Did you know that one of your deepest wells for bigger profits is your lapsed customer base? These are customers who have done business with you in the past, but for some reason have not come back.
This isn’t always due to discontent with your company. Sometimes it’s forgetfulness. Sometimes people simply want to try something new, and once they’ve done so, stay with it for convenience. Or a competitor comes along and offers them a deal at just the right time.
Assuming that lapsed customers had a positive relationship with you, re-engagement campaigns targeting those customers can yield tremendous results.
Take the example of one optician in the United Kingdom. In its market, independent opticians have been facing increased price-driven competition from large specialist chains. It fought back using a direct mail campaign with personalized URLs and incentive vouchers to re-activate lapsed clients and increase traffic to the practice.
The results? The practice reported 82 campaign recipients responding to the campaign and spending an average of £150 ($250) each after voucher reduction. This generated an immediate ROI of over 400%.
Want results like that? Talk to us about targeting your lapsed customers!
How do you plan your print and multi-channel marketing campaigns? Do you trust your intuition? Or do you rely on data to inform your decisions about the most effective way to approach your customers and prospects?
According to a study written by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Applied Predictive Technologies (“Decisive Action: How Businesses Make Decisions and How They Could Do It Better,” 2014), executives and senior managers use a range of strategies, including decisions related to marketing. Does one of these categories describe you?
Intuitive (“I primarily use my intuition in making decisions”)
Collaborative (“I seek to collaborate on decisions as much possible”)
Data-Driven (“I collect and analyze data as much as possible before making a decision”)
Empirical (“Where possible, I develop hypotheses and perform tests before making a decision”)
What’s interesting is that, while the plurality of respondents say they rely on data during the decision-making process, they still highly value their own intuition. Even when data is readily available, 73% say they trust their own intuition. Among the data-driven decision-makers, 68% still agree with that statement.
What do you do when the marketing data contradicts your intuition? Let’s say the data tell you that yellow envelopes are most likely to boost response rates during slow periods, but whenever you’ve mailed using purple envelopes, you feel that you get the best results. What then?
You test it! Create a series of A/B tests to see what approach is the most effective at reaching your particular audience. In the case of the envelopes, you might find that both the data and your intuition are correct. Certain envelope colors may boost response more at certain times of the year, for example, around certain holidays, or for certain audiences only.
Need help analyzing and testing your data to develop the most effective mailing campaigns? Let us help! That’s what we’re here for.
On an almost daily basis, we are presented with sales and marketing materials that are meant to get our attention and prompt us to make a response. How can you stand out in the crowd? There are several easy-to-implement, yet often-overlooked considerations that can greatly improve the effectiveness of your company’s efforts.
Stand out physically. A traditional 8.5 x 11-inch sheet will easily blend into a pile. Consider using different shapes and sizes to make your materials “harder to lose” and easier to notice.
Make ‘Em POP! Various print and finish elements can increase the “volume” of your message over that of your competitors. We offer a host of options that we are happy to discuss with you.
Be compelling. A common marketing mistake is to focus on the features rather than the benefits. If your materials don’t quickly answer the “what’s in it for me” question, there is little chance that the rest of your content will garner attention. Real-life content, such as testimonials and case studies, can help draw a lot of attention.
Invest in quality. If you’re utilizing direct mail to deliver your message, consider a study by G.A Wright Marketing that found that the use of high-quality paper and color applications alone can increase your response rates by nearly 50%. Specifically, the study showed that a four-color promotional mailer printed on a heavy gloss paper stock had more than a 40% higher response rate than an identical three-color version printed on a lighter matte paper stock.
Even the smallest improvements in effectiveness can significantly impact your company’s success. If your materials aren’t delivering their full potential, it might be time to revise them using the ideas above.
Need help? We’re happy to assist in any way we can.
There is a bewildering variety of printing papers available, and deciphering a print quote can seem like reading a foreign language. Here are some of the most relevant terms you need to know.
Basis weight is the weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of a paper at its basic size, or the size of the uncut sheet supplied to the printer. For example, the basic size of book paper is 25 x 38 inches, and a ream weighing 70 pounds would be 70-lb. book paper. Sometimes metric is used: 70-lb. book paper is equivalent to 104 g/m2.
Cover, card, and other thick stocks are often specified by thickness, measured in “points.” This is often abbreviated “pt.”— for example, “8-pt. cover.” One point is 1/1000th of an inch, so this means that the stock is 0.008 inches thick.
Paper grade refers to the end use of that paper. Bond paper is used for letters and documents, book paper for books, offset for offset printing, and so on. Digital presses generally have their own grades. Thicker grades include cover, bristol, tag, and index.
