Full color variable envelopes, a Direct Mail Revolution

CSG direct is now equipped to print full color variable envelopes! We are your full service mail shop and print shop. Variable Direct Mail Printing can be one of the most powerful mediums of our times.

For those of you that are new to Variable-data printing, let me break it down for you. Variable-data printing is a form of digital printing, including on-demand printing, in which elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process and using information from a database or external file.

For example, a set of personalized letters, each can have a different layout, different content and can all be printed as 1 run together with the different names and addresses on each letter. Now we can also have a completely different look on every single envelope to match the unique letters as well. This often costs less than ordering printed envelopes and then addressing them. This is a new revolution in direct marketing.

At CSG Direct, we have over 2 decades in Real Variable Data: Variable Data Printing, Variable Data Coding, Randomization, Variable Data Email, Websites, and more.

CSG Direct lives and breath variable data so you get Better Results Fast!

QR Code Placement Guide

The Mobile Barcode Promotion from the U.S. Postal Service® runs July 1, 2011, through August 31, 2011. Business Mailers can get a 3% upfront discount on First-Class Mail® and Standard Mail® letters and flats.

To help you out a bit we’ve made our very own QR code placement guide to help you when designing your mailers.Direct Mail QR Barcodes

You can download the QR Placement Template here.

The template is designed for a 9×6 postcards but the guidelines seen apply to all letter rate mail pieces. Additional the mobile barcode should not be placed within 2″ of the actual postage indicia when the indicia is not placed in the described “indicia zone”.

Mobile barcodes provide a connection between print and the digital world. They are two-dimensional and can be read by smartphones that have a 2-D barcode app/reader. When scanned, these mobile barcodes can motivate your audience to take immediate action. For example: make a purchase, register for an event, or download a coupon.

Be sure to follow these rules and for more information click the link or scan the QR code at the bottom of this post.

• Mobile barcodes must be two-dimensional and readable by a mobile smartphone. One-dimensional barcodes do NOT qualify.

• Mailing documentation must be submitted electronically, and mail must be sent with postage paid through a permit imprint. Current methods include: Mail.XML, Mail.dat, and Postal Wizard.

• Participating mailers are required to affirmatively claim this promotion in electronic postage statement submissions, certifying each mailpiece contains a mobile barcode either within the contents or on the outside of the mailpiece.

• All mailpieces in a postage mailing statement must contain a mobile barcode.

• With the exception of the Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb) full-service discount, only one incentive per mailing will apply.

• The objective of the two-dimensional mobile barcode on eligible mailpieces must be to initiate interaction with consumers via mobile smartphones to market, promote, or educate. Two-dimensional barcodes used for other purposes – such as internal corporate operational processes, or postage evidencing – are not eligible for the discount.

• Mail must be tendered for acceptance during the promotion period, July 1, 2011, through August 31, 2011.

For more information about QR code placement and deadlines for this promotion, visit the USPS Mobile Barcode Promotion press site or scan the QR code below.

QR Barcodes in Direct Mail

U.S. Postal Service wants you to use QR Codes

From humble beginnings to one of the nation’s foremost innovators in direct mail tracking and data-driven direct mail , CSG Direct Mail is a local business making big waves. With decades in Database Marketing experience, CSG Direct Mail has a long history of creating innovative new direct mail marketing programs including their new QR code promotion.

Quick Response codes (aka QR codes) are barcodes primarily used by smartphone users to get more information on the product or service being advertised. The camera portion of the phone reads the barcode and acts on the information placed within it. A QR code can contain 4,296 Alphanumeric characters and usually takes the user to a web page that has more actionable functions like order processing and data collection.The barcodes can drive personalized landing pages, shopping cart functions, automated social networking and any other functions coded in the web pages themselves. You could also direct them to phone numbers since they are already being scanned by phones.

Direct mail QR codes add a new dimension of interaction and is the least expensive new technology being used today. All you need is a QR code reader app for your smartphone to scan them. Check your phone’s app store for a QR code reader app that works best for you.CSGDirectMail,alongwiththe U.S.Postal Service, is helping spread the use of QR codes by offering a 3% discount on all mailable pieces which include a QR code throughout the month of August.

