Category: Direct Mail Marketing

The Flapper How To Guide

The Flapper is one of our most popular and effective designs because of how interactive and engaging it is. Here are some quick tidbits about the Flapper:

  • It has increased campaign results for some clients by over 400% over previous campaigns
  • Gillette and others have used it as part of a magazine ad
  • It comes in multiple sizes
  • It produces mega results

Check out  Susie’s video that shows us just how easy and versatile The Flapper is to use.

You may also like take a look at our Flapper How To Guide.

Are you ready to design yours?

5 Unique (and Budget-Friendly) Ways to Thank Your Customers

It’s happened to all of us: You go to check your inbox and there to greet you are dozens of emails expressing thanks. “Thank you for your purchase.” “Thank you for subscribing.” “Thank you for participating in our event.”

But how effective are these email “thank yous” anyway?

As any good marketer knows, a simple “thank you” is all it takes to set your business or brand apart from the competition. But these days, with the overwhelming amount of digital communication available, saying it through email just isn’t enough. To help you get ahead and stand out from the pack, we’ve compiled some clever ways to thank your customers that are effective, impactful and have nothing to do with clicking send.

  1. Show, don’t tell. Instead of sending out a boilerplate email or even a standard “thank you” card, try showing recipients how much they mean to you by way of video. Not only do videos increase people’s understanding of a product or service, but it also allows you to showcase your brand’s personality and connect emotionally with your audience. Our Video-In-Print Brochures are a great place to start.
  2. Be engaging. Easier said than done, right? At Structural Graphics, we’re all about engagement, whether that means incorporating digital components into your direct mail or simply taking a unique approach to it altogether. From pop-up books and Telescoping Sliders to virtual reality head sets (ours are called SleekPeeks) and our iconic Flapper, we’ve got you covered.
  3. Give them something to remember you by. There’s no use in sending your customers marketing collateral if it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. Why not create a “thank you” that has some longevity by incorporating functional elements into your piece as well? Take this polygon calendar we created for Cars.com or a Pop Up Pen Holder like the one seen here.
  4. Surprise and delight. Emotions drive people to action. Consider including a little something unexpected in your “thank you” that will not only ensure that your brand is memorable to your intended recipient, it will also encourage them to interact with your brand in positive ways. Perhaps they’ll tell their friends about your brand or even read on in your “thank you” to purchase your product or service. Maybe it’s LED lights incorporated into your piece. Or maybe it’s sound to transport the recipient to your location. Interested in seeing some examples? Check out this video we did spotlight SKM Consumers Energy’s Pop Up House.
  5. Don’t stop there. Your thank you note should be more than just an expression of thanks. Think of Calls to Action to get the recipient to interact with your brand, whether that’s encouraging him to visit your website or asking her to share a photo of the piece on social media. This has two benefits: It’s fun for your recipient and it’s trackable for you. Our web keys are a perfect example of how to do this right.

Structural Graphics Video Mail Piece Grand Champion of 2017 US Postal Service Irresistible Mail Award

Some mail pieces are effective, some are engaging, some are beautiful. But very few can be called Irresistible Mail™” – the US Postal Service.

At the National Postal Forum in Baltimore, MD on May 23, 2017, The Lincoln Motor Company’s high-end video mailer, “See it First,” was selected as the Grand Champion Award winner of the “Irresistible Mail” trophy.  The Irresistible Mail Award is a USPS program that highlights mail pieces that increase engagement through innovative design, print or digital technologies.

Sharing creative credits on the winning mailer are Structural Graphics who printed and hand-assembled the piece, Lincoln Motor Company, Ford’s ad agency GTB (formerly Team Detroit), Hudson Rouge.

Used to give customers a sneak peek before the vehicle hit showrooms, this mailer presents a video screen embedded on the inside of a display folder.  Activating upon opening, the video delivers a story about Continental’s heritage and features, along with a tri-fold brochure describing the ownership experience, all delivered in a custom box. This piece was one of four finalists recognized at this year’s Forum, having been the winner of the 2nd quarter Irresistible Mail Award.

Additionally, you can find Structural Graphics on the 2017 USPS Irresistible site. Several of our pieces, created in partnership with MRM/ McCann and Sandy Alexander, are featured, including SleekPeeks VR Viewers, and OE, a slider design our paper engineers developed that features Near Field Communication and a “Twister” exploding page.

Be sure to check out Structural Graphics VPA Gallery.

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: Seton Hall University Stands Out With Rolling Cube Mailer

The competition to increase the admissions yield in higher education is stiffer than ever, according to the University of College Designers Association.  Schools are looking for ways to stand out and differentiate themselves from everyone else.

Seton Hall University chose our Rolling Cube to deliver information about their university to prospective students. This is one of our most interactive pieces. When you pull the cube from the mailer it keeps unfolding to reveal multiple cubes of information. Words don’t do it justice – be sure to click on the flash movie to see it in action!

