Do you have curiosity? If you’re doing personalized print marketing, a little can go a long way. By asking questions of your customers, whether in print or digital surveys, you can uncover valuable information that can improve your sales.

One governmental agency shows us how it’s done. When the agency began implementing a new set of regulations, it set up a compliance program to help affected businesses. It also scheduled an educational event to let companies know about the changes and help them get on board. In advance of the event, it surveyed attendees about their knowledge of the new regulations and compliance initiative. To encourage them to respond to the survey, it offered a guaranteed prize plus a chance to win a new iPod.

The survey provided critical insights, including:

  • More than two-thirds of attendees did not know whether or not they were in compliance.
  • 54% had never visited the agency’s website designed to educate them on the regulations.
  • 48% did not know how the compliance program would help them.

Imagine how this information helped the agency tailor its message during the event!

In another example, one mid-sized marketer used personalized surveys to improve its prospecting efforts. It asked customers to indicate where they needed the most help in critical areas of their business, what services would make their jobs more manageable, and what their pain points were. This information helped the salespeople create highly targeted presentations directed at the individual needs of each prospect. The result was a whopping 73.9% conversion rate.

Are you doing regular customer and prospect surveys? If not, there are many ways to work them into your marketing projects, from personalized URLs to pre-filled tear-out forms, to online and email forms.

To create these surveys, ask yourself what information you do not currently have that would help you open doors, increase the relevance of your messaging, and ultimately help you close the sale. Once you know what information you need, we can help you craft the surveys to get the best results.

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When you think about adding new channels to engage with your customers, starting a custom magazine is probably not high on the list. It may never have crossed your mind. But it might be something you want to consider. The use of custom magazines as a customer engagement tool is growing.

“Hold up!” you might say. “Aren’t magazine subscriptions on the decline?” Traditional magazines, yes, but not custom magazines. Custom publishing is on the rise, and these publications often become the glue around which other marketing elements—personalized direct mail and email, social media, mobile marketing—are built.

Here are three companies that have been successful using custom magazines to enhance their brands:

Lowe’s: This DIY giant offers both an e-zine and a print version of its “Creative Ideas” magazine, which provides solutions for everything from hidden bedroom storage to painting a faux brick wall. This content drives readers back to Lowe’s stores for supplies. The magazine’s design style mimics DIY pinboards and online communities, creating a sense of being an integral part of the larger DIY family.

Airbnb: There is certain kitsch to being part of the Airbnb community and hosting travelers from all over the globe. To reinforce this identity, Airbnb’s magazine, “Pineapple,” features stories from San Francisco to London told by Airbnb hosts. Since travelers often return to the same hosts over and over again, the goal is to keep hosts engaged so that travelers can build long-term relationships with them and with the Airbnb brand.

Uber: Being an Uber driver is like being part of your own world. To keep drivers connected, Uber created a magazine, “Momentum,” just for its drivers. Topics range from stories from the field to tips on how to keep your back from hurting when constantly on the go. The goal is to build a broad base of connected, brand-engaged drivers that drives the mission forward.

Ok wait you say those are big companies, what about me? Speedprint has printed a magazine for the last 6 or 7 years. It has been invaluable to us to demonstrate our expertise and tell our story. Not only that but we are telling our customers story as well and it is incredible the comments we get.

So why invest in a custom magazine? It is not to make money through advertising or subscriptions. It is to enhance customer engagement and enhance and solidify your brand in a way that creates long-term profitability.
Want to build a community around your brand? A custom magazine might be just what you need.

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There is no getting around the increasing importance of data in marketing. In fact, according to Forbes Insights, 64% of global marketers “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial to success within a hyper-competitive economy. Similarly, Gartner found that 69% of marketing leaders expect the majority of their decisions to be driven by data.

Why do data-driven decisions matter so much? Even the best marketers can be misled by going with their guts. Think of some of the famous missteps in branding. Remember the disastrous introduction of “New Coke”? Or GAP’s infamous logo reintroduction that was universally hated by its customers? These were the result of great ideas not sufficiently backed up by data.

The same principle applies in marketing. If you are selling a new beauty product, do you need to create different messaging for women who are Gen Z versus Millennials? Are your customers more likely to respond to a call to action highlighted in yellow or red? Do response rates improve if you swap out images based on gender, age, or geographic location? These are the kinds of decisions that should be made based on data.
Need to learn more about your customers? Here are three ways to do that:

Customer surveys:

If you want to learn more about what your customers think and what they value, ask them.

Tracking and metrics:

Use barcodes, redemption codes, cookies, and other forms of response tracking. Don’t just ask people what they think. Watch what they do.

