Need to break through the clutter to engage someone with your marketing message?
Try print media with a twist — ADD PURLs.
Allow me to explain . . .
More than 60% of online brand searches begin because of a printed message. When you combine print media with PURLs — personalized URLs — you’re giving your customers a fast, easy (and measureable) way to meet their needs.
Personalization is the key to achieving an outstanding response rate. You must target a particular demographic and create an individualized message for each person within it. This BOOSTS your direct mail response rate dramatically, because you’re providing highly relevant information. This cross-media mix also keeps your marketing costs in line.
So how do you create these personalized messages and PURLs?
First, divide your target audience into subgroups; use Variable Data Printing to print direct mail messages that are relevant to each group. Then enhance the individualization by using personalized URLs (PURLs) within the piece, for example: www.YourNameHere.CustomizedWords.com. Visiting that PURL takes the customer to a personalized digital landing page, full of copy and messages written expressly for that subgroup.
You can track who uses which PURLs and what they click on within each personalized landing page. Analyzing this data helps you concentrate your follow-up efforts on each customer’s particular area of interest.
HINT: Make sure your offline and online messages complement one another. The printed piece acts as a teaser, giving customers just enough information to make them hungry to learn more. The PURL then gives them an easy way to make the leap from your printed piece to your digital message, which needs to deliver on any promises made in your teaser.
Be sure your personalized digital landing page is LOADED with terrific content for a satisfying conclusion.
The BOOM-POW combination of print and digital media delivers excellent consumer response rates and increases the reach of your marketing efforts. Print offers high read and open rates, while digital provides long consumer-engagement rates. This synergy creates better response rates and, ultimately, a higher return on your marketing investment.
So wrap your next direct mail message in PURLs!
Learn more about PURLs in our ebook 10 Steps for Generating Leads Using PURLs (COMING SOON) or check out this post on how to use PURLs to better measure your marketing efforts: Track & Measure OFFLINE Campaigns ONLINE with PURLs.
Last week a new client called me to put together a direct mail postcard. They wanted to promote their rehab / physical therapy services to senior citizens who have fallen and need to get back up on their feet (so to speak).
When I asked them WHY they wanted to do a postcard, there was silence on the other end of the phone. After an uncomfortably long pause, the response came back: “I don’t know. We just thought we’d try it.”
In my industry, I hear this response from clients all too often. May I offer a bit of advice?
Simply throwing stuff out there “to see if it sticks” is an old-fashioned (and unreliable) cooking trick — not a MARKETING STRATEGY.
Most businesses think it’s enough to be one-dimensional in their marketing: “Here’s our message for you to respond to.” But a truly successful marketing campaign operates multi-dimensionally. It should get your target audience thinking about ALL SORTS of ways you could assist them.
Be sure to think both BIG and BROAD when
crafting your next marketing campaign.
Instead of merely developing an isolated postcard for seniors, I asked my client if there was a larger audience who needed the same rehabilitation services. He enthusiastically pointed out there were several other target markets that their message could apply to:
- High school students with sports injuries
- Weekend athletes with injures
- Individuals in health clubs with injures
Then I asked, WHO & WHAT ELSE could this message include?
1. Could this direct mail postcard be part of a larger marketing initiative that reaches a broader audience?
2. Can we appeal to each group individually by customizing the postcard for each target audience?
3. Could we reach out to assisted-living facilities, health clubs, and high schools to offer a free 1-hour clinic at their location about how to prevent injuries and what to do if injuries do occur? (This would give our client targeted exposure and establish an overall relationship between them and assisted-living, health, and educational facilities in the area.)
4. Are there other opportunities with larger corporations that offer a Wellness Program, where this marketing model might also fit?
Suddenly, instead of having a simple postcard for seniors, the client had begun to build an effective branding campaign to project their image in the community as THE go-to resource for injury-related questions and concerns. Who do you suppose people will call the next time they’re injured and need help?
Before you put together your next direct mail campaign, be sure to ask yourself these 2 questions:
WHY are we doing it?
WHO & WHAT ELSE could this marketing effort include?
You might be surprised at all the brand exposure, relationship building, and marketing opportunities that these BIG, BROAD questions reveal!
For more tips like these, we invite you to read Important Steps to Grow Your Marketing: 3 Critical Questions to Ask.
