Top Five Direct Mail Formats

Direct mail continues to be a popular and versatile marketing strategy. Even in the age of technology, direct mail still comprises a critical component of any cohesive marketing campaign. With the numerous forms of direct mail available, a company can tailor each direct mail campaign specifically for each purpose and audience.

The key to a successful strategy is choosing the right format for each component of a marketing campaign. Different formats lend themselves to certain functions. Five types of direct mail can be used to address virtually any marketing need.

  • Postcards: Cost-effective and simple, postcards are best for brief, clear messages. They work well for reminders, thank-you’s, and special offers. Postcards are an excellent way to contact current customers, who already know about a company’s products and services.
  • Self-mailers: These are brochures that fold into themselves and stay shut with an adhesive tab. Self-mailers make excellent introductions for prospective customers, because they can be full-color and include thorough details about the company. Although they are more expensive than postcards, they carry much more information, and do not require an outer envelope.
  • Letters: In situations where confidentiality or order forms are required, the traditional letter is often the best option. The letter can be part of a comprehensive mailing package that includes business cards, reply mail, or brochures, for a professional and polished presentation. Since letters require separate postage and envelopes, they are best for current customers or highly targeted prospects.
  • Dimensional Mailers: A step up from letters or brochures, the dimensional mailer looks fresh and upscale. For high-level business-to-business contacts, dimensional mailers are a compelling option. Dimensional mailers can be used to give a unique and concise overview of a company.
  • Catalogs: To showcase a wide range of products, catalogs are the clear choice. The higher cost of producing high-quality catalogs means that it is best to send them to current customers or highly targeted prospects. Catalogs offer a great cross-selling opportunity, since customers can see not only the kinds of products they originally purchased, but also related or new ones.

The design and layout of direct mail offer endless options, and an expert can help tailor mailing materials to meet each company’s needs and maximize the impact on mail recipients. Regardless of which direct mail format is used, it is important always to include two elements: a call to action and contact information. The call to action invites the mail recipients to act on the information they have just read, and the contact information gives them the tools they need to follow through on that call to action.

http://www.verifiedlabel.com/knowledgecenter/know_direct_mail_formats.aspx

 

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Top Eight Benefits of Barcodes

Barcodes are often overlooked as a method for cutting costs and saving time. A valuable and viable choice for businesses looking to improve efficiency and reduce overhead, barcodes are both cost-effective and reliable.

  1. Barcodes eliminate the possibility of human error. The occurrence of errors for manually entered data is significantly higher than that of barcodes.  A barcode scan is fast and reliable, and takes infinitely less time than entering data by hand.
  2. Using a barcode system reduces employee training time. It takes only minutes to master the hand-held scanner for reading barcodes. Furthermore, employees do not have to gain familiarity with an entire inventory or pricing procedure. This also makes employee training less expensive, since they do not have to be paid for extra training time, and another employee does not have to be compensated for training them.
  3. Barcodes are inexpensive to design and print. Generally they cost mere pennies, regardless of their purpose, or where they will be affixed.  They can be customized economically, in a variety of finishes and materials.
  4. Barcodes are extremely versatile.  They can be used for any kind of necessary data collection.  This could include pricing or inventory information. Additionally, because barcodes can be attached to just about any surface, they can be used to track not only the products themselves, but also outgoing shipments and even equipment.
  5. Inventory control improves.  Because barcodes make it possible to track inventory so precisely, inventory levels can be reduced.  This translates into a lower overheard.  The location of equipment can also be tracked, reducing the time spent searching for it, and the money spent replacing equipment that is presumed lost.
  6. Barcodes provide better data.  Since one barcode can be used for inventory and pricing information, it is possible to quickly obtain data on both. Furthermore, barcodes can be customized to contain other relevant information as needed.  They provide fast, reliable data for a wide variety of applications.
  7. Data obtained through barcodes is available rapidly.  Since the information is scanned directly into the central computer, it is ready almost instantaneously.  This quick turnaround ensures that time will not be wasted on data entry or retrieval.
  8. Barcodes promote better decision making. Because data is obtained rapidly and accurately, it is possible to make more informed decisions.  Better decision making ultimately saves both time and money.

Both inexpensive and user-friendly, barcodes provide an indispensable tool for tracking a variety of data, from pricing to inventory.  The ultimate result of a comprehensive barcoding system is reduction in overhead.

Eurozone crisis: Greece gripped by general strike

ahead of crucial talks – as it happened

Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/REUTERS

Members of the Greek Communist Party held a rally in Athens yesterday. As this picture of Syntagma Square shows, they weren’t deterred by the rainy weather.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/feb/07/greece-bailout-talks-general-strike