Purchase data:

You can learn a lot about your customers by purchasing insights such as their interests (based on purchases, magazine subscriptions, etc.), contributions to charities, and other third-party data.
Your marketing is too important to base it on guesswork. Use data as your “eyes” to make sure you are getting it right. If you need help, just ask!

Data is derived from a survey of 162 U.S.-based senior executives conducted by Forbes
Gartner Marketing Analytics Survey (2018)

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Printing is a visual industry, but the copy matters, too. If people can’t read your messaging easily or if it’s difficult to understand, you won’t get the results you want. Here are five tips for improving readability and thereby improving your response rates, conversions, and sales, too.

1. Be specific.

People are drawn to details. For example, which copy is more likely to draw your eye?

  • “Save money.”
  • “Save hundreds of dollars.”
  • “Save an average of $386 per year.”

It’s the last one. “Save $386” really jumps out. Details draw the eye and command attention. Use them!

2. Be relevant.

People’s eyes are drawn to copy that talks about things that matter to them. Let’s say you are a bank marketing to a target audience with a high percentage of families with children about to graduate from high school. Sure, you can talk to this audience about how your savings accounts have the highest rates around, but “We offer half-percent higher interest” might not be the messaging that resonates most. “Put the extra earnings from our high-yield savings accounts toward college tuition!” might be a better approach instead.

3. Add images.

Even the most specific, relevant copy can fall on deaf ears without an image to accompany it. For example, you might create a banner ad that says, “Download your free retirement guide,” that goes totally unnoticed, even if it’s hitting your target audience. Add an image of the cover, however, and suddenly the ad is getting tons of clicks.

4. Use numerals when possible.

When discussing numbers in running text, use numerals instead of spelling them out. For example, which draws your eye more? “Save ten thousand dollars”? Or “Save $10,000”? Numerals make details pop.

5. Avoid using all caps.

For the most part, the human eye has difficulty distinguishing between words and letters in all caps. Avoid using all caps except in rare instances.

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Want More B2B Accounts? Try This!

Marketing to businesses can be tricky. Unlike marketing to individuals or households, where there might be only one or two decision-makers, in businesses, decisions are often made by committee. In fact, “Chief Marketer” notes that, on average, B2B accounts have 13 influencers involved in the process. Thirteen! This is why successful B2B marketing requires a different approach. How can you run a successful B2B marketing campaign?

  1. Use multiple touches every time.

According to BrightFunnel research, it takes an average of 18 touches to close a B2B deal. Combine that with 13 influencers, and you have a complex decision-making process that requires a coordinated approach targeting multiple people in multiple areas of the company.

Multiple touches are also necessary because individual stakeholders may need distinct types of information at each stage of the sales journey. Different channels have different strengths, so the channel you use to bring your product to the company’s attention may not be the same as the one(s) used to drip more detailed information along the way.

B2B campaigns require multiple channels and multiple touches at different stages of the process.

  1. Get to know who all of the influencers are.

Getting in front of influencers requires knowing who those influencers are. Sometimes, they can be hidden. If you are selling IT equipment, for example, you might know that you need to contact the directors of IT and finance, but the purchase decision might also be influenced by people in marketing, sales, and customer service. Find out who all of your influencers are because, at some level, you need to be marketing to all of these people, too.

  1. Get fresh data.

The more you get to know your influencers, the more you can motivate them with relevant messaging. There are many effective data suppliers out there, so don’t be afraid to try something new. When a single account may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s worth the effort to find new sources, test their effectiveness, and make sure you are reaching the right people with the right message at the right time.

Need help navigating the labyrinth of B2B sales? Let us help!


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Want to make more money and improve your bottom line? Don’t just acquire more customers. Woo your existing ones. According to Bain & Company, a 5% increase in customer retention correlates with a 25% increase in profit or more.

How does this work? Just look around!

  • Over there—stacked on that storage piece—how many catalogs have you kept?
  • On your fridge, how many mailers do you have taped to remind you to take your car in for a checkup? The dog to the vet? Your kids to the dentist?
  • How many marketing or customer retention emails have arrived in your inbox just in the last week?
  • While reading this, did you receive a text alert for a flash sale at your favorite retailer?
  • If you’ve “liked” a company’s page on Facebook, have they asked you to participate in a social media contest by sharing a story or uploading a picture to their page?

It’s all about maintaining customer engagement over time.

Realtors are great at this. Once people close on a new home, they often begin receiving postcards from the realtor who sold it to them. Postcards typically arrive with the change of seasons. In the spring, families with large lawns get tips on choosing a landscaper. In the fall, families with pools get tips on closing those pools down. Families up north get tips on winterization.

