Print Marketing

What You Need to Know

In today’s world of marketing, we’re constantly surrounded by buzzwords – both old and new. As we evolve and keep up with the newest technology and trends, these buzzwords evolve as well. Yet, some buzzwords – like “Every Door Direct Mail”, otherwise known as EDDM, have stood the test of time for quite a while. In this blog, we’re breaking down this buzzword, walking you through its positives and negatives, and explaining when your company should or shouldn’t use it.

What is EDDM?

Every Door Direct Mail (better known as EDDM) from USPS is a blanketed mailing approach sent to potential customers near your business. USPS utilizes a mapping tool that holds demographic data based on census reports, such as age-range, household size, and income. Factors like these can help your company choose the routes you’d like to deliver your mail piece(s) to. Additionally, you can schedule that delivery for any time mail gets delivered.

You may create the mailer yourself, but it’s recommended you work with a company (like Strata) to help you design both professionally and effectively. The USPS website states, “Based on your unique business needs, either create an EDDM mailing yourself or get help with any part of the mail design, printing, preparation, and drop-off process using USPS affiliate vendors or find a local printer in the USPS Printer Directory.”

What Does it Cost?

The cost of EDDM varies, but it’s usually a lower cost option for marketing mail (which we’ll go over later on in this blog). You first have to choose between two options, EDDM Retail and EDDM BMEU, which you can read more in-depth about, here. The costs associated with these options are as follows:

  • EDDM Retail® USPS Marketing Flats – $0.20 per piece
  • EDDM BMEU USPS Marketing Mail Flats – as low as $0.168 per piece

What’s Good About EDDM?

EDDM is a good option to have if your marketing budget is low. It’s also possible to use it as a marketing test-run to see what audience members are most likely to respond to your communication (especially if you don’t have the budget for reporting).

It’s most often used for generalized, non-specific marketing awareness or brand campaigns. If you simply want to get the word out there – to anyone and everyone about your business, EDDM is an option to consider. Using EDDM can help you to avoid high postage rates, as long as you have a smaller print job in one geographic area.

Why Should I Consider Not Using EDDM?

EDDM definitely comes with its trade-offs. With it, you’ll lose the ability to target individuals based on very specified credentials, and won’t have as much leeway when it comes to time-to-market. Additionally, if your EDDM campaign is too large the cost savings you’d get with postage would be practically meaningless due to the increase in production processing. Lastly, EDDM doesn’t give you any options in terms of personalization – which, if you’ve read some of our blogs, you know is important in direct mail campaign effectiveness and ROI.

What are the Alternatives?

Before using EDDM, think through other ways you can get your message across, and who you’re trying to get that message to. Instead of using a blanketed geographic approach, you may want to try a more specified campaign like our SmartMove services (personalized, multi-touch mail that’s sent specifically to new movers). This way, you can better pin-point your audience, and provide a better experience to those who receive your mail.

Or, maybe the best marketing strategy for your company isn’t even mail at all, or is mail that includes a digital touchpoint. A more multichannel campaign could be your answer.

EDDM isn’t for every company and its marketing strategy – but as experts in the industry, we can say that it works for some companies. Yet, there are many times a more targeted strategy, like our new mover marketing options, will work better. Wondering how you can get started on your next direct mail or multichannel campaign? We’re here to help. Simply contact us whenever you’re ready.

How to Fight it & Flourish

As spooky season approaches and Halloween is around the corner, we’re thinking a lot about our biggest fears. But today we’re not talking about ghosts or goblins or even Michael Myers. We’re talking about one of the scariest things of all to any workplace…complacency.

“Complacency is man’s biggest weakness. It creeps up on us when we least expect it.” – Jay Mullings

Even if you think your company isn’t anywhere near complacency, there’s still always room to evaluate and grow. And, you may be surprised by what’s lurking behind the door of contentment. Complacency is not only bad for your company, but good for your competition, which we’d assume will give you a bit of a fright. If employees aren’t challenged to improve, things are the way they are because it’s the “way they’ve always been”, and the company isn’t growing, it’s definitely affecting your revenue. But don’t worry – it’s never too late to change. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the best ways to avoid company complacency and ensure you’re periodically updating and enhancing your culture, practices, and marketing.

