Mail Shop, Print Shop

PRINT SHOP

Printing is an art that goes back in some form to the beginning of man. It is an art form of ink, paper and design that come together to make a visual presentation.  The real art of print is the design if it attracts the attention of the person we want it to attract (like bait).

At CSG Direct we are a modern day Digital Printing facility specializing in some of the newest features available in static, personalized and dimensional printing.

Print Shop Mail Shop vs. Mail Shop Print Shop

direct-mailing

Leadership - Quality - Innovation

Putting ink on paper is the easiest step.

The real challenge is designing pieces that attract response and delivering them through a single source federal US Postal Service.

The real talent is designing, printing, folding and die-cutting multiple critical personalized components and then matching them together in postal sorted order to achieve the lowest postage rates too.

“Direct Mailers” out-think “Printers”.

MAIL SHOP

Direct Mail Marketing is the art of getting the right visual presentation to the right person at the right time with a relevant message to attract a response and generate sales.

Direct Mail requires database programing prowess and a lifelong pursuit of all the changing rules, regulations, barcodes and loopholes of the US Postal Service.  Direct Mail Marketing requires years of studying databases, barcodes and tracking results.

You have to have the right mind for direct mail. You need a Direct Mailer that prints.
Direct Mail with a Direct Mailer, not a printer “that does direct mail too”.

You get Better Results Fast with a “Mail Shop, Print Shop” like CSG Direct.

Direct Mail app

CSG Direct is most famous for innovations in direct mail tracking and the 1st Direct Mail Smartphone app to market. We are a Direct Mail Marketing and Digital Printing company with deep roots in barcodes and tracking.  Our Direct Mail app is Amazing!

DirectMail-Iphone

CSG Direct Mail app

When you have to work with less, you need a vendor that brings more to the table. We continue to redefine what people expect from their direct mail vendors. We are the direct mail business model of the future and The Greatest Value in Direct Mail.

You deserve live job tracking, piece tracking and the highest level of accountability in the palm of your hands and available for whenever you are questioned about your work.

iTunes app link

LIVE PROJECT TRACKING

Have all project details at your fingertips.  Is it printing? Maybe it’s being folded? Did they receive the mailing list? Did it go out yet? When is it going out? Active marketers juggle lots of details and there is no standardized way to tell how well a project is going or why it is taking so long.
Until Now!

No more making phone calls every day, leaving messages and waiting for callbacks.

Direct Mail Cloud Based Services

With a complete Red Light / Green Light system you know if we are waiting on you or if the project is moving as planned. You get live access to the status of each project updated directly from our production floor as the project progresses.  You deserve a high level of accountability from the direct mail industry and we are leading the industry with unmatched minute-by-minute accountability.

USPS CONFIRM

After we complete your mailing and it is delivered to the US Postal Service the accountability goes to the next level.  Our Direct Mail app offers live feedback from all the US Mail sorting equipment across the country so you can tell when it is actually getting delivered. You get unprecedented accountability on the U.S. Mail delivery.

HISTORICAL DETAILS

Look-up past projects to get full audited details on postage, pieces, processing and final delivery timing.  See how long it took to get delivered and then adjust your next mailing for greater success. This is just one way we help you get Better Results Fast.

INTERACTIVE MAPS

Interactive Google Maps show the areas you targeted in your mailing. Zoom in-out and touch any zip-code to see how many pieces you mailed. This is a direct mail cloud service that our customers use and enjoy on the fly, in their hands and available 24/7.

CUSTOMER LOOKUP

Customer Lookup inside the US Postal Service nationwide mail stream is the holy grail for the direct mail industry and we invented it. Using your own customer ID numbers you can find the mailing you have sent them and then see the route, dates and times of the entire delivery process mapped out in interactive Google maps. We Dream Big!

All of this is available only at CSG Direct Mail and live on your smartphone.

iPhone Direct Mail app

iPhone Direct Mail app

CUSTOMERS GET THIS SERVICE FREE AND YOU DESERVE IT!

