Direct Mail - It's the New Black

Productpc_5And I'm not just saying that to line the VerticalResponse pockets! Now I'm sure you all know we also have a direct mail postcard service where you can design postcards online and we print and mail them for you. Right? (Shameless plug, I know.) I will tell you that it was the number one thing asked about at the VerticalResponse booth at ad:tech this week. (The interactive show for marketers.)

There actually is a time and place for direct mail or a postcard either to augment your email campaign or in some cases in place of your email campaign. Yes, postcards are more expensive than email but if you need a higher impact for your message, I suggest trying it out.

Here are some ways we see people having great success with postcards:

  • Realtors announcing a new listing to a neighborhood
  • Retailers driving people into a store with a coupon
  • Holiday cards
  • Invitations to an event, opening or party along with an email follow up
  • Announcing you’ll be at a tradeshow
  • Email bounce? Send them a postcard asking them to update their email address
  • Yearly calendar for keepsake with your logo on it

Ok, that does it for now, hopefully you’ve got some new ideas here. If you use VR, great, if not find someone you trust. In any event, send yourself a free postcard, it’s right in your account.

Using direct mail in a different way? Let us know, give us a comment!

VerticalResponse for Non Profits!

VerticalResponse is excited to announce a brand new discounted pricing program for non profit organizations. Non profits that qualify will enjoy a 15% discount for email and printed postcards.  We've also launched 4 new non profit email templates to spice up your campaigns!

How does it work? A non-profit organization must simply complete an application and fax it to VerticalResponse at (415) 808-2480, where it will be reviewed for approval by our compliance team. 

More info? Go here to find out the details.

VR's Direct Mail Glossary

This glossary of direct mail terms we've compiled comes in handy for our users. Cheers!

An image that extends off all four sides of the printed area without a border is considered a bleed. If you want the image to extend to the edge of the paper, then a portion is cut off the printed original to allow for the tolerance of the printing process.

Bulk Rate
This is the process of preparing and sorting mail to qualify for reduced postage rates. Bulk-Rate postage is lower than First-class, but Bulk-Rate has a longer delivery time.

CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System)
The CASS™ (Coding Accuracy Support System) improves the accuracy of carrier route, five-digit ZIP, ZIP+4, and delivery point codes that appear on mail pieces. This process is graded by the United States Postal Service®, National Customer Support Center (NCSC), and the results returned to mailers in order to provide useful diagnostics for correcting deficiencies.

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)
The standard color model used in the printing process. These are the colors referred to in four color printing.

Your copy is your offer or message.

Trimming portions from around the image in order to make it the proper proportion for your job.

Crop Mark
A small mark outside the printed area used to show how a print job should be cut.

DPI (Dots Per Inch)
DPI is a measurement of how many dots can fit into one inch. The more dots the sharper the image will be.

EPS (Encapsulated Postscript File)
EPS is the file format for high-resolution images that is often used when transferring an image from one program to another.

File Format
Each different type of file has a different file format. A file format specifies how information is organized. (Examples: .doc, .txt, .pdf)

Four-Color Process
The process by which full-color photographs and artwork is reproduced. Four halftones —one for each of the primary colors, plus black —are printed one on top of the other, creating the range of color that was in the original.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
A protocol or method used to transfer or copy files between computers over the Internet.

High Resolution
This refers to the resolution of an image indicating the number of dots per inch (dpi). The range can be from 300 dpi to 2,500dpi.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
This is a type of file that retains a higher degree of color. Uncompressed JPEG can be used for high-quality printing for postcards and other forms of direct mail.

Line Screen
The number of dot lines created per inch, or lines per inch (LPI).Low Resolution
This refers to the resolution of an image indicating the number of dots per inch (dpi). Low resolution can be from 72 dpi to 250 dpi.

PDF (Portable Document Format)
PDF is a popular way of formatting documents so they can be viewed and printed on multiple platforms without changing. PDF is developed by Adobe as a standard for the web and for printing.

