All posts by Hillary

Entering Q2: Our Future Marketing Predictions

In the lead up to the new quarter, we put our heads together to share our vision for the months ahead. Here are a few trends we think will be shaping our marketing throughout the remainder of 2020.

Video Marketing

It’s no secret that customers respond well to visual content. Now, more than ever, this type of content is essential, due to in person meetings and events being cancelled. But, just because you can’t be there in person, doesn’t mean you can’t be there at all. Video marketing is relatable, emotional and aids in building relationships. Much like we predicted in 2019, video content will continue to be an essential part of any marketing strategy for the duration of 2020. 

Whether you’re just getting started with video marketing or you want to up your video marketing’s “wow factor”, give our Video Mailers a try. Not only are they attention-getting, they also provide a visual experience of your brand for your prospects.

Online Goes Offline

Believe it or not, what’s tried and true are staples for a reason. That’s why direct mail still has value.

However, now brands are using technology and data gleaned from customers’ online presence to inform how to approach them offline. Billboards, retailers and others have begun experimenting with this ultra-targeted communication and consumers are falling for it. 

Don’t have the budget (or the data) to do this yourself? Use what you do know about your customers to approach them in a thoughtful way that is both relevant and valuable to them. 

Increased Direct Communication

Similar to our above point about personalizing direct mail, we expect the channels of communication between customers and brands to improve. Instead of the impersonal connections that many social platforms and websites offer, we’re seeing text messaging platforms, real-time Twitter Q&As, and on-call customer service representatives resurfacing and resurrecting the strong direct connections many of us have missed having with our favorite brands.  

SleekPeeks® Cardboard VR Viewer

Sensory Immersion

It’s not just about pumping out consistent content anymore. Customers are oversaturated with it. Instead, capturing the attention of potential buyers will require brands to get more creative. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will continue to deliver on this front, but we’ll also see more interactive marketing experiences like this one that engage each of the five senses.

HIPPA and Direct Mail: Do You Know the Rules?

So, you think you know the rules when it comes to HIPAA, but do you know how it relates to your marketing?

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding patients’ medical information. It applies to organizations that are considered HIPAA-covered entities, including health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and healthcare providers. Private health information like names, social security and health plan numbers, vehicle identifiers, fingerprints or facial images are some of the information protected by HIPAA.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule defines marketing as “a communication about a product or service that encourages recipients of the communication to purchase or use the product or service”. With limited exceptions, the rule requires an individual’s written authorization before his or her protected health information can be used for marketing. (It’s important to note that the HIPAA Privacy Rule distinguishes marketing communications from those communications regarding goods and services that are essential for quality health care.)

When considering sending direct mail within the healthcare community, it’s important to remember that HIPAA is, ultimately, there to protect patient health data and to protect your business against violations and fines. However, there are still ways that your team can market without putting patients’ privacy at risk. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Digital

  • Don’t create ads, posts or emails using patient information without obtaining explicit permission from the patients involved.
  • Don’t allow staff members to take any photos or videos, including cell phone photography, within the practice if there is the potential that personal information will be visible.
  • Create and enforce social media policies for employees limiting what they can and cannot post.
  • Ensure that any third-party agencies, photographers or vendors are HIPAA compliant. Legal Business Associate Agreements must be executed with all vendors, including marketing firms.
  • Encrypt any email sent to patients that contains personal information, including name and email address.

Direct

  • Receive explicit authorization from patients before sending them any direct mail.
  • Send marketing communications via certified mail and require the intended recipient’s signature.
  • Clearly and prominently identify your organization (if you are the one sending it).
  • Include clear opt-out instructions.
  • Explain why the recipient has been targeted with your communication and how the product or service you’re selling relates to the health of the individual.
  • Disclose whether a covered entity, such as a healthcare provider or partner, has received or will receive direct or indirect remuneration for making the communication.

5 Ways to Incorporate Tech Into Your Direct Mail

Do you ever feel like a print marketer in a digital world?

Well, you’re not wrong. But you’re not exactly right in feeling this way, either.