Why do realtors do this? If the homeowner’s friends and family are looking to make a move, the realtor wants to get the referral. If the homeowner eventually needs to sell the home, the realtor wants to be the first one they call.

Whether you are selling toys, clothing, or sporting goods, the principle is the same. Use a mix of channels to engage people in different ways, continually feed them information on new products and services, tips and tricks, and other helpful information to keep them coming back.

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Data-driven, personalized marketing has become nearly ubiquitous in today’s hyper-competitive economy. But is it really necessary? Can’t you just mail more generic offers at a lower cost and get the same results? Not anymore. Why? Because long-term profits have become highly correlated with customer engagement and loyalty, and personalization is key to driving both.

In a recent study, “2019 Trends in Personalization Report” (Evergage/Researchscape), 98% of respondents indicated that they felt personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 70% saying it has a “strong” or “extremely strong” impact. In addition, 59% cite increasing customer loyalty as a top benefit of personalizing their communications and 85% indicate that their customers now expect personalized experiences.

It’s no wonder that brands are increasingly focusing on personalization, whether in print or digital communications. In fact, “2019 Trends in Personalization” found that when it comes to email, digital, and online personalization:

  • 90% of respondents report a measurable lift from their efforts.
  • More than half (58%) see lifts of more than 10%.
  • Fifteen percent report lifts of more than 30%.

While print was not included in the survey, it’s hard to imagine that if marketers are getting these results in other channels, they would not see similar results in print.

Personalization is not just a worthy goal. It has become a critical strategy for engaging and retaining customers and motivating customers and prospects.

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Let’s face it. When it comes to profitability, some customers are worth more than others. That’s why, before deploying any marketing plan, you need to know who your most profitable customers are.

Understand CLV

Understanding Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), or how much a customer is worth over time, is a critical part of the equation. One customer may spend $250 with you initially, but then never order again. Another customer may order only $150 the first time, but then become a loyal (and far more profitable) customer who orders thousands of dollars’ worth of products over time.

This is why in order to understand the true profitability of your customers, you need to look at campaigns from a broader perspective. If you were to look at the ROI of the above campaign in the short term, you would think the first customer netted the highest ROI. But it was the second who was the most profitable.

How do you determine CLV?

First, you need to decide which measure (or measures) you are going to use.

  • Do you want to determine CLV based on revenue generated?
  • Or profitability?
  • Do you want to include hard dollar values only?
  • How about the frequency of purchases? Is having consistent, predictable revenue streams more critical than larger, less consistent ones?
  • How important are other factors, such as social media influence, to your calculations?

You also want to consider your customer acquisition cost (CAC). If you use static direct mail combined with generic email, you may spend less but net fewer customers. Or you can run a short-run, highly targeted campaign that costs more overall, but acquires more customers and has a lower CAC that results in a higher CLV.

Customer Lifetime Value is an important calculation, but its value to your marketing strategy depends on the accuracy of the numbers you put in. Talk to us about creating accurate CLVs for your customers.

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As a smart competitor, you know that you need to snap up the opportunities before your competitors do. This includes potential customers. Your competitors are going after the same customers you are, so how do you attract them first? Here are three proven strategies that start at the mailbox.

Choose the right mailing format.

Not all mailing formats are created equal. There are many different formats available: postcards, folded mailers, mailers placed into envelopes, envelopes that are personalized or not personalized, window envelopes, and more. Envelopes and mailers can be different sizes, thicknesses, and colors. Experiment with colored substrates, clear envelopes, and on-envelope personalization. Choose the right format for the type of campaign, and mix it up, too. Don’t always send mail that looks the same. Keep prospects interested in what you’ll be doing next.

Go dimensional.

In a stack of envelopes, a padded envelope, a package, or some other three-dimensional mailer gets attention. When 3D mailers arrive in the mailbox with a bunch of flat mail, they are almost always opened first. While dimensional mailers cost more than flat mailers, they get response rates that can make your mouth water. According to the Direct Marketing Association, dimensional mailers receive response rates 200%–300% higher than traditional mailers. So when your marketing ideas take shape, make it a literal shape!

Wow them with unusual finishes, folds, and bindings.

Tangible elements are what make the print channel stand out. Consider using some of the many spot coatings, textured coatings, die cuts, pop-outs, and foldouts that your customers don’t see every day. If you have been meaning to investigate fresh new options and still haven’t had an excuse to do it, maybe now is the time.

It’s time to get noticed! If you need some ideas or want to test new formats, substrates, and finishing options, just ask.