An image displayed on a computer is made up of lots of dots called pixels. A number of pixels displayed is referred to as the image's resolution.

PMS (Pantone Matching System)
PMS is the universal standard for printing color selection. Most printers have books containing samples of more than a thousand colors and mixing formulas.

Presort First Class Mail
This is the process of preparing and sorting mail to qualify for reduced postage rates.

Process Colors
Overlapping dots of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK) are used to simulate a large number of different colors to make up process colors.

The number of pixels that can fit into one inch determines the sharpness and quality of an image. Computer monitors are 72-96 DPI while most printed jobs are 300 DPI or above.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue)
Computer monitors display color in RGB.

Standard Mail
This refers to the process of preparing and sorting mail to qualify for reduced postage rates. Standard Mail postage is lower than First-class, however Standard Mail has a longer delivery time.

UV Coating
This is plastic coating that is applied after the printing process. This yields a very tough, almost unscratchable surface that is the most durable.

6 Tips To Help Convert Your Offline Buyers Online With Old School Direct Mail

ProductpcDo you have a retail shop or an online store? Trying to get people to come in and "buy" not "browse"? At VerticalResponse we have tons of etailers and retailers and thought it might be a good idea to show some examples of how we see our customers use different forms of marketing.

The growth in online consumer spending is always indicator of how important it will be for all retailers to be communicating with their customers and prospects through multiple marketing channels. Yep, that's right I said it, not just EMAIL. 

I once chatted with a cataloger and he told me that if he got an offline customer to buy from him online that customer was worth 35 times more in value than one that purchases offline. THAT's pretty big.

Old school is new school - direct mail

If you have an online store then converting your offline customers online can result in savings of thousands and thousands of bucks in marketing spend. This has the potential to increase sales, customer loyalty and the lifetime value of your customer.

Below are tips, ideas and practices that might help in the conversion of offline customers to online using direct mail.

1. Use promotion Codes -Direct mail or postcards to your retail and catalog customers with a special offer that can only be redeemed from your site is a great way to introduce your customers to your online offerings.

Once they're there the #1 goal should be to obtain their permission to email them in an attempt to convert them. Providing the ability to "opt-in" to email newsletters is must. Use a exit pop up when they leave. In addition, clearly explaining that you won't sell their email address can mean an even higher conversion rate since you have made it clear that you value their business and will protect their privacy.

2. Get the email in the store - If your customers are used to purchasing at a store location and you are having difficulties converting them to the web, you might want to try setting up kiosk in your store encouraging them to register for web-only offers, or even leaving a fishbowl at the checkout counter where they can fill out a form to opt-in. Then you can initiate a campaign outlining all the positive features of your site.

3. Clearance - Why not announce an overstocked item or a surplus of last season's product using a postcard? You can even make the offer "web-only" to help your chances in the online conversion process.

4. Free Gift - Try a direct mailing to anyone whose email address you don't currently have. You can give them an incentive to go to your site to opt-in. A sweepstakes or a free gift for being a valued customer may be the catalyst that converts them..

5. Pre-Catalog Announcement - Send a postcard to announce a catalog that will be arriving in the mail. The postcard should call out special items on sale or those that might be of interest to that particular customer. This should always contain your URL as well as your phone number.

6. Inactive Email Addresses - You may have email addresses for customers that have been shown to be unresponsive. That is, they have neither bounced nor unsubscribed but you've noticed that they haven't clicked on a link or opened your email in the last 6 months. Since email communication to date has not proved effective with these customers, try sending them a postcard in the mail to "re-activate" them with a special offer.

As you've seen above, there are definitely specific marketing practices you can implement to help turn your offline customers into online customers. Just remember simply driving traffic to your site is only half the battle. It's your job to convince them that they will actually gain something from their visit. Make sure that once you get them there that what you offer will be worth their time.