And if you’re ready to use direct mail as part of your strategic marketing plan, give us a call (262.790.5000) or shoot us an email. We’ll make sure you get the most marketing bang for your buck.
With the recent addition of our new digital envelope press, short run, full-color envelopes have never been easier (or more affordable) to add some FLASH to your marketing campaigns.
Gone are the days of fuzzy images or less-than-stellar color delivery. New digital technologies consistently produce high-quality images so crisp you’ll be hard-pressed to tell they weren’t printed in a traditional fashion.
With digital printing, options abound on the ability to use color. Images and data can be added on the fly in accordance with your database. For example:
- A local oil-change facility might put a car of the same style and color as yours on the envelope to entice you to open their personalized mailer.
- A grocery store can add photos of items you regularly purchase to their mailers with coupons inside.
The more accurate your database, the more options available to you to add instant, personalized touches to your envelopes.
Our digital envelope press can now address your envelope at the same time your customized outside printing takes place — streamlining the process and making delivery times even quicker.
Envelope sizes range from a small A2 (perfect for invitations) all the way up to a 10″ x 13″ catalog-sized envelope that can deliver your full-size sales forms, spec sheets, or other promotional materials you don’t want bent or folded when mailed.
Custom envelopes are a great way to reinforce your company’s identity; to create a clean, consistent impression; and to engage potential customers and clients to interact with your mailer.
Paying attention to details — like by creating personalized, full-color envelopes for your customers — helps manage your brand consistently, increases your company’s visibility, and BOOSTS your sales. Now that’s marketing that really “pushes the envelope”!
If you’d like to use customized, color envelopes for your next mailer, contact us at Heritage today.
While working on web and print design projects, the question
we get most often from clients is:
“This graphic looks fine on my computer.
Why can’t we use it?”
Here’s why . . .
Monitors only show 72 dots per inch (dpi), so even low-resolution files look fine on your computer. If you want to use a low-resolution image or graphic on your web project it’s probably fine, but if you’re looking to create a PRINTED piece, low-resolution graphics aren’t what you want to use.
To get you started on the right track in getting your designer the proper images, we’ll share some common file formats for images — and when to use each — depending if you have either a print or a web design project in mind.
Before we get into the “guts” of file formats, though, it’s important to first ask yourself one key question about your graphic:
“Should I create my art as BITMAP (pixel-based) art
or as VECTOR (mathematical-based) art?”
Here is the difference . . .
Bitmap Graphics — These are graphics created from pixels in a grid. Each pixel contains color information for the image, which has a fixed resolution. Photographs are bitmap graphics. Increasing the size of a bitmap image or photograph can result in distortion and jagged edges, called “pixelation.” Because of this, it is unwise to scale bitmap art files larger than 100% of their created or original size. So, how do you avoid issues with your bitmap art?
When creating bitmap art or using photographs for the WEB, create/size your graphic/photo to 100% of the size you intend to use it at 72 dpi.
When creating bitmap art or using photographs for PRINT projects, create/size your graphic/photo to 100% of the size you intend to use it at 300 dpi.
Failure to create bitmap graphics or use photographs with these two basic minimums will result in blurry, pixelated images that are unsuitable for use on the web or in print.
Vector Images — These are images made up of many scalable objects. Vector art is defined by mathematical equations, rather than by pixels on a grid. That means that these file types can be enlarged without losing any quality. For example, a vector image can be created 1 inch wide and enlarged to the size of a semi-truck without any distortion. How is this possible? Unlike pixel-based art, vector images are resolution independent and don’t need to follow the same dpi requirements that bitmaps do.
NOTE: Vector graphics can be converted into pixel-based graphics, but pixel-based graphics cannot be converted into vector graphics.
The 5 most common file formats used in print and web pieces are JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF, and Vector Art. These formats can be created in various design programs, which may also save files in their own native format (e.g., AI = Adobe Illustrator; CDR = CorelDraw; and DXF = Autocad).
TIP: If you are creating art that you might modify for future use, keep a copy of the file in your software’s native format to ensure that all elements and layers are adjustable (e.g., save as PSD for Adobe PhotoShop as well as saving your final JPG to be used).
GENERAL USE GUIDELINES
For WEB: Use JPG, GIF, or PNG files.
