Direct Mail Services now on Facebook

We sure do have a lot of fun friends on Facebook. I bet you didn’t know direct mail could be so fun! Try our fun facebook direct mail quiz and see if YOU know direct mail.

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When you’ve created as much success for your customers as we have, you are bound to enjoy yourself. After creating some of our Countries greatest personalized database marketing, we hang out with our friends on Facebook and share our joy.

Why don’t you join us for a while, you might just learn a few things that help you grow your business and increase your companies sales.  Direct Marketing is.. well.. very DIRECT, so I am asking you to become friends with CSG Direct and bring us all your direct mail questions and projects.

At least with Facebook you get to hang out and get to know us first.

If you would like you can also skip all that fun and get your direct mail quote right now.  But we’d sure like to get to know you better!  The more we know about you and your goals, the more we can provide you the same high level care and support all our best customers have grown their businesses with.

That is the best way to get success with direct mailing companies like CSG Direct, Inc.  You have to get us in the game and put us shoulder to shoulder with the rest of your staff so we can get you the big gains.  It is never best practice to keep us in a corner as an outside vendor only.

Nobody wins by putting direct mail in a corner.  lol

Casino Marketing Direct Mail Campaigns

I often have people ask “What is the best Casino Marketing Direct Mail Campaign?”.

There really is no easy secret formula or special tricks for getting the most impact out of a mailing. The best direct mail campaign is simply the one that gets maximum results for the lowest cost. In determining what will work best for each customer, the marketing professional must ascertain what the customer wishes to accomplish, whom the customer wants to communicate with, what the incentive is for the recipient to respond, determining a strong call to action, and producing the project in a cost-effective and efficient manner. It is crucial that the mailer takes advantage of the lowest postage rates available – as postage is often the most expensive aspect of the project.

The next question is: “How do I know I am maximizing my direct marketing efforts?”

This is where the experience pays off. Seasoned marketing professionals will seek out the mail marketers who are innovative, versed on postal rules and regulations, and focused on getting maximum results for their customers. Companies such as CSG Direct are in high demand due to the experience and innovation that they bring to the direct marketing industry.

While many printers and small mail shops may have the ability to put an address on a mail-piece, they do not have the ability to track delivery. They cannot ascertain the “in-home” timelines, analyze the market penetration, or track results in a comprehensive manner. Less experienced mailers do not have strong quality control systems in place, MQC Certified employees, expert data programmers on staff or the systems to expedite the projects efficiently.

This is nearly always followed by: “What type of direct mail piece is most effective?”

Once again: This is determined by the type of results that the customer expects, the type of offer that is being presented, and the demographic that is being pursued. One wouldn’t send a postcard as a high-end wedding invitation….however, they might send a “save-the-date” card prior to sending out the formal invitations.

This is the type of strategy that often increases results. Sometimes a postcard with coupons is the most effective, low cost medium for specific campaigns. Sometimes a personalized letter makes more sense, and can easily be tailored to the individual’s interests or purchasing traits. Self-mailers are often a great alternative, especially if one desires a lot of “real-estate” to get their message across. The type of mail-piece will vary with each project, and should be determined by demographic, content and end strategy.

Marketers should realize that a direct mail campaign is exactly as it sounds: a campaign. A single mailing is not a true campaign. In most cases, it makes more sense to mail to one-third of your top prospects three times than to mail to all of your prospects a single time. Repetition is the key to any campaign. With proper planning and implementation, the cost for a multi-tiered mailing campaign is very reasonable. With a strong offer, proper incentive and an effective call to action…your customers and prospects will react in a positive and timely manner.

In summation: Too often individuals plan, ponder, partially develop and ponder some more about their marketing campaigns. It is a “ready – set – wait” scenario. As the event or promotion draws closer, they are forced to react. At this point the campaign is pushed out late and valuable time is lost. Early planning and implementation will make for a smoother campaign. It is no coincidence that in most cases, the well planned campaigns are the most effective campaigns.

By approaching the objective ahead of time and applying a plan – develop – implement” strategy, your mailings will be received by your potential customers in a much more timely and effective manner. By working with an experienced, competent mail shop – you will have the proper tools to analyze your campaign (and you will sleep better at night).

Effective direct mail marketing….it’s as easy as C-S-G!

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.

Does Direct Mail Experience Matter?

During difficult economic times, I find that the marketing professionals that I work with are more price-conscious than ever. Budgets are slashed, staff is reduced and expectations on marketing teams are raised. How do you do more with less?

Well, first of all you want to partner with a team that has A LOT of experience in dealing with direct mail marketing. Direct mail is the most targeted and trackable form of advertising. Savvy marketers have learned that having experienced vendors/partners is crucial when budgets are tight.

The anguish of having a budget overrun due to postage upcharges or undeliverable mail is an experience that has destroyed more than one career. One needs to analyze the true value of experience and leadership in their marketing campaigns.

