5 Advantages of Working with Nahan as a Direct Marketing Agency

Author: Melissa Fransen

We have many exciting things happening at Nahan!

In January, we announced an expansion of our services to include a full omnichannel suite of direct marketing services, including strategy, creative, data, analytics, and more! These new services are being offered as needed a la cart style or in a fully integrated approach. Where you need help, our team can plug in and bring our expertise to take your direct marketing initiatives to new performance levels.

For many of our customers, our business relationship will remain unchanged and we are proud to continue our relationship as a trusted print partner. For others, these new resources bring forth a whole new world of opportunity.

Our team has been thrilled with the buzz we’ve been getting in the marketplace regarding our new services and the excitement we’re hearing from our customers. We want to say thank you for all of the questions we have received thus far. Keep the inquiries coming!

Here are 5 advantages of working with Nahan as a Direct Marketing Agency.

1. We Are Direct Marketing Strategy Experts

For over 50 years, Nahan has been known as a world-class printer. We know direct marketing production inside and out. We know best practices, what works, postal efficiencies, and much more. With our strategy offering, we can work with your team to optimize your entire direct marketing strategy and/or plug in where needed. Here are some examples of topics you could expect us to cover and ultimately address:

  • Discussion of your current direct marketing go-to-market strategy
  • Understanding your top-line goals and provide recommendations for helping you achieve and exceed them
  • What do successful KPIs look like for you?
  • Introduction of omnichannel and integrated tools to provide incremental response and lowered cost per acquisition
  • What is your data strategy?
  • How we leverage a test and learn approach with data and creative to continually improve results

2. We Bring Design/Creative Expertise

When it comes to the design of your next direct marketing program, our design experts are at your service. Whether it’s building an entire campaign from scratch to helping with new, efficient format ideas, we bring an unsurpassed level of creative expertise to your direct marketing projects. We can help with design, copywriting, personalization, versioning, best practices, and more! Here are some examples of things we’d likely cover in a design/creative review:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Understanding what’s worked and hasn’t in the past
  • What is the action you want the recipient to take?
  • Reviewing the developed creative brief
  • Offer and supporting benefits development
  • Optimal design and content placement
  • Copy that engages, makes an emotional connection, and prompts action
  • Accommodating differences in how readers consume content
  • Communicating your unique selling proposition

3. We Can Help with Your Data, Targeting, and Analytics

Whether you are a seasoned direct marketer or are just getting started, our team can help with your data and targeting strategies. From list research in identifying your best target audience to predictive modeling tools, we love to help our customers with their data/targeting strategies. Topics surrounding data and targeting would include items such as:

  • Understanding your target market
  • Reviewing current and introducing potential new sources of data
  • Leveraging sophisticated analytics to boost response, cut costs, and lower cost of acquisition
  • Understanding your current CRM strategy and how we can enhance it
  • Leveraging your customer and prospect data to further enhance personalization

4. We Bring Analysis Experience

Once the mailing gets to the recipient, our team is equipped to step in to help you analyze results of your direct marketing campaigns. Examples of items we’d analyze include:

  • KPIs and what they tell us
  • What can be learn from what worked and what didn’t
  • Go-forward testing recommendations

5. We Take What’s Working (or Not!) and Build Upon It

The best part of working together is that you will realize . . .

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Are you interested in learning more about our direct marketing service offerings? Reach out and contact us today!

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Looking for a Unique Take on Direct Mail? Try the Peek Fold Format!

Author: Laura Karels, Lead Designer

Check out our spin on a traditional direct mail format with the peek fold format. You’ll grab your recipient’s attention with a personalized headline as the first thing they see when they pull this peek folded letter out of the envelope. The longer form allows for a traditional letter using direct mail best practices along with extra real estate for a branded or promotional panel.