For PRINT: Use JPG, TIF, or Vector Art (e.g., AI and EPS).
JPG — This is a common file format for digital photographs. It can be used for web and print and for photos and colorful graphics. This format is good to keep the file size small. Depending on compression level, the overall quality will be affected to reduce the size of the file. The more you compress, the lower the quality of the graphic, so be aware of how the quality of the file changes. Avoid large areas of text and color blocks in this type of file. As the compression level is increased, crisp lines around text will blur and colors will shift and become pixelated. When shooting photos with your digital camera, remember to use the highest resolution possible. It’s easy to reduce the size of the photo/graphic when creating your project, but increasing the size is restrictive, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and use the highest resolution possible when taking your picture in the first place.
GIF — This format is used for web projects and is not recommended for print use. For the web, it is best used for graphics with a limited amount of colors (e.g., logos, graphics with solid colors). GIF files will be reduced to a maximum of 256 colors or less. The more you reduce the colors used to optimize this file type, the lower the quality of your image gets. This format works well for buttons, banners, text, cartoon drawings and animations since GIF can support multiple images within a file. GIF should not be used for photos or for graphics with gradients.
PNG — This format is an alternative to the GIF format. It provides better quality with simple, full-color images because it can reference over 16 million colors rather than only 256; however, although better quality than GIF files, they tend to be much larger in size and do not support multiple images for the creation of animations. For these reasons, the PNG format is not as widely used as the GIF format.
TIFF — Use this format for print only. It works well for pixel-based images (photos) with no compression loss, resulting in crisp, clean images when printed in brochures, sell sheets, banners, etc.
Vector Art (AI and EPS) — This is the best format for company logos or graphics that you will need to enlarge to any size imaginable. Vector art is infinitely scalable, as it is created through mathematical calculations consisting of lines, curves, and shapes with editable attributes. Vector art has the advantage of being scalable, and it’s resolution independent, but it’s unsuitable for creating photo-realistic imagery.
Now you’re ready to take on your next design project. That’s the kind of Forward Thinking we at Heritage do best!
Have a design question we can help you with? Let us know in the Comments below. We’re always here to help.
Now you can have that great design you’ve always envisioned AND be eco-friendly.
Seed paper is embedded with wildflower, herb, or vegetable seeds. Your recipients simply plant their printed piece in a pot or garden, and the seeds inside the paper grow into plants.
Like MAGIC — your paper message or invitation composts away, leaving only wildflowers, herbs, or vegetables in its place. See photos here.
As it blooms, this clever paper becomes a great “leave-behind” reminder of your message or event. Seed paper can be used to make such plantable items as:
You can order custom seed paper by the sheet or in bulk for all your marketing needs. And because seed paper is made with post-consumer material, no new fibers are used to make it. TREE-FREE paper? That’s about as eco-friendly as you can get!
Target, Starbucks, Honda, and McDonald’s are among the companies who have used seed paper in their direct mail campaigns. Are you ready to “branch out” and give it a try?
Call Heritage today to learn more about seed paper or other ways you can “Go Green” with your next printing project.
Got eco-friendly ideas of your own? Share them below in the Comments.
Image credit: Tim Sackton via Creative Commons
Take a quick peek at your mail today, or look in your email inbox, and you’ll see what I like to call “NICHIFICATON.”
Retail marketing giants know that sending customized marketing messages to those who like THIS vs. those who like THAT leads to increased sales. The days of sending out one “umbrella” message are gone. With so many marketing streams competing for attention nowadays, customers are quick to dismiss what isn’t of immediate interest to them.
Today’s marketers need to segment and customize their marketing messages
for each target audience they’re trying to reach.
That’s niche marketing at its BEST.
For example, if you’re an “outdoor enthusiast,” that could mean you’re interested in anything from camping to snowboarding. From bicycling to hunting big game. From kayaking to — well, quite literally, “anything under the sun.” Ya gotta dig deeper . . .
And even if you determine which segment you’re going to target with your marketing message, that segment probably has its own sub-segments. (Grab your shovel again. We’re digging down deeper yet!)
If bicyclists are the outdoor enthusiasts you’re after, you still need to know if your audience is into road biking, bike racing, mountain biking, urban biking, and so on. Does your customer want to know about:
- BMX bikes?