You wouldn’t hire an attorney or surgeon based on price. The end results are just too important. The same philosophy holds true on your marketing – the lifeblood of your company. A vendor who is less than qualified to properly assess, critique (really), analyze, and process your mail probably is not going to save you any money on your overall campaigns.

A Direct Mail specialist, such as you will find at CSG Direct; is trained and versed on postal regulations, design elements, USPS rules and regulation changes, and targeted marketing strategies. Our staff of fully certified USPS MQC (Mailpiece Quality Control) specialists often find design elements, size constraints or data problems that would get past the most experienced of mail shops.

We also offer creative solutions to save our customers money on production and postage rates, which sometimes makes an individual project less profitable for us… but we are here as a partner, for the long haul. Your projects deserve the experience and expertise that comes from seasoned mail professionals.

Let your competitors work with the inexperienced, fly by night companies while you shop for a company that makes you shine.

You will look better for two reasons:

#1) Your campaigns are effective because you found the true value of experience and expertise. The mailings are dropped in an efficient and timely manner to the intended recipients. You can track your mail through the mail stream (a CSG Direct exclusive) to identify when your target markets are receiving their mailings. You have confidence that your projects stay within budget, and are offered the tools to fully justify the mailing.

#2) You sleep well at night because you know you are working with detail oriented partners who care about your success and are certified in every avenue as meticulous professionals.

The next time you plan a mailing campaign, take a moment to reflect on who you are working with. Are you getting true value?

Are you comfortable with the experience level of your direct mail partner? Are you taking advantage of all of the benefits of a great response and postal discounts that are available?

Either way, get a quote from us so you can compare your vendors to the benchmark in direct mail. You deserve a good nights sleep!

Mailing List Strategy

Mailing lists can be extremely complicated or very easy.  It depends on a couple of different things.  One of these is what you are trying to sell.  The other is what type of business you are.

If you are trying to open a new business or a new location, I believe the best strategy is to hit every address within a 2-5 mile radius. Your postage rate will go down significantly when you mail to every address in a neighborhood. The list is cheaper for more records (which is important in these times) and you can increase your overall ROI due to the larger area you are covering. Add “To Our Neighbors At” (which we pioneered!) and you give your mailpiece a more personal feeling.

If you are looking to target a specific group of people, then trust the experts at CSG Direct to guide you down the right path.  Whether you need to target golfers, motorcycle enthusiasts, or people interested in bingo; we can put together a great mailing list for you.  Since the data is self-reported, you know you won’t waste your valuable marketing dollars mailing to people not interested. If you can think of a list, CSG Direct can put it together for you. We can also add variable data to the piece to give the client the feeling that you know them.

Give us a call, or just shoot us an e-mail, and the experts at CSG Direct will be happy to guide you down the path to building a successful mailing list.

Direct Marketing Headlines

I received a direct mail headline question and thought I would talk about it here too.

You are relying on someone giving you their quality time. If your headline is weak, you are assuming they will care long enough to read your whole copy. They probably won’t.

Your instinct may be to use a headline like “The best service in our industry”. But this is more like a followup to a real headline that grabs their attention and then makes them read more. People process information in bits and you can either lead them along or you can confuse them at the start.

I would rather entice readership with something like “Your Customers Don’t Like You”. which makes everyone say to themselves “WHAT? Our customers love us! Who is saying this?” and then you drop into your secondary line “How do you know you have the best service in your industry?”.

At this point the person reading will at least ask themselves that secondary question and see if they can answer it. If they cannot – you can take them to the next line… leading them forward into your offer.

You have engaged them! Bravo!  Step 1 complete. Remember not to think too much about step 4, 5 & 6 until you conquer step 1.  Engage them and make them talk to your mailpiece and question it.

The main problem is that too many corporations wont allow you to use headlines like that. They’ll say it’s too unprofessional or too “small company”.  They want to lead with giant brand statements like “Great service for over 50 years”.

So what?
Why should I give you 15 more seconds of my time, let alone some kind of response or business order?

Your headline must engage them.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to track and test multiple headlines to see what works best with your audience.

Casino Marketing is our Industry

The mailing industry is going through major changes and I have heard several industry predictions that many mailing services companys and mail processing printers will “get out” instead of keeping up.  This isn’t a bad thing.

It’s an industry reborn!

So as you look for your partner for the next decade I want to tell you what you need to know about mailing services companys.

They all specialize in something

Due to the large amount of mail and data processing needs in our country, you’ll find that almost every mailshop is eventually pulled into some large account they cater to first and foremost. I have seen it time and time again.

They get pulled into tabloids, invoices, publications, credit card mailings, real estate franchises, etc. You go into any mailshop and see for yourself.  What is the primary industry they serve?  That is the industry that they are best ready to serve and most prepared to consult in.

These days you will often find out that their primary industry isn’t even direct mail. The printing industry started adopting direct mail as a side business to increase revenue about 2-3 years ago.

