Tag Archives: Direct Mail

Pillory of the Postmaster

Earlier this year, newly appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified in front of a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He was brought to the pillory to answer for changes made to the USPS that included cutting overtime and limiting post office hours, which caused politicians and postal workers across the country to hit a panic button. These very reasonable directives are necessary as DeJoy will attempt to turn-around the, often-misunderstood, health of the US Postal Service.

The USPS is an independent agency of the executive branch of the federal government and is not funded by appropriations. However, it is not independent of rule from the government. Back in 2006, Congress passed a law that guaranteed the entity would continually face a financial battle by passing the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The PAEA requires the Postal Service to pre-fund its post-retirement health care costs, 75 years into the future. This extraordinary financial burden applies to no other federal agency or private corporation.

If the costs of the retiree health care mandate were removed from the USPS financial statements, the Post Office would have reported operating profits in each of the last six years. Many people may be surprised to learn that in the third quarter of fiscal 2020, the Postal Service reported an increase in total revenue of 3.2% compared to the same period last year. Credit goes to the increase of shipping and package delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we anticipate the trend to continue given the surge in e-commerce. The PAEA retirement mandate created a financial “crisis” that has been used to skew public perception of the postal service and allows politicians to “throw rocks” at those who do understand the real challenges facing the USPS today.

Moving the mail is all about logistics. Making the entity that delivers the mail more efficient and streamlined will decrease delivery time, keep product pricing down, and just might allow the largest transportation fleet in the world to grow into an amazing success story.

For over 30-years USPS leaders have been searching for ways to sort and process mail using more automation and increase the amount of time carriers spend delivering mail. It is simply ludicrous when politicians claim that the closure of a rural post office will delay delivery of prescriptions or imply that five-day delivery is somehow denying citizens their right to receive mail. As with any organization that needs to become current and profitable, we must all keep an open mind on ways the USPS can successfully operate throughout the 2020’s.

After sitting on the Washington DC hot seat, DeJoy suspended many of his controversial changes and promised not to make any more until after the November elections. Rest assured that mail is being delivered and marketing via direct mail remains a viable and money-making way to market. We will keep you abreast of the latest happenings as they unfold.

Direct Mail During Covid-19-Fund Raising

Eric Streiff wrote an amazing blog for Philanthropy Daily about fundraising during a crisis.  Check it out below:

Regardless of the crisis around us, nonprofits must continue to communicate with their constituents and also fundraise. Based on decades of experience and evidence, direct mail remains one of the most effective ways to stay in touch, communicate, and fundraise—even in a time of great uncertainty.

It is a proven marketing fact that organizations that chose to forge ahead during a crisis were typically more successful in the long run when compared to organizations that paused, stopped, or significantly altered communication, particularly fundraising appeals.

Direct mail is an incredibly effective way to stay in touch with your donors­ and help keep your organization top-of-mind. Read this blog in its entirety here.

Best Practices for DM During a Crisis

Polly Wong, managing partner at Belardi Wong wrote a blog on direct mail during a crisi for digital commerce 360.  Check it out below:

While digital marketing might seem poised for a surge, now could be the right moment to take a fresh look at direct mail as a channel to reach consumers with intimate, physical experiences in their homes.

The COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt many of the relationships and operational structures that have sustained the retail industry for more than 20 years. Media consumption has skyrocketed with captive consumers stuck at home, yet demand for many nonessential products has evaporated as uncertainty gives way to a “new normal.” Retailers—especially those in industries like apparel and home goods—need to leverage all of the assets at their disposal if they’re going to weather the storm.

While digital marketing might seem poised for a surge in this media-saturated environment, now could be the right moment to take a fresh look at direct mail as a channel to reach consumers with intimate, physical experiences in their homes. For those considering direct mail as a new channel for customer outreach, here are some best practices for getting started:

2020 Census – How it Works

You will receive an invitation in the mail on or between March 12 – 20, 2020. Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone.

Depending on how likely your area is to respond online, you’ll receive either an invitation encouraging you to respond online or an invitation with a paper questionnaire.

