Tag Archive for desired communication

Study: Most e-mail recipients delete message within seconds

Wow what a headline! The article was posted by BtoB. The study found that more than 50% of e-mail recipients delete messages within two seconds of opening them, according to Salted Services.

Do you want to reach a majority of the people on your list or do you just want to your message to be seen by a small percentage because the delivery method is so cheap?

We have seen some studies that found that using direct mail that leads to relevant information posted on the Internet has increased response rates dramatically. We can help you put together an integrated campaign.

Interruption Response Depends on Age

Chart of interruption preferences

Interruption Preferences

Retrovo, a seller of consumer electronics, publishes a report titled, “The Retrevo Gadgetology Report”. They found that almost half (49%) of those under 25 years old did not mind being interrupted during a meal with a text or electronic message, but only 27% of those over 25 felt that way. That means that 73% of those over 25 don’t want to be interrupted during a meal. In general only 33% of those under 25 agree with the statement “I don’t like interruptions” while 62% of those over 25 do.

Clearly, we need to really think about who we are trying to reach as we craft marketing messages and choose communication channels. Direct mail is desired communication, even among younger adults.

People Still Want Mail

In a recent LinkedIn discussion a member of the group overheard a conversation at a table in a restaurant between two couples…

… One couple recently bought a home, and they were excited about it. Although they had the new address for a couple of months, they were disappointed that they haven’t gotten any mail yet. They weren’t talking about personal mail or bills – they were talking specifically about retail offers, coupons, and personalized direct mail pieces. They mentioned that the couple in the house next to them had received offers – and the couple without mail was actually jealous of them…

Direct mail is desired! Especially to new homeowners. We offer lists of new homeowners and are happy to talk to you about ways we can help you reach them.

The Power of Mail

In a column for Deliver Magazine titled “Power in the Mailbox” author Steve Cuno, told about a friend who received a personal note from the president of her bank, just to check up and make sure the bank was treating her well. Thanks (perhaps ironically) to e-mail and the Internet, direct mail may now be much more powerful than ever.

A number of unique factors work in direct mail’s favor. One is called “willing suspension of disbelief,” our ability to set aside reality and lose ourselves in a story. When a direct mail letter shows up in a personally addressed, stamped envelope, part of us wants to believe that someone took a moment to compose, print, address and post it, just for us. All the better if the letter calls us by name and bears a signature in fountain pen–evoking blue. A good writer can make an e-mail blast sound personal, but there is no electronic substitute for the look and feel of a signed letter in a stamped, addressed envelope.

Willing suspension of disbelief knows no demographic limitations. Had the friend mentioned above paused to analyze, she would easily have seen that the letter in her hand was direct mail. But — and this is the point — she chose not to pause and analyze.

Whether or not your direct mail includes an envelope or sales letter, it appears that the public would rather receive advertising mail in a mailbox than on a computer. Higher response rates provide one indicator. The near-overnight appearance of spam laws and filters provides another. No sooner had e-mail blasts arrived than the public demanded laws restricting them, servers blocking them, and junk filters dispatching them.

By contrast, laws governing physical mail are far less restrictive, despite more than 200 years of opportunity to enact them — and for good reason. While it remains disturbingly fashionable for legislators to tilt against direct mail windmills, Congress was quick to recognize spam as a problem and take immediate action.

Besides indicating a market preference, the absence of such controls offers a practical advantage. Everyone must look through their physical mail in order to decide what to read and what to chuck. Not so with e-mail. There, one click and your beautiful offer is gone forever.

People have always looked forward to getting their mail, and still do. Most people can tell you what time their mail arrives. Most bring it in daily and eagerly dig through it. They’re not looking for bills. They’re looking for letters — and, increasingly, relevant advertising mail.

This is why we and others find that intelligent, well-targeted direct mail continues to perform as well as, and often better than, ever. Your offer can be the one that people willingly open, read — and act upon.

E-mail and other online media are useful and powerful in their own right. We appreciate that you are reading this post online. But when planning a direct response media mix, it’s important to remember that there are some things that a mailbox can deliver that a monitor just can’t.

Direct Mail Works

Smart Money Magazine published an article in the June issue with the title “Why Your Mailbox Runneth Over”. The article stated that charities still rely heavily on direct mail as a fund-raising tool. Nonprofits spent $1.8 billion on direct-mail solicitations in 2009.

Pasadena, Calif., marketing consultancy Russ Reid Co. found that fund-raising campaigns with 12 to 18 mailings a year were twice as profitable as those based on just three to six mailings. Donors are surprised when they receive a rapid request for another gift after making a first time donation. The tactic is effective because donors feel the strongest connection with a nonprofit immediately after their first donation.

We can help you put these findings to work for you in your profit or non-profit organization. Even if people say they only want to hear from you a few times a year, they may respond much more when you triple or quadruple the number of times your customers hear from you. What about a plan to send something to your customers very soon after their first purchase? Can we help you with a multichannel communication plan, integrating direct mail and email?

