What is Good Design?

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What is good design, exactly, when it comes to direct mail marketing?

The short answer is:  the design that achieves the results you need.

And with that you’ll note good design is above all, results-oriented.  The entire reason for good design is, not to make the world a prettier place, but to maximize the impact of the message.

Good postcard design

The longer answer is more helpful perhaps, although no more precise:  good design is using visual elements of form — space, lines, shapes, color and textures, along with function — a compelling message — that achieves an action or some goal for the marketer.   Often, it’s about finding an appealing balance between form and function — that is, a pleasing presentation;  but this is not always the case.

There’s no single design that is the perfect design.   Further, a design that works for one type of message may not work for another.

And a design for one audience may not work for another.

When it comes to postcard magnet mailers (what we do at magnetbyMail) we’ve seen all types of designs for all types of messages and audiences.

The designs that work best seem to be the ones that:

  1. get your attention, either through imagery, a few words, or both;
  2. draw you in to explore and learn more details;
  3. change your emotional state — make you angry, curious, intrigued, excited, etc.;
  4. and lead you to a next step — to a website, a phone #, a donation, etc.

Personally, I like simple layouts.  Grab the attention, give a message that’s succinct, and ask for action.

The design philosophy for this is “less is more.”   The principle is that unessential elements are distractions. So if an element isn’t necessary to your core message, consider doing without it.

Where do you find good ideas for good design?  I suggest starting on the Web.

For postcard designs, check out BestPostcardDesign .

On a future post, I’ll provide a list of my favorite websites that are helpful for design inspiration.

Until then, I suggest:  less is best.

 

Another little marketing nugget from magnetbyMail, your source for postcard magnet mailers and other nifty marketing aids.

April 23, 2012 · Posted in Design, Marketing  
    

To the Rescue

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Animal Rescue: A New Breed of Marketing

It’s startling to find out how many dogs and cats are rescued from our streets.  According to the Humane Society, there are 6-8 million dogs and cats in animal shelters each year, in the US alone.

Each one of these animals needs to find a home.  And many new organizations have sprung up to take on the challenge.

These groups don’t necessarily call themselves marketers, but that’s exactly what they are.

Their mission is to raise the awareness of the abandoned animal issue, recruit likely adoptee families, match animals with new owners, promote best practices to the community, and even sponsor legislation that helps save animals.

The animal rescue groups of today use many of the same cutting edge marketing strategies you might find in any major business, using social media like Facebook and Twitter to broadcast rescue news to thousands.

But because not everybody subscribes to their Twitter feeds, these groups have found they need to use traditional media.

And that’s where we come in.

Dog Rescue postcard magnet mailerYou see, we make postcard magnet mailers.  That’s a custom-printed, jumbo postcard and a magnet, one glued to the other, and mailed to a mailing list via the post office.

These magnet mailers are one of the most effective ways for rescue groups to get their message out: to ask people to consider adopting an animal in need.

Our Foldup Magnet Mailer is good for helping tell a more complete story — it’s designed with the magnet attached inside a large, folded postcard, and provides over a hundred square inches of space for text and pictures.

So how does the whole thing work exactly?   Simple: the Foldup Magnet Mailer reaches the family through the mailbox.  It will likely be opened and read, and maybe discussed.   The magnet will be added to a file cabinet or refrigerator, working as a mini billboard for on-going awareness.

Then, one day, the Forces of Good will converge  and the family will decide that they’re interested in learning more about adopting an animal and will find the rescue group’s web address on the magnet.

It sounds like great fiction but this process is really what happens every single day.

In fact, there aren’t many other ways for an animal rescue organization to get so much exposure, for so few dollars (…cents, actually).

It might take three or four months for a family to reach that magic moment, and decide to adopt a pet.  The Foldup Magnet Mailer provides all the right ingredients to facilitate that multi-month process, and help keep the rescue’s message at top of mind.

Of course, you don’t need to be rescued to benefit from our postcard magnet mailers.  You just need to be interested in getting your message out, and keeping it there.

Another timely message (we hope) from your friends at magnetbyMail.com , your source for of postcard magnets and other neat promotional devices.

March 2, 2012 · Posted in Marketing  
    

Ok, maybe you don’t run a pizza shop. You still could benefit from a marketing idea that helps deliver pizza sales from coast to coast.