Paper is often coated during manufacture, which improves the reproduction of fine halftone screens and color fidelity. C1S means “coated one-side,” which is useful for labels, packaging, and other materials destined for single-sided printing. C2S means “coated two-side” and is preferred for two-sided commercial printing.
Brightness refers to the percentage of light that is reflected from the sheet’s surface. Basic white copy paper has a 92 brightness. Brightness by component wavelength (red, green, or blue) is also determined for papers, as papers can reflect different amounts of certain colors, imparting a color cast to a printed piece if you’re not careful.
Looking to learn more about paper? Need samples for an upcoming project? Just ask!
Anyone can come up with a snazzy jingle or discount a product. Marrying great creative with insightful, database-driven personalization is more challenging. It also generates better results because the mailer is relevant, not just catchy. When one safety products company exchanged its static direct mailers for creative, highly personalized mailers, for example, the results were dramatic. Instead of receiving generic sales pitches, recipients were invited to log into their own personalized URLs where they could input company-specific data and see estimates on the impact of the technology in their own organizations. Variables included net costs saved, estimated injuries avoided, and estimated lives saved. By allowing recipients to see how the product directly benefits them (rather than another company or some hypothetical organization), results went through the roof. The marketer’s annual revenues grew from $6 million to $68 million in a span of five years in part due to this dramatic change in marketing strategy. Marketers are testing elements such as size, shape, substrate, windows, “reveals” and fonts to grab attention in other ways, as well. These elements, in themselves, increase response rates, but when paired with relevant personalization, the improvement can be dramatic. When one financial solutions company wanted to increase participation in its “company match” 401(k) programs, for example, it paired its design changes with targeted segmentation (by participation level) and personalized content. Although the number of variables was low, the company saw a 16% boost in participation and a jump of $2 million in new contributions. If you want results, get creative. Ditch “the usual” and look for new ways to approach the same material and get recipients to take a fresh look at the value of what you have to offer.
Creating Realistic Project Deadlines When you start a new print project, you want to hit your deadlines, keep your sanity, and make your customers happy. Fortunately, the right amount of planning will make sure that you keep your sanity and your clients. For your audience to receive the printed piece on time, ask yourself the following questions: 1. When do you want your audience to receive the piece? 2. Who will be writing the text, and how long will it take to produce it? 3. Who will be producing the artwork, and how long will it take to produce it? 4. Who will be doing the design and production work, and how long will that take? 5. How long will it take to print, finish, and mail the piece? The first answer provides your end date. Once you have that, you can work backwards, adding the rest of the time estimates together to determine your start date. Pad each time estimate by a factor of 1.5 to 3 times depending on your confidence in the numbers. Write down these time estimates to create the project plan. Once the project is complete, do a post-mortem on your estimates. Did you pretty much stay on schedule all the way to your deadline? If not, where did you get bogged down? Were the bottlenecks one-time occurrences or were they related to factors inherent in the process? If the latter, you may need to adjust your fudge factor to achieve a more realistic time estimate next time. Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes. Along the way, you inevitably learned something, such as when your creative staff says, “It takes us one day to turn around the proof of concept,” they meant two days, or that you forgot to take into account transportation time when you made your project plan. If you add these facts to your next project plan, you will “gain from the pain” by learning from these experiences.
Setting Realistic Expectations for Personalization According to one research firm, personalized printing (also called variable data printing) increases response rates by an average of 36%, average order size or value by 25%, and customer loyalty by 38%. What does this mean for you? Are these numbers that you, as a marketer, should expect to be hitting? Not necessarily. Even the most compelling case studies show a wide range of metrics, with successful 1:1 printing programs showing response rates, for example, from the single digits to nearly 100%. What matters isn’t one individual metric or another. It’s the overall return on investment (ROI). You can have a 4.2% response rate, and if the value of your product is high, you can have 1,000% ROI. Let’s look at some variables associated with response rates and how they can impact results. Who are you sending to? If you mail to the general population, you will receive a lower response rate, even with personalized mail, than if you send to a carefully selected recipient base—say, your best customers or a carefully selected demographic sub-set of a purchased mailing list. What is the goal you are trying to achieve? Are you trying to convince someone who has never heard of your product to make a purchase? Or are you selling consumables to customers who already own your products? Is the incentive inflating the response rate? One marketing services firm regularly generates 21% to 75% response rates based on offering high-value rewards like remote control cars or sets of personalized golf clubs. No wonder response rates are so high! How much does the product cost? You will get more responses to offers for products under $50 than for high-value products and services like automobiles and financial services. Regional versus National. Sometimes regional marketers have a better chance at grabbing recipients’ attention just because they have a local connection. Known brands versus unknown brands make a difference, as well. So don’t focus compare yourself to others. Many variables can affect response rates. Your metrics will be unique to you, and in the end, your ROI is the only number that counts!
