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Marketing Resource Blog

When Direct Mail Disappoints

Lynndell Epp - Monday, December 16, 2013

Expectations are high, right along with the piles of direct mail pieces ready to go. But, results don’t measure up. What went wrong?

According to an article published by jacobsclevenger.com, a digital direct marketing agency, it could be a lot. The article, entitled “Why your direct mail is underperforming” offers insights. They include:

Assuming your audience is just like you

People consume and process information differently. Provide enough options to capture a wide audience. According to the article, “This is why a direct mail best practice is to include a letter and brochure in each package, presenting redundant information in different formats. Additionally, the direct mail letter should present the information in two different ways. The content should include full content in paragraph form in the body, with key bullets called out in either the right-hand column or within the letter itself. This allows the audience to read the content however they prefer, i.e., in-depth or by scanning.”

Over crediting recipients’ ability to take action

According to the article, “A successful direct mail campaign is generally built off direct mail letters that underscore the urgency in making response easy for the user. A standard direct mail best practice is to provide a call-to-action multiple times within the direct mail letter, and to be extremely clear on the desired action.”

Not doing enough to break through the clutter

Bottom line, make it personal. The article points out, “The average person gets 9,000 emails a year…Digital media has increased the number of messages that inundate prospects and customers, further underscoring the need for relevancy and personalization. Relevancy is the only hope marketers have to get users’ attention and their response… customers prefer and have come to expect personalized communications. Furthermore, successful direct mail campaign tests show that personalized information, including personalized URLs (PURLs), empower and reinforce your direct mail communications.”

Eliminating clutter is particularly critical—both in your marketing decision-making and how your messaging addresses the marketplace. I grew up on a farm, where it’s common to separate wheat from the chaff. In somewhat the same way, I want to help you separate out unnecessary clutter to get to the heart of what’s most important marketing-wise.

Interested?
Let’s talk: Lyndell@mailmasters.net, 303-607-9424.

Print Still Has Its Place

Lee Watson - Monday, December 09, 2013

Not as an alternative to digital, but as a partner

Just as fuel injection engines require both air and fuel to operate properly, so do marketing programs need the right mix of elements to fire on all cylinders. Working in partnership, digital and print can create the most productive and profitable outcomes.

Not everyone agrees. In July, a www.theonion.com article declared, “Print Dead At 1,803…Sources close to print, the method of applying ink to paper in order to convey information to a mass audience, have confirmed that the declining medium passed away early Thursday morning… The influential means of communication was 1,803.”

And HubSpot, the inbound marketing software platform company that promotes all things digital, doesn’t seem partial to print. A recent article on Targetmarketingmag.com notes, “4 Direct Mail Truths HubSpot Got Wrong…HubSpot misses the mark when critiquing direct mail… I have long admired the people at HubSpot for their online marketing acumen…But their recent analysis of direct mail—‘6 Horrific Practices of Direct Mail’—displays a stunning ignorance of what works and what doesn’t work in direct mail…To begin with, they go down the slippery slope of criticizing marketing without knowing what the results of those marketing campaigns are.”

These two reports typify the opinions of many who believe that if it isn’t digital, it isn’t marketing.

The International News Media Association (INMA) in Australia disputes this digital “first, always and only” orientation, pointing out in a real estate-oriented August article , “Print is not dead – it just has some company…New research into real estate advertising shows print still has its place – not as an alternative to digital, but as a partner…I’m sick to death of reading about the death of print—with stories written like suicide notes…”

Direct mail in particular is enjoying newfound popularity. A spring 2013 Denver Business Journal article points out, “Mark Twain once said, ‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’ This quote also seems to apply to incessant reports about the demise of print as a communications tool…There are various reasons for its resurgence. A primary one is that print no longer is the primary communications medium, so it’s new and fresh again because it stands out from the crowd.”

The report adds that direct mail particularly is benefitting from this resurgence: “While many people are weary and wary of email pitches, enewsletters and other digital marketing, they’ll pay attention to well-done print pieces (just the opposite of what occurred when direct mail glutted everyone’s mailbox years ago). Another reason for print’s resurgence actually ties to the digital world, in the form of digital printing. Digital printing has made creating print pieces less expensive and more flexible.”

What does this mean for marketers seeking the right messaging platforms? View all marketing tools—digital and print chief among them—as part of a toolkit. Make decisions based on formulating the best mix of tools to meet strategic objectives. In some cases, this can be a mix of eblasts, direct mail, social networking support and mobile presence—perhaps coupled with a push for editorial media exposure. Other challenges may truly mandate an all-digital campaign; conversely, an all-print platform may prove the most impactful in select situations.

We stand ready to help you make the best strategic and tactical choices from what can sometimes seem like a dizzying array of options. By tuning out the noise around what’s trendy versus time-tested, it’s easier to get to the heart of the matter:

  • What has the best chance of success?
  • How does this fit within your budget comfort zone?
  • What metrics define success?
  • How do you measure and analyze results?