From Facebook ads to targeted email campaigns, it’s evident that technology plays a crucial role in influencing the purchasing decisions of customers. However, even despite the ongoing wave of technological advancements, customers are embracing direct mail, too.

Here’s how you can combine both technology and print, and use them to your advantage:

Video Brochures: By taking the best parts of video (sound and image) and merging it with the best part of print (context), Video Brochures are a win-win. Instead of sending another flat postcard with copy and graphics, these brochures allow brands a greater opportunity to connect with and capture the attention of their recipients. With a variety of sizes to choose from and the ability to customize not only the video, but the brochure as well, this is a format that is sure to take your business’ printed communication to the next level. Not to mention, marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t. Click here to read about how combining video with a high-impact printed solution is such an effective marketing tool.

Audio in Print: Why settle for plain text when you can make it pop with sound? Print plays to the human senses in ways that digital tech is hard-pressed to match. Add sound and you’re able to deliver your customers and/ or prospects the ultimate sensory experience. Start by adding your jingle to your print communications or include a personalized video message from your sales representative or CEO. Now, that’s sure to capture their attention.

Near Field Communications: NFC technology uses tiny, radio frequency emitting tags to connect with digital devices like smartphones. When a smartphone comes within range of the signal, its web browser displays the content the signal steers it to – no apps necessary. What’s especially great about NFC is that it can be used on just about any printed material: brochures, in-store signage, posters, flyers, coupons, business cards and more.

Virtual Reality: Have you been considering incorporating VR into your marketing? New, inexpensive VR headsets like our SleekPeeks® have made it possible for brands of all sizes and budgets to deliver this immersive experience to their customers. Ours ship flat, assemble in seconds and are fully customizable.

Augmented Reality: Unlike VR, AR invites people into an interactive experience that doesn’t require the need for a headset. Customers, prospects and other members of the public are able to experience computer-generated information in a real-world setting. Combine AR with a brochure, magazine insert, invitation, or other printed collateral and deliver a larger-than-life experience to your customers.

Interested in incorporating technology into your next print campaign? Let’s talk.

How to Acquire, Retain, And Re-Engage Using Direct Mail

Believe it or not, many businesses can benefit from integrating direct mail into their overall marketing strategy. As brands look to gain new customers (and keep them), an omnichannel approach to how you’re delivering your message can help you drive more business and convert customers, regardless of what stage in the marketing cycle they’re at.

In fact, 9% of recipients from a house list and 5% from a prospect list respond to direct mail, according to the 2018 ANA/DMA Response Rate Report. That’s in comparison to 5.1% and 2.9%, respectively, shown in the organization’s 2017 report.

Here are some other key takeaways that relate specifically to direct mail response:

  • Letter-sized direct mail performed best for lead generation with 15.1% response rate.
  • The industries that used direct mail the most were Travel or Hospitality (80%), Nonprofit (75%), Publishing or Media (71%), Financial Services-Banks/Credit (67%), and Healthcare (63%).
  • The most popular methods of measuring response rates include online tracking (53%), code or coupon (45%), and call center or telephone (41%).

How can we continue to acquire new customers?

Don’t overlook what – and who – you already know. This is your opportunity to bring in other departments – your sales reps, social media manager, guest relations team, etc. – and analyze your current customer base. Glean information from your colleagues to determine your target audience’s demographics, geographic locations, interests and other relevant information. With a deeper understanding of your current customers, you can then better target your mailings to reach people like them.

When developing your messaging, use a call-to-action (CTA) in your mailings to keep a pulse on the campaign and each recipient who engages with it. Some ideas are QR codes, developing a personalized URL via a format like a Web Key or integrating voice recognition software like Structural Graphics Connect.

What’s the best way to effectively retain them?

As your brand seeks to expand its current customer base, it’s important not to forget about the ones who are already purchasing from and/ or interacting with you. Keeping these customers happy not only helps your business’ bottom line, but it also creates brand advocates in the process. Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage customer retention – and direct mail should be a part of it.

How can we win former customers back?

