Three Simple Ways to Leverage Customer Data

February 17, 2021

These simple techniques can empower small marketers to better compete with larger, deeper-pocketed rivals.


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One strategy that can be particularly effective is better leveraging of in-house customer data, much like large corporations mine so-called ‘big-data,’ only in a more familiar and relatable way.

Follow these three simple ways to help you bring a higher return on information you already have.

1) Leverage Customer Data to Shape Strategy

Segmenting customers by relevant criteria enables you to tailor your marketing accordingly, including personalizing direct mail and emails and other tactics with appropriate imagery and offers.

Simply including the recipient’s first name in the email, or direct mail piece, can boost engagement. One organization that added personalization increased their company’s conversions by 15 percent.

2) Respond to Operational Lapses

By closely monitoring customer feedback channels, including social media, you can understand the nature and sources of customer dissatisfaction. This helps “identify specific locations, processes or even employees that don’t maintain the company standard,” one marketer observed, and respond quickly and appropriately. The secret here is to ensure that “data is sufficiently aggregated,” so that reliable patterns emerge (an excessive number of returns or complaints from one store or website, for example), rather than basing responses on infrequent or one-off grievances.

3) Apply Insights to New Offerings

“Mining data from support interactions can be a goldmine for developing future versions of your products,” says one marketing executive, relating how his company does it. At the end of each call or email they handle, “the support team simply asks customers if there’s a feature they’d like to see in future versions.” These ideas are immediately compiled on a nearby whiteboard, and with enough mentions, added to the next development-meeting agenda.

In the end, a more intentional and creative approach to leveraging data can only have upside for you and those you serve.




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 Words to Elevate Your Marketing in 2021

By Steve Pulcinella, Business.com

February 3, 2021

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


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Please note, in an upcoming blog we will have Steve’s take on colors that will also help elevate your marketing.

Do you know who David Copperfield, David Blaine, Penn & Teller, and Lance Burton are? They are all world-famous magicians – sleight of hand, illusion, card tricks, etc. They often use magic words, “abracadabra” being the most famous among them.

Do you realize that, as business owners and marketers, you have your own magic words?

Pulling a prospect or repeat client toward your marketing campaign is easier when you use language that the brain and eyes both instantly understand. By using these words, you are not tricking people into seeing one thing and believing another; you are just tempting them to use your product. When you incorporate these five magic words or phrases into your copy, your sales might just grow like a beanstalk.

The 5 magic words:

1. “Free”

Who doesn’t love “free” everything? The word “free” in an offer is brain candy to buyers, whether it’s grocery store samples, every fourth tire or every eighth window they buy. If you can afford the giveaway, and it is appropriate for what you ultimately want to sell the prospect or client, go for it.

2. “No obligation”

When you use the phrase “no obligation” in an offer, you are telling your prospect, “I expect nothing from you in return.” Some believe it, while others might be skeptical. But for those who engage with your call to action, you must have a strategy for the next steps that does not involve their commitment, even if you’re giving them something free just for listening to your pitch or attending your presentation. The strength of your product or service should be enough for them to want to move forward.

3. “Details inside” or “see inside”

Stoke a little curiosity in your product or service. Multi-page postcards aren’t a thing, so this idea works best on landing pages when you can easily direct your prospect to exactly what you want them to read or see. If you prefer direct mail marketing, though, you can still tempt the prospect by crafting the postcard with the right language, visuals, and promise to cure them of the pain point they didn’t know they had – but are now curious to learn more about.

4. “Limited time”

You can use this phrase to target segments of your audience that have been slower to respond in the past, or if you’re offering a discount on a product or service, and you can’t afford to lose money on whatever it is for, say, an entire year. Put a deadline on a sale or promotion, make it concrete, and stand your ground. But monitor the results: Do you need to extend (or shorten) the deadline the next time you try the promo? If one more week of the special gets you four more clients, does that work with your expected ROI for the campaign?

5. “Announcing”, “at last” or “just released’

The implication of these phrases is that your prospect or client is on the front end of something no one else knew before you just told them. Exclusivity and the chance to be on the leading edge of an opportunity, trend, or even knowledge plays well with consumers and can boost your response rate.

You can find plenty of tips about direct response campaigns and postcard marketing across the web, but getting prospects and clients to buy your product or service doesn’t require a tuxedo or wand – and it doesn’t in any way imply using trickery to get sales. Because the words you use have influence, it only makes sense to use the best, most impactful, and most magnetic words you can.




