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How to Brief Your Mailing House

So you have your creative and your database is about ready to go, now it’s time to deploy. Briefing your mailing house can be tricky, but it’s the part on which we direct mail specialists thrive. With so many options it can seem daunting to a first-timer, though with some expert guidance it’s a cinch. Here we will show you just how to brief your mailing house, which might even inspire you with other ways to save time in your next campaign.

 

Data Management

Lists and spreadsheets mightn’t be your thing, but we love them. It’s our job to take your data, make sense of it, and manipulate it into a successful campaign. You might have your own vision, but we can help you shape it to achieve the best possible outcome when sending to customers and prospects. When speaking to your mailing house, instruct them of the specifics of data management. Do you need to clean data by removing duplicates, merging records or purging those that are outdated? Have you considered adding special postal information, such as barcodes, to each data record? Or does it need to be further segmented for A/B testing? The more information you provide the better.

 

Printing and Personalisation

Printing is hugely important in direct mail, and so is the method you choose. Offset printing is great for high-quality prints without personalization and you can then over print variable data in black. Digital colour print allows for unlimited personalisation. Inkjet allows you to add addresses and individuals’ other information to your mailer in a limited format to litho pre-print. Remember to tell your mailing house which delimiters you have used to identify areas that require personalisation, such as salutation blocks and customised offers. Once the mailer is set up, ask to run a small electronic trial of your first few records to ensure that everything corresponds.

 

Insertions

Special insertions into your mailer can increase your response rate immensely. By enclosing an entry form or a self-addressed envelope, you make it easier for your customer or prospect to get in touch. When it comes to informing your mailing house of your requirements, it’s important to think about how you would like to present it. You can specify where you would like it to be inserted through camera matching, and the precise number of inserts for your mailing.

 

Plastic Wrap

Wrapping mailers in plastic is an industry standard, but did you know that you can customise the overall look? Ask your mailing house to show you examples of how special printing can transform the outer of your next mailer.

 

Warehousing and Fulfilment

Need a little help picking and packing? This is something that many mailing houses can help you achieve. Simply brief them to the nature of your product, supply the inventory, and allow them to fulfil the orders as they flood in. Easy!

 

Postage

And finally, and probably the most important: How does it reach your recipients? Make sure you specify just how you would like your mail campaign to be sent 1st, 2nd or Economy – does it qualify as Advertising or Business mail? Is it by registered or international post? Do you qualify for postal discounts and if you are a registered charity check if you qualify for zero rate vat on production and use DSA to minimise your VAT charge. Your mailing house can advise on the conditions of which you mightn’t be aware, and can save you time and money in the long run.

 

Find out more about our mailing services today and how we can help you boost sales. Contact us on 01494 539300, email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk or fill in our online contact form.

 

You might also be interested in the following articles:

5 Reasons to take another look at Direct Mail

The Past, Present and Future of Direct Mail

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How to Save Money on Direct Mail

The mainstay of marketing, direct mail remains one of the most useful tools in customer procurement, engagement and retention. Direct to homes and businesses across Britain, it’s front and centre where your prospects live and work. Direct mail’s unique selling point is its physicality, something that is rare to find in the predominantly digital landscape in which we live. But why send a mailer when you can send an email? Higher engagement rates, that’s why.

Of course, a printed mailer has a greater production cost than its electronic counterpart—what with the printing, the postage, and the man hours required to get it just right. That said, direct mail has greater rates of engagement and comes out as the overall leader in cost per acquisition. There’s always room to save money on Direct Mail, and it comes from being strategic, sensible and planning your campaign from the outset. Here are some pointers to get you on the way to greater campaigns for less.

 

Cleanse Your Database

An accurate database means less returned mail, which equates to money saved. Think of the environment and your back pocket before mailing out into the ether. Ensure your database is up to date by validating all records, merging duplicates, and data matching any gaps.

Find out how we can help manage your data.

Buy Lists

Rather than pounding the pavement to find new clientele, let someone else do the hard work for you. Data companies have millions of records awaiting your special brief. By pulling data from a variety of sources, they can match your requirements to build a comprehensive client profile. Now just wait for the leads to roll in.

