5 Ways to Use Promotional Products

Take a look around your work space. How many branded items do you see? I’ve got 4 within easy reach—in fact, 74% of consumers have at least 1 promotional product in their work space.

There are a lot of numbers out there citing the effectiveness of promotional products. They are a usable, versatile advertising medium that can generate awareness of and excitement about your brand. But how and when should you go about using them? Try one of these 5 strategies to start incorporating promotional products into your business strategy.

Collage of Promotional Products

1. Trade Shows

Retractable banners are easy to transport and offer a large space for colorful branding.

Trade shows are a popular occasion to use promotional products in a variety of ways. Table cloths, floor mats, and banner stands are all areas where you can maximize the look and feel of your trade show booth with promotional products.

An event like this is also a chance for valuable face time with potential customers or other businesses. To make the experience more memorable, you can provide a branded gift item for visitors to your booth. Depending on the show you are attending and who would be receiving your promo item, you can take a couple of different approaches.

Items like pens, note pads, magnets, and some tech accessories are popular for giveaways because they are generally inexpensive and used by a variety of different people. If you have a small budget but want to provide a branded item for visitors to take home, you can consider such an item.

However, sometimes these events are a time to make a substantial impression. That’s when it can be effective to invest in a higher-end promo giveaway that you can use as part of a package. With this method, it’s all about the presentation. Find an item your audience will want to take home and use, add custom branded packaging, and create a memorable experience that will generate interest and leads.

2. Safety Programs

In construction and industrial fields, there is large potential for on the job accidents to happen. When they do, the results can be devastating, including injuries, loss of productivity and morale, and loss of money.

Safety Cone Key Chain Promotional Product

Sometimes, companies will hold training sessions to help improve understanding of safety practices and regulations. Promotional items can be given out as part of the course, or as a reward for completion.

Other companies have found that promotional items work well as incentives to improve workplace safety. In one successful promotion, a national bakery created a program to give a gift to employees every month they went without having an accident. The items encompassed a variety of products, including apparel, drinkware, and tool kits. Each item was chosen as appropriate and usable for the employees who would receive them.

The results? The bakery went an entire year without having an accident. While promotional campaigns are often designed as an upfront investment that will generate more business and income in the long run, in this case the cost of the promotion was dwarfed by the amount of money the bakery saved by not having to stop production due to accidents.

3. Wellness Programs

Like safety programs, wellness programs are designed to incentivize employee behavior. Maintaining a focus on employee health benefits both employees and businesses. Corporate wellness programs have been shown to reduce the number of days employees miss work, increase productivity, and reduce healthcare costs. When your employees use an item branded with your logo during their fitness or wellness routine, it’s a reminder that you care about their health.

Some popular wellness-focused promo items include:

  • Reusable Water Bottles: Staying hydrated has been shown to reduce fatigue, boost cognitive performance, and protect against certain illnesses.
  • Stress Relievers: Both mental and physical health are important for employee satisfaction and performance.
  • Exercise Accessories: Fitness trackers, pedometers, exercise bands, and more are all ways to encourage employees to pay attention to and take better care of their bodies.

4. Employee/Top Client Gifts

A popular saying about promotional products is that they are the only advertising medium people like receiving and will thank you for. That’s why many businesses use promo as gifts for hard working employees and top clients.

This can take many forms:

  • Plaques or glass awards to honor milestones
  • Part of a special package mailed to long-term clients
  • An item you can leave behind after client meetings
  • Yearly or monthly awards for top achievers
  • Quality branded apparel for employees to wear on the job

5. Direct Mail Campaigns

Tradeshows are often all about generating new leads for your business. You’re in an environment where you can connect with potential customers or partners, and you have a chance to wow them with your presentation.

Entrepreneur opening a padded envelope

But often, the people or companies you most want to get in touch with aren’t all going to be in the same room. To make an impression on these individuals and make sure your message is heard, you can incorporate a promotional product into a direct mail campaign.

Why is this successful? If we’re honest, we probably don’t open every envelope we receive in the mail. But when you mail a promotional item as part of a package, it’s likely in a box or bulky envelope that, more often than not, is going to be noticed and opened. 

First, you’ll want to determine who you’ll be sending to and what kinds of promotional items they’re likely to use. Then, you can combine the item with a letter of introduction, brochure detailing your services, or any other content you want to use to inspire interest and generate action. Packaged together, you have an impressive way to get your foot in the door and encourage more recipients to accept your follow up calls.

Start Generating More Leads with Promotional Products

Interested in incorporating branded promotional products into your marketing strategy? At Paw Print, we can help you find the right item for your intended audience, take care of the ordering process for you, and use our design and creative marketing teams to put together promo packages to wow your audience. Contact our Promotional Branding Specialist, Sarah, today to get started!

Sustainable Branding with Cork Promotional Products

Cork bark is harvested from trees in long strips, like those piled here.

When you hear the word “cork” you may be reminded of pushing pins into a cork board or popping the seal on a bottle of wine. But today, cork is being used in more ways than ever before, as a lightweight, versatile, and environmentally friendly crafting material. Cork is increasingly popular with designers and is being used as a component in several categories of branded promotional products.