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


99 Tips for Direct-Mail Marketing

By Al Lautenslager, Entrepreneur.com

January 12, 2021

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


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Please note that we are listing the first 50 tips; next month’s newsletter will contain the 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 first 50 direct mail marketing tips to ensure that you get the right message to the right target–in the right way.

• Give a free gift to increase response

• Highlight the free-gift offer prominently

• Use short copy to tease the reader to read further or respond

• Minimize the use of buzz words

• Make your offer easy to respond to

• Prove any claims with details to add credibility

• Ask for the order right away

• Use graphics and color to support the message and text

• Offer a free trial to eliminate risk

• Hire a professional copywriter for your content

• Hire a professional graphic designer

• Make your offer easy to understand at a glance

• Promise many benefits

• Give many reasons to buy

• Use all the formatting available with taste

• Have your direct mail reviewed by an objective third party

• Use colored paper to make impact and save on printing costs

• Consult with a direct-mail specialist

• Use a reply card or other reply mechanism

• Put a headline on the envelope

• Survey customers about what they’ll respond to

• Include postage-paid return cards or envelopes

• End a page with the middle of a sentence to encourage more reading

• Personalize as much as you can

• Use a Post-It note for greater impact and attention

• Make the offer very prominent in the copy

• Use a no-risk guarantee

• Keep track of target recipients, replies and follow-up

• Tell the whole story

• Keep paragraphs short

• Break up long copy with graphics or white space

• Don’t dwell on history or background

• Offer a free-trial period

• State your geographical service area even if its global, national, regional or local

• Keep the sales pitch positive and highlight the benefits

• Include a call to action; tell your readers exactly what you want them to do

• Use a “P.S.”–its one of the most frequently read parts of the copy

• Make it easy to purchase: credit cards, terms, etc.

• Offer a discount for a quick response and order

• Make a simple order form for faxing

• Always put a sense of urgency and deadline in your copy

• Put a picture of a phone by your phone number

• Put testimonials at the top of the content and by the call to action

• Use typestyles that are easy to read, not a mix of them

• Have a call to action at the beginning, middle and end of your copy

• Use free information, free samples and a free demonstration as a marketing hook

• Offer a free consultation in addition to the free information hook

• Separate features and benefits (emphasize benefits)

• Use bullet points and small segments of information

• Use subheadings and subtitles

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 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


Five Tips for Direct Mail Planning in 2021

By Summer Gould, Piworld.com

January 7, 2021

As we start the New Year and put this crazy year of 2020 behind us, we need to buckle down on direct mail planning.


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The strategies we started in 2020 and were then forced to drastically change because of COVID-19, must be updated to be more effective in 2021. The power of direct mail has grown over the last year as digital fatigue has grown. People look forward to direct mail that is interesting to them. Did you know that direct mail campaigns recently have the highest response rates ever recorded by the Data and Marketing Association at 9%?

Let’s get your 2021 response rates even higher! Here are five tips:

1. Omnichannel – Combine all your marketing channels together for a complete omnichannel experience to drive higher results. Direct mail is a key component in any marketing campaign, but is even more effective when combined with other channels.

2. Retargeting – Use direct mail to reach out to people who have gone to your website or landing pages but did not make a purchase with a special offer. You will be surprised at what a high response rate you can get from this.

3. Creativity – Grab attention with hyper creative envelopes or mailers. Use texture, colors, images and folds to your advantage. No other marketing channel can stimulate touch so have some fun with it. There are all kinds of textured paper or coating you can add to enhance your mail pieces.

4. Targeting – You must be very targeted in sending the right messages to the right people. You will need to segment your data to effectively target people by interests. In order to do this, you need to be capturing data about your customers.

5. Personalization – Use everything you know about your customers to create highly personalized mail. You can use more than just purchase history for your messaging. You definitely need to use more than just a first name to call it personalized. Create variable images, copy and colors to drive more interest.


If your data file is lean on information beyond name and address, you can run a profile of your data to append additional information such as demographics, geographics, psychographics, and behavioristic data. This can help you better understand who your customers are in order to target better prospects. This can help you gain new customers and send better offers to current customers.

Also, make sure you are cleaning your data by updating addresses when people move, removing deceased people and verifying postal addresses are deliverable. There is no need to waste money on mail pieces that will not reach the intended person.

Since 73% of American consumers say that they prefer direct mail because they can read it whenever and wherever they want, make sure you are sending them something that is of interest to them. We live in an interconnected world; your customers expect you to communicate with them through the various channels they use. The companies that do this effectively see the best results.