 

7 Steps Chrysler Took to Promote Their Business at the NADA Convention

Today’s automotive industry moves fast and furious, so it’s important to showcase your vehicles in new and creative ways. But how do you show change and innovation on paper? You don’t. You show it WITH paper.

Like Chrysler did here.

The automotive company was looking to encourage people to visit their service center display at the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Las Vegas convention in 2003. To do this, they cleverly employed several marketing techniques that can apply to any brand or industry.

  1. Stay true to your roots. Chrysler, which has a strong brand identity, chose to showcase a miniature version of a Chrysler dealership right down to the cars, service desk and employees.
  2. Never underestimate the ‘WOW Factor’. Pop-up mailers are a really unique way to capture the attention of your audience. This particular one ships flat but, because of its interactivity, detail and uniqueness, it also surprises and delights.
  3. Less can be more – when it’s done right. Sometimes it’s just better to get to the point. To really maximize the space on this mailer, Chrysler chose to include short bursts of essential information instead of paragraphs of marketing speak. Rather than trying to convince attendees to visit its display, the team chose to let the excitement of the mailer speak for itself.
  4. Include a call to action. In this mailer, Chrysler is up front about what it wants – for people to visit the company’s service center display at the conference.
  5. Offer an incentive. We all know that people generally love to win free stuff. So, instead of just asking conference attendees to visit Chrysler’s display, they wanted to make the visit worthwhile. To make their call to action even more powerful, the company also advertised that they would be offering a chance to win a free year of ServiceVision.
  6. Don’t forget the basic information. Between the bells and the whistles, it’s easy for marketers to get caught up in the excitement of a piece and forget the most basic of information. Always include the date, time and location (if applicable) of any event you or your business are/ is attending.
  7. Catchy openings are key. Embracing the convention’s location, Chrysler took inspiration from Las Vegas’ neon lights and showgirls. The mailer’s cover is colorful and hints at the purpose for sending it out. It also beckons the recipient to open it up to see what’s inside.

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: History Channel Sox Box

How many of you watch the History Channel?

We created this History Socks Box for A&E so they could showcase, in their words, “some of their best footage ever” with their ad sales clients. Each quarter, A&E chooses two of their hottest shows to highlight. In this case, it’s Join or Die with Craig Ferguson and Vikings.

This box is the first of its kind for the network and was designed to hold three pairs of socks – two inspired by that quarter’s featured shows and a third made up of spares. The box also includes an insert with show descriptions and scheduled airings.  

Interested in learning more about what went into creating this box? Head on over to our website or email us.

Thinking Outside the Inbox: Direct Mail for the Holidays

postbox
I always get excited when I receive mail.

One glimpse of the mail carrier, donning his USPS garb, and I wait anxiously to see whether there’s anything addressed to me. But on those days when I’ve got more than bills or credit card offers stuffed in my mailbox, that childlike excitement I felt earlier all too quickly disintegrates into something else: disappointment.

There are the flat mailers that have my name incorrectly printed on them. There are the catalogs with promo codes so buried I get exhausted from flipping through before even finding them. And there are the dreaded cards and the postcards that I barely even look at before throwing away.

Sound familiar?

These pieces all have one thing in common (besides meeting my recycling bin): they’re boring. And as businesses increase their efforts to vie for your attention this holiday season, as marketers you want to be anything but. So, if you’re not currently creating (or, at the very least, brainstorming) some ways to set your direct mail apart, you’re already missing out on the opportunity to make a memorable impression.

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But don’t worry, it’s not too late to get your company or your products noticed in time for the holidays. Here, we’ve curated some of our most helpful tips on how to bring back that “wow factor” during the most magical time of the year.

      1. Go dimensional. Perhaps the easiest way to make a real impact with little-to-no-effort? Incorporate dimension. By incorporating pieces like our 3″ pop-up cube into your marketing, it’s easy to put forth your messaging in a way that takes advantage of 3D (but still ships flat).
      2. Embrace technology. For better or for worse, we live in a digital world and it’s just going to get that much more – er – digitaler. Instead of rejecting this characteristic of modern life, we say embrace it! Want your print advertising to play your jingle? Want to incorporate virtual reality or LED lights into your messaging? Make your customers feel like a kid around the holidays by sending them something shiny AND bright in the mail.
      3. Video is your friend. Did you know that videos increase people’s understanding of a product or service by 74%? In case you’ve been living under a rock, video is super trendy right now. Combine video with one of our high-impact print solutions and you’ve got a powerful marketing tool.
      4. Surprise them. If a consumer is able to predict how a promotional piece is going to look or feel before they even get their hands on it, you can almost bet that it will get lost and maybe even thrown away. Make your brand as exciting as you are – that unexpected element will not only set you apart from your competitors, but it’ll leave a lasting impression in your recipients’ minds.
      5. Think Interactive. Print plays to the human senses in ways that digital tech is hard-pressed to match. By delivering a direct mail piece that recipients can engage with, you’re not only getting their attention, but you’re strengthening your brand’s longevity, too.