Cork is Eco-Friendly

Cork has a lot in its favor: it’s flexible, lightweight, insulating, and durable. However, a major reason why it’s so popular is its sustainability.

While cork comes from cork oak trees, the trees don’t need to be cut down to obtain the cork. Instead, the bark of the tree is harvested. This doesn’t harm the tree, and the bark can be harvested from mature trees every 9 years. Since cork trees have been known to live for 300 years, one tree can provide many harvests in its lifetime.

This cork oak tree has had part of its bark removed. Nine years on, a new layer of bark will have grown and will be ready for harvesting.

Harvesting the bark not only provides a renewable resource—it can also provide us with cleaner air. As with all trees, cork oak trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere during their lifetimes. However, after each cork harvest, the tree will absorb more CO2 than normal to help it regrow its bark. Over time, regularly harvesting cork allows the tree to absorb significantly more CO2 than unharvested trees.

Because the trees are not cut down, critical habitat is preserved for many unique and endangered species that are found only in cork forests. There are about 6.6 million acres of cork forest covering the Mediterranean region of Europe. This ecosystem contains thousands of species unique to cork forests. The only forest with greater biodiversity is the Amazon Rainforest. 

Cork is also bio-degradable. And, increased efficiency has allowed for even small bits of cork and cork waste to be processed into usable material.

Branding with Cork

Cork joins other sustainable materials like recycled fibers and bamboo as an eco-friendly alternative to wood and plastics. You can incorporate cork into your brand with promotional products.

Sometimes cork can be used on its own. Often it is combined with other materials to provide a more natural feel and add interest.

Coasters can be made entirely from cork, for a lightweight, natural look.

Branded cork coaster

Drinkware is also a popular category for cork. It is combined with materials like recyclable stainless steel, glass, or ceramics for a unique look and feel.

Cork is known for its durability. This makes it an ideal material for items that get a lot of use, such as tote bags and journals.

Want more cork? Pens and pencils, flash drives, kitchen and household items, lanyards, and more are all being made with cork. Cork is an ideal way for your business and brand to add interest and maintain an eco-friendly focus.

Interested in promoting your brand with eco-friendly promo? At Paw Print, we can provide a wide range of eco-friendly promo options, including stainless steel, cork, and bamboo products. Contact our Promotional Branding Specialist, Sarah, today, to find the best promo solution for your brand, budget, and timeline.

5 Steps for Marketing Planning Success

Office team cdiscussing marketing plan

When it comes to marketing your business, you’re only as effective as your marketing plan. Without a set of concrete goals and detailed steps for achieving them, it’s difficult to stay on track and impossible to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

For many businesses, a new year is a natural time to plan for the year ahead and begin implementing new strategies and schedules. Whether you’re in the midst of planning your marketing for the year or are waiting for a slower time to plan, the following tips can help you begin to think about making this year the best yet for your marketing.

1) Look Back on Your Marketing

To plan effectively, you have to know where you stand. This is the time to compile the data available to you regarding all areas of your business, including:

Graphic of Data Collection for Marketing Plan
Logo vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com
  • Customer demographics and purchase history
  • Website visitors and SEO strength
  • Social media strategy
  • Direct mail response rates

You may already have ways of keeping track of these figures, or you may want to invest in a software that helps to compile and analyze the data for you.

Also evaluate last year’s campaigns:

  • What strategies brought in leads and engaged customers?
  • What techniques missed the mark?
  • Are there strategies that used to generate business that are now dead ends?

Because there are so many aspects to marketing, and your time is limited, you may not be able or want to examine all areas at once. Sometimes, to be efficient and effective, you need to focus your efforts on achieving a few key goals or improving performance in one area. Whatever you decide to work towards this year, make sure you have all the data and information necessary to begin making thoughtful, achievable goals.

2) Set New Marketing Goals

Now that you’ve established where you are, where do you want to go? Before you enact any changes to your marketing, it’s important to set goals. In a marketing plan, goals are sometimes referred to as Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. Certain markets have KPIs that are recognized across the industry. However, when it comes to a KPI, specific is always best, and specificity means examining your business’s unique situation, separate from the market as a whole.

Whether you think of your desired outcomes as goals or KPIs, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself. Say your goal is to generate more repeat business from your current customer base. Consider:

  • What steps should be taken to achieve your goal?
  • Who within your company will be responsible for each step?
  • How will you measure progress towards the goal?
  • How often will you review progress?
  • How will you know you achieved the goal?
Dartboard with darts labeled with marketing plan terms
Business image created by Waewkidja – Freepik.com

Again, specificity is key. And make sure you are focusing on goals that are actionable and realistically achievable (whether they seem small or they’ll need a lot of work to achieve). Your efforts are best spent on a focused, targeted approach. Achieving a small goal this year gives you the boost to keep improving that metric next year.

And, let’s revisit the second point from above. It’s critical that each member of your team knows what their duties are and when they need to be completed. If everyone is on board, your path to success will be a lot smoother.

One last thing about goal setting…write your goals down!

3) Stick to The Plan

There will be times when following your marketing plan will be difficult, or even impossible. You may miss writing a blog one week or forget to post on social media for a few days in a row.