 

Outsource Data Entry

Got a stack of unentered customer data cards sitting in a shoebox somewhere, but can never find the time nor resources to have them entered into you database? It’s easy—get some outside help. Using electronic data scanning, a computer can read cards in milliseconds, digitising all the contact information in the fraction of the time it would take you or a team member do the same.

 

Mail Discounts

When you work with a professional direct mail company, use their power of persuasion to attract discounts. Bulk mailings do attract special postage rates from the Royal Mail and Down Stream Access competitors and these can vary depending on your requirements Advertising or Business? Prepared to wait a little longer for the mail to reach your customer? There’s a discount for that. Pre-sorting the mail before dispatch? It will be cheaper again. There are endless ways to work the system, and your direct mail specialist can show you the way.

Find out more about our mailing services.

If you’d like in-depth insights to successful direct mail campaigns, call us on 01494 539300 or fill in our online contact form

You might also be interested in the following articles:

5 Reasons to take another look at Direct Mail

Achieving better Direct Mail response rates in this digital space

direct mail response rates

Achieving better Direct Mail response rates in the digital space

When it comes to a direct mail campaign, direct mail response rates are our bottom line. And research shows that, whereas an average email marketing campaign will yield a response rate of just over 1 in 1000, response rates of 1 in 25 or better are possible for an expertly planned and executed direct marketing campaign. But just how does one get one’s direct mail response rates to rise?

 

Personalisation

A personalised message with customer-specific content can be the crucial difference between your mailing ending up in the rubbish bin and your prospect ending up in your store or on your books. The options for personalisation are limitless: from envelope colours to handwritten greetings to offer content, a cleverly personalised message is easy and will lift response rates dramatically.

Find out more about direct mail personalisation.

Timing

The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing, goes a well-known saying. And in many cases when it comes to generating sales or subscriptions, nothing could be more true. Use sales information and expert knowledge to optimise the timing of your direct mail campaigns so that your message arrives exactly when your prospect wants to hear it, maximising customer response rates at no extra cost, that can be acutely personalised from a behavioural perspective.

 

Using previous sales information

One of the most powerful tools in the direct mail kit is the ability to analyse previous sales information and use it to tailor your current campaign. In some cases the application of “big data” can be harnessed by pushing an almost limitless level of personalisation into any mailing. Basically if you’ve got the data, we’ve got the know-how. Build a customer database that enables you to easily identify customers who have purchased most frequently, most recently, and who have spent the most money, and use this information to target future campaigns. Sales records and information about customer preferences can be used to generate leads and convert these to sales or subscriptions, ensuring the maximum response rates from every campaign.

 

Filtering and segmentation

Another key strength of direct mail marketing is the possibility of taking the information in your database and applying filters to help segment your campaigns, ensuring the right prospects are targeted in a way that speaks to them. The database is at the heart of this process, and indeed, the heart of any good campaign. Using categories, codes and key data fields, you can organise your data in the most effective way possible, making future filtering and analysis as easy as a few mouse clicks. Once the filters have been applied, segmenting your campaigns to target different groups is a cinch—and higher response rates await.

 

Means of reply

Every prospect is different, and a smart campaign will reflect that, not only in the content and format of the mailing, but also in the means of reply. Email, phone, web, post—cater to all factions of your audience by knowing their preferences. Use sophisticated database filters to segment your campaigns into differing means of reply groups, so that every prospect is as comfortable as possible with the reply means, and of course, far more likely to respond.

If you’d like to talk further about your direct mail campaigns and find out how to increase your direct mail response rates call us on 01494 539300 or fill in our online contact form.

 

You might also be interested in the following articles:

How to write a responsive Direct Mail letter

5 ways to personalise your Direct Mail campaign

Direct Mail by Numbers: Key Statistics About the World’s Favourite Marketing

When building a campaign, you should always play to its strengths. Direct mail comes pretested with decades of industry use and insights that you can apply to any campaign, giving you an overview well before going to print. And best of all, it’s entirely measurable.

The beauty of quantitative data lies in its infinite detail. Not only can you anticipate your campaign’s results, but it can help you to figure out the smaller details, such as budgeting, forecasting, and preparation for an influx of sales or subscription leads.

Measurement is important and it’s what makes direct mail so great. We’ve compiled some of the most important key statistics that make a case for direct mail, so why don’t we let the numbers do the talking?

