Archive for September, 2012
With the ease of acquiring marketing materials today even small businesses can look like a Fortune 1000 company. But simple design mistakes can make your company look amateur and waste valuable marketing dollars. Avoid making little mistakes, hire a professional designer, and follow these ten postcard design and copy rules. They will help you keep your professional look for better impressions and stronger results.
- Use a high resolution stunning image to grab attention on the front of the card.
- Don’t use more than two typefaces as it looks unprofessional.
- Embrace white space and don’t fill the entire card with content, images and color.
- Use a compelling headline. What’s in it for the reader?
- Include a strong offer that creates the action you want (call, email, RSVP)
- Follow your company branding guidelines and corporate colors for continuity.
- Try to avoid using typefaces smaller than 10 pt.
- Go big. Postage is your biggest cost in mailing a postcard. We suggest using a card that is close to 6” x 11”.
- Use high quality paper that will endure the mailing process and look good on arrival.
- When in doubt, hire it out. You get one chance to make an impression.
Those small businesses that throw these guidelines to the wind and have their cousin or secretary design their postcards create doubt in the minds of their prospects. A poorly designed, flimsy card leaves a prospects thinking…
- Did they print this on their home computer?
- Did they shoot the photos themselves?
- Should I trust them with my business when they look like they operate on a shoe-string budget?
Bigger is Only Better When You Nail the Design
Skyline Roofing invested in mailing full color 8.5 x 11 postcards. And while it stood out in a pile of mail, it did not stand out for the right reasons in regards to design. Here are the reasons Skyline Roofing’s card looks more amateur than professional.
- While the picture on the front may be compelling, it looks out of focus and like a cellphone took it. The photo includes too many distractions such as full and empty glasses of beer, milk crates, charcoal bags, buckets, and what appears to be a drill or calking gun by the window.
- The image isn’t sized properly to bleed off the page and wastes 1/6 of the oversized postcard layout.
- The front of the card headline is too small. It uses a serif font in white, which makes it difficult to read. Serif fonts (with the feet) can be hard to read when reversed white on black.
- The designer had typeface ADD. There are at least five fonts used on the back of the card. This creates too much distraction for the reader.
- The offer is buried and open ended. Putting a deadline on the chances to enter a drawing creates a sense of urgency. Moving the offer to the front of the card is also an improvement.
- The body copy is centered instead of flush left. Maybe this is a personal preference, but I just think it looks bad.
- The placement of the company logo and Better Business Bureau logo appears random. Images, logos, etc. should always have a purpose with where they are located.
- When I visited the landing page I found the message “Whoops Page Not Found.” Skyline must have removed it shortly after the mailing rather than leaving it up for at least 12 months for those prospects who keep the card and call many months later. I don’t know about you, but just because I got a postcard doesn’t mean I need a roof TODAY.
- Spot color usage of red, yellow, purple, green, and blue appear random. Determine a brand color guide and then stick with it.
- Personalizing the front of the card with the prospects name via variable data printing could have pushed response into the double digits. Adding other variable elements – like age of people in the photos or types of homes may have helped drive results.
My postcard assessment either makes your feel really good about your direct mail efforts or perhaps you learned something to correct in your next mailing. Let us know what your takeaway was in the comment box below.
Don Peppers and Martha Rogers began preaching 1:1 marketing for 19 years – the era of Web 1.0. Peppers and Rogers got on the 1:1 soapbox in 1993 with their bestseller, The One to One Future. To speak to your customers 1:1 in the 90s, a company had to do it through phone calls, lunches, small seminars, individual letters, mass mailings with a personal note scribbled on the bottom or expensive custom pitches.
Not today. If you do the right prep work, you can speak to hundreds, even thousands of customers 1:1 through variable data printing. The only drawback is you have to slow down long enough to ensure you’re collecting the right data on each customer. You need to know them, their family, and their buying preferences intimately. You also need to make sure that you are aligned with a partner to establish your data extraction and print processes to make your marketing pieces truly speak 1:1.