It’s likely this will happen, but don’t let it steer you off course. To truly understand the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, you must be consistent with it. Consistency creates expectation, so that potential customers see your content on a regular basis. If you’re producing compelling content, and distributing it on a regular basis (though email, social media, or direct mail) recipients will [hopefully] look forward and expect to hear from you. Having a detailed plan and executing those steps makes the entire marketing process easier, so that missed deadlines happen less often.

4) Don’t Wait to Plan During Slow Seasons

While there are benefits to using slower periods to plan or overhaul your marketing strategy, it’s important not to wait until a slow time to get started. The best time to start is now! Even if you aren’t able to execute a fully-fledged marketing plan during a busy season, try to keep one or two marketing strategies consistent. This will give you a solid foundation to work off from and allow you to maintain a consistent marketing presence in your community.

5) Plan Ahead!

Chalkboard plan ahead

If you’ve got an event planned 6 months from now, it’s easy to tell yourself you have plenty of time to get all the details right. Though you may be able to take your time, think of this as a chance to make your marketing materials the best they can be. You may need some design work, which can be time consuming, and which may need editing and approval from other members of your team or a board or committee before the go-ahead.

Giving yourself the greatest amount of lead time is also crucial when it comes to promotional products. Making the effort to identify the item that’s the best fit for your event, audience, and budget, as well as getting all parties on board with imprint and pricing, takes time.

Branded_Promotional_Products_Paw_Print_And_Mail
Order your promotional products early, to meet longer lead times and avoid rush orders.

While many promotional items have production times of between 5 and 10 business days, some items, notably more custom orders, can take over a month to fulfill. Adding to the lead time is shipping, which can take 5 business days depending on location. Since many blank and custom items come from China, the recent tariffs have increased lead times in terms of product availability. 

Ready to plan your marketing strategy yet? Paw Print & Mail can help make marketing easy. Contact us today for assistance with print collateral, direct mail fulfillment, graphic design, promotional products, and more!

5 Key Digital Marketing Trends for 2019

cartoon of businessman riding rocket toward space
Business vector created by Dooder – Freepik.com

New Year’s resolutions have a reputation of being short-lived. Make a resolution for 2019 that you’re sure to keep—a commitment to marketing your business better! These 5 trends are on our radar for the coming year. Incorporating any one of them into your digital marketing strategy can help 2019 be the best year yet for your business.

1) Keep Creating Killer Content

Advertisements used to rule the marketing world. But consumers today are skeptical: 42% of Americans believe brands are less trustworthy than they were 20 years ago.

This doesn’t mean you should stop using ads altogether. It does mean your business should maintain a focus on creating content that is less ad-heavy and more information-based. The more informative, engaging, and helpful your content is, the better. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates 3 times the leads of paid advertising.

If you’re already a content marketing king or queen, keep up the good work! If you don’t know a lot about content marketing, or want to up your game, try one of the following:

  • Start a blog page, sharing content about your industry, how customers can make best use of your products, and related topics
  • Develop a social media strategy to post more regularly
  • Begin using video marketing
  • Start a podcast
  • Add email marketing to the mix

2) Video Marketing

three women watching video on laptop
Coffee image created by Tirachardz – Freepik.com

If you’re on social media regularly, you’ve seen that video tends to dominate our news feeds. Videos regularly outperform content that is just text or a mix of text and imagery. This is because videos have high entertainment value, and as a result tend to be more engaging than a text-heavy article (though those are effective, too!)

A 2017 study reported that 64% of consumers were influenced in their purchasing decisions from viewing a marketing video on Facebook. And, 75% of millennials watch video on a social media site daily. Video is a major opportunity to get your brand in front of a large audience, with the potential to have a significant impact on sales.

If you’ve never created a video before, don’t be intimidated. Working with a professional video production company can be an effective route to take. But even simple content can be engaging. If you have a smart phone, you can easily take short videos of what’s going on with your business. Live video is growing in popularity, allowing you to easily stream from any location at any time. Or, you can take a personal approach and speak directly to the camera about a new development you’re excited about or helpful tips you want to share.

Take a look at this infographic and article for helpful information on how video marketing will be used in 2019.

3) Voice Search

girl using voice search with cell phone
Technology image created by Freepik

I’ve recently begun to use voice search, and I’ve got to say, it’s handy. It’s certainly faster than typing in a long search query. And, my phone will read the result to me, so I can keep working on whatever I’m doing while getting the information I need.

It’s estimated that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches. That’s huge, and it’s important for marketers because a voice search reads differently than a text search. If I want some sushi, I might type into Google, “sushi restaurants Burlington.” But, in a voice search I might say to my device, “Hey Siri, what sushi restaurants are near me?” or “Okay Google, where can I order sushi now?”

Voice searches tend to be longer and take more of a conversational tone. That wording difference is a big deal for SEO. If you’ve optimized for keywords that people type into a search bar, you may not be optimized for words that would be used in a voice search.

To fix this, think about the phrases a potential customer might speak when voice searching for your product or service. Then, work to incorporate those phrases/words into your website, whether through meta content, blog posts, or a FAQ page where you can type out those questions in full.