New Postage Rates for 2011

New Postage 2011

First we’ll share the announcement from the US Postal Service about the newly released 2011 Postage Rates then we’ll give you our take below.

———-

Announcement from the US Postal Service:

January 14, 2011

Announcing the continuation of POSTNET barcodes for automation rates beyond May 2011, the continued use of those barcodes for CONFIRM subscribers, and new pricing set to take effect April 17, 2011.

• The new price sheet for CONFIRM can be found online at www.usps.com/prices.

• POSTNET usage has been extended for automation rates beyond May 2011.

• CONFIRM subscribers using PLANET barcodes will also be allowed to continue using the PLANET barcodes beyond May 2011.

• CONFIRM subscribers who have already transitioned to the IMb are encouraged to continue using the IMb. Please do not reactivate a PLANET Code subscriber ID in your system if you have already discontinued its use.

Thanks,
USPS-National Customer Support Center
———-

New Postage Rates ChartHere is our compiled list of common new postage rates for 2011

As we dig through the new rates there is a lot you can tell by where they raise the rates the most as well as hidden rate reductions. Over the years we have been able to design services based on where we see the direction of increases going.

This year we see the biggest changes in the smaller postcards (4.25×6″ max).
We also see a small reduction in non-profit automation:

postage rate review

There has been a lot of pressure on the post office to increase rates and still balance the public relations nightmare of hurting all the small non-profits that count on direct mail to raise funds. In this rate-case we see a decrease in the automation rates charged to non-profit groups. This is likely to help push them into automation and away from stamps, labels, tape and staples.

The rest of this rate-case is pretty small really. One of the smallest I have seen in a long time.  This is probably due to the fact that we are now getting increases annually instead of every 4 years like in decades past.

Notice also how the largest increases are in the smaller postcards in 1st-class non-automation and single piece rates. This would tend to indicate that this is either a category that is more labor intensive, or there are so few that nobody will notice; which is highly possible. I know from experience that these cards rarely have enough room to do a proper address and the full rate ones are those handwritten ones you get at every tourist attraction in the world.

Those postcards are impossible to automate with that old-fashion vertical-line style design in the middle of the address side of the card.  They need one of our new postal automated designs from one of our USPS Mailpiece quality certified designers here at CSG Direct.direct mail quotes

(postage rates at csg here)

Direct Mail: Top 10 Reasons to Use Snail Mail

Direct MailGrowing up I remember waiting with anticipation for birthday cards and other sentiments to arrive in my mailbox from family and friends across the country.  It was and to this day remains a great feeling to know that someone cared enough to send me a personal note via the United States Postal Service.  Nowadays with email being so fast and free some of that personal touch is gone and it really is a shame.  Given the speed of email versus the slower delivery times of USPS mail, sending a letter or card via the USPS has now commonly been referred to as sending “Snail” mail (slow to deliver).  Well for some of us it still has a special meaning so I prepared this short list of 10 reasons to still use snail mail:

1. It’s exciting to receive a personal letter or note.  Whether it’s a love note passed in class under your desk or a carefully written letter from a loved one, reading a personal letter or note has always been exciting and feels special in direct proportion to the effort the sender went through to get it to you.
2. You can add confetti or creative designs to your letter or card.  This again points out the time and effort that can be relayed by snail mail much more easily.  For birthdays and other special events I like to fill the envelope with stars or confetti so if you get a letter from me be prepared for a surprise inside!
3. There’s more privacy to snail mail. Unlike with email it is much less likely that a letter or communication sent via postal mail will get intercepted and read by another party.  It’s possible but unlikely and the recipient can generally tell of the letter has been opened.
4. Emails can get lost in junk mail filters.  While it’s possible that a letter sent via snail mail can get lost in shipping it happens far less than emails getting lost in the abyss that is the modern day junk mail filter.
5. Emails are prone to quicker judgments and rash decisions.  It’s so easy to send an email that we can write something in haste and send it before we actually take enough time to think it through.  That is generally not the case with postal mail unless you work in a post office and have direct access.
6. You can send more variety of items via snail mail. Sort of like my confetti trick above you can also add pictures or other personal touches to a snail mail all the way up to complete packages, boxes, etc.  So far we haven’t found a way to transport something like that through our computers.
7. People tend to elaborate more with snail mail.  In general, people drop the abbreviations when they are handwriting a letter so instead of (LOL, ROFL, OMG, etc.) people tend to actually write out their words and thoughts.  If nothing else, sometimes it’s just good to know that you can still do that.
8. There’s no virus attached. Generally speaking there are no viruses attached to a snail mail that you can catch on accident by previewing the snail mail before opening it.  I’m not saying that someone couldn’t send a virus via snail mail it’s just far, far less likely.
9. It’s too easy to forward your email content to thousands of people worldwide (on accident). With a few clicks of the button, you can send it to everyone on your list, which is dangerous if the content is important.  Unfortunately there is no undo button for sending email in most cases so you are stuck with the consequences of your actions.
10. The check is in the mail… yes it still works.  One of the most important reasons to use snail mail is for cash management purposes if you need to pay a bill but have a couple of days until you are going to get paid or have the money, then snail mail is much more effective for you that online bill payment.  You can simply call the provider/vendor and let them know “the check is in the mail”.

So these aren’t the only reasons but they are some good one’s.  An honorable mention that didn’t make the list is the excuse that you can always use for a greeting being late (birthday card, graduation card, etc.).  You can say you had trouble getting to the post office or that your letter was lost in the mail, but be careful with that one though as most people are smart enough to look at the postmark date.

shared by our friends at changeofaddress.org

Hi Michael,

We would love to share with you an article that we just posted on our own blog! “Top 10 Reasons to Use Snail Mail” (http://www.changeofaddress.org/blog/2010/top-10-reasons-to-use-snail-mail/) would be an interesting story for your readers to check out and discuss on your blog, so we hope you will consider sharing it!

Thanks so much for your time, and have a wonderful day!

Sheryl Owen

PCC Lunch and Learn: Business Customer Gateway

Postal Customer CouncilPCC of Northern Nevada Lunch and Learn Series

Guest Speaker: Michael Hemphill of CSG Direct, Inc

The US Postal Service continues to Michael Hemphill PCC Luncheonmodernize and automate steps to keep postage low and better serve its clients. Come learn about the new Business Customer Gateway from the US Postal Service.

The Business Customer Gateway gives you a single, unified landing point to access the Postal Services’ online business offerings. These channels consist of the products that support intelligent Mail Full Service Mailing. This includes PostalOne!, FAST (Facility Access and Shipment Tracking), CLDS (Customer Label Distribution System) and Mailer IDs (MID).

Here is the USPS Business Customer Gateway Powerpoint (trimmed)

Speaker: Michael Hemphill of CSG Direct, Inc

Topic: Business Customer Gateway

Location: Atlantis Casino, 3800 S Virginia St, Grand Ballroom 5

Date: Thursday May 20, 2010

Time: Registration at 11:30 am, Lunch served at 12:00

Cost: $20

Reserve your seat by contacting Cindy Cornelison at 775-788-0690.
Call early to request a vegetarian meal.

Here is a scanned copy of the postcard invite from the PCC:

PCC Luncheon

Direct Mailing is still the Best Marketing

Direct Mail

At least with CSG Direct is it !!

Even as new forms of direct marketing emerge in this new era, direct mailing is still setting the bar in response, results and accountability in marketing. Most every other media cannot get you out of the most expensive parts of marketing – prospecting. In Fact, most advertising dollars wasted on broad shotgun prospecting.

Direct Mail is very focused on sales and generating revenue.

Experience will tell you that there are 2 levels of marketing.