Download this newly released eBook, Unlocking More ROI through VDP, which gives you more than 50 pages addressing the ins and outs of variable data printing along with three bonus case studies documenting the double digit results three national companies gained through VDP.
Variable data printing or 1:1 marketing is also known as database printing. With the numerous case studies validating variable data printing’s lift and today’s advancement of data capture technology, it is still surprising only a fraction of companies use it.
The four companies below have grasped the single message source (store) to the single recipient (household) concept and built their CRM systems around it. These VDP rockstars consistently deliver a “mom and pop” or first-name personalization and purchase preference to millions.
- American Red Cross — Red Cross keeps its global mission highly personalized by putting a real face and name on its donor request mailings.
- Ferrellgas — This national propane company with 900-plus locations uses variable data printing to increase opt ins to its Will Call Campaign. By using variable data printing and print automating technology to speed their message to their customers Ferrellgas saved over 100 hours of staff time and increased response rate by as much as 30% depending on the season.
- Harrah’s Casino — is the second-largest casino operator in the U.S. Harrah’s keeps gamers returning to its casinos with highly personalized direct mail pieces and frequent-gambler cards that account for its $3.7 billion in revenue (the highest 3-year returns in the industry). SOURCE: DeanLogan.com
- Target — Target builds individual shopper profiles then designs and mails personalized self mailers and emails featuring products and coupons based on each recipient’s previous purchases. They send their customers coupons and offers that make sense based on past buying habits and complex algorithms for future buying patterns. SOURCE: XMPIE
As you can see by the four VDP rockstars above, execution of any 1:1 customer campaign involves blending operations with sales, marketing and your CRM system. More than likely you have everything you need to start today. Start revving up your return on investment through VDP and add your name to this list of rock star marketers.
The American Institute of CPAs awarded Mail Print its seal of approval for operational and system controls this summer. Before I lose you, let me tell you why this endorsement is a huge deal and impacts the way we do business together.
Data is often time the most valuable asset a company can own. Security and data privacy policies work to protect your customers from an accidental compromise of their sensitive information and adherence to strict regulatory laws. Keeping data secure can be costly, time consuming and a worry for companies that work with this type of information. A data breach can be a threat to an organization’s business, as well as to the personal lives of their consumers.
As a data-driven business, 85% of the files we print come directly off our client’s servers vs. being walked into our office on a portable file. Mail Print takes seriously the efforts of operating secure, safe, and efficient processes – especially since we are directly tapped into the servers of many of our clients. So to stay ahead of the risks associated with facility security, information systems, data communications, server integrity, and environmental controls, we voluntarily participated and paid for this third-party audit.
By having “all eyes” examine the general controls supporting our direct marketing and printing services, you can be assured that when working with us you will not receive a corrupt file, be exposed to a data breach, lost data, or delays in production because of risks we should have known about and addressed.
You Can Trust Us With Your Proprietary Information
Because the company pulls proprietary data directly from many of its hospitality, healthcare, nonprofit, and retail clients, we are particularly cautious. Mail Print allocates a percentage of their annual budget to ensure all systems are in place to secure the data and meet its customer’s deadlines.
“Our successful audit validates that we make the handling and security of customer data a top priority,” says COO Eric Danner. “We are one of the few in our industry that annually invest in third-party audits to scrutinize our processes, people and systems.”
Key findings of the audit Mail Print’s SOC1-SSAE 16 Type II Audit were:
|Audit Findings||What it Means to You|
|All servers and workstations use anti-virus protection, which conducts routine scans.||You’ll never have to worry about corrupt files.|
|Critical company data is backed up, redundantly, from computers, workstations, shipping machines and presses.||You’ll never have to worry about lost data.|
|Data classification methodology is used to identify and classify sensitive data in the production process||We process but don’t look at sensitive data such as health care info or financial data.|
|Encryption methods are in place and utilized for processing and storing of sensitive data such as credit card and HIPAA-protected information||Hacking won’t be a problem.|
|Our office is secure and employees are heavily screened and hired based on performance and ethics||You’ll be working with stand up people.|
Feel better? We know we do.