Tips for Giving Advice

What is the best way to give advice and feedback? Why do you want to get better at the art of giving good, old-fashioned advice. It is less about the quality of advice and more about the way it’s delivered. The way advice is given can inadvertently increase the receiver’s resistance to hearing it or acting on it, which is a shame, because that undoes the best of intentions. You want the advisee to come away with good advice, rather than bad feelings about the advisor. A post on BNET offered four tips on how to give advice well.

  1. There is a difference between solicited and unsolicited advice. Both are fine ways to be helpful, but remember that the unsolicited variety may not always be welcome, so the recipient might be more vulnerable to a bruised ego if you push the advice too far.
  2. Say thank you first. This applies to solicited advice. Before offering any of your wisdom, express some gratitude for being asked. After all, it’s flattering to be seen as wise and helpful. We don’t know anyone who doesn’t like being asked for advice. In fact, doing so is one of the best ways to deepen a relationship, because it’s a mutually gratifying human interaction and flattering without being obsequious.
  3. Make sure you understand the limits of the question. There’s nothing more annoying than asking for advice on one thing (like “What do I need to do to get a promotion?”) and getting advice on your marriage and your vacations plans, with a few golf tips thrown in. Stick to the subject at hand, unless somehow there’s a connection.
  4. Be confident, but not arrogant. This distinction is blurry for some. There really is a difference between coming across as authoritative (presumably the solicitor wouldn’t be seeking your advice if they didn’t think you knew your stuff) as opposed to authoritarian (using your power to compel someone to follow your advice, or being pathologically certain that you’re always right). Being authoritative can be done with humility, like saying “I’ve seen a lot of situations like this, and I’m concerned”. An authoritarian way of giving the same advice might be, “Look, you have to do this now, or I’ll do it for you.” The latter is obnoxious, off-putting, and not helpful.
  5. Give the recipient an “out”. This is related to No. 4. While there’s plenty of room for passion in the giving advice, a bit of humility also helps. You can say, for instance, that you’ve seen such-and-such approach work for yourself and for others, but it might not be for everybody. Or you can preface it with a turn of phrase like, “I’m not sure about this, but I think you could benefit from doing x, y, and z.” Or my personal favorite: “Have you considered…?”
  6. After giving advice, ask how it sounds. Often the best advice is created in an iterative way, rather than being delivered from on high. So after you’re done expounding, ask the recipient if that makes sense, or how they might feel about acting on your advice. Their reactions can help you refine it together and make it even more meaningful.
  7. Ask for follow-up. Not only does it show you care if you ask your advice-seeker to let you know how it goes, but it also conveys that you have a stake in giving good advice. Whether or not they take you up on the offer, it will leave them feeling even better about you and more confident in acting on what you’ve shared.

Giving advice is one of life’s great gifts, especially when it turns out that we were right. We are also grateful for all the good advice we’ve received over the years.

More Evidence that Paper and Print Feel Better

Deliver Magazine reported on a survey conducted by Harris Interactive that found that 64 percent of employed US adults say print media is easier to read than the digital equivalent. 68 percent say that they feel more comfortable reading something on paper than on screen, suggesting that we associate things we can touch and feel as being more “real”.

How can we help you put something “real” in your customers and prospects hands so they feel more comfortable and find your communication easier to read? Direct mail is a great idea!

Another Reason for List Hygiene

Deliver Magazine told of a valid reason to regularly scrub mailing lists. Sure, mailings sent to the deceased get responses — but they’re usually from distressed family members commenting on how disrespectful and downright rude the company is for sending it in the first place.

“Not only is this a waste of a company’s time and money, it also can be extremely damaging to a brand, resulting in customers lost rather than gained,” says Kirk Schuh, vice president of marketing delivery services at ARGI, a database marketing company. “Regularly cleansing files must become part of a marketer’s regular list hygiene routine”, Schuh says. “Deceased suppression is a delicate issue,” he adds. “No matter how vigilant marketers are, their lists always can benefit from routine maintenance and enhancement.”

Try Postcards

ABC15 ran a story about a family that has been trying to find their lost pet dog. They have put posters up everywhere, taken fliers to area veterinarians, and now they are trying postcards. The story featured a service that creates postcards to saturate the neighborhood with a photo of the lost pet, some basic information and all the ways to contact the pet owner.

A postcard can reunite families and pets, a simple postcard can do so many good things. A postcard can reach people in the moment when they are open and willing to consider information and offers. We offer more information about postcards and ideas to get you started in using them too.

It seems like thoughts and trends are going in a circle. People are trying everything to communicate important messages and then they go back to what has been proven to work, direct mail.

A College Student’s View of the Mail

Loyola University student Andy Dorsey describes his feelings about personal postal mail in an opinion-editorial.

“Sure, it’s cheaper and easier to e-mail people, but it’s just not the same. When you see an e-mail in your inbox, you probably dread the homework assignment, request to attend an event or at the very least, the obligation of composing a reply.

Letters are different. Maybe many of my peers have never gotten a true letter in the mail, but it’s at once an exciting and human experience.  Texting may have the advantage of instant contact, but letters are physical pieces of paper prepared for your personal perusal. They are objects that have traveled from their hands to yours.”

Using direct mail to reach, even the youngest consumers, is great way to stand out and send some genuine personal messages.