Complacency’s Cause

Complacency can sneak up on any company without warning, shielding it from growth and stifling creativity and innovation. Why? Because if companies are seemingly doing “fine” and meeting their goals on paper, they feel no “need” or urgency to change. That’s where the biggest mistake is made, because companies should always be looking to evolve and thinking about their vision for the future. If not, ideas become stale, talent becomes bored, and eventually, the company comes to a jarring halt without any clue of how they got there.

When everything seems to be going well, it can be difficult to disrupt successes. And it may feel like the right decision to let processes and practices take their course rather than think about next steps and development, but often “the riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo.” Without urgency and consistency for change, employee performance shifts and can even decline. Statistics show that only 30% of employees in America are actually engaged in their work, and only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in their office environment. With such low numbers already, it’s so important to keep employees excited, energized, and motivated for what they’re doing and what’s to come.

Combatting Complacency

With complacency being a bigger, scarier possibility than you may have assumed, it’s important to keep it top of mind and to make sure you’re doing your best to combat it. Start with communication of your company’s mission, vision, and values. Make sure they’re clear, known, and maybe most importantly – accurate and true. Know who you are. If you do – your employees will too, and in turn they’ll feel more connected with and motivated by your workplace. Allow employees to see their contributions to the bigger mission, and their worth as an asset to the overarching vision.

After all, having a good (and growing) company culture is key to combatting complacency and ensuring workplace satisfaction. How do you improve your culture? Many ways, but the most effective tools are company newsletters, employee highlights, group meetings, and employee appreciation. Again – make your employees feel valued, and they’ll more likely provide value.

Additionally, make sure team members feel important and part of the greater whole. Encourage managers and team members to communicate within their individual teams, and make sure responsibilities are delegated and well distributed. Employees are more likely to become bored when they’re doing the same tasks over and over, so give them room to be creative and explore new opportunities. You never know who may have the next best idea.

Lastly, be prepared for whatever may come your company’s way, and never be too afraid to challenge the status quo. If we’ve learned anything these past two years, it’s that anything can happen, and that the saying “it won’t happen to us” is just not realistic. It’s important to listen to the ideas of your employees and always be prepared for what’s to come with an open communication structure. Make sure you have multiple decision makers, not just one, and that employees feel comfortable enough to make some decisions without “permission” from a leader. Training your employees to make decisions on their own will be a key factor in combatting complacency.

Refreshing Without Fear

Almost as important as your workplace and its people is your brand and marketing. Without change and evolution, your marketing can quickly become out-of-date right under your nose (causing your employees to lack company pride and your audience to lose interest). But how do you know when it’s the right time to update your brand and marketing?

A sure sign (these days) of lack luster marketing is an absence of social platforms. Some would even say if you’re not online, you might as well not exist. And although we think that sounds a little spooky, we’ll admit that it holds some truth. If you’re hard to find and not posting relevant content and imagery, target customers may be choosing your competitors (who are more accessible and approachable) over you.

Also important to your brand and its relevance is your website. In this day and age, it’s very easy to tell when a website has been left alone so long that it’s developing cob-webs. If you’re finding that your website traffic is down and your customers aren’t interacting with it, it’s time for an upgrade. But, before any big changes, compile data and make purposeful decisions. What is your audience looking for? What do they respond well too? How can you quickly and easily get them to have interest in your company and purchase goods?

Additionally, make sure you keep your advertising and customer communication – whether digital or physical – energized and creative. Combine direct and digital marketing to reach specific audiences and keep your brand top of mind. Don’t settle for just one medium that “seems to be working” if multiple channels of communication could bring you more success.

Lastly, avoid complacency by focusing on helping the customer rather than selling to them. While the overall goal of most companies is to generate sales, it’s essential you show your customers that you care about their pain points and needs. To see all of these tactics in action, check out our recent blog on how to create successful marketing campaigns.

