence. How often do you plan to mail? Since you are driving response to a call center, you’ll want to create a relatively smooth volume of calls. Response models can be built that will allow you to predict call volumes based on a particular mail-drop strategy. You’ll want to test re-mail strategies. How long should you wait after you have mailed a non-responder to mail recipients again?

    While testing, choose your sample size carefully. Testing a very large sample can be expensive. After all, the fact that you are testing means that performance is unproven. On the other hand, if your sample size is too small, results may not be statistically meaningful. You’ll need to strike a balance.

    3. Analyze your results.

    If you are going to learn from your testing, you’ll need to analyze the results carefully. Make sure you understand the full economics of your testing. It is great to have a high gross-response rate, but you’ll need to understand your close rate and the amount of money you make from each closed sale. Consider all of your costs, not just your mail costs. We suggest building a profitability model to ensure that your direct mail program is profitable when all costs are considered.

    4. Roll it out.

    Once you have identified which segments are clearly profitable, you’ll want to roll them out with the maximum volume you can handle operationally. This is why you need to be sure that you fully understand the economics. You may go from dropping 15,000 pieces of mail in a test cell to rolling out with 1.5 million pieces. If you thought you were going to make 10 cents per piece mailed, but instead lose 10 cents per piece mailed, the results may be devastating.

    5. Work with an expert.

    Pitfalls surround direct mail. We strongly advise you not to go it alone. Work with someone who knows what to do and not do. The money you spend on good advice will be worth every penny. Once you learn the ropes, you may find that there are pieces of the process you will want to take over. There will also likely be parts of the process you will continue to outsource.

    In the right industry, a well-managed direct-mail program can be very profitable. Unfortunately, a mismanaged rollout can bankrupt your company. The tips above will help you have a successful campaign.



    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


  • Avoid These Top Five Marketing Mistakes


    By Laura Lake, Thebalance.com

    March 23, 2021

    Avoid these five mistakes and your marketing campaign will take off.


    Talon Mailing & Marketing is a Long Island New York based direct mail service provider

    A marketing campaign can not only connect you with the right prospects, but it will also get everyone talking about your company, your product or your service – at least if it’s properly developed and done right. Marketing mistakes can do the opposite and perhaps result in disaster, costing your business thousands of dollars in lost revenues and other expenses.

    Here’s a checklist of five mistakes commonly made in marketing and how you can avoid them.

    1. Lack of Research and Testing

    Market research and testing are critical because they can determine the performance of each of your marketing efforts. They take the guesswork out of what your potential customer or client wants from you. Always make sure you’ve done your due diligence when it comes to testing different offers, prices, and packages, then get the input of your customers to see how they react to each.

    2. Improper Focus and Positioning

    Don’t market just to build up the company, neglecting brand awareness in the process. Create marketing that will demand an immediate response from the recipient. Improper focus and market positioning can be avoided by following the proper solution positioning of marketing.

    3. Marketing Without a USP

    Your USP is your unique selling proposition. It’s the one single statement that will single you out from the competition. It should be used in every piece of marketing material. Think of your USP as the philosophical foundation of your business. Don’t market without it!

    4. Failing to Capture Repeat Customers

    Keep in mind that 80 percent of your business comes from existing customers and 20 percent is the result of new customers you’ve attracted. Failing to resell to your current customer base could have a detrimental effect on your profits. It will cost you five times the expense to sell to a new customer than to sell to an existing customer.

    5. Lack of Focus on Potential Customers’ Needs

    Do you really know what your potential customers need and want? You’re way ahead in the ballgame if you do, but the truth is that very few businesses have a good grasp of what it is that their customers need and want from them. The secret to avoiding this common error is to find a need that you can fill, then fill that need better than anyone else.

    Marketing Mistakes Happen

    Unfortunately, it happens. You plan, you research, you launch – and your campaign fails. What could you have missed? What do you do now? The first thing you should do is step back and breathe deeply. Yes, breathe. The worst thing you can do at this point is think you’re the only one who has ever experienced this. You’re not. The following questions will help you zero in on where you’ve made mistakes. Did your marketing message reach your target? Could they have perceived your marketing message wrong or misunderstood the message? Did you miss the pain questions? Did you do adequate research?

    Lack of research is the reason most campaigns fail. Could your marketing copy or design be at fault for the lack of response? Did you follow the tried-and-true rules of marketing execution when it came to the presentation? Honestly asses your answers and go back to the drawing board. Don’t give up. You can get this right.



    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


    Four Ways to Use Winning Content to Produce Effective Direct Mail Marketing


    By Rhonda Basler, Customerthink.com

    March 11, 2021

    Did you know, Content Marketing sells?


    Long island's premier direct mail services company


    In fact, it sells so well that most brands rely on a proprietary combination of traditional “salesy” advertising and more creative, education-focused pieces. How many times do you receive an offer to download a whitepaper, read an intriguing article, or watch an exclusive behind-the-scenes video, for instance?