Letter Invitation

  • Most areas of the country are likely to respond online, so most households will receive a letter asking you to go online to complete the census questionnaire (or to respond by phone).
  • The US Census will work with the USPS to stagger the delivery of the invitations over several days so they can spread out the number of users responding online or over the phone.

Letter Invitation and Paper Questionnaire

  • Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire along with their invitation. The invitation will also include information about how to respond online or by phone.

THE TIMELINE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every household that hasn’t responded by the request dates will receive reminders and will eventually receive a paper questionnaire. It doesn’t matter which initial invitation you get or how you get it – the Census will follow up in person with all households that don’t respond.

For more information click here.

Changing Landscape for Churches

Increasing attendance is a constant challenge for every church no matter its size, denomination or location. Statistics show that over the last decade, the share of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month have dropped by 7 percentage points.
There are changes underway within the American religious landscape. Based on a Pew Institute study published in October of 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christian-that’s down approximately 12% over the past decade. However, those who describe their religious identity as agnostic or nondenominational (known as “nones”) have grown by 5% and crosses multiple demographic groups: white people, black people and Hispanics; men and women; in all regions of the country; and among college graduates and those with lower levels of educational attainment. Religious “nones” are growing faster among Democrats than Republicans, though their ranks are swelling in both partisan coalitions. And although the religiously unaffiliated are on the rise among younger people and most groups of older adults, their growth is most pronounced among young adults.
So what does all of that mean? It means that there is a plethora of people searching for a religious home, which means you have a large pool of people who have the potential to become new church members.
One of the most effective ways to attract new faces into your church is to have them brought by someone they know. A friend, neighbor, or co-worker can provide a level of comfort and help to ease the sense of isolation that often comes when entering an unfamiliar space for the first time. Not only should you regularly encourage your members to bring new faces who could benefit from your ministry, but you should also make it easy for them to do so. A great way of accomplishing this is by combining your Easter Service with a Friends and Family Day.
It provides a unique opportunity for you to showcase your ministry to potential new members. Many people who aren’t sure if joining a church is right for them will feel at-ease knowing they are not the only unchurched people there.
In the weeks leading up to it, build momentum for the service and event. Encourage your community to reach out to the people they know. Equip them with invitation cards and flyers so that they have physical materials to share with others. Create a Facebook Event for both the Easter service and for the Friends and Family Day after. Ask your congregation to share it within their social media communities.

Send an invitation postcard to your neighbors.

Purchase a saturation mailing list of residences surrounding your church and mail invitations to your neighbors including your existing parishioners. Use the day to encourage these people to come back the following week. You might consider beginning a sermon series that day so that people know what to expect the following week.
Be sure and collect a means to contact the newcomers via email or a physical address. In the days that follow your Friends and Family Day, reach out to the individuals who came and show them that they are important to you by sending a hand written thank you note or a personal email. They’ll soon see how they can fit into your community.
Though getting people in the door is important, having a passionate and engaged church body is essential to the vitality and growth of any church. Challenge your community to get involved in the issues that are most meaningful to them. Passionate people want their work to be successful, so they’re likely to invite others to join them and see the fruits of their labor. This is an excellent tactic for organic growth.
We hope this information is helpful to you when planning your upcoming Easter marketing strategy and as always, we are here to help in any way we can.

 

A World Without Facebook

I read such an interesting article by The Economist the other day.  It was called; “What would happen if Facebook was turned off? Imagine a world without the social network”

30% of the world’s population (2.3billion people) engage with Facebook every month. Economists estimate that it yields trillions of dollars’ worth of value for its users. Facebook is also blamed for all sorts of social horrors: from addiction and bullying to the erosion of fact-based political discourse. This article outlined some new research that suggests that it may be time to consider what life without Facebook would be like.

Hunt Allcott, of New York University, and Luca Braghieri, Sarah Eichmeyer and Matthew Gentzkow, of Stanford University, published results of an experiment where they recruited several thousand Facebook users and sorted them into control and treatment groups. Members of the treatment group were asked to deactivate their Facebook profiles for four weeks in late 2018. The researchers studied what happened.

On average, those that disengaged enjoyed an additional hour of free time. They tended not to use those additional 60 minutes to flock to other websites or social networks.  Instead they spent time with friends and family or watched television. They also consumed less news, and as a result became less aware of events.  In turn they also became less polarised in their views about events than those still on the network. Leaving the social network boosted self-reported happiness and reduced feelings of depression and anxiety.