  • Unique folded letter peeks a large headline at the top
  • 14” long form for additional real estate
  • Tip on card for a tactile feel
  • 6” x 9” envelope stands out in the mailbox
  • Options: Fold style can be incorporated on other size formats

Watch the short video below to see the peek fold format in action!

For more inspiration, check out our other format ideas, including a double gate mailer, iron cross mailer, and 5 panel rollfold mailer.

Bio: Laura Karels is our Lead Designer. She is responsible for all things direct marketing design—from format sketches to final art—and truly enjoys the creative process of helping clients develop winning direct marketing campaigns. In her spare time, Laura enjoys great coffee and cross-country road trips with her family. She’s also getting really good at finding humor in her husband bringing home yet another “project” vehicle.

How To Build an Effective Direct Marketing Strategy

Author: Alan Sherman, VP of Marketing Strategy

How many times have we in business or marketing heard the word “strategy?” or “strategic?” or “strategic direction?”  It’s one of those common business buzzwords that we hear all the time, but when it comes to direct marketing, what does “strategy” really mean? Merriam-Webster offers up several definitions of “strategy,” but the one I think is most relevant to direct marketing is “The art of devising or employing plans towards a goal.” After all, successful direct marketing strategy requires effective planning – putting the components of a winning program together.

From Our Perspective, What is Strategy?  

Nahan provides Strategic Planning, which is most simply about enabling clients to achieve their direct marketing goals.  This means improving direct mail gross response, while lowering cost without corresponding drops in response. This can be a challenge, as adding package components, increasing package size or paper quality will often lift response, but add cost. Ultimately, improving upon both response and cost leads to an improved cost per acquisition and superior return on marketing investment. So how do we do this?

A Step by Step, Rigorous Approach Gets Results

We recommend initially approaching this from a macro level. Who will we target and why? If we are focusing on direct mail, what kind of package format is needed? What does our creative and messaging need to look like? What are our target metrics?

The answers to these questions can be found in a step-by-step approach to direct marketing performance improvement. We suggest beginning with a marketing assessment to best understand everything that has been done in the past, from creative, targeting, cadence and offers to the competitive landscape.

Based on our knowledge of data and analytics and an analysis of the marketer’s data, we will likely propose specific types of data and the right predictive analytic tools for data testing. On the creative side, although budget is usually a factor, when we can test more than one creative, we create more opportunities for success.

Finally, based on what we see in the data and from our knowledge of direct mail creative best practices, we design the creative, with the target audience in mind. The data analysis tells us quite a bit about our prospects. We develop messaging, the package design, articulate the offer, supporting benefits and Call to Action.

How Strategy is Rolled Out Against Data, Analytics, and Creative

The available universe is determined. Because we take a “test and learn” approach, a test plan that minimizes risk while testing creative, data, and analytics is developed. When results come back, we measure them and make recommendations for further improvements in targeting and creative. Feeling more comfortable in what works, we can invest more dollars in reaching more people, often expanding to an omnichannel campaign, particularly where we can simultaneously target the same direct mail recipients with online campaigns, can substantially lift results further.

A subsequent results analysis leads to additional improvement – ideally, a never-ending improvement process. Which is necessary, given that costs like paper and postage are always rising!

The Results

We can almost always improve response through our knowledge of what creative and data works, creative and data testing, and predictive analytics. We can also test less expensive materials to bring down package costs. When we work these “levers” in the right way, cost per acquisition drops.

Questions To Ask Yourself and Your Team

What are your acquisition goals for the year? Where do you think your program is working and where might improvement be needed? Are you testing creative and data on a regular basis? Do you rotate your creative to keep it fresh and performance up? If you would like to achieve better results or simply discuss your challenges and receive suggestions, give us a call.

Bio: Alan Sherman is our Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Alan enhances Nahan’s current value proposition with strategy solutions that support new/existing client relationships. For clients, he leverages market, customer, and competitive intelligence to build achievable strategies for omnichannel marketing success. His marketing plan strategies include targeted data, predictive analytics, testing and creative that drive ongoing client performance improvement. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to concerts, watching sports (he’s a fan of the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox and Celtics) and walking the dog, even though it was just out.