    These fall under the umbrella of content marketing, and they’re useful. But they also beg this question: Does successful content have to be virtual? In a perpetually busy digital world where everyone’s inbox is chock-full by 8:02 a.m., the answer is definitely “no.”

    Ideally, positioning and delivering relevant content should exist across numerous channels, both online and in the tangible world. A company that relies only on internet-based marketing solutions is missing the power of offline strategies (think direct mail postcards, billboards, clever flyers in product shipments, and even greeting cards). In fact, the more society becomes devoted to screen time, the more primed your audiences are to see something unique — and tangible.

    That’s where mail comes into the picture as an effective, profit-producing delivery system. To be sure, sending 100,000 direct mail advertisements doesn’t have the immediacy of blasting 100,000 emails. However, call-to-action conversions tend to be higher for direct mail marketing. Plus, consumers appreciate getting a handwritten note in the mail more than receiving the same sentiment via text. After all, mass digital messages are often missing a human element.

    As USPS statistics show, receiving a letter or card means more to 58% of people than getting an email, especially in uncertain, worry-infused times. In other words, as long as your offline content is valuable to the recipients, it’s a terrific way to communicate, inspire, educate, forge awareness, and grow sales.

    Improving Return on Ad Spend With Integrated Digital and Direct Mail

    Of course, you can’t (and shouldn’t) just ditch your digital marketing. You simply need to develop a content strategy that flows seamlessly from digital to print and vice versa. When you strike a perfect rhythm, you’ll see a noticeable boost in your returns.

    So what should you send to prospects? Ideally, your offline marketing content should mimic the overall aesthetic of your brand. But it also needs to be insightful, interesting and targeted to really add to the customer experience. That’s where following a few techniques for developing engaging direct mail advertising comes into play. Here are a few great ways to start:

    1. Look toward top-performing digital content for ideas. To create mailer content, look first to your high-return digital collateral. Which webpages, case studies, infographics, and blog posts continuously generate interest, sales, or new customers? Are there any elements on your website that appeal to viewers as shown by heat mapping software? The content on those digital pages obviously has merit, so feel free to repurpose it in your offline messaging. Just make sure any content you upcycle has relevance for your audience and translates well into the printed piece you’re sending.

    2. Draft up a suitable CTA for mailed items. Of course, the CTAs you use for online content (think swiping or clicking) aren’t suitable for direct mail recipients. Instead, you’ll want to pick a CTA that’s intuitive for offline. This might mean asking the recipient to schedule an appointment, use a coupon, request a quote, or fill out a survey. Spend time brainstorming CTAs that not only make logical sense for the medium but also help your team achieve its goals. And don’t forget that it’s fine to have your audience jump online to a special landing page to add a digital — and trackable — element to their experience.

    3. Engage recipients with QR codes and microsites. Engaging elements are a winning solution for any type of content marketing. So if you want to surprise your print mail recipients, embed a QR code in whatever they receive. QR codes are gaining prominence with shoppers who are spending more time at home (and are therefore more open to receiving interactive content marketing). When consumers scan a QR code, they should have a mobile experience that seems to be constructed just for their individual tastes (e.g., a recommended list of articles or videos).

    4. Spark further interaction with scratch-off mailers. Scratch-off mailers might be the ideal solution for your direct mail marketing campaigns because they truly entice consumers to engage with your pieces. You can place anything you want under the scratch-off surface, such as a link or special discount generated via variable data printing. In fact, you might be incredibly surprised at the results this kind of gamification can bring you!

    The digital sphere’s role in our lives continues to evolve, but it hasn’t eclipsed our openness to tangible content marketing. In fact, some organizations have seen a 50% higher return on advertising spend simply by turning to offline channels.

    About the Author:

    With more than two decades of marketing experience, Rhonda Basler leads the Customer Engagement team at Hallmark Business Connections. Rhonda’s true passion in business is data-driven marketing because it is a combination of analysis, creative, strategies and is results-oriented. Rhonda is also passionate about new technologies in direct marketing, and integrating offline and online marketing for the greatest return on investment.




    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


    Magic Colors to Elevate Your Marketing


    By Steve Pulcinella, Business.com

    March 2, 2021

    Implement these colors into your marketing plan to get the most out of your direct response campaigns.

    Talon can help you with your direct mail needs

    Please note, last month we had Steve’s take on Magic Words that can also help elevate your marketing. Please refer to last month’s newsletter if you missed it.

    If you had to guess, how many colors would you say there are? I was extremely curious about that, so I did what everyone does: I Googled it. There are actually 18 decillion colors. I have zero idea what a decillion is (I should Google that too!), but I know it has to be a lot.

    The art world has moved way beyond the giant Crayola 64 I used to make my masterpieces. You can get away with using just one or two colors – think black letters on a white background. But if you want the design to pop, convey creativity, and pull the reader into your offering, you must make it visually interesting for them.

    Robert Bly, a giant in this industry, has definite opinions on the colors below:

  • Black: Powerful and sleek; seen as luxurious and sophisticated.

  • Green: Associated with wealth; the easiest color for the eye to process. Used with finance or entertainment companies, as well as for eco-friendly products.