Company complacency can sneak up on you like a ghost in the night and lead to missed opportunities, poor customer service, and disengaged employees. Stay aware of the possibility of contentment and make sure you’re always exploring, evolving, and rising above the rest. Change is inevitable, but complacency doesn’t have to be.

For more information on what we do at Strata and how we can help you fight complacency with one of our marketing solutions, contact us today.

The 9 Most Unique Ways to Use Print in Your Marketing

Over the past two weeks, if you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’ve gotten the chance to hear about the true power print holds. We’ve shared why print is still so powerful in today’s marketing world, as well as tips and tricks on how to improve your current print marketing practices. Print is trustworthy, cost-effective, results-driven, and sticks with customers, and we’re here to show just that. For our final blog of The Power of Print series, we’re taking you through the 9 most unique (and powerful) ways your company can use print marketing.

1. Letters & Postcards

“Letters and postcards” can really mean a variety of things. From packages to flyers – to dimensional mailers, sending these to customers and prospects gives you a chance to include personalized messages, catered services, tailored specials and more to gain their brand loyalty and trust while breaking through the digital noise. They won’t go to waste, as 44% of customers visit a brand’s website after receiving direct mail marketing.

2. Newsletters & Updates

You may already be sending out an e-newsletter or monthly updates to your customers to keep them in the know, advertise new products and services, and send upcoming company and event information. Why not switch it up and give them a surprise with a printed version every so often? For printed newsletters or update materials, you can choose from a wide range of materials, layouts, shapes, and sizes to share your company’s news in a fun, eye-catching, and creative way. 

3. Business Cards

Business cards have been around for years, and there’s a reason they’re still used currently, despite all of the digital options available. Not only do business cards share your contact information quickly and effectively with others, but with all of the print options of today, they give you a chance to further show your brand’s quality and creativity. Unique and eye-catching business cards will always be great tools at networking events and social gatherings, and are a great way to stay on the minds of potential customers.

4. Loyalty Cards

This simple yet powerful tool will keep your customers coming back and get them excited to do so. Using loyalty program pieces or punch cards with your logo and brand is a great way to advertise and market your business, its products, and its services. Even better – make these cards super quick and easy to use by including a QR code that tracks customer purchases. Studies have shown that up to 64% of small businesses that have implemented a customer loyalty program have found that the program earns the business more money than it took to create – so get the most bang for your buck with this simple and effective print marketing piece.

5. Posters, Flags, & Banners

Posters, flags, and banners are physical marketing pieces that are so large that you can’t really ignore them. These are great advertising options because of their scale, cost effectiveness, and longevity. Use them in store, hang them in your windows, post them around town, hang them up at a tradeshow – over and over again. Spend a bit more on print quality, and you can use them for years to come.

6. Promotional Products

These non-paper items are a great print option that not everyone always thinks about. Almost every household in America has at least one magnet on their refrigerator – so, let’s make sure that one magnet promotes YOUR business. Or, place your logo and a unique design on a sticker to go on a laptop, water bottle, or phone case. Whatever makes the most sense for your audience, print it. If they like it enough and use it, you’ll get some free marketing promotion as they sport your company t-shirt, use your branded water bottle, or share your logoed hand sanitizer. Hand out these promotional items at trade shows and events, send them in the mail, or give them out as a parting gift after face-to-face meetings.

7. Calendars

Printed, branded calendars are a great opportunity to showcase your brand or products – for 365 days of the year. Offering these to clients and potential customers is a great relationship starter, and since calendars are usually front and center on desks and office walls, your company’s name has a higher chance of being remembered.

8. Brochures

Probably one of the most well-known ways to share company information, a brochure is a quick and traditional piece to remind customers of what you represent and what you have to offer. 48% of people retain direct mail for future reference – so sending them a brochure ensures that they can go back to your company information any time they’d like. Furthermore, brochures are versatile. They can be sent out, placed in establishments, or handed out at events. There are endless places and ways to get brochures circulating to share your brand and offerings.