The first level is the most expensive and that is to find out who is interested in your product or services.  Prospecting or acquisition marketing is where you spend money to broadcast who you are to the public and see who responds with interest in your product or service. This is commonly done with Television, Radio, Newspaper, Billboards, Websites, Yellow pages, Magazine ads, Telemarketing and sure Direct Mail of course too (however it is more direct, personal and accountable in prospecting).

The second level of marketing is what you do with all the customers and prospects that contacted you with any level of interest. This is where all your long-term income is made. You see, once you have a list of people who like what you do you can build long-term relationships with a direct sales approach. This includes direct in-person sales, tele-sales, direct mail and email. (I will save social networking for a later topic – it follows email)

That is the proper order for results too:
1) In-Person sales cost the most and sell the most.
2) Tele-Sales still utilizes personality and relationship but you are easily pushed into voicemail hell.
3) Direct Mail is something they have to see and touch and they can save it and share it with others in the home or office.  They can keep it for later too. Direct mail costs much less than in-person or tele-sales but you can sell a proportionally less amount too.
4) E-mail, currently the lowest form of marketing. Sure, if you have a relationship and are working on projects with a client it is great.  But for sales and marketing it is the easiest to avoid, delete and annoy.

So the main point is that long-term SALES happen in a DIRECT approach not in broadcast prospecting or print ads. So decades of experience say you build a comprehensive database (or many) with as much detail as you can. Then you send very specific offers to very specific people.  You then follow that up in-person, via telephone and personal emails too. IN THAT ORDER FOR BEST SUCCESS!!

Only go back to prospecting when you have maximized your current list of interested customers and prospects.  Why would you go talk to 1000 people that are not interested when you have 100 that are and you haven’t sold them anything yet?

We can help you build a business plan for successful marketing too! Your first step is to contact us or let us give you a direct mail quote to start.

Database Marketing, Direct Mail vs Email

As someone that has been in database marketing for over 2 decades I have had my share of deep experience in both direct mail and email variable data driven forms of direct marketing.

Email is a dying service and is going to go away in it’s current form.

We started by building our own email broadcast and link tracking tools back in the late 90’s.  We were in email marketing from 1995 to 2005 as an add-on to our direct mail services. Back then it was HOT and NEW and everyone wanted in, but so few people knew what they were doing so we enjoyed a decade of great prosperity.

But then in 2005 we got out all together just as a swarm of vendors and competitors were getting in. There was still a lot of money to be made in email after we got out but we recognized the fight those vendors were entering into.

There is a real ugly truth about email marketing that the companys buying the service do not know that definitely hurts them.  When you send even 1 message it has to go through multiple firewalls, mutliple virus scans, multiple email processing rules and multiple spam filters.

If it makes it past all those gatekeepers and lands in your prospects in-box they can tag you as SPAM that very second. That action affects all those same gateways and spam filters for each message that follows it.

Then, 10 minutes later you send an email to your customer to ask them about an order you are working on and your email message gets blocked by their spam filters. All because now you have been recorded as a spamming company. I guess the rule of thumb is if you don’t want to be treated like garbage marketing, don’t put your message next to the garbage in someones inbox.

We saw this coming, it was getting bad years ago and the writing was clearly on the wall. Email results are also at historical record lows too.  Low responses and a technical nightmare are not a recipe for success.

I have been talking about this for months with my peers but I guess I decided to blog about it today because I spent 3 hours removing an email virus from someones computer. What a pain in the ass and an uneccessary use of everyones time. There are so many other ways to communicate that don’t risk your entire it investments.

As someone who manages a firewall, one of the biggest security breaches we deal with on any given day is EMAIL. Email my friends, will not be around in it’s current form and I would not invest any current dollars moving in that direction.  For real electronic success you should chase SEO combined with social media like facebook marketing as well as others growing in popularity.

Then, really get to know your direct mail program. Direct mail is the most courteous of all forms of non-electronic marketing. It is still also the most focused, trackable, adjustable, shareable, savable, copyable, calcuable form of marketing.