When you use campaigns that include both digital and direct mail, you on average receive 39% more attention than a digital-only campaign. Research shows messages delivered via direct mail can be powerfully motivating with 92% of people driven to digital activity and 87% influenced to make an online purchase. Are you planning how to be more effective at this for 2021?

About Summer Gould: Summer Gould is President of Eye/Comm Inc. Summer has spent her 27 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as a board member for Mailing Systems Management Association of San Diego. You can find her at Eye/Comm Inc’s website: eyecomm.org, email: summer.gould@eyecomm.org, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.




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


How to Find the Right Mailing List

By Craig Simpson, Author and Owner of Simpson Direct, Inc.

December 23, 2020

In his book The Direct Mail Solution, direct marketing expert and entrepreneur Craig Simpson provides easy-to-follow solutions for creating direct mail campaigns that work! In this edited excerpt, the author discusses the two sources you can use to find the best mailing list for your direct mail campaign.


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It’s actually pretty easy to get exactly what you need when it comes to mailing lists for your direct mail campaigns. There are two sources that can help you narrow down your list selection: SRDS or a list broker who’ll do all the researching and negotiating for you.

The Standard Rate & Data Service (SRDS) direct marketing list source will provide you with an easy and organized way to review more than 100,000 different lists. SRDS will give you complete list rental information (sources, selects, counts, costs, list managers, etc.). You can use SRDS to search by category, market classification, list title and just about any other way you want to search for a list.

The most helpful and convenient source for finding the right mailing list is to use the services of a list broker. A list broker is a direct marketing professional who can provide you with list recommendations (list reco). A list reco is a group of lists the broker has carefully selected for you to pick from.

For example, let’s say you’re selling ski equipment through the mail, and you want to reach people who have bought ski equipment in the past. You can request a list reco from a list broker who’ll do the research and then give you an assortment of direct mail lists that you can choose from, all of them within your niche. In this case, it would be a list of available mailing lists containing the names of people who have purchased ski equipment through the mail.

List brokers have a wealth of knowledge about mailing lists that can make the task of selecting the right list much easier. They can also help you negotiate lower list-rental rates, which is a real benefit since renting lists can be expensive. List brokers offer one-stop shopping for mailing lists, and they’ll save you time and money.

List brokers can also help set up net name arrangements, which can save you thousands of dollars. A net name arrangement is where the list owner agrees to accept a lower payment based on either a percentage or the actual number of names mailed. For example: Your “net name arrangement” with the list owner could be 85 percent of the names shipped. This means if you ordered 50,000 names, you’d only have to pay for 42,500.

In the world of list brokers, there are four main sources you can go to in order to rent lists:

1. List brokers. Their basic role is to make arrangements for you, as the list renter, to rent the list from other companies. Normally, a list broker will research lists and segments to identify the ones that will work best for you and what you’re trying to accomplish.

2. List managers. They supervise the rental of specific mailing lists that they themselves manage. List managers promote the lists they manage in an effort to get list renters to rent and mail their lists. The more people who rent the list, the more revenue is generated for the list manager and list owner.

They’ll keep track of all the businesses that have rented the list and what they paid for each usage. They usually ask the prospective list renter to provide a copy of the sales piece they want to mail so the list manager can determine whether to give approval to rent the list. If the sales piece is too competitive with the list owner’s own offer, or if the sales piece might offend the list owner’s customers, the list manager may decline rental of the list.

3. List compilers. They manage lists that they’ve compiled. A compiled list has been assembled using multiple sources, such as warranty cards, government records, corporate reports, telephone directories, Yellow Pages, credit bureaus, etc. If you want this type of list, you could work directly with a list compiler.

4. List manager/broker. Often, the most versatile source for renting lists is someone who has experience with both managing and brokering lists. However, some people in the direct-mail community think it’s a conflict of interest to provide both services. You can understand why they think so. There could easily be a temptation for the list manager to push his own list over others.

If you decide to use someone who is both a list manager and a broker, keep an eye on the lists that are being recommended. If it looks as though most are lists the broker is also managing, quickly find a new broker. You want someone who’s working for you–not working for himself or his company. Good list managers/brokers will provide you with list recommendations that will be the best fit for your offer regardless of whether they manage the list.

Finally, when using a list broker, make sure you receive a large number of lists to choose from. For example, if you’re mailing an offer for a weight-loss course, your list broker will be providing you with list recommendations from the weight-loss/diet category. If your goal is to rent 10 lists, your broker should provide you with 25 or 30 to choose from and also identify which lists they think will work best.

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. and a respected speaker/presenter on the topic of direct mail. He blogs at http://www.simpson-direct.com/blog/.




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