Pizza Takeout Menu Postcard MagnetIt’s our Stuckup Mailer. We can print a takeout menu on one side of the postcard. On the other side we attach a magnet and inkjet a mailing address you supply.

We prepare all the Stuckup mailers for bulk mail, so you get a sizable postage discount, and drop them in the mail for you.

If you need a low cost way to reach an entire neighborhood, we can provide a saturation mailing list, and you could reach your entire community for pennies.

With an enticing offer or artwork, the card makes a quick trip from your recipients’ mailboxes to their refrigerator doors.

At 3-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ and UV coated on front, it’s just right for a small takeout menu (which is why pizza restaurants love it).

But it’s also a great size for advertisers and organizations who need to distribute lists of phone numbers, key contacts or web addresses. Or useful procedures, recipes, emergency preparedness checklists, key tips, calendars, schedules or campaign bios. Or maps, inspiring quotes, artwork or colorful travel vistas.

With a good Stuckup Mailer, you’ll discover that the refrigerator door is the most valuable spot in the whole house.   And you’ll be making the most of this space.

Best of all, your promotional message could be there for months or more.

Makes you want to order take out, doesn’t it?

 

Another marketing tip from magnetbyMail.com, your source for magnet mailers and other innovative marketing ideas.

February 3, 2012 · Posted in Marketing  
    

Advertising to Gen-Y

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Ask most marketers how they reach the Generation Y audience and they’ll tell you it’s challenging.

cs-1-6-postcard magnetsGen Y, that demographic group born roughly between the mid-1970′s and early 2000′s, doesn’t use lots of the traditional media (newspapers, network tv, magazines).   So for marketers trying to reach the group, the media choices are the social networks like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.  And unless a marketer can create a buzz that goes viral, he or she is not going to reach an audience at all.

So now it’s come this: when marketers think about going ‘outside the box’, they now mean ‘outside the Internet.’   The ultimate web-based marketers are finding new solutions using ‘traditional’ media,  like  magnet mailers.  Here’s how:

The cyber game world is a billion dollar industry featuring multi-player Internet games where the other players – one’s teammates and opponents – could be on the other side of the planet.  Games like  Starcraft or Counter Strike Source are run from independent network server companies, offering high-tech computer power that needs to be fast and affordable for their Gen Y customers.

But marketing a game server company isn’t easy.  Competition is global and its fierce.  Email marketing has become ineffective and even viral marketing strategies seem to return diminishing results.

We provided the solution in the form of our Basic magnet mailer – it’s a large, full-color laminated postcard carrier, and a custom printed magnet attached. With a good mailing list, and a postcard / magnet combo designed to promote a web address, we helped a US-based game server pinpoint its Gen Y target and deliver a message that could stick around.

The end result: a 20% increase in ‘guest’ traffic at the website and five new accounts for every 100 magnet mailers sent.

Which all goes to show that, even in the tough Gen Y marketplace, if you can get in front of your prospect, you can still win.

magnetbyMail:  helping make sure your message stays in front

March 29, 2011 · Posted in Marketing  
    

Mail Smarter

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If you like being able to track the packages you ship through companies like FedEx(R) or UPS(R), you’ll like hearing about this new service from the US Postal Service…

USPS IMB Intelligent Mail barcode

Example of IM barcode (courtesy Wikimedia)

The USPS IM barcode is an Intelligent Mail barcode that can provide you tracking details of the mail you send.  Similar to the barcode already used on most US mail, the USPS IM barcode is 65 vertical bars that encodes 31 digits of data for USPS scanners.

Based on the 31 digits, the USPS will be able to know: the type of service for the item (1st class, 3rd class, etc), the identity of the sender, a sequence number and the Zip Code of the delivery point.

The sequence number is what’s really interesting.  This is assigned to the sender;  it identifies the mailing piece from the thousands the sender might be mailing.

So now a mailer will be able to know when (and if)  their mailing piece made it to the doorstep.  Before, it was a matter of faith.

Also, by confirming delivery, mailers will be able to update their mailing lists for future mailings.

And marketers will have end-to-end tracking of their campaigns, just like they do with email campaigns!  It’s nirvana for those using analytics.

The new Intelligent Mail service will start this May.  Mailers will need to use the IM barcode to qualify for automation prices.

Postcard magnets mailed by magnetbyMail will be processed using the new Intelligent Mail service, at no additional charge.

The fine line between the Internet and old-fashioned marketing just disappeared.

From your friends at magnetbyMail .

