Friday, July 24, 2020

How Many Ways Can You Fold a Sheet?


When folding a flyer, brochure, or direct mail piece, do you default to the basic half-fold or letter fold? If so, consider that customers see those folds all the time. Why not stand out with unusual folds that really spark interest? Here are five basic but more unusual folds to get you started:

Z-fold. In the Z-fold fold, the paper is creased into three panels folded in opposite directions so that, from the top edge, it looks like a Z. When opened, the sheet unfolds like a poster. Z-folds are great for displaying information that will be read chronologically or that have images spanning the entire width of the sheet. They are also used for nesting multiple pieces, such as when you want to include a reply envelope.

Accordion fold. Commonly used for maps or instructions, this fold uses a series of parallel folds so that the sheet opens like an accordion. Because a large number of panels can be folded in, accordion folds enable you to take advantage of larger paper sizes and include more information than a 
standard finished size. Uses include brochures, maps, and instruction panels.

Gate fold. In the gate fold, two sides of the paper are folded in toward the middle like two doors opening and closing. You might use this fold to create a silly greeting card or an invitation featuring doors opening into a grand ballroom. Or you might present information like opening a book. The opportunities for creativity are endless.

Half-accordion fold. In this fold, the paper is folded in half vertically, then one half is folded vertically again. This is also called an engineering fold. These folds are often used when engineering plans or other documents are tipped into a book. But don’t stop there. Think about site maps, room layouts, and landscape designs. Don’t shrink it up—fold it!

Half-plus-letter fold. This is a combination of the half-fold and the letter fold. In this execution, the paper is folded into four equal sections. Half of the paper is folded equally, then the folded half is tucked into a letter fold. This is great for newsletters since it allows a legal-sized sheet to be folded down into #10 envelope size in a user-friendly way.

As they say, there is more than one way to fold a sheet. So mix it up. Use different and interesting folds to improve functionality and encourage people to interact with your pieces.


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How to Redeem Your Customer Complaints (and Save the Customer Relationship)


Even companies with the strongest customer relationships get complaints once in awhile. Don’t let those complaints erode your customer relationships. Handle them right and you can actually deepen those relationships. Studies have found that helpful responses to negative customer feedback can actually increase purchase intent among future shoppers.
Here are five ways to redeem your customer complaints and turn them into positive interactions.
1. Make giving feedback easy. Create an environment in which it’s easy for customers to make contact with you. Customers are more likely to provide feedback by print or email than they are at the checkout counter or with a sales rep. Use multiple channels (printed forms, email, easily accessible website forms) to solicit their input.
2. Offer personal responses (like, actually personal). Don’t send people to a generic customer service number. If a customer complains, personalize your responses to each individual and his or her specific issue. Give them a human being to deal with.
3. Pre-fill response forms. The easier you make it for customers to return forms, the more likely they are to do so. Plus, it makes them feel valued and reduces the negative experience of making a complaint.
4. Go multi-channel. Surveys show that when brands communicate with customers across multiple channels, customers are happier both with their purchases and the brand overall. Create a consistent brand experience regardless of channel the customer uses to communicate with you.
5. Lean into your data. Data-driven communications can really help with customer retention and customer satisfaction. Use triggered messaging to automatically generate thank yous (such as personalized thank-you emails) to let them know you appreciate the feedback, whether positive or not.
Need help setting up a multichannel customer feedback program? Let us help!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

3 Insider Tips All Nonprofits Should Know


Fundraising is the lifeblood of any nonprofit. Without donations, your mission doesn’t go on. Here are three tips for making the most of your efforts.
1. More donations are driven by direct mail + digital.
Direct mail is one of the most effective ways for nonprofits to solicit donations. However, these efforts work best in concert with other channels. For example, one study found that marketing campaigns that used direct mail and one or more digital media experienced a 118% lift in response rates compared to using direct mail only. In contrast, another found that combining direct mail with digital ads yielded 28% higher conversion rates.[1]
2. Success starts with your house list.
As long as they continue to believe in your mission, most people who donate to your organization will do so again. That’s why your house list is so important. Prospecting helps to expand your donor base, but your house list will always be the primary source of your fundraising dollars. Keep this list clean up to date, and treat your donors like the most influential people in the world — because they are.
3. Engage beyond donations.
When it comes to a person’s likelihood to donate, the most important factor is his or her emotional connection to your organization. To increase donations, be proactive about building real, lasting relationships with donors over time.
·         Make sure your donors understand your mission and where their money will be used.
·         Write to donors by name and personalize your messaging based on the specific areas or projects to which they have donated.
·         Provide pictures or stories about the ways their donations are being used. If people are donating to an ongoing project, keep them in the loop on the progress.
People want to help, and they enjoy being part of efforts to do good for the world around them. Use direct mail, email, and other digital channels to make them feel part of your mission and continue to move it forward.



[1] https://nonprofitssource.com/online-giving-statistics/email-direct-mail/

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How Marketing Is Changing in This “New Normal”