Scan the QR code above with a smart phone to receive a special offer from CSG Direct Mail!
For more information visit: http://www.csgdirectmail.com

Direct Mail and Printing Services

Direct Mail and Printing Services

I was asked to write content about some individual direct mail and digital printing services so…

BINDING AND BOOKLETS

How about some personalized binders for your next meeting? One of the biggest advantages of using a digital printer that is skilled at keeping things in order, is the cost savings of booklets and the ability to personalize them. We print, punch, drill, tab and coil bind very professional personalized binders and booklets of all shapes an sizes.

DIE-CUTS

The old fashion die-cut gives way to digitally printed and personalized die-cut pieces. Match them to a colorful envelope or mail them without an envelope as Custom Market Mail.  CSG Direct can take your customized die-cuts to a whole new level.

INKJET ADDRESSING

Before Inkjet addressing there were labeling machines and then pin-fed Direct Impression Printers. Our management was installing, training and repairing all 3 technologies. We have been on the leading edge of addressing, addressing software and barcoding since 1988.

Wither you just need a barcoded address or you need a return address and a personalized message added to your mailer, Nobody is more creative and flexible in Inkjet than we are.

CSG “variable everything” continues on our inkjets. Every component we inkjet print on your mail pieces can change per customer to create fully customized pieces.

When we inkjet your pieces we will print the most modern barcodes for you as well, including Intelligent Mail Barcodes and Variable QR Codes too.  Then each piece can be tracked online as they travel the country and we track the QR responses too.

UV COATING

Everybody loves to put the fancy bling of a UV Coating onto their art. Not only does it make most art and designs look amazing but it also protects the pieces against common damage like tears, cuts, smudges and stains. The only drawback is that it costs a few cents extra and you cannot write on it once it is coated.  It sure does look beautiful though!

We would UV coat everything if given the chance.

FOLDING AND TABBING

To a traditional print shop folding and tabbing are simple “finishing work”.  With everything we mail being so personalized we think on a different level. We must ensure these final moves don’t ruin weeks of preparation, printing costs and event deadlines.

We know the pieces we are folding may be in a postal sorted order and will be reversed by the printing process. They also may need to be scored before printing so they don’t crack.  Maybe we score them, then UV Coat them, then come back and do the final fold.

US Postal Service Tabbing requirements are constantly changing. You can make simple changes to your direct mail pieces to reduce tabbing time and money. Your mail piece may require from 1 to 3 tabs or more based on the piece. If done incorrectly your mailing can be completely rejected by the US Postal Service or bumped to higher postage.

Our Folder and Tabbing operators are USPS Certified for mail piece quality control.

TEXTURES

Dimensional Printing is the art of applying a 5th color of raised ink in very specific areas to create a textured printed piece. We do this at CSG Direct to create a tactile feel with your piece or to create security features for coupons and offers.

We have not seen any credible statistics about response rates due to textured printing.  However, we do know that when a person plays with, touches and shares your brand with others, it is a wonderful thing!  We’ll help you get creative with this unique service.

QR Codes in Direct Mail

Customized QR Codes

Customized QR Codes

QR Codes in Direct Mail

Quick Response codes (aka QR Codes) are barcodes primarily used by smartphone users to get more information on the product or service you’re advertising.  The camera portion of the phones read the barcodes and act on the information you placed in the barcode.

The QR Code usually take the user to a web page that has more actionable functions like order processing and data collection. The barcodes can drive personalized landing pages, shopping cart functions, automated social networking and any other functions coded in the web pages themselves.  You could also direct them to phone numbers since they are scanned by phones.

Direct Mail QR Codes add a new dimension of interaction with your clients and is the least expensive new technology being used today.