Want to achieve higher levels of success with your 1:1 (personalized) printing campaigns? Profile before you personalize! What does this mean? It means understanding what your customers look like as aggregate demographic or psychographic groups before you send targeted mailings or personalize to them as individuals. As a very simplified example, each age demographic has different needs and preferences and will respond differently to different types of messaging. Thus you might want to profile your customer base by age. By running a very simple analysis, for example, you might find that your customer base looks like this: • 18-34 years old (38%) • 35-49 years old (24%) • 50-64 years old (18%) • 65+ years old (20%) This tells you something. Your customers are heavily skewed toward the younger demographic. Was this a surprise to you? Why do you think this is? Is your product equally useful to an older audience? If so, how could you position it differently to appeal those demographics? Profiling gives you critical information about how to tweak your message. Likewise, consumers behave differently based on where they live. Consumer attitudes in New Hampshire will vary considerably from those in the Deep South. Red States and Blue States may have very different preferences and attitudes about certain issues, products, and services. Look at other characteristics, as well. Where do your customers prefer to shop with you (brick-and-mortar store or online)? What marketing channels do they respond to (direct mail, e-mail or SMS text messaging)? Once you understand the profile of your customer base, you can compare these profiles against well-known demographic and psychographic patterns to anticipate how they might behave and what types of messaging they are most likely to respond to. This allows you to craft your approach to be most effective for different segments of your customer base. So profile before you personalize!
1:1 Print Beats Online for Relevance If you want inexpensive, real-time communications, online marketing can be a powerful tool. But if you want highly relevant marketing communications that consumers respect, then personalized print is the way to go. In a survey of more than 1,200 people conducted for ad:tech London by Zussi Research, 69% percent of respondents saw traditional advertising as relevant to them, compared with 45% for online marketing. Respondents also described online marketing as “chaotic.” This reflects how misdirected and intrusive ads can create a high level of annoyance, even when those efforts are supposedly targeted. Compare this to print. Databases tend to be more accurate and targeting more focused. Personalized print earns consumers’ trust and respect. Consumers also appreciate the purposeful investment print requires in the marketer’s relationship with them. It creates a sense that that they are valued. So while you may want to expand your marketing to include some electronic channels, don’t make the mistake of replacing print with alternative media. Instead, personalize it! Capitalize on consumers’ positive perception of print to differentiate yourself as a company that cares about your customers in a way that consumers often perceive online advertisers don’t. Then build on that perception with relevant, personalized communications they’ll remember and respect!
We often think about print and social media as being competitors, but print can be one of the greatest drivers of social media engagement, as well. Take a lesson from Skinny Cow, which uses print to drive participation in its social media and mobile contests. To engage consumers, the company offers daily giveaways. To participate, consumers must purchase a Skinny Cow product such as cheese or ice cream bar at a retail location. Consumers type in the barcode or six-digit game code from the box or wrapper to see if they have won. They can tweet about the contest to gain an additional chance to win. By printing codes on its product packaging, Skinny Cow drives traffic into its retail stores. Once consumers have provided their mobile numbers to enter the contest, it can begin to send them push notifications, as well. Tweeting multiplies the impact of the campaign at no additional cost. Printing personalized barcodes and game codes on boxes, labels, and wrappers is a simple operation and can be adapted to many different consumer products. Codes can be overprinted or, if you are printing in small quantities, digitally printed right onto the package. You can also print personalized barcodes, QR Codes, or promo codes on napkins, cups, and other disposable items used by the consumer. If you don’t produce the types of consumer products that lend themselves to these types of promo codes, you can drive foot traffic by printing generic codes or “secret URLs” on office, in-store, or even trade show displays, banners, and signage. Change them out frequently to prevent sharing. Print and mobile / social media don’t have to be competitors. In fact, print may be one of the primary ways consumers find you on social and mobile media.
I learned a ton about print solutions in my first job after college, thanks in huge part to my employer’s standing relationship with SPS. Now, almost 10 years later, I still count on SPS. Tim’s helpful, no-pressure, friendly demeanor and his knowledge of the industry make him stand among area print reps. Whether it’s spotting the latest trend or recommending a paper type, you can count on SPS to get the job done right.
Sarah C., Editorial & Creative Services Manager
For the last five years Strategic Print Solutions has been our go-to print vendor for any type of material we need professionally printed. Our companies rely on their services for products such as pocket folders, business cards, flyers, brochures, lanyards, and conference banners. The customer service is reliable, timely, professional, and friendly, and we count on Tim for solutions that make our office more efficient. Tim’s idea for the online print ordering system for business cards was easy to implement, is quick and simple, and is easily managed for employees spread throughout the US.
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