But beware, there are spammers in direct mail too.  There are more spam marketers in direct mail than there are true direct mail marketing companys. These vendors will make you look bad and get your message thrown away just like email can be.

Nothing makes me sadder for a company then when I lose a bid by $100 to a printer and that company loses thousand$ in response and the direct mail information that comes with it.  Lowering their prices is the only tool in a printers bag compared to a real direct mail company that offers full service and full results.

Find out where your vendors core focus is. If they are primarily a printer or a print broker, forget about it.  Find database junkies, variable data printing and response pros. That is our niche, that’s where real direct mail lives and breathes. Experienced direct mail people know it and their businesses thrive off their direct mail results.

Real direct mail marketing isn’t broadcast print, it is made up of multiple data sources, multiple data-relevant messages, calls to action, results tracking and offer adjusting based on results.

You don’t get that from a printer, that’s direct mail baby.

US Mail Tracking

It has been over a year now since we designed our first tools for US Mail Tracking using the US Postal Services Confirm Services. The US Postal Service got the ball rolling with the new Intelligent Mail Barcodes and we ran with it to create some of the nations most innovative US Mail Tracking Tools to-date.

Today we launched a website that takes this innovation even further. www.trackdirectmail.com is the launch of what will become the nations most publicly accessible US Mail Tracking tools in the nation.

At Trackdirectmail.com you can demo the live mapping tools that are incorporated into CSG Direct’s Direct Mail Portal for live project tracking. You can also directly track any Live tracking numbers that CSG Direct has assigned for your mailpieces.

Last but not least, We have also launched our 3rd and most impressive US Mail Tracking Widget.

With this US Mail Tracking widget you can have IMB based direct mail tracking embedded into any website in the country. This takes direct mail tracking to the next level.

If you would like US Mail Tracking embedded into your website or if you would like to be one of our additional beta sites just contact me and we can arrange it.

COA, Ancillary Service Endorsements and Postage Rates

Undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail is forwarded, returned to sender, or treated as dead mail as authorized for the particular mail class. An mailer endorsement is used to instruct the Postal Service regarding the mailpiece’s appropriate disposition upon determining that it is UAA. On First-Class Mail® service, the following endorsements may be used as an updating method to meet the move update standard:

Return Service Requested. If UAA, the mailpiece is returned with the new address or reason for nondelivery; no charge.

Temp-Return Service Requestd. If UAA and a temporary change-of-address has been filed, the mailpiece is forwarded at no charge. No separate notice of a new temporary change-of-address is provided.

Address Service Requested.

  • Months 1 – 12: the mailpiece is forwarded; no charge; a separate notice of the new address is provided; an address correction fee is charged.
  • Months 13 – 18: the mailpiece is returned with the new address attached; no charge.
  • After month 18 or if undeliverable: the mailpiece is returned with reason for nondelivery attached; no charge.

Change Service Requested. Separate notice of new address or reason for nondelivery provided; in either case, address-correction fee is charged; mailpiece is not forwarded or returned but disposed of by the Postal Service. This endorsement option is available for First-Class Mail only when used in conjunction with electronic ACS™ Service.

Ancillary service endorsements allow the sender to obtain on request (provided the appropriate endorsement is used) the addressee’s new (forwarding) address (if the addressee filed a Change-of-Address Order with the Postal Service) or the reason for nondelivery. These endorsements also provide the Postal Service with instructions for the disposition of UAA mail. These new endorsements provide a simpler and more consistant system than the previous endorsements.

Optional Ancillary Service Endorsement Locations

In addition to the current location under the return address (1), ancillary service endorsements may be placed above the delivery address block (2), to the left of the postage area (3), or below the postage area (4) (postage stamps, meter stamps, or permit imprints). See DMM M012.4.3 for more information.

Optional Ancillary Service Endorsement LocationsFor accuracy sake this has been taken directly from the USPS.com website http://www.usps.com/ncsc/addressservices/moveupdate/ace.htm