Direct Mail Design Best Practices: Personalization Matters

Author: Laura Karels, Lead Designer

Designers of all mediums have best practices they follow when creating their best product and direct mail designers are no different. One of the most important best practices in direct mail design is using personalization and using it well.

Direct mail personalization has come a long way from just using the recipient’s name and address. Digital print technology and highly targeted data has allowed marketers to personalize direct mail design in creative ways. Personalization is proven to drive better response rates and who doesn’t want that?!  

Ways to get personal…

Imagery

Images can be personalized based on segmentation data, business vertical type, location, and more. Visuals the recipient can relate to can be very powerful.

Offers

Targeting offers to a recipient’s consumer history or specific needs are more likely to get response from your direct mail. Response rates can increase up to 50% or more when targeting consumers on a 1:1 level. (thedma.org)

Geo-Targeting

One of the easiest ways to personalize and get impact is the use of maps and locations within the direct mail design and copy. This is also information that is part of the basic data—it can simply be pulled from the address block.  

Copy

The words you use can be personalized in so many ways. Using the recipient’s name, address, consumer history, business type, etc. in thoughtful ways within the copy can entice the reader and increase response. According to the ANA (formerly DMA) simply adding a person’s name can increase response by 135%!

Forms

If your direct mail format includes a form or response device, prefill out the form with the recipient’s data to make responding easier.

These are just 5 ways to use personalization within direct mail design but digital print technology has opened the door to so much more.

Check out this example of a mailer that was designed to contain 57 variable pieces of data and photos, resulting in increased engagement and a higher ROI per piece vs. previous direct mailers! Contact Us to see how we can help you effectively use personalization in your next mailing.

This is part of our Design Best Practices Blog Series. Look for more best practices in future blog posts.

BIO: Laura Karels is our Lead Designer. She is responsible for all things direct marketing design—from format sketches to final art—and truly enjoys the creative process of helping clients develop winning direct marketing campaigns. In her spare time, Laura enjoys great coffee and cross-country road trips with her family. She’s also getting really good at finding humor in her husband bringing home yet another “project” vehicle.

Build a Dynamic Plan for Direct Mail

Are you familiar with the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing? It states 40% of your campaign’s success is the result of list selection, 40% is because of your offer and 20% is based on creative. But what does that mean, exactly? Let’s break it down with some quick tips you’ll want to keep in mind for your next campaign.

Know Who You’re Talking To

Owning the right list is vital whether you’re trying to grow your audience, communicate with current customers or reach prospects you already know. Knowing your market allows you to nail down the tactics. You don’t talk to car salesman the same say you speak to the neighbor kid at her lemonade stand, so why waste words with a blanket message? Secure engagement and responses by tailoring your advert to interests, location and purchase history.

Seal the Deal

Now that you know your audience, it’s time to reel them in with a killer call to action. The second 40% is all about getting the reader to do something. Which sounds obvious, but you’d be shocked by how many mailers don’t inspire clear action. Do you want them to complete a survey? How about redeem a coupon? Lead the reader towards your goal with action verbs and explicit, easy-to-follow instructions. Don’t waste time and money on bland, generic messaging.

Get Creative

Creative may only be 20% of the rule, but it’s the cherry on top of your ROI-driving sundae. Think outside the box to boost your open rates and catch scanning eyes. One tip: make your mail lumpy. Including any item thicker than the envelope it comes in piques the reader’s interest and turns your ad into a prize. After all, who doesn’t love getting a gift? Find out more about effective creative on our blog about direct mail personalization.

See some examples of the 40/40/20 rule in action on our work samples page. Can you pick out the audience? Is the call to action clear? Are you attracted to the creative? Put these rules into practice and you’ll be a direct mail master in no time. Check out our marketing services page for more on how we can help you get started.