4) Chatbots

When it comes to a business, nothing beats having a face to face conversation with an employee. But in some cases, when your customers are regularly ordering online and you’re receiving a lot of orders, chatbots can be a solution. A UK research group, Juniper, estimates that chatbots could help save businesses up to $8 billion annually by 2022.

A chatbot acts like a human but is not meant to be one. It can be used to answer repetitive, data-based questions, schedule appointments, and find products, among other tasks. The intention of a bot is meant to make each website visitor’s experience more personalized, as well as smoothing the path to a sale. Thought not yet at the level of human communication, bots are improving quickly, allowing them to connect with potential customers in an increasingly conversational way.

5) Artificial Intelligence

Building artificial intelligence
Technology vector created by Vectorpouch – Freepik.com

Last on our list, but certainly not least, is artificial intelligence. Chatbots are a form of AI technology, but artificial intelligence has abilities that go beyond chat functions.

When we hear the phrase “artificial intelligence,” we may envision a futuristic world where robots live alongside us, performing many of the tasks we do currently. But AI is already at use in many areas of our lives. Think of Amazon’s Alexa, a personal assistant that understands what we say and learns our preferences—over time, assistants like Alexa come to anticipate our needs. And, ever heard of Tesla? The self-driving cars are another example of AI.

So, how can AI be used for your business? One helpful way is by analyzing data. An AI program can be used to examine a set of data or a customer list, identifying similarities and indicating which individuals you should market to. It can also look at data from social media, blogs, and internet searches to give you a better understanding of how customers are finding your business, what they are searching for, and how they interact with your marketing content.

While certainly not the only trends to keep an eye on in 2019, these 5 are getting increasing attention, with results to back up the hype. Follow the Paw Print blog for tips on keeping your marketing fresh in the coming year!

Impress with Letterpress!

letterpress flower design
This example shows both a blind and an ink-filled letterpress design.

The history of print is rooted in letterpress. We’ve come a long way from the hand set type of a traditional printing press. And while digital printers make printing fast and affordable, we haven’t left our roots behind just yet.

A Time Honored Tradition That’s Back!

traditional printing pressFor over 500 years, from the invention of movable type in 1439 to the development of offset printing in the 1960s, letterpress dominated print. As printing techniques became more refined over that period, print quality came to be judged by the level of visibility that printed plates left on the paper. A less visible indention was considered a higher quality product.

Today, it’s a deep impression in the paper that gives letterpress its appeal. Typically printed on heavier, softer sheets of paper, letterpress inspires a sense of quality, solidity, and elegance. It’s a go-to method for printing wedding and event invitations and can help to add a sense of maturity and sophistication to business cards. And it’s an effective design element that will help your brand to stand out from the crowd.

How Does Letterpress Work?

Letterpress sheet with bird image
Letterpress can capture small type and thin lines.

Letterpress pieces are often noted for their craftsmanship, because the process is typically completed by hand.  It involves a plate or set of plates that are used with a traditional printing press.

First, a plate is created with your artwork/design. If you’re using a single color, or no color, for your letterpress design, only one plate is needed. Each additional color requires a separate plate, and a separate pass through the press.

Whether you’re using one plate or several, a plate must first be locked into the press. Ink is mixed, then carefully applied to the press rollers to ensure an even spread. Then, one piece of paper is run through the press per pass.

When the stock is run through the press, the rollers apply ink to the plate, which is then pressed into the paper. The final product leaves an impression in the paper, which can either be blind (no fill) or filled with your selected color of ink.

See a traditional press in action in this video: 

woman using letterpress

Letterpress business cardsArtistic techniques like letterpress, foil stamping, engraving, and embossing and debossing give your printing a unique and memorable look and feel. If you’re interested in making a positive and powerful impression for your brand, by utilizing these exceptional processes, call Paw Print—we make printing easy!

Build Trust with Education-Based Marketing

two men shaking hands and smiling
Business card image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com

Are you tired of sales pitches? Do you hate feeling like you’re being sold to? So do I. Like many consumers today, I want more from the companies I choose to do business with.

There are two key things you need to know about consumers today:

  • They make purchases and do business based on trust
  • Purchases are made on their own timetable, whether or not it aligns with your business

In other words, traditional marketing styles no longer have the impact they once did. Consumers are more discerning and focused on the value your company can give them rather than simply the products or services you provide. If traditional marketing is sale-based, today’s approach is education-based.

What is Education-Based Marketing?

An education-based approach to marketing means moving away from a typical sales pitch and messaging. Instead, you’re providing consumers with valuable information related to your industry or products that allow them to make confident, informed purchase decisions. By providing consumers with a wealth of information related to your market, you establish yourself as an authority in that field. You show that you are knowledgeable about what you’re selling. You know what you’re talking about, and now your customers will, too. In creating this sense of authority, you build trust with your audience.

Education-based marketing is also a long-term strategy in that it allows consumers the freedom to learn about and purchase when they want. With an education-based approach, you create content that can then live on your website, so that consumers can access it whenever they like. It allows you to have a constant pipeline of prospects accessing the information without you having to seek those prospects out.

Know Your Stuff

woman explaining a document to colleagues
Business image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com

To implement an education-based approach to your marketing, you’ll need to know your product and your customer well. Consider what a customer who purchases your product would want to know about the product, its uses, and any problems that often come up. Speak to their specific challenges and goals to develop a message that will resonate with your target audience.