How would you feel if you found out your “mailing vendor” doesn’t even specialize in direct mail at all?  It sure would explain some things that have happened along the way with your mailings, I’ll bet.

We’re a mailing services company through and through. Sure, we have also grown one of the largest digital print shops in the state of Nevada and we keep every traditional press within reach dancing on our projects.  But we are a mailshop and we take that very personally.  We make a huge difference with the customers that choose us over the status quo. Ask!

It is a big difference and it is what you are looking for. You will never find deep success with people whose core focus is printing.  Printing is a secondary skill in our minds.  This is database marketing.  We’re database marketers with a reputation in variable data printing going back to the 80s.

Casino Marketing is our Industry

That is just one of the reasons to keep us in mind on your next project.  Because we are close, experts in gaming direct mail and have the tools you need.

Mailing Services, Direct Mail Partnership

As a mailing services provider and someone who has helped set up many mailshops over the years, I regularly find a lack of honest communication. Too often I find clients want to hold back from revealing the full details of a project for fear of putting too much on the table.

For example, a client may need to sell 500 hotel rooms in the next two weeks for fear of losing their job (random example), but instead of sharing that, they just say “I need a bid on a postcard mailing”.

Pull us into your battle! Get us involved in your mission. We have decades of experience at making things happen. Engage us!

The big crime in the scenario I just described is when they end up going with the lowest bidder because that is what they are trained to do. Then the event fails. No 500 rooms, no success – no job.

The proper bid-request should be “How can I use direct mail to fill 500 rooms in two weeks?” and then let the games begin. Now you will have idea after idea flowing your way and the good vendors quickly rise to the top. You can then make an informed decision based on your ACTUAL goals.

When you build a true relationship with a direct marketing mailing services shop as opposed to a average direct mail is an add-on vendor, you will find the direct mail success you seek.

Feel free to email me if you want to talk about it more.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Mail – Sin #7

…and how our clients avoid them and save thousands

Finally we can confront Sin #7:

Direct Mail Sin #7

Proof sign-offs taken too casually

Every job that we receive with electronic files requires some kind of manipulation or adjustment prior to mailing. RGB to CMYK, resizing, recropping, data merging, font replacement etc…

When your project requires a final signoff we hope that you take this opportunity seriously!

By the time it gets to this stage you have seen it many many times. Take a moment and read every line of your offer and confirm that everything is exactly the way it should be. This is your final opportunity to adjust dates, copy or data before your clients or prospects see the piece.

This is also the moment in time when the mistakes slide though and become major issues when the customers start calling.

We know that you are probably tired of reading at this point but you need to try to read the piece like it was your very first time looking at it. Study the text, confirm the data, dates, phone numbers, call-to-actions and all other components.

Common errors found at this point:

* Right date/wrong day (is it really a Thursday on that date?)

* Brand colors off

* Wrong or missing telephone numbers

* Newest art changes not sent (were we sent the most recent version of artwork?)

* Wrong offers, or error in disclaimers

* Spelling errors/typos

We know this is cumbersome but it also one of the unavoidable steps. We highly recommend you let someone else look at it and sign off with you. This identifies more errors and changes the dynamic if something is missed.

On a personal note, it doesn’t leave you standing alone as responsible for errors if more people on the team miss the same detail. If many people missed it than it must not have been obvious.  If only one person signs off it is easy for everyone to just point at you and steer clear of responsibility.  This is human nature.

Either way, the signoff process and authorization for us to proceed is your decision only.  We will not proceed without it and we are responsible to print and mail it exactly as the proof you signed off on.

Added Note about all 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Mail:
Allow the time needed for the quality and price you desire. This time gives you the breathing room needed to be flexible if  things you plan go wrong. No human process or timing is perfect, however much you try!

You cannot be consistently successful when you are expecting everyone involved to “jump from miracle to miracle”! You’ll save money in the end by not paying for rushed and fixed jobs. Being rushed always creates additional errors as you skip details to meet timeframes.

Our most successful customers have learned to work backwards from deadlines, successfully creating a smooth process from start to finish.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Mail – Sin #6

…and how our clients avoid them and save thousands

We continue along with Sin #6:

Direct Mail Sin #6

Don’t use MS Excel for databases

Excel sucks for databases. I don’t know how else to put it. Sure, everybody has it and it is one of the easiest ways to display your database visually, but it doesn’t hold record integrity and it plays with the numbers in your database. The worst horror stories ever in our business have Excel in them. We like MS Excel for spreadsheets and mathematics, not for databases.

There is no describing the feeling that comes over you when you find out (after the mailing) that your customer had sorted the [Last Name] field of an Excel spreadsheet before sending it to you.  It’s like a bomb goes off and everyone involved gets hit with the collateral damage.

These “bombs” are always from excel. Every single time over the decades I have been doing database marketing, Excel is the culprit. Yes there are ways to use it properly to avoid these mistakes. But, the fact that sortation is possible in this manner means excel is NOT a database program.

You’ve been warned.  This is a Direct Mail Sin.