9. Catalogs

The catalog has come a long way, and in today’s digital world, it’s much easier to design and print. The catalog is an extremely budget friendly way to share your products, and, like other print materials, it’s a great way to show your company’s quality and care by using thoughtful paper, color, and texture choices. It’s also a unique way to stand out among your competitors, and again, break through the digital noise of today.

Looking for ways to incorporate the power of unique print into your next marketing campaign? At Strata, we’re print experts (it’s in our DNA) and we’re ready to help! Contact us today to start brainstorming your next eye-catching print project.

Make a Mint off of Print

In last week’s blog, part 1 of the Power of Print series, we discussed how powerful print marketing really is, and how beneficial it can be as a central branding and promotional tool. This week, we have for you, part 2 of the series. Now that you’re convinced of its importance and relevance, we’re giving you key tips and tricks your business can use to enhance the power of your print marketing.

We know you’re busy, and you likely want to save all the time you have for productive business efforts and possibly some great marketing, so, we’re making this a quick and easy read. Like we said, we have more than a few (8, to be exact) top practices to create effective print marketing materials…

8 Ways to Improve the Power of Your Print

Know Your Audience

Any print material you distribute should be at least somewhat personalized and developed with your key audience in mind. Make sure your messaging and visuals speak to the people you’d like to reach above all else. Before even creating your print marketing materials, take time to research and understand your audience, looking into not just their wants and needs, but also their pain points and expectations.

Don’t Push Design Aside

You may think design can come as an afterthought – the last piece of pulling it all together and getting your marketing printed, but the total opposite should take place. Think through your visuals just as you would your content and call outs. Use them to connect with your audience and grab their attention. And, don’t skimp. Print’s already very cost effective, so spending that extra bit on design, paper, and colors is worth it, and could be the reason your audience starts to love your brand or continues to be loyal.

Have a Clear Message

When you’re dealing with print, there’s usually a limited amount of space available, at least compared to digital. There’s not as much room to “say it”, so your forced to “say it right” (which can be a great thing when determining necessary messaging to entice customers with fleeting attention spans). Make sure your message, especially your call to action (what you want the customer to do or know) is loud and clear – not hard to find. Don’t clump all of your products into one postcard. Instead, feature a few products, or better yet, use data to personalize the material and feature that specific customer’s favorite merchandise.

Make it Relevant

We’d like to reiterate – because of just how important it is – to always research, understand, and consider your target demographic before creating print materials. Why would your product or service interest them? Why would they need it? How could your material catch their eye? Personalizing this content will make it much more memorable and impactful. In fact, in a study conducted in 2019, 72% of consumers claimed they only engaged with marketing messages that were customized to their specific interests.

Engage the Senses

When it comes to creating print marketing, don’t just think about what the eyes can see. Print marketing is very much a multi-sensory experience. Consider textures, sounds, and scents (yes, scents!) that evoke  feelings within your customer – whether those feelings are excitement, envy, importance, or nostalgia. Incorporating a three-dimensional effect, such as a texture, embossing, or thicker areas of material, can help your print marketing stand out among the rest.

Use a Call to Action (CTA)

Like we said before, you want your call to action to be loud and clear. You don’t want your potential customer setting down your print material without clarity on what you’d like them to do. Make sure to include your address, phone number, and any other applicable contact information like an email address or social account(s). Consider including a coupon for them to use or a sign up for a rewards program, subscription, or membership.

Combine it with Digital

Gain trust and credibility by incorporating digital touches within your print marketing, like QR codes, PURLs, social accounts, and other web references. The best part? Doing so will make campaign attribution a breeze, and will make it easier for you to follow up with interested customers. 

Pick the Perfect Printer

The last step of any print marketing process is finding the right printing company to work or partner with – that has affordable yet reasonable rates – and quality print products. Seek out a company that will not only print your materials, but will care about your bottom line and success (almost) as much as you do. They’ll likely offer a variety of printing options, and will have a creative vision for your campaign and/or overall marketing.

Not to toot our own horn (okay, maybe a little), but at Strata, we’re print experts and it’s in our DNA. We’re prepared to work with you whenever you’re ready to brainstorm your next print marketing project. Just contact us when you’re prepared to make smart happen.