- Recumbent bikes?
- Hybrid bikes?
- Tandem bikes?
Each sub-segment has its own particular lifestyle, wants, and needs (bike parts, accessories, clothing, gear, food, etc.). Members of the racing crowd will have no interest in a mounted basket for carrying groceries. You need to do your homework and customize your message to include only relevant items.
Savvy marketers know how to reach and communicate with each sub-segment on an individualized level that’s targeted specifically to their unique needs and interests.
Using NICHIFICATION, you create customer intimacy and brand loyalty
by speaking to your customers in their own language.
It’s important you have a solid database to draw from when segmenting the different target audiences for your message, but that’s a topic for a whole other article!
For more information on how segmenting your target audience (say it with me now, “NICHIFICATION!”) can help you build a better relationship with YOUR customers, email us or give us a call at 262.790.5000. We’re here to help.
Connect with Steve Kohlmann online: LinkedIn
In the video below, Creative Studio ModeLab walks you through the basics of 3D printing and creating complex structures.
As 3D printing progresses we might see a shift out of plastics into things like plant matter or flesh (3D printing with skin). We like their Forward Thinking attitude. Fascinating concepts!
Are you trying to acquire new customers by sending emails to a rented list? That’s like hammering nails with a screwdriver. You’re misusing the tool, and things could get ugly.
Those rentable email lists may be opt-in – that is, people agreed to subscribe – but most likely, recipients aren’t interested in what you’re promoting. Your message is easily mistaken for spam. And that, in turn, can be the kiss of death for your brand.
Email is a retention medium — a channel for keeping in touch with existing customers. Sending consistent emails throughout the year helps you stay top-of-mind.
When acquiring new customers is your goal, reach into your toolbox
for a more appropriate tool: direct mail.
Direct mail lets you solicit new customers with an enticing offer. That offer leads them to your website, where they can provide you with personal data in exchange for the enticing tidbit you’ve promised. And that, my friends, is how you build a valuable email list.
Email and direct mail are both great ways to reach people. Just remember to use the right tool for the job at hand. To see examples of great direct mail and email campaigns, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heritage Printing has come to your rescue in explaining the latest changes to the U.S. Postal Service’s requirements for folded self-mailers (FSMs).
In January 2013, major changes took place affecting the requirements on folded self-mailers. Here are 3 key points to remember:
- When tabs are used as the sealing method, a minimum of 2 are required.
- Tabs cannot be placed on the bottom edge of oblong pieces.
- The final fold must be on the bottom; for oblong pieces, the final fold must be on the leading (right) edge.
Get detailed specifications and see helpful illustrations at RIBBS – USPS National Customer Support Center.
So, to review…
To play by the new USPS rules:
Use at least 2 tabs, keep your final fold on the bottom,
& for oblong pieces keep tabs on the top and final folds on the right.
Count on Heritage to provide you with handy updates in plain English to make keeping up with USPS requirements a cinch. Let us keep you informed on all the latest mailing industry news so you can stay ahead of the game! If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call 262-790-5000.
As more consumers rely on smartphones, tablets, and laptops, your marketing strategy must adapt. Interactive print can serve as a link between print and digital, helping you connect with these consumers.
Personalized URLs (PURLs) send customers to a website customized specifically for them. This increases response rates and engagement, creating a stronger impression of your brand.
Quick-response (QR) codes let your company take advantage of new smartphone technology. Customers use their camera phones to scan printed 2D barcodes on marketing collateral and other promotional materials. This instantly reveals digital content – a video, application, vCard (electronic business card) or website material – that provides more information about the brand.
Augmented reality (AR) enables large printed graphics to become interactive 3D images when placed in front of a webcam. As an example, a 3D product image can enhance a product launch.
Each interactive print option gets consumers actively involved by clicking a link, scanning a barcode, or capturing an image with a webcam. The interaction helps your marketing campaign make a stronger impression.
While they’re great for prompting transactions on specific products or serving as coupon codes, misusing them can actually hurt your campaign. As with all new bells and whistles, it’s important to apply these methods wisely.
Want to learn how to get it right? Stay up to date with additional print-to-digital marketing examples in our monthly eNewsletter Forward Thinking.