 

 

March 13, 2011 · Posted in Marketing  
    

Cause and Effect

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From saving organic farming  to saving Haiti, there are thousands of good causes, each one with a message.  Each cause competes for our attention.  And each competes with the thousands of other messages that crisscross  in front of us every single day.

campaign promotionsAdding the Internet to the mix hasn’t helped.  In fact, it’s only increased the volume of message traffic.

And for any cause, being able to convey a message to a targeted audience can be critical.  It can be the difference between fulfilling a mission, or disappearing.

Luckily, there’s a solution: custom imprinted postcard magnets.  OK, so we’re biased; but listen to this recent example:

A community organization needs to rally county support for a major change in zoning.   Within three weeks the group needs to convince residents that changes are something that need to be approved.

The group decides to have magnetbyMail print and mail Venti postcard magnets – jumbo postcards and square refrigerator magnets — to every voter in the county.

Within days of the mailing, hundreds of hits come through the group’s website.  The previously-hard-to-get newspaper and tv news reporters appears  for interviews.  And the night of the zoning meeting, there is an unusual sight: full attendance.

The zoning changes are approved by a wide margin, and the organization makes lots of new friends for future projects.

And in many of the area’s homes, the magnets are still in use many months later.

There’s little else that works quite like a postcard magnet mailer.  The postcard is the carrier, the magnet is the billboard.  The combination is quite effective, and very affordable.

Have an important message to convey? Check us out at magnetbyMail.

March 8, 2011 · Posted in Marketing  
    

Direct Mail Since Net

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It was as if Direct Mail advertising was hit by a bus a few years ago, when the Internet came to town.  Advertisers took off, thinking they could save a boatload by simply building a website, recalling the adage “build it and they will come…”

Our own Clarke Stevens looks into what happened to Direct Mail since that time in his recent article at Hubpages.com: Aspiring Media Could Impact Marketing Strategy .

Its worth a look…

March 7, 2011 · Posted in Marketing  
    

USPS Requirements

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Yes, the US Post Office can deliver our magnet mailer through their system without a problem.   The magnet stays securely attached to the postcard based on our spot glue process.

US Postal ServiceThe USPS processes our custom printed postcard magnets as machinable, non-automated mail.  Among other things, this means if you’d like to have your magnet mailers sent via first class, the postage rate would be based on the 1 oz. letter rate (not the the postcard rate), plus a charge for special handling (currently $.20ea).

The USPS offers discounted rates for properly prepared bulk mail. Based on these current rates, here are our current postage prices, if you’d like us to do the mailing [updated 1/27/2013] (subject to change without notice):

US Postage rates
  • Third (Standard) class bulk mail: $0.29 ea
  • First class presort mail: $0.44 ea
  • Non-profit bulk mail: $0.21 ea
  • Rate based on machinable, non-automated item
  • We can use your Postal permit; or our permit

If we will be mailing your items, please complete and fax to us a Bulk Mail Form and USPS NCOA Processing Acknowledgement Form — both forms are in the Templates file found on the webpage for each item on our magnetbyMail website. You can choose to use our indicia on the mailing piece (and pay us postage cost), or use your indicia, if it is the type that can be used at any US Post Office (not all are). If using our Indicia, prepare your art layout leaving the appropriate space for us to add the correct Indicia box and text. Note our Mailing List details (also on our website) when preparing your mailing list for us.

Of course, if you want us to ship all the postcard mailers to you, so you can distribute, we can do that, too.  In this case there would be shipping charge for UPS delivery.

Everything you ever wanted to know about mailing postcard magnets is on our website.

And you can always call us.  We’d love to hear from you!

March 6, 2011 · Posted in Design  
    

Good News in the Mail

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Mail SlotThe Internet has had a huge impact on the US Post Office.  You probably aren’t surprised to hear that.

Instead of  catalogs, companies are focused on improving their websites.

Instead of mailing letters, people simply send an email.

And all that is good news for you if you’re marketing with Direct Mail:

First of all, your recipients are more likely to see your mail simply because the pile is much smaller.

And secondly, recipients are more likely to be favorable to Direct Mail ad mail, and even look forward to receiving it, because mail levels are now so low.

So next time you hear that people are mailing less and less, put on your marketing hat and smile.

Just a thought from magnetbyMail.com, home of custom imprinted postcard magnets.

March 6, 2011 · Posted in Marketing, Profitability