As the U.S. economy gradually begins to reopen, you may want your marketing strategy to look different than it has in the past. Why? Because the market is in flux, and consumers are re-evaluating existing brand relationships. A new study from Influence Central outlines just how impactful some of these changes are.  Here are three of those changes and what they mean for you.
1. Customer loyalty is in flux.  According to the survey, 75% of consumers are unable to find many of their regular products in stores. Nearly half (45%) are unable to find their regular products online. As a result, they are open to new brands they might not have been in the past. 
What this means for you: There has never been a better time to introduce yourself to a new group of potential customers.  Think about launching a prospecting campaign to grab those buyers before your competitor does.
2. Known brands must prove value. Customers are open to change, but they are sensitive to price, too. Only 12% of consumers say they are “very willing” to pay for a preferred brand over a generic label, and 52% are “somewhat” willing to do so. More than one-third (37%) favor generic brands for their cost savings.
What this means for you: Known brands need to clearly articulate their value proposition more than ever. Use your direct mail, email, and mobile communications to communicate why your products and service are worth paying for.  
3. Customer habits are changing. Consumers are changing the way they live. They are ordering out more, supporting small, local businesses more, and bringing more lifestyle elements in-house (For example, 56% of consumers are brewing more coffee at home than they used to.)  Some of these trends will stay long after the pandemic is over.
What this means for you: Understand how your customers’ habits are changing and how you should adapt your marketing strategies to address them.  You may still use the same mix of channels you have in the past. You may just need to position your messaging differently to reflect new consumer habits and sensitivities.
Need help? Let’s talk strategy!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

5-Step Checklist Before Refreshing Your Marketing

Mid-year is always a good time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy, especially when there has been a period of downtime. Whether you are using direct mail, email, mobile, or social media, here is a quick checklist to make sure that, as you look forward to the rest of the year, you are hitting all of the basics.
1. Make a plan.
What are your marketing objectives? They are likely somewhat different than they were at the beginning of the year, and that’s okay. What are your goals now? Re-engage your audience? Recapture lapsed subscriptions? Build your e-commerce engine or delivery services? Have specific goals and apply numbers to those goals to help you measure success.
2. Target emotion.
How do you grab attention and get your audience to act? Now more than ever, people respond to how products make them feel rather than the details of what those products do. Insurance makes people feel secure. Freedom to travel makes people feel adventurous and independent. Developing personas rather than just demographic data can be a great investment.
3. Understand the journey.
Some sales happen quickly. Others are the result of a process that includes discovery and education before the decision is made. This is called the “sales journey.” Take the time to understand what your customers’ journey looks like. Also, take the time to understand the benefits of each communications channel. Where does print fit? Email? Social media? Video? Which channels work best to move your prospects from one stage of the sales journey to the next?
4. Market to the generation of “me.”
This is the “me” generation, so tailor marketing content to your target audience. This can be done through personalized communications that match images, messages, and offers to individual recipients. Or it can be done through strategic targeting and segmentation.
5. Create a timetable.
When and how do you intend to deploy the components of your marketing strategy? Success depends not just on getting the right message in front of the right audience, but on getting the right message in front of your audience at the right time. Create a plan for what content to deploy, using which channel, and when.
Miss something on the checklist? Need help with implementation? Give us a call. That’s why we’re here. 

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Got Myths? 3 Misperceptions About Print


Print continues to receive a lot of attention from marketers. Why? First, because it works. Second, it’s simply less annoying. (According to PrintIsBig.com, print is 43% less annoying than the Internet.) Less annoying or not, there are many misperceptions about print that cause marketers to overlook its value. Let’s look at three myths about print marketing and the reality behind them:
1. Print is all or nothing.
Many marketers think that either you live in the age of print or the age of digital, but not both. The reality is that print and digital channels work together. One study found that 51% of consumers prefer companies to communicate with them using a combination of physical mail and email. Even if buyers do end up purchasing online, 39% say they tried a business for the first time because of direct mail.
2. Consumers prefer digital communication.
Sure, consumers love to connect with brands digitally, but they also want to connect with brands through print. They want to communicate across both print and digital. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), 92% of shoppers prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions. In part, this is because print continues to have a trust factor. It also motivates people to buy. The DMA found that for every $167 spent on direct mail, marketers sell $2,095 of goods. There is something about print that spurs consumers to action.
3. Personalization only works for email and online.
Print can be personalized, too. Personalized direct mail can increase ROI by 3x to 10x. Furthermore, 40% of consumers say they buy from retailers who personalize the shopping experience across channels.
Don’t fall for the myths. Know the real value of print marketing.
Want to learn more? Just ask!

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Why the Digital Generation Loves Mail


You’d think that the first digital generation, Millennials, would stick their noses up at direct mail in favor of electronic alternatives, but the opposite is true. Millennials love mail! Studies show that Millennials are more engaged with direct mail than other generations. According to “USPS Mail Moments,” for example, Millennials are more likely than non-Millennials to do the following:
  • Scan their mail (71% vs. 66%)
  • Organize and sort their mail (45% vs. 40%)
  • Read their mail (36% vs. 35%)
  • Show their mail to others (24% vs. 19%)
Millennials also show a greater preference for direct mail over email in some key areas. For example, 64% would rather look for “useful information” in the physical mail than email, and while the average person spends 8.4 minutes sorting their mail, Millennials spend 9.2 minutes doing so.
Why do digital natives love engaging with direct mail? In part, it’s because they are inundated with digital media. Physical mail stands out in Millennials’ otherwise electronic worlds. This generation is also geared toward visual content, and direct mail caters to the physical senses.
If you are marketing to this audience, try connecting the physical world to the social media world to create relevance. For example, members of this generation are massive consumers of social media like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, so consider designing to your direct mail be “Instagram-like” or “Snapchat-like.” Try incorporating print-to-mobile and print-to-video tools like QR Codes and augmented reality. Turn direct mail into an experience.
Even when direct mail graphics are static, use those graphics creatively. For example, one direct mail piece uses an image of a surfer riding a wave several stories high. At first glance, you might think this was for surf products or Caribbean cruises. In fact, it was for mortgage refinancing. The text read, “Ever feel like your home mortgage is like 60 tons of water ready to crush you and your family? We can help!” Instead of focusing on interest rates and mortgage terms, it used images to show what it feels like to be crushed under debt.
When targeting Millennials, incorporate direct mail. But understand how this audience thinks, then design campaigns intended for this audience in a way that they are most likely to connect with.

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