Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Size Matters

Yes it does dear Reader. In many ways.
First of all, if you look at postage rates, you are charged more for large sizes, same weight, than for small sizes. Check with your PO to be sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.
From a Direct Mail perspective, you will make a larger impact with a larger peice. The trick is to go to the maximum size at the lowest rate.
A 6 x 9 envelope has 54 sq, inches of "real estate"; a #10 envelope has less than 40. That is definitely some extra room in which to state your case, front and back.
Let's face it, a lot of people, although they have to look at their mail, just look at the covers...they are judging your book by your cover. And deciding quickly - stay or go.
Take advantage of that; tease the offer, entice them with beauty, money, reward right on the cover. Get them to go inside; that's where the action is. Make that space work for you and grow your ROI.
Go big, or go home.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

To Really Mail or Not

Dear Reader,

A few e-mail tales have come to my attention recently.

The first was a million name e-mail blast that drew a total of 8 orders...

The second was an e-mailing of 5000 well targetted solicitations that drew neery a response...

The third was an important newsletter that was only opened by 12% of the recipients.

E-mail is so plentiful, so screened and often surprisingly inefficacious.

Now, I'm not one to say the world is flat, but the point is there are flatlands on the planet and regular mail is much better for many applications: it is real, it gets seen, it gets read if you send it to the right people.

Not so for e-mail; many have just too much of it and don't actually have time to read anything but the most important that gets onto the screen.

Keep all of that in mind when you are planning your next campaign. For your best prospects, it makes sense to send them something real.




Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Golden Silence of Mail

When I’m at the cottage, there are many wonderful elements to enjoy:

Fresh air, wildlife, the brilliant starscape and, the ineffable, beautiful silence.

To those of living in the city, the noise is endless and a serious impediment to a high quality of life.

Mail is silent – there are no sound distractions. You and your mail. Golden.

Remember to take advantage of this the next time you compose and mail out your mail piece.

You and your mail. Silence. Golden.

Michael Hofmann

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's in That?

Dear Reader,

Y'know, I'm not very excited about most mail that I receive; are you?

There is an exception though, and that is bulky mail or mail with some "thing" in it.

Those I find irresistable; it's a bit like Christmas, isn't it?

3D mail packages are exciting to the addressee, and are vastly underplayed. Somethings to consider:

Hone your target down to definite prospects; users of your service(s) and/or product(s);

Get your name on the thingy you are enclosing, and keep it relevant to what you offer; make your company memorable by it;

Avail more if they wish upon a visit or what have you;

Test against a non 3D mailing; you will be stunned at the difference in response*
(*Keep in mind that creative contributes about 20% to the overall response, the balance coming from the list and the offer.)

So give it a try and let me know the results.

Michael Hofmann

Friday, July 9, 2010

Going Global

Dear Reader,
The question is: should you sell your products internationally?
You know the answer to that; it's a resounding yes. The international marketplace is any where from 6 to 6000 times the size of your own, depending on where you live, of course. Would you rather just sell to millions or billions of folks.
Why wouldn't you; you've got free global advertising courtesy the internet, people will find you from outside of your own country and want to buy what you have. So, why not?
You'd be surprised at how many companies decline this opportunity.
Why? Several reasons including too expensive to ship there, customs and just plain old fear of going somewhere uncharted.
Quickly, here are some rebuttals: there are many options and you may be surprised at how affordable it is; customs will take you a couple of hours to figure out and get around that obstacle and the best way to overcome fear is to deal with whatever is fearing(?) you..
There you have it; happy postings!
Michael Hofmann

Thursday, June 24, 2010

International Mail Terminal Dues

Dear Reader,

As a primer on international mail, terminal dues are the system
by which countries compensate each other for handling one another's mail.

The Universal Postal Union (UPU for short;www.upu.int) established the current system for payment between countries in 1991.

Essentially thee are three types of member country dues: Reims (primarily European), Industrial (US, Canada, Israel, Japan, Australia and New Zealand) and Developing Countries (the rest).

The separate postal rates types are roughly established by the UPU but often renegotiated between the countries themselves.

What does this have to do with you? Well, if youre thinking about mailing internationally,and we'll dwell more on that in future blogs, then it means by using different postal administrations' international rates, you can get some great savings on postage internationally.

Off tarifff rates can sometimes be less than half of your own country's tariff rates.

So, long story short >>>mailing internationally can make good sense for a lot of companies, and can posssibly work for you.

Michael Hofmann
Resource Mail Services

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Data Basics: From PC to Direct Mail

Dear Reader,

The most common complaint that I hear from the Direct Mail community is that there is a dearth of names and lists out there.

Well, hello, this is where the virtual world really (chuckle) comes into play, because building a relevant database has never been easier, has never been cheaper. Many companies can easily do this on their own, using just their own site.

"We'll send you something free in the mail, just fill this out!" There you go, your own database complete with privacy issues addressed, and with a request for your information. Does it get much better than that?

That's what I'm talking about. There's no reason why you can't harness the power of your own web site to spin your own current and qualified database. A database that you can well use for mail of all ilk, and that can be the cornerstone for your successful direct marketing.

Build it, and they will come (or be mailed to).

Michael Hofmann

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bull(dog)ish on Mail

Dear Reader,

Yes, mail is expensive and slow compared to cheap and instant e-mail.

But mail is still incredibly effective if you know what you want to achieve, who you want to reach, what you want to give and how you want to give it.