Feeling inspired? Have an idea for how your business can target the next generation of purchasers? Contact us to get started.

10 Commandments of Direct Mail Marketing

For your pleasure, 10 Commandments of Direct Marketing set in proverbial stone.

  1. Thou shalt include clear calls to action.
    Just as its name implies, it’s important to be extremely direct with direct mail marketing. As a business, your job is to motivate people to do something: visit your company website, request a free sample or even purchase a product you’re trying to sell. It’s important for your call to action to be concise and to the point.
  2. Know thy target like thy know thyself.
    The better you know your prospects – who they are and what they want – the more likely your message will resonate with them effectively. Not only will this help you better tailor your direct mail pieces, but you’ll also increase the likelihood of encouraging your prospects to react to your call to action (see point 1 above).
  3. Thou shalt use responsive design.
    Research indicates that nearly half of mobile phone users feel frustrated when they visit a site that’s not mobile-friendly – and who could blame them? In this day and age mobile phones, e-readers and tablets are the preferred way to access websites and email. So, if you and your business can’t keep up, you’ll probably be left behind.
  4. Thou shalt not fear staying true to thyself.
    How do you make your product or company stand out from the rest? Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from others and to make each direct mail piece your own. Use color schemes and logos unique to who you are. iBeacons, virtual reality headsets, LED lighting and pop-up books are a few ways our clients have set themselves apart in their marketing.
  5. Thou shalt track.
    In order to know which pieces get the best response, it’s essential to track the results from each and every direct mail marketing campaign. Not only will you be able to send your mailers with confidence, but you’ll also know who responds to your marketing and have an opportunity to follow up.
  6. Honor thy needs of thy customer.
    No matter how you spin it, the customer/ prospect’s needs always come first. Are they looking for a new heart medication or an organic make-up line? As a marketer, your job is to solve a problem that your customer has. Remember that.
  7. Thou shalt provide value.
    Can your direct mail piece be multi-functional? A great example of this is our pop-up cube pencil holder. Not only does the piece provide information of what a company is trying to sell or promote, but it also has longevity – recipients have kept these pieces on their desks for weeks or months because of their value. It’s a win for both.
  8. Remember to make mailers creative.
    Here at Structural Graphics and our online offering, Red Paper Plane, we use dimensional print to get people’s attention whether it’s a DIY snowman or an origami gift card holder. No matter what you’re looking to promote, we’ve got a fun, effective and creative way to do it.
  9. Thou shalt use proven techniques.
    Perhaps it’s a unique selling proposition. Or maybe it’s a web key that encourages recipients to visit your website. Whatever has worked for you in the past, use it.
  10. Thou shalt always tell a good, compelling and powerful story.
    Enough said.

Ready to get your direct mail on? Give us a call at 860-767-2661 or shoot us an email. Together we can make your direct marketing really pop.

The Reality of Going Virtual

Photo courtesy of polygon.com
Photo courtesy of polygon.com

Is virtual reality really the next major marketing trend?

Well, before you answer that question, consider this: Brands like McDonald’s, GE and Samsung have already adopted this technology. Facebook and YouTube already allow users to view 360-degree videos by utilizing the gyroscope on their mobile devices. Roughly $4 billion have already been invested in start-ups working on virtual reality, while studies have shown that VR, if embraced by the public, could reach upwards of $126 billion in revenues by 2020.

Whoa.

Judging by those stats (as well as this, this and this), the hype and expectations for virtual reality in 2016 couldn’t be higher. But how can brands use VR in their own marketing outreach in a creative yet cost-effective way?

 

With our SleekPeeks, we set out to solve that very problem. The introduction of inexpensive VR headsets has made it possible for brands to deliver the ultimate interactive experience to consumers, allowing them to literally walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. These fully customizable viewers ship flat and take seconds to assemble.

Clients have already included them in a magazine as part of their ad, sent them in the mail alongside a promotion and used them as handouts at trade shows.

SleekPeeks Web 2

But, while it may be tempting to incorporate VR into every future project, it’s still essential to make sure your marketing aligns naturally with your strategic brand objectives.

When that’s the case, we recommend using VR to:

We Recommend Using VR To...

Virtual reality, at its best, is a truly transformative experience. Not only can it create an interactive, hands-on environment to showcase your products, but it’s also an exciting, albeit challenging, way to interact with your consumers.

Need to reach your audience? Contact us to see how you can incorporate VR into your next promotional piece.