Read the article in its entirety here.

Monetizing Car Data

A massive amount of data is being generated as privately owned vehicles continue to use sensors and become increasingly connected to each other and to an external infrastructure. Yet while gathering such data is now routine, actually identifying insights that can be monetized is still in its infancy. McKinsey Automotive & Assembly published an interesting report called Monetizing car data. They analyze consumer perspectives on the prospect of accessing car-generated data, and identify the value and requirements of possible car data-enabled use cases. They predict that the global revenue pool from car data monetization could be as high as $750 billion by 2030. Check out the report here.

Trigger Direct Mail

Direct mail garners much higher response rates than digital channels.  Successful direct mail campaigns don’t always have to be large volume.  When creating your marketing budget, don’t overlook small, very targeted mail campaigns to implement throughout the year based on client behavior data.  We call this Trigger Direct Mail.

Trigger Direct Mail integrates multi-channel marketing strategies, using data collected online to engage customers offline. It’s easy to send off an email, but that doesn’t mean you always should.  Direct mail will never land in someone’s spam folder and recipients don’t opt out.

Direct mail has a significant emotional impact that email doesn’t and results in a stronger recall of your messaging. Make an incredibly personal and positive impression by sending a thank you note, or an introductory letter of your staff after obtaining new business. Pictures and words on a printed piece of paper are very powerful.

When consumers visit your website and leave without completing a purchase, chances are that
you have a drip campaign that includes a series of emails to entice them to come back. We know that email automation has a strong impact at recovering abandoned sales. Statistics show that almost 50% of cart abandonment emails are opened.

This is another great time to add direct mail.  Send a postcard with an offer, or mail a small brochure showing a variety of products to entice your buyers back.

Marketing trends show that Millennials expect engagement from brands and
personalization in the printed form is the perfect way to touch your audience.
#DirectMailWorks

 

Direct Mail Basics

With Easter just around the corner, many of you are putting your direct mail campaigns together now. We’re sharing some basic tips to ensure your campaign is a smashing success!

KEEP THE DESIGN SIMPLE
The digital world is filled with constant change, complexity and instability. Many audiences want a return to simplicity.  In 2019, minimalism is the way to attract attention.  An image with a clear purpose will prevail every time. Keep your text short and on point. Maximize white space and find a layout that’s simple, clean and authentic.

SIZE MATTERS
When picking up mail from the cluster box, don’t forget that large pieces command attention. It doesn’t cost any more postage to mail a 6X11 postcard than it does a 6X9 and the difference in paper cost is nominal. The only real differences are that you get more real estate to promote your message and your piece will stand out in the mailbox.

INCORPORATE INTERESTING FOLDS
Create a fun mail piece by adding folds.  These go beyond touch by requiring people to manipulate the piece. It creates an urge to see more by building up people’s curiosity. BE CAREFUL THOUGH!  Make sure you don’t lose your automation rates by placing a fold or an open part of your mail piece in the wrong spot.  Have your creative team contact us for guidance.

TELL THE STORY THRU CONTENT & PICTURES
Storytelling is a crucial aspect of direct marketing. Think about using strong and compelling visual images to convey your narrative. Combine your images with precise and well written copy.

BE COLORFUL
Color is key. Your choice of color can make or break a good print design. Colors have the power to change moods.

Red – This color typically used to create a sense of urgency, which may be why you often see this color used during clearance sales. Red is also associated with movement, excitement, and passion.

Blue – This color is often used by brands to promote trust in their products and services because this color is associated with security, peace, and reliability. Blue is also the preferred color of male consumers.

Green – Brands sometimes use green within their stores to relax customers because this color creates harmony within the brain and encourages balance. This color is also often associated with power, nature, and tranquility.

Orange and Yellow – These colors are more cheerful colors that promote a more optimistic attitude while also creating a sense of urgency that can cause more impulsive buyers to act.

Purple – This color has been known to stimulate problem solving and creativity within the mind.
Purple is also associated with respect, intelligence, and royalty, which may explain why it’s often used to promote beauty and anti-aging products.