Depending on what industry you’re in, lack of knowledge can be a significant hurdle when it comes to making a purchase. If a consumer feels overwhelmed at the thought of encountering your service, providing them with clear, concise information in various forms can help to ease that fear, making the consumer feel more comfortable with your industry. This article from Forbes outlines an effective example of using education-based marketing in the financial sector, to educate retirees.

Trust typically takes time to build up, and you won’t create trust with every consumer overnight. However, consistently providing potential customers with helpful, informed content will help to build trust faster than you may think.

How to Implement an Education-Based Approach

With any marketing campaign, you’ll need multiple touches before a consumer will engage with you. Education-based approaches are no different. Once you’ve identified your prospect and your message, put content out on all channels available to you. Make sure your message, tone, and imagery are consistent to make each touch point meaningful.

Some effective ways to provide educational content include:

  • Regular blog posts
  • White papers
  • Hosting a seminar for potential customers
  • An e-book
  • Short, informative videos
  • Webinars
  • Emails with links to relevant content

A Compelling Example: Carpet Cleaning

 

illustration man running up bar graph
Business vector created by Freepik

In this podcast, business strategist Tony Robbins talks with the late Chet Holmes about the power of education-based marketing. Holmes discusses a carpet cleaning company that he worked with to increase sales using an education-based approach. In this case, the company worked to fulfill a need after they established what the problem was.

 

First, the company took research from the EPA regarding indoor air quality. The study found that in buildings where the carpets were vacuumed daily, there were still high levels of bacteria and other unwanted organisms in the carpets. When the carpets were removed from the building, people got sick 4 times more often than before. Essentially, this research concluded that carpets act as a filter to keep harmful bacteria out of our bodies. But to maintain a healthy level of bacteria, a carpet should be cleaned every 6 months.

When they presented the facts, people were pretty grossed out. The company was marketing to clients who typically had their carpets cleaned professionally once every 3 years. The company established a problem which consumers didn’t know they had, but immediately wanted to solve. Then, this company was poised to offer the solution.

By presenting the research alongside a membership plan that offered twice yearly cleaning at a better than average rate, this company, which had been around for 100 years already, found a new way to grow their business. The final tally? Business increased by 100%.

You may not see quite as dramatic growth when you add education-based marketing to your business strategy. However, over time, incorporating educational content alongside traditional marketing techniques will help to build your company’s reputation and value for current and potential customers, giving you a competitive edge.

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Direct Mail Tracking & ROI Success Indicators

Smiling woman removing mail from mailbox

Personal. Reliable. Trustworthy. Useful. These are all words that have recently been used to describe direct mail. Direct mail is a powerful marketing and fundraising tool. A key to its success lies in tracking response and measuring results. If you have no way of knowing what a recipient does once they receive your mailer, you can’t know the true value that mailer holds for your target audience. So, what do we measure? And how do we make mail trackable and measurable? The following measurements and tracking strategies can apply to for profit businesses and nonprofit organizations alike.

4 Key Measurements

illustration of data on a tablet
Business vector created by Iconicbestiary – Freepik.com

As with any marketing strategy, it’s best to begin your direct mail campaign by defining your goals. In a general sense, you’re likely looking to increase business or generate leads. But it’s important to be specific when targeting the message of your direct mail piece. Do you want to increase traffic to your physical storefront? Are you looking to drive recipients to a landing page on your website? Or, are you working to encourage event attendance?

Say you send out a direct mail campaign advertising your company as a service provider. Soon after, you start to see an uptick in business. This is the result you want, right? But it may be impossible to tell what effect your mail campaign had on growth of business or if the piece accomplished what you wanted it to.

And, if you don’t know how successful or unsuccessful your direct mail campaign was, it’s impossible to plan or improve your strategy in the future.

Once you know what you want to achieve, the following indicators can be used to calculate the results of your mail campaign.

Response Rate

This refers to the percentage of recipients who responded to your mail piece. Simply divide number of responses by number of mail pieces sent to get the response rate.

Conversion Rate

This is the next level up from Response Rate. More people are likely to respond to the mailer than those who eventually convert to customers (or donors.) Depending on what you’re selling, the conversion rate may be low, or it may take a longer period of time to achieve a conversion from your mailing. Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of actual orders you receive by the number of responses you got.

Cost per Acquisition (CPA)

CPA refers to the amount it cost you to obtain each new customer. Divide your campaign cost by the number of orders you received to determine CPA. You may find it helpful to compare the CPA for your direct mail campaign with that of your other marketing endeavors, as it will allow you to understand which channel achieves the most business for your market.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI is the baseline for your campaign—how financially successful was this mailing? ROI is calculated by subtracting the cost of your campaign from the revenue generated and then dividing by the campaign cost.

As you get deeper into the measurement process, there are several other metrics you may want to measure.

6 Tracking Techniques

Now that you know what you’re measuring and how you’ll use your data, let’s look at 6 ways you can implement tracking into a mail piece.