While direct mail can be helpful in retaining or enticing new customers, it’s also a powerful tool to re-engage with customers who may have lapsed. Seeking insight into when a customer left or stopped engaging with your brand can prove to be extremely helpful data, and direct mail can help with that. Surveys with incentives (think a 25% off coupon) or customized postcards with helpful products or services tailored to that individual can help customers feel valued and connected to your brand again.

Another option is dimensional print. While designs like Pop Up Cubes, SleekPeeks® or The Flapper® mail flat, they also possess that unique “wow factor” that encourages discussion, sharing and longevity to keep your brand top-of-mind for days, weeks or even years to come.

Unilever Incubator’s Ad Doubles as Wrapping Paper

As more and more brands continue to join the environmental movement, Unilever’s Love Beauty and Planet are taking an innovative approach this holiday season using, you guessed it, print.

On Dec. 8, the brand released an ad in the New York Times’ Sunday edition, which doubles as wrapping paper. The objective? To encourage customers to rethink their holiday waste. The ad was supported by a digital campaign aimed at driving awareness of the initiative through the brand’s social media channels, influencers and word-of-mouth.

According to the brand, trash increases as much as 25% during the holidays. What’s more is that much of the paper waste associated with gift wrap isn’t recyclable.

“We wanted to use our voice to raise awareness about wastefulness…in a way that feels more productive and happy,” said Sonika Molhotra, Brand Founder and Global Brand Director for Love Beauty and Planet.

How Marketers are Leveraging AR this Holiday Season

Augmented reality (AR) is one of the most popular technology trends right now – and marketers have taken notice. As we enter the holiday rush, brands the world over are leveraging the technology to drive both customer engagement as well as purchases.

Here are some examples:

Office Depot

Credit: Office Depot

Elf Yourself is a recurring campaign by Office Depot, which lets users turn themselves (or others) into elves using the brand’s website and app. In recent years, the Elf Yourself app has been updated with new features, including AR and the ability to print your elf as a seasonal greeting card and/ or share on social media using the hashtag #ElfYourself.

JC Penny

Credit: Verizon Media

In partnership with Verizon Media, the brand is taking advantage of the holiday proposal season and launched a 2019 mobile ad campaign for their Modern Bride Collection. Clicking on ads that appear on HuffPost Life, Yahoo Sports and other Verizon Media properties activates an AR feature which allows soon-to-be-brides to try on engagement rings.

Starbucks

Credit: Starbucks

Building on the popularity of their iconic holiday cups, Starbucks released four limited edition cup designs in early November. Each design, when used with Instagram, springs to life with its own AR effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s your turn. Do you have an idea for how to integrate AR into your marketing campaign? Contact us to bring it to life!

3 Unique (and Budget-Friendly) Ways to Thank Your Customers This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season of giving and there’s no better time to reflect on your most loyal customers past and present. Here are a few ways to thank them for their support (and keep them around well into the future).

Say it in print.
Any time of the year, cards can make a huge impact, but even more so when you’re looking to send a little holiday cheer. However, we’ve got something a bit more special than your average holiday card in mind this season. Red Paper Plane has our most popular holiday card designs available to order online. Even better? They are fully customizable, dimensional and ship in as little as 7 days.

Say it with video.
Have you heard that saying, “show, don’t tell”? What better way to tell your customers how much you appreciate them by showing what they’ve helped your business achieve! Videos are some of the most powerful marketing tools; they have the potential to increase people’s understanding of a product or service by 74%. Why not use this to your advantage and include it in a Video in Print brochure or turn it into a virtual reality your customers can experience through our SleekPeeks® VR Viewers?

Say it with a gift.

This time of year isn’t known as the giving season for nothing. And what better way to show customers how grateful you are for their business than with a little treat. Some of our clients have sent packages of hot cocoa. Others have included lanyards or sample sizes of the products they sell. Not only is this a great time to say thank you, it’s also a great opportunity to give a sneak peak at your products or services. Package them into one of our Well Boxes or design something entirely your own with our custom luxury packing solutions.

Now, that’s the holiday spirit!

Searching For The Perfect Holiday Card? Here Are 6 You Can Order Right Now.