  • Yellow: Optimistic and youthful; often used to grab a viewer’s attention.

  • Purple: Soothing and calm (think lavender baby wash or lotion); often relates to beauty or anti-aging products and services.

  • Blue: Creates the sensation of trust and security; often used by banks and businesses.

  • Pink: Romantic and feminine; often used to market products and services for women and young girls.

  • Red: Energy; increases heart rate and creates a sense of urgency.

  • Orange: Aggressiveness; used as a call to action and attention-grabber.

    Do you agree with his opinions? Do you have a specific feeling about what each of those colors is said to represent? Have you noticed them, either consciously or subconsciously, in the mailings you receive every day? Are you using any of these colors – alone or in combination – in your marketing campaigns today?

    There are certainly many more colors that you can take advantage of when you’re putting together a direct response campaign. Whether you want to match the colors to your logo, the season (e.g., autumnal colors to promote your annual fall giveaway), or your product, color is a powerful tool to tie everything together. It helps the reader make an immediate connection to what you’re trying to tell them, pushing them to read more and receive the messages their brain is trying to pass along. How can anyone ignore “CLOSEOUT SALE!” in big, bold letters? The reader will instantly have questions: “A closeout sale for what? When is it? How long will it last? Tell me more.”

    You have to consider a host of things in marketing: the size, the copy or wording, whether to use pictures or not, etc. Many people take the colors they use for granted, sometimes thinking of them only after the fact. Don’t do that.

    Much the same way people associate colors with specific memories (such as the colors of their wedding bouquet), seasons (such as burnt oranges and burgundies for fall), or feelings (such as green for envy), the colors you use in your marketing will become an unconscious association with your company.

    That is what using the right colors and words can do – associate you and your business or opportunity distinctly, powerfully, and positively in the minds of your audience.



    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


  • 99 Tips for Direct Mail Marketing (Part II)

    By Al Lautenslager, Entrepreneur.com

    February 23, 2021

    Kick your marketing into high gear with these 99 ways to get customers to open your mail.


    Talon - direct mail services Long Island New York


    Last month we covered Al’s first 50 tips. This month’s we are listing his remaining 49 tips.

    Direct mail is one of the most important pieces of your marketing plan. Developing and executing the campaign can many times be a thankless job. Today’s mailing regulations can get complicated–postage rates are changing and the flood of mail makes it harder to stand out. The right message is very important and must get to the target prospect in the right way on a frequent basis. Capturing your reader has to happen fast and your reader must be motivated to take action.

    Here are the tips 51 – 99 to ensure that you get the right message to the right target–in the right way.

  • Include a toll-free number if you have one

  • Get your readers involved with a contest

  • Use a tear-out coupon or one with a printed perforation

  • Ask plain questions and offer a simple solution

  • Put in a photo of yourself or an associate’s to personalize it

  • Make promises; keep promises

  • “Free” is still a motivating word–use it and highlight it

  • Use handwritten notes or comments on your direct-mail piece

  • Guarantee customer satisfaction

  • Offer proof of the benefits

  • Include case studies and success stories

  • Restate your offer often, especially at the end of the communication

  • Use captions, sayings or titles under all photos

  • Order your mailing list or compile it way in advance of your execution date

  • Test your list and use “Address Correction Requested” to clean your list

  • Mail to vendors as well as target prospects

  • Outsource things you don’t do best: printing, mail prep, design, etc.

  • Put yourself on all mailing lists

  • Work with a list broker to tighten list specifications

  • Test different copy, headlines and offers

  • Use graphics on the outside of envelopes

  • Measure results and calculate ROM (Return on Mailing) dollars

  • Code your mailings to measure response

  • Mail frequently to a smaller subset of your list

  • Plan and prepare enough mailings for three months at a time

  • Use color

  • Do a co-op mailing with a fusion marketing partner or power partner

  • White space is good–a clean look is professional and easy to read

  • Print in large quantities to take advantage of cheaper printing prices

  • Use mailing pieces as handouts and for sales kits

  • Mail to PR contacts

  • Self-mailers are read more than stuffed envelopes

  • Postcards are very efficient; usually both sides are looked at

  • Print on the flap of the envelope to increase exposure

  • Create excitement: “Act Now!”, “For a limited time!”, “Hurry while it lasts!”

  • Deliver stacks of left-over printed items to trade organizations

  • Its OK to send the same piece over and over for consistency

  • Mail to educational institutions

  • Create fun for you and your prospect with your campaign

  • Tie other marketing to your mailings

  • Put your website address on all mailing pieces

  • Odd shapes work, too

  • Mail with stamps get opened before metered mail

  • Include pre-stamped reply envelopes

  • Don’t delay your mailing by trying to mail in bulk on one day

  • Include a business card in a letter

  • Lumpy mail gets attention–it gets opened and gets a good response

  • Have a conversation with your prospect

  • Publicize your direct-mail campaign

  • Hopefully you’ve found one or two–or even dozens–of tips for your next mailing. They’re easy tips for any business to use, and are guaranteed to increase your customer response rate.



    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