1) Coupons

direct mail postcard hair cut couponsEveryone loves to feel that they’re getting a good deal. Depending on the nature of your business, a coupon offer can entice prospects who may not otherwise have visited you. I can think of several occasions when food coupons I received in the mail led me to a restaurant, sometimes one I was familiar with and often somewhere completely new. Your mailing could be a single coupon, or it could include several offers, allowing you to see which resonates most with your mail list.

If your business has several locations, it may be helpful to include a coupon code so that each location can process the coupons the same way, and you’ll accurately collect data for that mailing. Codes also make online purchases and purchases through apps easier to implement and track for coupons.

2) The Mail

Like coupons, where the recipient could bring the physical coupon in to your business, you could require recipients to bring in the mailer itself to receive the offer. For instance, you may be offering a free consultation. The recipient can only receive that free consultation when they bring the postcard along on their visit. That way, you’ll know exactly who responded to the campaign, since they’ll be handing over the addressed piece.

3) URLs

If you want to drive traffic to your website, you can create a landing page and URL specific to the mail campaign on your company’s site. Then, print that URL prominently on your direct mail piece. Visitors will come to the page directly from the mailing, so you can accurately track how effective the mail piece was at achieving your goal.

Personalized URLs (PURLs) are another option to explore. PURLs are customized to each recipient on your mail list. For example, for a contractor, a PURL could look like this: www.contractors.com/jane-doe. The content Jane would see if she goes to her PURL would be customized to her, with her name and offers specific to her needs and interests.

4) QR Codes

phone scanning qr code
Background vector created by Freepik

You can use a QR code in the same way as a URL. Print a QR code on your mailer that, when scanned, brings recipients to a landing page customized to the mailing. When you track how many people visited that landing page, you’ll know how many people responded to your mailing.

5) Customized Phone Number

It’s also possible to create a custom phone number for your mailing campaign, if you’d prefer recipients call in to talk to someone at your business regarding the mailing offer. You can make it a point to track when a call comes in regarding the mailer. However, you’re likely receiving several calls throughout the day regarding all aspects of your business. To make it easier, you can set up a number separate from your regular business number that will forward to a separate line. Then, you’ll know any calls coming through that line are specific to your mailing campaign.

6) A/B Split

digital artwork two open laptopsIf you’re looking to track what resonates with your recipients, an A/B split can be helpful. Design your mail piece, then create a second version that differs by just one element, such as the headline, image, or language in the call to action. Split your mailing list in half, mailing version A to the first half and version B to the rest. You’ll need a way to track responses to determine which version that respondent received. This strategy can give you a sense of what language, offers, message, etc. connects with your audience, allowing you to plan and execute better targeted campaigns.

Tracking and measuring data from marketing campaigns provides you with invaluable information about your marketing strategy, your prospect list, and your prospect’s response to your product/service offerings. Sometimes an offer you thought would be a home run falls flat, while a mailer you weren’t expecting to stand out receives an overwhelming response. Any relevant and legitimate data that you collect from measuring will help you to better reach your audience with more personalized, compelling offers in the future.

Ready to step up your direct mail campaigns? From list work and design to printing and mail fulfillment, think Paw Print. Give us a call at 802-865-2872…we make it easy!

Direct Mail Works: Enhance Your Fundraising Appeal

woman reading mail at deskOne of the biggest reasons people don’t give is from a feeling of futility—how can my contribution really make a difference?

To turn this feeling around, you must show a donor how important they as an individual are to your cause. A personal way to do so that continues to get results is direct mail. A direct mail piece that sends the right message, to the right recipient, at the right time, is a compelling and effective way to connect with your target audience.

But what makes a powerful mail piece?

Let’s look at a recent appeal mailing from Giffords PAC, an organization working to end gun violence founded by former Congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabby Giffords.

Part 1: Personal Letters

The contents of the mailer include two personal and visually powerful letters. The first is from Gabby Giffords herself, and the second is from her husband, Mark Kelly.

direct mail fundraising lettersThere are several tactics that make these letters compelling, starting with the opening sentences. In Giffords’ letter, her lead-in reads,

“The man who tried to kill me shot 18 other people that morning.

Six died. One of them was a nine-year-old girl.”

There is no build up to this, no context, which makes it more powerful. The true story on its own is enough to catch and hold our attention, as well as bringing us right into the issue central to Giffords PAC.

Kelly begins his letter with his own visually compelling and personal story. “I always thought I had a risky job” he states, going on to tell us of his 39 Desert Storm combat missions and four trips into space. To the average person, that’s risky stuff, and it helps to pique our interest in Kelly. But he continues on to root risk in the everyday world. Most of us will never travel to space. But the “more present danger” that Giffords faced, that of being shot, is, unfortunately, very real.

The openers are different for both letters, but they work to convey the same message in a compelling, personal way – gun violence is real, mass shootings are happening, and we are all at risk.

Data

Both letters also make powerful and effective use of data to send their message. In Kelly’s letter he states that “every year, 34,000 people are killed with guns” which is a horrifying statistic. Giffords cites the same statistic, but she says, “this year, 34,000 people will die from gun violence.” It’s a powerful statistic for both letters, but the language Giffords uses makes it feel more urgent—these people “will die” due to the current state of gun control, which I feel is a powerful motivator to support the call to action later in the letter.