There’s nothing quite like getting a holiday card in the mail.

It’s a tangible way to see how your nearest and dearest have changed throughout the year and it’s a relatively easy way to make someone feel even more connected to you or your business.

Even if you’re so plugged into your social media accounts that staying up-to-date on your favorite peoples’ lives is like a second job, it’s still worth the time, energy, and investment to let them know just how much you care.

This goes for brands, too.

But we get it. Getting organized with enough time to create, purchase, ship and mail holiday cards to their intended recipients within that narrow holiday window can be tricky. Then there’s the fact that just designing a unique card with the right sentiment can be anything but simple.

To get you started, we’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite non-denominational holiday cards from Red Paper Plane that can be customized to fit your needs, with downloadable templates available online. Each one is sure to capture the attention of your clients and prospects this holiday season, and your card will be top of mind (and top of recipients’ desks) in as little as 7 days.

StandOut Greeting Card

Our StandOut Greeting Card line features three design options: a scenic winter sleigh ride, snowy park bench and holiday village, perfect for recipients to display on their desktops throughout the holiday season and beyond. Shipping flat, they take on their fully dimensional shape just by pressing in the sides. You’re able to customize the front oval, and also have the option to include a flat insert card or folding hang tag, where you can add your holiday greeting.

 

3″ Globe Greeting Card

Our popular Holiday Globes make the perfect keepsake for your business. All of our globes ship flat, and take on their fully dimensional shape just by pressing in the sides.

Pop Up Snowflake Holiday Card

Open this card and a big, bold, beautiful snowflake takes shape.

Birds N’ Branches Holiday Card

This holiday greeting mails flat, and once opened, the card expands and takes on its fully dimensional shape. This product is customizable with your messaging along the bottom panel and is sure to be on the desktop of everyone who receives it.

Tree Spinner Holiday Card

This holiday tree appears flat when removed from the envelope, and then spins into dimensional shape when the card is opened.

Holiday Tree Card

Open the card and interlocking die cut strips mesh into dimensional holiday tree shape.

Click here to see Red Paper Plane’s full line of holiday greeting cards.

No designer? No problem! Red Paper Plane also has a large selection of holiday cards with professionally designed artwork that are ready to be personalized. We can add your logo and message for free! See the selection.

Should I Send Direct Mail to Millennials? YES!

Not only are Millennials digitally-savvy and socially conscious, they’re also poised to become the largest living generation in the U.S. with the annual buying power of $200 billion.

It’s no wonder why everyone wants a piece of them.

According to the U.S. Postal service, brands aren’t doing enough direct mail marketing to this generation, possibly because the consensus is that they’re too tech-driven to care. But the USPS found that millennials spend the most time opening and reading their mail as well as engaging with it.

Surprise Slider

Diamond Pull

Hexagon Pen Pot

Below are three ways businesses can capitalize on direct mail marketing to millennials:

  1. Millennials rarely receive direct mail. With so much time spent online, letters, catalogs and postcards give them a welcomed break from their screens. Physical mail presents an opportunity for organizations to connect with them in a different, more meaningful way, and break through the clutter of email and digital ads.
  2. Personalization. If you’re a brand that can address a millennial by his or her first name or customize the content in your direct mail piece by his or her interests, then you’ve more than likely captured their attention. To millennials, investing the time into something like direct mail is much more appealing if they can see themselves reflected in it and if the product or service you’re offering specifically aligns with their life, their values or their interests.
  3. Direct mail delivers value. Not only do millennials associate direct mail with legitimacy, but they tend to remember physical promotions better than online ones. It’s been proven that direct mail is easier to process and that it stays top-of-mind longer than digital messages. Direct mail, if done properly, has the ability to encourage specific purchasing behavior so organizations can achieve an even higher ROI when conducting these types of campaigns.

VR Viewer

Video Well Box

Extendo Web Key

 

 

 

How to Reach the 4 Kinds of Holiday Shoppers

It may only be fall, but already we’ve got the holidays on the brain.