When you’re ready to start the discussion, email or call me:
Lee@mailmasters.net, 303-607-9424.

Don’t Talk to Me That Way

Lynndell Epp - Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Marketers and business owners who communicate the same marketing message and image to every type of prospect are making a critical mistake. If you're doing lead generation this way, you're likely turning off many would-be clients.

The marketing message that appeals to a small business owner may be much different from what works for a twenty-something consumer. Yet, many companies have clients in both categories among many others. To address this broad range of people, clients often tell me that they develop a one-size-fits-all message that won’t exclude anyone.

But, this actually excludes many prospects who don’t feel their specific needs are being addressed. The solution is to make your marketing speak to each segment in a unique way.

To do this, first list out and build a detailed portrait of each prospect type. To make sure you’re including everyone, look at your existing client types (and add any that you want to start prospecting).

For each group, ask such questions as: What are their biggest frustrations, concerns, needs and interests? Where can you reach these people on blogs, social media, at home, in their car, at their desk, etc.? Include items like Age, Job Title, Industry, Personal Information, Gender and anything else that helps you identify prospects’ situations and buying preferences.

With this information, you can develop an "ideal client profile." for each prospect type.

The Ideal Client Profile

Just for fun, let's make up a profile. Let's say you have an insurance agency. When looking through your customer list, you find your best customers are fathers with a corporate job, three cars and kids about ready to go to college. You also find single males in their twenties who have a few speeding tickets and rent an apartment.

Apply a name and a face to these people so you can start crafting a meaningful message to them. You might name them "Dan the Dad" and "Twenty-Something Jared."

Let me ask you some questions here:

  1. Would you send out the same marketing piece to these individuals and expect it to be equally effective for both?
  2. Would you water down your marketing to come across as relevant to both prospects?
  3. Do you think that different messages, images and offers would be more effective in gaining more leads from each group?

Hopefully, you see that these are rhetorical questions. Of course you would want to craft a message that speaks as directly as possible to each prospect!

Start developing your marketing message, offers, calls to action and tactical approaches to reach and convert your profiles. When you focus on your prospects and clients' needs, wants and concerns, your message will resonate with greater force.

Want to talk about it? Email or call me: Lynndell@mailmasters.net, 303-607-9424.

Mail Masters Marketing - Sweet deals May 2013

Lynndell Epp - Monday, May 20, 2013

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6 Steps to Crushing Your Competition With Effective Marketing

Lynndell Epp - Monday, February 18, 2013

6 Steps to Crushing Your Competition With Effective Marketing


If you need to get more clients, sell more products and services or grow your business, then you need to follow this simple formula to get your marketing started off on the right foot. This formula is articulated by Dan Kennedy, one of the world’s foremost experts on marketing.
  1. Find a market (a group of people) that has needs and desires not being met.
  2. The market must have people both able and willing to pay to have their unfulfilled needs and desires met.
  3. This market must match up with what you can and are willing to deliver, and one that you could make a compelling argument for you doing it.
  4. Create a question to ask that market.
  5. Offer something to those that answered the question in a particular way.
  6. Sell something to this group of people.

Sounds simple. It is. But most businesses fail at it miserably.

In my observation, many businesses never define their target audience well enough to really separate themselves from the competition. So step number one above is already out the window before the marketing even gets into place.

You may be asking how you pick a market. After all, you may service all types of businesses in a geographical area.

Find A Market

Let’s look at how to “Find A Market”, and use a commercial insurance agent as an example. If you had a commercial insurance agency, you might find that any business would be a good target for you. After all, every business needs insurance. But “Every Business” is a very difficult group to market to.

For one, it’s too big. You probably don’t have enough marketing dollars to touch everyone in your “market”. Two, “every business” is not a specific enough target that you can create a killer message for. And if you’re not specific, your marketing will be generic and incapable of speaking directly to the prospect.

Even though you could literally serve every type of business as a commercial insurer, your marketing needs to cater to a specific audience for your message to have meaning.  Your message will NEVER resonate with everyone, so it needs to be specifically targeted.

Segment Your Audience

So what are you to do? How about looking through your database and finding a few companies that are in the same industry? Let’s say you find two or three businesses in the IT category, and you happen to like working with them. Now develop a marketing message that specifically speaks to the needs of an IT company.

You could use a message like…”Good News for all Denver based IT Companies……..I can save you up to 24% on your business insurance”. You may include a testimonial from one of your IT customers along with a summary of typical problems IT companies run into, an offer and a call to action. And POW; you have a much more powerful piece of marketing that will produce more results than a generic message going out to every business category.

Deliver Your Message

Once you have this message, you can place it using hundreds of marketing tactics. From direct mail, to ad placements, pay per click, social media and the list goes on and on.

If you would like to have a brain storming session on picking a niche market and developing a message that will resonate with that audience, send Lynndell an email at Lynndell@mailmasters.net to set up a time to talk. You can call as well to 303-607-9424.