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Just because you have a limited marketing budget doesn’t mean you can’t have big results. With the right strategy, you can maximize your investment, no matter how much you have to spend. Let’s look at seven ways to do that.

Find and target your best audience.

You might think that the more people you reach, the better your sales, but that’s not necessarily true. You’ll make more money by finding 100 people who spend $250 each than 500 people who spend $50 each.

Get expert advice — upfront.

Involve us in the design of your printed and digital projects from the beginning. With print, in particular, we can recommend paper, ink, trim sizes, and layouts that save you money.

Be smart with your postage.

Postage rates are always rising, so don’t mail less—mail smarter! Let us advise you on creating mail pieces that minimize your postage expense while maximizing your ROI.

Switch from letters to postcards.

Postcards can deliver key information at very low cost, with near certainty that your message will get seen. Ask us for assistance in creating low-cost postcards that meet USPS specifications for reduced postage.

Establish yourself as an expert.

When prospective clients need your product or service, you will have instant credibility if they have seen your name elsewhere in print. Create a newsletter or blog, write articles for magazines, newspapers and journals, or consider producing your own branded magazine.

Get out there.

Be visible in your local community. You might be surprised how many jobs you can win by being a featured speaker at a local event or networking at a trade show. Utilize online networking resources, such as LinkedIn.

Partner with non-competing businesses.

Identify companies that offer complementary goods and services, and create cooperative marketing collateral using a pool of shared dollars.

There are many cost-effective ways to maximize your marketing budget and get great results even from limited dollars. Just plan ahead and plan smart!


Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

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Did you know that direct mail recipients purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more than non-direct mail recipients?1 This is excellent news for marketers. But with increasing pressure on marketing budgets, you still want to make every direct mail dollar count. Here are three overlooked ways to boost your mailing results and maximize your investment.

Keep addresses current with public and private address correction sources.

Most mailers know about the National Change of Address (NCOA) service offered by the U.S. Post Office. However, did you know that only 60% of actual address changes get filed with the USPS? Or that NCOA only catches moves filed within the past 18–48 months? By using private address correction services in conjunction with NCOA, you can find moves not reported to the USPS and can often correct address changes as far back as 15 years.

Get addresses right in the first place.

It’s a simple principle, but it is too often overlooked. If you don’t get the address correct on the envelope, the mail won’t be delivered. 1234 Bay Avenue is not the same as 1234 Bay Street. Use professional address correction services to ensure that your mailing addresses are accurate and complete, so your mail pieces arrive as intended.

Suppress bad addresses.

Sometimes boosting results isn’t just about targeting people who are most likely to respond. It is also about not targeting those who won’t. Suppression services flag records in your list that are highly unlikely to respond because they have registered for the Direct Marketing Association’s “do not mail” service, have an address in a prison or extremely low-income area, or are deceased. In one analysis of five client mailings, for example, BCC Software saw an average return on investment of 300% by using deceased suppression alone.2

Don’t leave money on the table. Talk to us about standard address correction and the private address correction and suppression services available. You work hard to develop your list. Get the most out of it!


1 “Mail: Convert Browsers into Online Sales” (USPS)
2 “Find the 5 Bottom Line Impacting Items Hiding in Your Data” (BCC Software)

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How many personalities does your brand have? If you are doing it right, there should only be one. You should have different messaging for different audiences and marketing goals, but your overall brand message should be consistent.

How do you do that? Whether your marketing is print or digital, here are four elements that, according to John Jantsch, marketing consultant and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine, are critical to your efforts:

Business name

Your business name should be simple, easy to remember, and easy to pronounce. It should be repeated frequently. If possible, include keywords that make it easy for people to find you on search engines.


Your logo should be professionally designed and work across multiple media and physical configurations. Strive for something that is simple and yet communicates a story. When the charity organization Lifewater International decided to redesign its logo, for example, it tapped into the concept of a water drop with three segments, each representing an area of its mission: life, health, and hope.

Colors and typography

For the greatest brand impression, use a limited and consistent palette of colors and fonts that are instantly recognizable. Who can’t pick out Tide in the detergent aisle from 100 feet away? Remember, when it comes to brand color, close isn’t good enough. Tide orange is different from Home Depot orange. Brand colors are carefully protected for a reason.

Tone and keywords

In your written communications, what is your company’s tone? Is it edgy? Playful and fun? Serious and professional? No one would mistake the irreverent humor of Duluth Trading Company for the corporate-speak of Fidelity Investments. Your communications should have personality and tone, too. Find that tone and maintain it across all communications, regardless of channel.

Creating and maintaining a robust and professional image takes work, but it will pay off in the end. How can our experts help you create the consistent, compelling brand image you deserve?

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