94 billion spam emails are sent across the globe every day—most never read.

92% of recipients will be driven to act online, according to  Royal Mail study.

87% are encouraged to make online purchases.

86% feel a greater connection with your business.

79% of consumers act on direct mail immediately—only 45% react to email in the same way.

70% welcome mail that rewards their loyalty.

67% of a 2011 study suggests women aged 45-64 are most likely to donate to charity.

61% of advertising budgets are spent on direct mail by UK charities.

54% engage in social media.

43% download something.

39% of people have an area in their home dedicated to displaying their mail.

38% believe a physical mailer can influence how they feel about the sender.

£2.98 is made for a charity for every £1 spent in a 2013 study.

1.1 – 1.4% will respond to a direct mail piece.

.04% will respond to an internet advertisement, according to a Harvard Business Review study.

.03% will respond to an email.

 

Listed in black and white, it’s obvious why direct mail has stood the test of time. Be inspired by these magic numbers, and make sure your next campaign stacks up.

 

Find out more about our mailing services today and how we can help you boost sales. Contact us on 01494 539300, email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk or fill in our online contact form.

 

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Direct vs Email

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Breaking the Myths of Direct Mail

While direct mail is one of the most established forms of marketing, it can still be enshrouded in mystery to the uninitiated. It’s our job as direct-mail specialists to educate our clients and prospects, and to dispel the myths surrounding direct mail. Here are some of those myths, and how to put your customers at ease.

 

It’s too expensive! 

Or is it? Sure, email has low production costs and might seem appealing, but it’s worth digging deeper. Direct mail allows you to put your communication in your target’s hands thereby increasing the likelihood they read its message. Email offers a less direct approach, with many messages overlooked, deleted or lost to the junk mail folder. If your target never receives the message, then it is time and effort wasted. Direct mail has almost guaranteed delivery.

 

It isn’t targeted

Quite the opposite! Direct mail allows you to contact your clients or prospects with some of the most advanced data available. Data matching can pair your existing records with information from other sources to give you a rich understanding of your database. With  these additional insights, you can then build a profile of your customer and communicate to them in the most targeted way.

 

Direct mail databases are inaccurate

Direct mail has some of the most accurate data available to marketeers. Sure, purchased lists can soon lose their value with inaccurate and out-of-date records, but data cleansing means they reach their intended recipients. Duplicate data can also do your business more harm than good, irritating your prospects if they receive multiple versions of the same communication. Direct mail has practices in place to ensure your recipient receives only one communication.

 

It’s junk mail

There is a perception that all unsolicited mail is considered as junk mail, but direct mail is different. As all direct mail is targeted and addressed, it is sent to the recipient with the Royal Mail postal run meaning it won’t be thrown away with the takeaway menus and supermarket catalogues. Addressed mail carries weight and authority and piques the curiosity of the reader, meaning that your mail won’t go unopened.

 

It doesn’t engage its audience

Direct mail it is one of the most engaging forms of marketing yet 3.4% of recipients engage with direct mail, compared with only 12% who respond to email. That’s an astronomical difference. Put simply, that’s 30 times more customers for your business or 34,000 of every million you contact.

 

Find out more about our mailing services today and how we can help you boost sales. Contact us on 01494 539300, email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk or fill in our online contact form.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Direct mail tips according to experts

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Everything You Need to Know About Customer Behaviour

Without a doubt, direct mail gets into your customers’ hands—literally. Its tangible nature is one of its strongest selling points, along with its incredible ability to target recipients with utmost detail. It’s this versatility and results-driven focus that makes it so attractive to businesses, no matter their product or service. When proposing a direct mail campaign, it’s important to consider the medium itself. There’s a vast distinction between physical and virtual media, and understandably, consumers respond to each medium differently.

Recently, the Royal Mail commissioned a research agency to discover how consumers respond to marketing messages, and which is the most effective communication. Working with scientists from the Centre of Experimental Psychology at Bangor University, research participants were connected to medical-grade scanners and shown the same material twice—once using projection to reproduce the online experience, and once printed on cards to produce the physical experience. Brain activity was measured across the different areas of the brain to see how it processed the differing marketing messages. The results turned out to be surprisingly simple:

This indicates that tangible materials are more likely to become embedded in memory, and because they also generate more emotion they’re more likely to provoke positive brand associations. Think of it as your opportunity to convey your brand personality at the most intimate level. When you strike such a close tie with your audience, it makes it easier for you to adjust your perception in their minds, and to establish a conversation between your customer and prospect.