Sample QR Code Direct Mail Piece:

QR-Code-Mailing

QR-Code-Mailing

LANDING PAGES

In a recent CSG Direct Mail QR Code mailing we printed variable personalized envelopes with variable QR Codes that take users to personalized web-site landing pages on their smartphones. These personalized landing page sent detailed messages to our team to let us know who is interested.

We placed an “action button” on the landing page and everything the customer does is recorded and actionable.  That is one dynamic function of landing pages with QR Codes.

COMPLEX OPTIONS

A QR Code can contain 4,296 Alphanumeric characters.  In a related example we converted driving directions and embedded those driving directions into QR Codes for a special event.  These will not be going away as new ideas come up every day.

Variable Maps

Variable Maps for Personalized Direct Mail

old style direct mail map

old style direct mail map

We’ve all placed a static map on a direct mail piece or on a brochure or website to help a prospective client understand where we are and help them find us.  Depending on where we are and how far out we are mailing to we might show great local street detail or just a star on a national map to indicate where we are on the country.

Variable Maps Sample

Variable Maps Sample

 

In this modern age of internet, GPS and live driving directions why not personalize this experience and provide a map for each client that gives very specific turn by turn directions to your facility, branches or event locations?

Direct Mail Maps program

CSG Variable Maps program

At CSG Direct Mail we built our own proprietary programs licensed with MapQuest. We built these systems here at CSG so we can customize these maps in many ways.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We produce “licensed for print” MapQuest personalized map images and personalized driving directions for each mail piece.

Personalized driving directions and a physical map on your direct mail makes your offer more actionable and keeps your brand in your clients hand for the entire trip.  These maps add value to the direct mail piece beyond the easy driving directions.

You engage on a personal level that few marketing mediums can reach.

Variable-Maps-Sample

Variable Maps Art Sample

We can also beautify this variable map graphically by sizing them to match other graphics and layering them into other art elements. This sample map art is layered into a dashboard GPS.

Variable Direct Mail maps are rare, leading edge and licensed for print.

 


CSGurl

Our variable mapping is also supported by our url conversion and tracking systems. CSGurl converts lengthy url strings like:  http://www.csgdirectmail.com/blog/index.php/2011/07/personalized-printing/ to a string like: http://csgurl.com/print

This is the easiest way to pass digital driving directions on a direct mail piece.  Direct mail recipients can use smartphones, tablets and desktop computers to see full detailed driving directions and a live map online.

You can also embed the variable CSGurl string into a Quick Response barcode.

Personalized Printing

Personalized Printing

Personalized Printing Sample

To the average person in the direct marketing industry, personalized printing is how many times you can use a persons name in the direct mail piece or email you may be sending. They seem to never get tired of inserting [First Name] into every line of text in the piece.

“Poppycock” we say!  We’re pros at how to make a direct mail piece feel personal and get better results fast.

True personalized printing is what us pros do to make a direct marketing offer much more attractive, appealing and relevant to the recipient. You need to use not only every bit of data you have about your customer or prospect, you need to dig in to find more, append and analyze what type of people you are dealing with.

The reason most people don’t do this right is “time”.  You need an offer in the mail by Friday and you have your mailing list pull ready so just mail it you say.  We get that, and we do that every day for you too.  However, when the question comes up about what we can do to get a better response, the answer always lies in relevant personalization.

Some colors work better with women than men. Certain food pictures are going to be effective with different people. Beer pictures versus wine pictures for certain clients.  Every single piece of a mailing can look different when you personalize them correctly. You provide the picture assets and we’ll code the data to drive the variable content.

The only thing that excites us more than seeing every piece coming off the press looking unique and relevant to the end recipient, is the results of such a campaign.

CSG Direct Mail lives and breathes to create personalized direct mail for you.

What Variable Data Printing Is NOT

Variable data printing can be one of the most powerful mediums of our time. However, most people who sell this to their clients are not even really doing variable printing. Eighty percent of all variable print is nothing more than mail-merge and fancy fonts. If I get another direct mail offer with my name spelled in sea shells on a beach I am just going to go insane!

