First Things First – Make Sure That Your Direct Mail Stands Out in a Crowd

In my daily work routine there is nothing more likely to fill me with disdain than the sight of the morning’s business mail. A stack of flat brown or white envelopes generates not one iota of enthusiasm or anticipation. OK, so it’s nice when an envelope contains a cheque as payment for work done but the bills, reminders and statements come in exactly the same sort of envelope and these always outweigh the payments.

However, the thing that really disappoints me is when one of these boring envelopes contains a promotional mailshot. It’s not that I am against promotional mail – far from it – but I am against waste. And in an instance such as this there is so much waste – waste of paper, ink, time, effort, money, resources and opportunity. The message within the envelope could be important. For example, it could be announcing a new product or it could be a money-saving offer but the likelihood of it being read are greatly reduced by the fact that it looks like a bill or a statement. Into the bin it goes.

Avoiding this scenario is a really simple task and it is something that should be adhered to by all direct marketing professionals. All that you need to do is to choose a carrier that stands out in the morning’s stack of mail. Once you have achieved that first step there is a chance that your direct mail might start to work for you!

In order to keep things flowing it would be a good idea to choose a mailer with a greater level of interest or interaction than a simple leaflet. Let’s look at some relatively inexpensive ways of creating a mailer that ticks all of the necessary boxes to create direct mail success. I will assume that the mailer will be an item that is produced in conjunction with a design agency and a commercial printer – one with paper and cardboard engineering skills. This leads me to the area of automatic 3D pop-ups and interactive mailers. There are many different styles, shapes, movements and sizes available from printers across the globe and sourcing the right product with the help of your design agency should present no problem at all.

The first major plus point of any range of automatic 3D pop-ups is that each of these marketing products is supplied with its own mailing pack which will be easily spotted in the stack of business mail that lands on your customer’s desk each morning. However, it is when the pack is opened that the 3D shapes really start to work for your direct marketing campaign. Automatic 3D pop-up products are designed to grab your customers’ attention and as they jump out of the opened mailing pack they do exactly that, ensuring that your promotional marketing effort is a success.

It is rare for automatic pop-up products to suffer the fate of many other B2B marketing promotions as they are hardly ever consigned to the waste bin. You will find that many pop-ups will stay on desks for years particularly if a little imagination is applied to the promotion. For example, one easy way to boost the longevity of your campaign is to select a pop-up that can be presented as a pen-holder such as a pop-up cube, pop-up ball or pop-up house. Another way is to print the pop-up as a calendar.

Products such as those described here are available from many different sources, most of which will be known by good advertising and marketing agencies. One major supplier is Whitney Woods Ltd.

The Advantages of Direct-Contact Stock Photography

Most stock photography libraries have to restrict contact between their photographers and their photo buyers.

These libraries operate on a commission, so if the two start connecting on their own, then the library is going to lose money and eventually go out of business. Unfortunately this approach is rarely ideal for the photographers or the photo buyers. It’s just what they’ve been stuck with… until recently.

There’s a new breed of stock library emerging that not only allows direct contact between photographer and photo buyer, they actively encourage it. They have gone back in time in a way, to when the stock libraries were partners and facilitators. For many photographers and photo buyers, it’s a very welcome change.

For the photographers, the most important advantage is that they finally have the ability to build their own list of responsive buyers, people known to use the subjects they shoot. This means the photographer can go to their existing customers to offer more images of the same subjects, to suggest alternate images and float ideas for new work.

This direct contact also allows them to hear valuable feedback for the first time. In the current hyper-competitive marketplace, this is essential if photographers are going to really understand a specific Client’s requirements and anticipate their future needs.

For years marketing books have told us how valuable an existing customer is — it’s many times easier and cheaper to sell to an existing customer, than it is to find a new one and sell to them — and yet the entire stock photography industry was built on a model that precluded photographers from knowing who was buying their photos and forbade any direct follow up on previous purchases.

So this new direct-contact marketing model offers photographers a whole new level of control over their business and the means to develop long-term relationships with their customers. This takes their stock photography operation from being a passive business, totally reliant on the stock library, to being a viable and sustainable business that can generate it’s own leads and sales on demand.

Photo buyers are seeing some advantages to this model as well.

Most photo buyers are extremely time-poor. They are under pressure to locate dozens of new images every week, and as more and more libraries start catering to the lowest common denominator, photo research becomes a nightmare.

So when they discover a photographer who can supply one or more of their regular subjects, it makes sense that most photo buyers would prefer to go straight to them as a first point of call, than surfing through hundreds of pages on multiple stock library websites.

In fact, many photo buyers are now using their own mailing-list of specialist photographers, so they can cut to the chase and go to the ‘most likely’ source first. The stock libraries are still there as a back up, but if the buyer knows a certain photographer shoots a certain subject they need, and they’ve done business with them before, it’s always going to be a preferred option.

It’s also worth noting that many photo buyers got into their current jobs because they have an existing interest in photography. In fact many we deal on a daily basis with are also active photographers. So it’s no surprise that they’d rather deal directly with another photographer.

The added bonus is, most of these direct contact libraries have done away with research fees and agency commissions, making it an even sweeter deal for photographer and photo buyer alike.

So whether you’re a photographer looking to sell your photos, or a buyer looking to license images, if you come across one of these ‘direct contact’ stock libraries, take a moment to check it out. You might be quite impressed with their alternative.

OzImages was the first ‘direct contact’ stock library on the internet. Since 1998 they have been offering photographers a powerful and unique marketing platform for their work, and photo buyers a more personal and productive research experience. If you’d like to know more:

How to Get Direct Marketing Customers Today Even If You Don’t Have Money For Postage

If you are a direct marketer and you are looking for a unique way to get customers ASAP, look no further. Here is an old direct mail trick that will get your sales letter opened in probably 98% of the households that receive it. Read on to find out how you can start to get local customers now, even if you don’t have a lot of money.

Do you have a service business, or some other type of industry that sells to homeowners locally? If you do, you understand how expensive it can be to mail a sales letter through direct marketing and even harder to get the prospect to even open the letter. Well, there is a solution and it’s incredibly simple. You don’t even have to write or print anything.

The next time you create a sales letter simply fold it and put it in a white, number 10 envelope (normal business-sized, not the little ones). Don’t write anything on the envelop and just place it on the person’s doorstep, in the door, tape it to the door, put it in the newspaper box, or a host of other locations. You can put it almost anywhere accept the actual mailbox. Use of a mailbox by non-postal employees is illegal in the U.S.

The curiosity factor alone will drive the user to open the envelop and want to see what’s inside. It looks like it could even be a mistake, something that fell out of the mail carrier’s bag. This curiosity factor is the key component to marketing with the white envelope trick.

Now, you will need to do this sparingly and make sure that you are not doing all of your follow-up marketing this way. This only works a few times year. If you use this too often, the homeowner will see this as regular “junk” mail. However, this is a great technique for the starving small business owner to get new customers as early as the same day you send out the letters.

You can either deliver them yourself, pay a neighborhood kid to drop them off, or hire a canvassing service to place them for you. There is always the issue of trust, but if you can multiply your efforts and you don’t have to deliver them yourself, you can work on expanding your business instead. Another way to get them delivered it to pay your local newspaper to add them as an insert. The sales letter will appear as though it came in the mail that day.