This is reflected in Millward Brown’s 2002 white paper of brand personality and how best to align your messaging to your market’s cultural values. Every culture takes certain values into consideration when evaluating a brand. According to Geert Hofstede, the forefather of research on the subject, it comes down to five contributing factors: power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertain avoidance, and long-term orientation.

  • Power Distance: The degree to which members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. Runs from high (difference accepted) to low.
  • Individualism: The degree to which societies believe people share an obligation for the care of those outside of their immediate families. Runs from high (obligations to close family only) to low.
  • Masculinity: The degree to which a society emphasizes the value of achievement, heroism, assertiveness, and material rewards for success. Runs from high (these values are important) to low.
  • Uncertainty Avoidance: The degree to which the members of a society feel comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. Runs from high (where people need clarity and rules) to low.
  • Long-term Orientation: The degree to which a society believes that truth depends on situation, context, and time. Where long-term orientation is high, people adapt traditions and are more likely to save, invest, and persevere.

Source: Millward Brown 2002

Research has shown that in the United Kingdom, emphasis is placed on tolerance, respect for equality (the UK has a low power distance score), and individualism. These attributes influence the brands’ desirability and trustworthiness, which at the end of the day means bottom line. In Britain in particular, consumers identify consistently with strong brands that are ethical, that allow for individuality, and are considered friendly and generous.

Conduct your own research into your customer profile and with your finding, you can anticipate how any given market is likely to respond to certain types of messaging. Learn a little more about them and you can refine that message even further. Remember: Products and services will always dictate the overall message, but customer profiling helps you refine it.

Neuroscience stuff in – https://www.firstmove.co.uk/science-news/

 

Find out more about our mailing services today and how we can help you boost sales. Contact us on 01494 539300, email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk or fill in our online contact form.

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Set Up a Direct Mail Campaign

The Right Way to Set Up a Direct Mail Campaign

Having completed over 25 years of direct mail campaigns averaging 40 a week, we’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s best direct marketers. We’ve seen and experienced how they put their campaigns together, while adding our own expertise and knowledge into the mix to make for high ROI campaigns.

The most successful campaigns appear effortless in their execution, but it’s those with the most level of preparation that yield the most success. Here’s what we’ve learned as an outline of what every successful direct mail campaign contains.

 

Define your objectives

Figuring out what you wish to achieve with your campaign is the best place to start. Not only does it affect the design of the overall strategy, but can simplify just how you go about it. Whether it’s sales-focused or sign-ups-driven, think about what kind of conversion would satisfy the needs of the campaign. For those that are designed with brand awareness in mind, think about what kind of metrics you would use in order to measure its efficacy. We find defining objectives upfront invaluable when predicting the outcome.

 

Create a targeted list

Whether an internal database or a purchased list, the best direct mail campaigns target prospects with appropriate segmentation, the more available information the better. Think about the particular cohorts you wish to speak to and any behaviour that can help you increase conversions. Where do they live? Where do they shop? What kind of offers would interest them? The questions of who, what, where, why and when, help you the most effective method of communication for your data set.

 

Create your mailing design

As the vehicle for your campaign, the design is integral to its success. When developing your mailing materials, pay close attention to each element, whether it’s a letter, a flyer, special offer or a reply card. Are they eye-catching? Are they clear in their communication? Does the envelope scream “Open me”? Seek advice from your designer and direct-mail specialist, and don’t afraid to be creative. As a rule of thumb, 20 percent of the response is influenced by the design or writing of the mailing item, so give it the time and attention it deserves.

 

Then make sure your creative answers these 4 questions

1. Why should anyone read it?

2. Why should anyone believe it?

3. Why should anyone do anything about it?

4. Why should it be acted upon immediately?

 

Code your mailing

Set yourself up for highly accurate and measured results: Give your campaign a distinct identifier with personalised coding. With this information, you can determine which elements of your campaign are the highest performing and look at improving future distributions, as well as assessing the success of the existing one.