Throughout the rest of Kelly’s letter, he incorporates statistics in a way that helps to build the story. It’s easy to get bogged down with numbers. And, it’s also easy to fall into an overly emotional tone without evidence to back you up. Kelly is effective at using data to strengthen his story and make a compelling case. His story is better because of the data, and the data is more compelling because of his story.

3 C’s of Marketing

Kelly and Giffords invoke the 3 C’s of Marketing in each of their letters: Context, Community, and Clarity. Their lead-ins set the context of the mailer and the mission of the organization. They build the body of the letter by developing a community-centric tone. Kelly writes that “right here in our country,” “simple every day events” make us question the safety of our homes, schools, and communities. Gun violence is a national issue, but it impacts Americans on a local scale, shattering communities. Kelly successfully creates the sense that GIffords PAC is a community of concerned Americans that aren’t just looking for financial support. They truly want the donor, as an individual, to become a part of their community. “Gabby and I are counting on you,” Kelly says at the end of his letter.

As for the last C, Clarity, it’s clear what Giffords PAC is counting on the donor to do. The issue and the facts are clearly stated, as are the successes they’ve achieved, their long-term goals, and what you as the donor can do and stand for.

Donor-Centric

While both letters talk about gun control and Giffords PAC, they are centered on the donor. The letters make liberal use of the words “we,” “our,” and “you,” the last of which is a critical piece. Using “you” helps the letters speak directly to the recipients. In Giffords’ letter she writes, “now more than ever, I need you.”  And Kelly tells us “our voice will be so much stronger if you’ll be there beside us.” Both poise the donor as pivotal to the solution.

P.S.

P.S. to letter

Did you know that the P.S. is the second most read part of a letter after theopening sentence? Kelly includes a P.S. at the end of his letter that succinctly summarizes his main ideas, and emphasizes that we, as Americans, are the only ones who can enact change by demanding better gun control laws from our elected leaders. Even if a reader skipped over the body of the letter, this P.S. clearly states the issue at hand with a call to action that makes the reader a pivotal piece of the solution.

Part 2: Action Steps

In addition to the letters, this mailing included two pieces tied to direct action. The letters make the case for Giffords PAC and are followed up with action-oriented content.

yellow call to action slipThe first is a yellow slip with a bold headline: Washington Must Find the Courage to Take Action! It echoes the tone of the letters—we will not stand by while gun violence happens, and we demand that leaders act. Then follows a list of clear steps that elected leaders can follow that Giffords PAC believes would achieve greater gun safety.

Part of what makes this piece of the mailing strong are the details. This slip cites specific actions for leaders to take and specific legislation that should and should not be a part of solving the crisis of gun violence. It gives the impression that this organization is clear in its goals, understands the situation, and has identified clear solutions. There is no passive language here. Action-oriented words are key to making this slip work.

donation slip direct mail fundraisingThe second action piece in this mailing is the donation slip. Again, the purpose here is clearly stated to help reiterate what your contribution will do. The recipient’s name and address are printed on the slip as well. All a donor has to do is check the box indicating the amount of the gift.

Another effective and personal touch is the photo of Giffords and Kelly that appears in the upper right corner. It is always helpful to put a face to a name and better know who you are supporting and working with. This slip offers multiple ways to give, too. You can mail this slip back to Giffords PAC or “put your money to work right away” at the web link printed on the bottom.

Letters to political leadersBeneath the donation slip itself are three letters to the President, Speaker of the House, and the Senate Leader for donors to sign. Giffords PAC takes on the work of ensuring these reach these government leaders. It’s an easy way to start making donors feel involved in the cause.

Part 3: Remittance Envelope

remittance envelopeIncluding a remittance envelope in the mailing makes the process one step easier for recipients. The envelope requires no additional postage to be mailed. Many donors today choose to give online. However, including a remittance envelope is a nice courtesy that makes it convenient for recipients to take action.

Need help with your direct mail or fundraising campaign? At Paw Print, we specialize in direct mail appeal production. Contact us to start reaching more donors today.

Boost Your Marketing Power with Storytelling

woman reading story to young daughters in garden
People image created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

Storytelling is an essential and ancient part of human communication. Before the advent of writing, detailed stories were told orally, passed from generation to generation. Stories hold meaning for cultures, reflecting their histories, beliefs, and customs. We tell stories to learn, build relationships, and make sense of the world around us.

In fact, our brains are programmed to recognize patterns and find meaning in those patterns. A story is a kind of pattern, and stories are an effective marketing tool that you can use to build connection with your audience.

There are good stories, and then there are great stories, the ones we remember. But what makes a compelling, memorable story?

Elements of an Effective Story

1) Be Memorable with Emotion

drawing of woman laughing
Background vector created by Freepik

Facts and figures are essential to marketing—you need data to understand and relay your progress, as well as understand the state of your business. But numbers alone don’t inspire strong emotions. According to communications specialist Rob Biesenbach, 63% of people remember stories, but only 5% remember statistics.

There’s science behind this notion as well. When we are exposed to facts, two parts of our brains are activated, to take in information and to process. On the other hand, a story activates several areas across the entire brain.