Year after year, it seems the holiday shopping period grows, giving brands greater opportunities to take advantage of consumers’ willingness to purchase products, services and more. But don’t be tempted to allocate the majority of your marketing resources to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

New U.S. research has revealed key information about holiday shoppers’ behavior. Not only are they shopping earlier, but they’re also researching a product, brand or service before making any financial investment. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to be there for them consistently and earlier in the season.

In this recent Think with Google article, they break down the four different types of holiday shoppers – Evergreen, Early Bird, Deal Seeker and Last-Minute – and provide insights into how they shop. We’ve gone one step further to suggest ways to market to them based upon those habits and give you the best chance to connect with them during the holiday season.

Here’s how to make the most of the most wonderful time of the year.

THE EVERGREEN SHOPPER

  • Who: Making up the largest portion of holiday consumers, the Evergreen Shopper is likely a Baby Boomer seeking convenience, simplicity and exemplary customer service. This audience generally offers brands more loyalty when compared with other holiday shopper groups.
  • When: Late October through January 1
  • Where: The Evergreen Shopper typically conducts their research online, including on social media and video sharing platforms, but makes their purchases in-store.
  • How: To ensure you’re meeting the Evergreen Shopper’s needs, consider really playing up your customer service. Things like 24/7 call centers, in-store pick ups and no-hassle returns can really go far with this group. Because they’re receptive to both online and offline research and shopping, consider incorporating direct mail pieces like web keys, which can link both in a seamless way.

THE EARLY BIRD

  • Who: making up slightly more than a quarter of total holiday consumers, the Early Bird Shopper is also likely a Baby Boomer who strategically plans ahead, hoping to avoid the holiday rush.
  • When: October (or earlier) through November 26
  • Where: About 40 percent of the Early Bird’s time spent shopping for the holidays is spent online. However, about 65 percent make their holiday purchases in-store.
  • How: To get the attention of Early Bird Shoppers, it’s essential to develop an omnichannel solution that’s both engaging and valuable. Consider incorporating QR codes, web keys and video brochures into your holiday marketing campaigns. But, above all, keep your messaging consistent and send it early.

THE DEAL SEEKER

  • Who: The Deal Seekers make up the smallest group of holiday shoppers. These are mostly Millennials and a small percentage of Gen Xers who are searching for the steepest discounts and during days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are likely shopping for partners, children (their own or their friends’) and aging relatives who live within their households.
  • When: November 23-26
  • Where: This digital savvy group of holiday shoppers conducts online research across a variety of websites and rely heavily on social media influencers’ recommendations. Deal Seekers actively look for real consumers offering their authentic opinions on products.
  • How: With 82 percent of Deal Seekers admitting that word-of-mouth recommendations greatly influence their purchasing decisions, it’s crucial to incorporate testimonials and/ or social media influencers into your holiday marketing campaigns. Another way to take advantage of Deal Seekers’ shopping behavior is to turn them into brand advocates through shareable elements in and out of a brick-and-mortar store. Incorporate virtual reality, digital signage or pop ups to create experiences this group of holiday shoppers will want to share online and with their friends.

THE LAST-MINUTE SHOPPER

  • Who: The Last-Minute Shopper group is equally split between Millennials and Gen Xers. Like the Deal Seekers, these procrastinators actively seek out comparison sites to ensure they receive the best value for their money, but are willing to splurge on items they view as worth the cost. They procrastinate because they have decision paralysis, are too busy or are unsure of where to buy certain products.
  • When: December 21-25
  • Where: Nearly 70 percent of Last-Minute Shoppers purchase their holiday gifts in store.
  • How: More than half of Last-Minute Shoppers indicated an openness to multiple retailers or an uncertainty regarding where to buy products. This creates an opportunity for brands to position themselves as industry experts. Blog posts, a solid SEO strategy, social media buzz and consistent online and offline marketing will help position your business as a knowledgeable leader in your industry and help you rank higher in search rankings, keeping you top-of-mind.

Ready to get started on your holiday campaign? We have a few tricks up our sleeves that will help you stand out from the pack and keep you top of mind, no matter what kind of holiday shopper you’re after. Let’s chat.