Now, if you send Clementine (pictured above) an offer for free cat food; well that would be a waste of money.

If you send her an offer for your new dog food, then that is money well spent. Lifetime value of Clemmie's dog food bill would exceed $2,000, so a share of that would be something worth achieving, no?

Why mail? It is real, tangible evidence of your interest in the consumer. It lingers around much longer than e-mail, and you can argue that it makes a very real impression on more than just one sense.

With today's technology,you can impact all 5 senses, yes, all 5 senses with your mail. That is a sensational opportunity to connect and convert prospects into clients.

Think about that and the creative potential that exists only with mail of the real kind.

Are you getting the maximum pop from your mail? Are your campaigns tired and uninspired?

Are you pulling the envelope instead of pushing it?

If you've got a good product or service, then mail continues to be an excellent and effective medium to reach and touch your audience and you deserve to benefit fully from it.

Next week, harnessing the virtual to reel in the target.

Michael Hofmann

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Direct Marketing: Real vs E Mail

2. Michael Hofmann
Resource Mail Services
PO Box 52, Stn. C
Toronto ON M6J 3M7
Hello Reader,
There you have it: two forms of address and two very different worlds.
The first, electronic mail, gets you there instantly. Your words, your message, your offer delivered in scant seconds to your audience.
The second, real mail, takes days to get delivered.
So that's it - no contest, e-mail is better and is the winner.
Obviously not, the two media co-exist in todays world. Which should you use for Direct Marketing? That depends on what you are trying to accomplish, what kind of lists you have, what your end goal is and what your budget is.
Let's look at e-mail today.
E-mail blasts are cheap, but their effectiveness is still a matter of debate. I've heard of million e-mail blasts that got less than 10 orders; that's right, a response rate of below 1 in 100,000. That is not cheap by any measure.
One problem with bulk e-mail is that a lot of the mail gets filtered out by servers etc.
Another problem is that arguably most bulk e-mail gets deleted without being read.
Bulk e-mail also has a bad rap as spam; ideally you would like to get get sanctioned lists, but who really wants an advertising e-mail from a company that they don't know. Nobody. Essentially, you are not reaching your target.
Of course it's different if you sign on with a company to receive their newletters etc, but that is a different animal. An animal that you already know and care about.
So e-mail is very effective for your exsting audience, but maybe not as efrective for finding a new audience.
Next time I'll look at good old paper mail.
Michael Hofmann

Monday, May 17, 2010

Target Mail to a Greener World

Dear Reader,

Last week I wrote about the physical component of greening your mail, envelope and paper stack, size materials etc.

This week I would like you to carefully consider where and who your audience is.

A 3-5% response rate is considered good for most direct mailings. Of course, that means that 95% of that mail is garbage, of no value at all to the person receiving it.
Direct mail that doesn't hit the target is junk mail.
So let's review what we can do.
First of all, make sure that you have got the correct, accurate, validated, updated address for the recipient.
Run your database through certified address correction software and national change of address software.
Eliminate any duplicates.
Verify rental lists for recency of updates and complete accuracy/NCOA validation.
Take a hard look at your selection criteria, and choose only the most relevant prospects. You can turn junk mail into "treasure" mail by sending the right offer to the right person.
By following the above considerations, you will reduce waste, improve your numbers and make the world a little bit greener.
Michael Hofmann

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Green Mail

Dear Reader,
In today's world, green, environmentally resp0nsible mailings are imperative for many reasons.
Greening your mail practices:
- can you save you money, decrease your CPM and increase your response rate and ROI.
-better connect you with your audience; they will immediately see your commitment to the environment and sustainability.
Good reasons for going green indeed!
So, let's look at the physical mail package for starters; here's what you ought to be doing:
Use a design that uses the least amount of materials, such as smaller envelopes, lighter stock paper; less is better for the planet.
Use FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper. The FSC audits forests for their environmental and social standards, so you (and your audience) can be sure that the paper comes from sustainable wood sources and practices.
Bonus: your audience can clearly see that you are environmentally friendly because you can show an FSC logo on all of your mail pieces, from envelopes to letter to brochure etc.
Use paper sourcing some degree of recycled paper, and it should also be recylable. For more information, please visit www.fsccanada.org.
Keep your ink coverage light, and ensure that you use inks low in Volatile Organic Compunds. VOCs combine with sunlight to produce ground level ozone, which is a component of smog and helps to cause breathing problems.
So there you have some green mail considerations. Next week, I'll look at more ways to green your mail.
Michael Hofmann

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Opening the Mailbag

Dear Reader,
In round figures, the world's postal adminstrations will deliver greater than 400 billion cards, letters, magazines and parcels this year. That's more than one and a half billion pieces of mail delivered every day.
Mail is still large and is still relevant; it's stuff you can touch and feel, and though it is under pressure it is still a big business.
This blog is here to look at all areas of mail, to shed light on opportunities, and provide information on a veritable postpourri of mail matters. This blog will also be an opportunity for me to learn more about the mail business from my readers; I welcome your comments.
I've been in the domestic and international mail business for more than 25 years, working for and with Postal Administrations, International Delivery Organizations and Mail Service Providers. The mail business is a constantly changing world, now more than ever because of:
-the touchy global financial situation
-climate change
-virtual competition
I look forward to blogging about the mail, and my next post will touch down on some basic green pointers.
Michael Hofmann