Since 2016

July 2011

Do You Treat Direct Mail This Way?

Direct mail will go directly to the trash can unless you follow this adviceLet's face it. In this age of internet marketing, postal mail suffers from the Rodney Dangerfield complex - it just can't get any respect. When you bring in the daily mail, if you're like most people, you don't take long to sort through it. The marketing pieces in the stack will only get more than a glance about 20% of the time. If they survive that first pass, only highlights like headlines, pictures and captions will grab fleeting attention. Scanning replaces reading. That quick scan will eliminate about half right on the spot. Of the 10% that remain, another half will stumble on some little detail and toss the piece into the trash. Now the advertiser is down to 5% who might actually think about the offer that landed in the mailbox. Is it any surprise that direct bulk mail typically only gets 1-2% positive response?

Of course, all this generalizing applies to true bulk mail - a generic piece mailed to a large list. A more targeted and personalized mailing will generate a much higher response. It doesn't take a lot of improvement over 1% to create a real return on investment, even with higher unit costs. But for now, let's look at four steps that should be considered in order to improve even a standard direct mail piece.

  1. Use the right list. The only way to find the right list is to test. Mailing list companies that we represent have many ways of selecting prospects based on criteria that can make a difference. Send the same message to different lists in smaller lots, and compare the results. You should always do this first.
  2. Sell a quality product. This should go without saying, but a look at your daily junk mail will tell you that it isn't always followed. New products always get attention, but the safest bets are something that people already need, that they can understand clearly. Venture too far out of familiar territory at your own risk.
  3. Make your offer attractive. You only have a few seconds as people glance at your mailing. The right prices is always important, but premiums, free trials, and strong guarantees can make the difference between a sale and another piece hitting the trash can.
  4. Don't forget the basics. The headlines are the most important part of any advertisement. The body copy must be clear and fill in all the details. Pictures not only need to be attractive, they have to be useful and relevant to the buying decision. Finally, the call to action and ordering process have to be simple and straightforward. Make it easy.

By following these four steps, you can do your part to improve on the 98% rate of direct mail pieces heading to the trash can. If you'd like to explore how direct mail can benefit your business, contact us here at APTCO.

Consumers Want Their Calendars The Traditional Way: In Print

Wall calendars, desk calendars, planner calendars, and would you believe - mug calendarsPromotional Products Association International (PPAI; ppai.org) the not-for-profit association for more than 8,000 members of the $16 billion promotional products industry, has published studies revealing electronic/digital lagging far behind print calendars in consumer preferences both at work and home.

Despite a heavy reliance on computers and cell phones, nearly 80 percent of survey respondents said they prefer printed calendars for scheduling and record-keeping and more than 60 percent said they have at least one advertising calendar in their home or office—a promotional product which accounted for $1.12 billion in revenue in 2009.

Additionally, 82 percent said they enjoyed receiving advertising calendars, which further substantiates the advertising calendars’ place alongside other mainstream promotional items. 

“In an ever-increasing technological age, it’s important to know that the printed calendar—specifically the advertising calendar—is still very relevant, very wanted. Our survey of consumer usage will help professionals in the promotional products industry make sense of this evolving, yet stalwart marketplace by providing hard data on the impact of habits and preferences,” said Saritha Kuruvilla, PPAI's research manager. The results are quite surprising as they come out at the same time as smartphones and electronic calendars are growing exponentially.

Home vs. Work
In 1981, the Calendar Advertising Council conducted a study of calendar usage in households and the workplace, demonstrating widespread popularity for the printed piece. Fast forward three decades and PPAI’s new study affirms that the printed calendar is still very much a part of everyday life.

The average number of printed calendars in households today is 3.12 versus 3.98 in 1981. The kitchen remained the prime location with 75 percent of respondents reporting they had a printed calendar there, followed by the home office as the most popular location for 55 percent of respondents.

The average number of printed calendars per business was 2.10. In 1981, the average was 2.56. Thirty-seven percent of respondents had at least one calendar at work, 63 percent had between two and nine printed calendars at work and one percent had more than 10. And, despite the wide variety of calendars available in today’s market, the wall calendar still remains the preferred choice as 67 percent of respondents prefer it over others, including computer and cell phone calendars.

The study also found that the advertising calendar is an effective, profitable advertising vehicle. When measuring recall of the advertiser among consumers, more than 70 percent recalled the advertiser and message on their calendars and 70 percent will be doing business with the company again. 48 percent had a more favorable impression of the company and 41 percent reported referring others to the advertiser.

The findings from Calendar Usage In The Workplace and Calendar Usage In U.S. Households come from a two-part online survey of consumers, drawn from a nationally representative panel of home and business users, more than 1,000 respondents each. To ensure the survey questions explored the appropriate trends and issues, they were developed in partnership with the Calendar Advertising Council working in the calendar-publishing marketplace.

Did You Know?

Did you know about aptco capabilities? APTCO offers Summer discounts on calendars with delivery deferred till Fall.

For more about APTCO, click here.

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Favorite quotations “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

~Eleanor Roosevelt

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