“OK, Great, you have a sea shell font – wow – thanks!”. What if I’m scared of the ocean? What if I am allergic to seafood of any kind? Are you selling me something to do with a beach or shells?

[First Name] mail-merge is kindergarten at best. The tiny increase in response (if any) will rarely justify the extra expense for this kind of fluff. Plus, you have to worry so much about all the negative associations with an unusual, unrelated approach to selling your goods and services.  What’s worse, I have seen entire campaigns switch themes away from a companies core brand just to include these fonts.  If you are a medical supply company you shouldn’t sell yourself with a beach theme just because it looks cool to you.  Remember, it should be relative.

Unfortunately the real professionals of variable printing, the database teams in direct mail, have been inundated with printers that are being convinced to buy hundred thousand dollar specialty packages like seashell fonts and PURLs.  So, in many ways, this is now the industry standard. To the real database marketing professionals this is very disheartening.  However, use this to your advantage!  We’ll show you personalization that makes sense, creates additional results and is truly tied around the desires of your customers and prospects.

If you don’t really know that much about your customers we can append over 100 fields of additional consumer data about them so you know if they like dogs or cats, drive Ford or Chevy, etc. When this is done by real variable data teams in direct mail it will still cost less than all those printers because we do it every day without the baggage of all that crazy software they bought.

At CSG Direct, we have over two decades experience in real variable data: variable data printing, variable data coding, randomization, variable data email, websites, and more. Our entire site is an example of variable data, but you wouldn’t know that unless I told you. The images, alts, metas, content, embeds, etc. are all database driven variable content management.  All of these tools are built right here at CSG Direct!

CSG Direct lives and breathes variable data so you get better results with REAL personalization!

Intelligent Mail Barcodes

This is a new feature from the Post Office that was originally slated as a requirement starting May 2009.  So many mailshops and software vendors freaked out that the USPS has decided to delay that requirement for one more year.  The program is alive and well, however, just not yet required.

We have been using and developing systems around the Intelligent Mail barcode since January 2008 and have had extensive experience in Planet codes before that.

Have you seen our new US Mail Tracking tools?

We are ready for this and have actually lead the way.  Is your mailshop using this technology?  How many other things are coming that your current mailshop is going to wait for, before learning on your project?  Why do they put your mailings at risk as they “figure it out” near deadlines? It’s because most shops are reactive instead of proactive.

You deserve to be kept at the front of the direct mail revolution, not in the backseat.  These new systems create dynamic advantages for the people that partner with us. What if your competition is using these advanced services and you are not?  Mailing with CSG Direct ensures that you are staying at the front of the pack. 

This is another core reason to work with a company that is a mailshop first, printer second.  It just makes sense!

New Postage Rates – Intelligent Mail barcodes

To date, mailers have deposited more than 24 billion mailpieces withNew Postage Rates Intelligent Mail barcodes. We’d like to remind you that in May 2011, to be eligible for automation discounts and the new postage rates on your letter-size and flat-size mailpieces, you’ll need to start using the IMB in place of POSTNET barcodes.

In May 2011, the POSTNET barcode will be ineligible for automation prices and the IMB must be used to claim automation prices with either the Full-Service option or the Basic option.

Additionally, the PLANET code barcode, used with Confirm service for mail tracking, will be retired in May 2011. To receive Confirm service after this date, you’ll need to use the Intelligent Mail barcode.US Mail Tracking

CSG Direct has been using Intelligent Mail barcodes since 2008.

The USPS will conduct weekly webinars titled Migrating to IMB during September 2010. The US Postal Service in a letter directed to mailers provided this information.

CSG Direct is an early adopter and IMB developer and recognized for some of Americas most robust US Mail Tracking tools. We’ve invented a whole series of tools, widgets, maps and reports around the new IMB barcodes and the USPS Confirm services.

Our IMB expertise includes US Mail Tracking for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones.

When you use CSG Direct for direct mailing you can track all your projects live and you can track the movement of all your individual mail pieces en route to their individual destinations.

This was our DIRECT MAIL DREAM and we made it a reality!