And, these areas aren’t just accepting information—they’re experiencing the story. Think of the last book you read. Maybe the main character slipped into a cool lake on a scorching hot day or felt full of fear before giving an important speech. Did you feel the relief of that cool water, or find yourself growing anxious on behalf of the character? That’s the power of a good story. And it reflects the fact that when we hear a story and when we have a physical experience, the same areas of our brains are activated—the brain doesn’t differentiate between a story and an experience.

Know the Emotions of your Customer

Stories can be emotional in and of themselves, so that most of us who hear the story feel the same emotions. You can also tap into your potential customer’s emotions by telling a story you know will resonate with a specific fear or desire they are experiencing.

Say Sally has always wanted to play the piano. You’re selling a system that will help your customers learn to play the piano fast, efficiently, and well. You can tell a story with the main character flawlessly playing a piece on the piano, finishing to a round of applause. Poise your product as the solution to that specific fear or desire in the story, and potential customers will be flocking to your brand.

2) Show Your Unique Side

Unless you’re selling a never-before-seen product, you’ve got competition. And even if your business is exclusive in what you offer, you’re still competing against countless other businesses and products for a consumer’s spending dollars. Why should a potential customer choose you?

Stories help you out here. Even if your business offers the same services as several others, only yours has your unique story. Telling the story of how you founded your company, developed your product, or helped a customer shows the special, human side of your business that separates you from the crowd and helps you connect with consumers on a personal, human level.

3) Inspire Action!

cartoon of man in suit running
Business vector created by Makyzz – Freepik.com

When we feel positive emotions, we want to do what we can to ensure those feelings continue. And when we feel negative emotions, like anger or fear, we want to act as soon as possible to stop those feelings. Because stories can make us emotional, they can also spur us to action. If your story inspires relief in consumers—finally, here is a solution to my problem—they’ll want to act to obtain that relief as soon as possible. They may have been searching for this solution for a long time. But your story raises the stakes—act NOW and your problem will disappear.

Stories also make us more likely to act because they can increase the perceived value of a product. A study called the Significant Objects Project found that when inexpensive items were marketed along with a story, the perceived worth of the objects increased, and buyers were willing to pay more for them than the object itself was worth. In this experiment, the purchasers knew the stories weren’t true—even still, the narrative gave buyers more of a reason to purchase.

4) Connect with Values

Consumers, especially Millennials, make purchase decisions as extensions of their values and identity. If a company doesn’t align with those values, consumers are more likely than ever to look elsewhere for their needs.

When you tell your story, you have a great opportunity to highlight what is important to you, what your company stands for, and your ultimate goals. Whatever those goals may be, they’ll likely resonate with a specific audience. This makes them more likely to purchase from you and to feel a greater connection to your business.

5) Make Use of Visuals

A story is built on compelling words. But sometimes, words aren’t enough. A captivating visual can say a lot, which is why the best stories make use of words and visuals to convey a message. Whether you’re talking about a specific individual, event, or circumstance, make sure to include visuals relevant to the story.

6) Personalize

Smiling woman posing in field
Nature image created by Freepik

It helps to tell your story from a particular point of view, whether it’s your own, someone in a similar situation as your potential customer, or someone who was helped by your product. This helps to put a face to the issue. Your product may have helped thousands of consumers. But being able to put a face and truthful, personal words to it can make all the difference.

What brand stories do you remember? Let us know! And, if you need help telling the story of your business, Paw Print offers copywriting as a service.

Now, go on. Tell me a story.

Does Your Multichannel Strategy Need an Update?

lit up lightbulb over marketing drawings
Designed by Freepik

When was the last time your print marketing strategy was freshened up? When was the last time you looked at your creative approach, value proposition, and media mix with fresh eyes? If it’s been a while, maybe now is the time.  Here are three areas to consider to improve your multi-channel strategy.

1) Does Each Tactic Prove its Worth?

Technology is cool, but don’t throw new things into the mix just for the sake of doing it. Test, evaluate, and incorporate new components in ways that create results.

Say you make your first contact with a customized postcard, direct mail letter, or self-mailer that drives the reader to a personalized URL.  Offer the option of connecting to the site by either entering a web address or scanning a QR Code.  Track your metrics to see which channel recipients do and do not respond to.

No matter which response mechanisms you use, be sure to look at more than top-line numbers. You might think that a response rate is “low” until you discover that it gets the most responses from a segment of your target audience that is particularly important to you.

2) Go Further with Demographics

It may be tempting to base your marketing efforts on the most readily available information, such as gender, age, and income. For the best results, however, take it a step further. Seek to understand what your prospects care about. Today’s consumer wants to be an individual, not a segment.

3) Track and Measure Your Results

Which elements of the campaign do you track? How do you determine a “response rate”? Is it a click or a scan? Is it the completion of a form or a purchase? Connect your marketing goals with clear metrics, so you know which of your marketing efforts are working and which are not.

Marketing is about results, and consumers often respond to different tools and tactics at different times. Track, test, and measure so you can keep up.

Ready to create a marketing campaign that will get people talking? Paw Print & Mail can provide you with the design, print, mail, and promotional product components to develop a truly memorable marketing experience. Contact us today!

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