 

Test your campaign

The beauty of direct mail is in its flexibility. Why have just one offer when you can have many to establish just which is the most effective? A/B testing achieves even more from your campaigns. Try different calls to action on your envelope, change the wording of the offer to see which has the most engagement, or change the parameters of the database sample and watch the results roll in. With experimentation comes wisdom, and this wisdom is something we’ve acquired over the past two-and-a-half decades. Many approaches to the one campaign can offer insight into your database and how to best achieve an increased response rate with future mailings.

 

Distribute your mailer

Once you’ve fine-tuned your campaign, it’s ready for distribution, but there’s a lot more involved than putting a stamp on the envelope and sending it out into the wild. Bulk mailings require special consideration, largely so the postman doesn’t have a fit! We can advise on the requirements of the Royal Mail, and make adjustments to your campaign so it accommodates them. You might be eligible for Royal Mail discounts, in which case, gives you even greater ROI for a large-volume distribution.

 

Handle responses

Be confident in your ability to handle an influx of responses by being prepared. A test campaign will help you understand the response rate and plan for the extra demand on your resources, giving you ample time to assess a temporary staffing solution with your direct mail supplier should you need one. While you wait for the phone to ring, this is the perfect opportunity for additional training for your staff. The experience should be seamless for the customer from the moment they receive the mailing in their letterbox to when they connect with your team members for their new product or service.

 

Measure your results

Finally, and possibly the most insightful, your current campaign’s results are key for planning the next. Look at the rate of response and see if you can discern any correlation between the recipients and their behaviour, and of course, how it affected the bottom line. Your direct mail provider will have examples of previous campaigns to benchmark yours against, and will allow you to predict future responses. Make the necessary adjustments and commence your next phase of distribution for a simple and effective direct mail campaign.

 

Find out more about our mailing services today and how we can help you boost sales. Contact us on 01494 539300, email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk or fill in our online contact form.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

How to brief your mailing house

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Award Winning Direct Marketing

Award Winning Direct Marketing

HOW WE HELPED TO PROVE
THE GTECH AIR RAM IS THE BEST
VACUUM CLEANER EVER.

Last month we told you how we took home a silver DMA Award, but how did we do it? Our client Gtech and their direct mail campaign has revolutionised the cordless vacuum marketplace. In short, turning a general loathing of vacuuming into a love of vacuuming for thousands of consumers. But how?

Gtech couldn’t rely entirely on the short narrative of TV and page advertisements to tell the whole story. By taking data of previous Gtech carpet-cleaner customers and testing alongside external prospect lists, it enabled Gtech to redefine their customer base and grow their direct sales.

One of the key factors to our success has been our constant measurement and refinements of campaigns. When testing new media, we employ order tracking tools, unique phone numbers on TV and codes in press and direct mail. We then measure response against web traffic, calls and sales data. We profile all customers’ sales by postcode region and map this within TV regions, which provides valuable demographical insights and is critical to identifying ROI and value for money against a traded CPM.

While vacuuming could never be called glamorous (unless you do it in an evening dress or a tuxedo) we took Gtech’s new AirRam vacuum, designed a unique, lightweight, simple, clean mailer, that was low-cost to post, while displaying the proposition without unwrapping and delivered it to over 1,500,000 British homes via the Royal Mail.

Our campaign made use of press coverage, specifically the Daily Mail, and leveraged their claim, “Is this the best vacuum cleaner ever?” By placing the proposition with a great exclusive offer and imagery of the cordless vacuum, one’s curiosity could only be piqued.

And it was. With a whopping 4.3% conversion to sale.

One of the challenges of the campaign came from the relative obscurity of Gtech and how exactly to convince the consumer of their reputation. Through the campaign we delivered resolutions to any hesitations by putting them in the mailer and by helping establish Gtech as the market leader.

So why not have a talk to First Move about how we can create a similar campaign for you with such impressive results? While vacuum cleaners might, direct mail certainly does clean up, awards and all.

 

Find out more about our mailing services today and how we can help you boost sales. Contact us on 01494 539300, email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk or fill in our online contact form.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Direct Mail tips according to experts

First Move direct marketing orders 1st Xerox Trivor™ in the UK