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Direct Mail Design With The Post Office In Mind


Direct Mail San Diego

Since the main objective in direct mail is to get the mailer to your recipients, the first hurdle is to design the mailer within postal regulations. The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) was created in order to have a set of rules for designers and mailers to follow. The book is huge and very cumbersome to read. With that in mind, we have put together a list of common areas to watch out for when you are designing for direct mail.

Design Elements:

  • Round corners: This is not outlawed, but will get very expensive as it changes to a shape based pricing category. Instead use imagery to make a round feel.
  • Too Short/Tall: The post office requires that letter size mail (up to 6.125 x 11.5 depending on the category) be an aspect ratio between 1.3 and 2.5. To determine the aspect ratio you divide the length by the height when looking at the mail panel. If you fall below or above you will need to alter your size or you will have to mail non-machinable which will increase your postage.
  • Folds: If you are sending a self-mailer, you need to keep the folds in mind.
    • 8.5 x 11 trifold: mail panel should be the middle panel, top folds down followed by bottom folds up. This will give you a final fold below the mail panel.
    • 11 x 17 folding to 5.5 x 8.5: First fold to create 8.5 size should be to the right of the mail panel. Second fold is below mail panel. This will give you final folding below mail panel and to the right of mail panel.
    • 11 x 17 folding to 3.66 x 8.5: First fold to create 8.5 size should be to the right of the mail panel. Second fold is above mail panel folding down. Third fold for 3.66 x 8.5 is bottom folds up. This will give you final folding below mail panel and to the right of mail panel.
  • Address Placement: There are two ways to design the mail panel, one is for a barcode to be included in the address block and the other is for the barcode to be in the barcode clear zone (bottom right area of mail panel). The barcode clear zone is only available with letter size pieces (up to 6.125 x 11.5 depending on the category). From there we need to break down address block
    since flats (larger than 6.125 x 11.5) have different regulations than letters.
    • Flat address placement: Must be in the top half of the short edge. On an 8.5 x 11 the address block must be within 5.5 inches of the top of the piece.
    • Letter addresses with the barcode in the address block: These have more regulations than flats. You need a 4 x 2 clear area for the block. The block needs to be a minimum .5 inches from the right edge and .625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches.
    • Letter addresses with barcode clear zone addressing: The barcode clear zone is the bottom 5/8 of the mailer; it must be free of all text and images. Then the address must be a minimum .5 inches from the right edge and .625 inches from bottom edge. The address can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches.
  • Tabbing: The first thing of note on tabbing is that there is another option. You can fugitive glue the mailers closed instead of tabbing. If you feel that the design of your mailer is being distracted from by the tabs you can opt for fugitive glue by adding a folded panel or just gluing along the edge. For tabbing there are 4 categories:
    • Under 1 ounce: Two 1 inch tabs above mail panel, final fold must be below mail panel
    • Over 1 ounce: Two 1.5 inch tabs above mail panel , final fold must be below mail panel
    • Booklet with stitching below mail panel: This requires three 1.5 inch tabs. Two to the right of mail panel and one to the left of mail panel
    • Booklet with stitching to the right of mail panel: This requires three 1.5 inch tabs. Two above mail panel and one to the left of mail panel.

This is by no means a complete list of all the things to consider when designing for direct mail, but it is a good start. If you have specific questions let us know we can guide you through the process. The limitations on design by the post office do not need to stymie your creativity. There are still many great designs that will be compliant and creatively unique. Have fun with it. If you have a design you would like feedback on email it to us. We will let you know if there are problems.

Learn 20 Ways To Reduce Postage Costs

If you have any questions call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email
We are glad to help!

Why Use MMS As Part Of Your Mobile Marketing?


San Diego Mobile Marketing

Multi-Media messaging service (MMS) is similar to SMS (Short Message Service) otherwise referred to as texting or text messaging. The main difference is that images, video, sound and so on can be included with MMS texting. In many cases we are using MMS and not even realizing it, for instance, your bank allows you to send pictures of checks for deposit. That is using MMS. Let’s take a look at the benefits of MMS to your business. How using it as part of your marketing will help your ROI.

Benefits of MMS:

  1. Instantly get your message in front of your customer/prospect: These days we all have our phones with us wherever we go. If you need to get a message to someone quickly, this will do it.
  2. Messages are read: Unlike the majority of email, MMS messages are read. They stand out from other marketing as hip and millennials especially embrace it.
  3. Follow up: You can use MMS as a follow up touch point or reminder for your campaign. Use a running out of time message to provide a sense of urgency. This will speed up responses.

The best way to increase ROI is to give people easy ways to respond, MMS does that. Using MMS for part of your mobile marketing can be a great way to reach people. Everyone has their phone with them 24/7; don’t you want to reach people where they are? This is especially effective for a store. You have extra items on your shelf that day; create a message with a one day only deal of 45% off. Nonprofits are using MMS when campaigning for money; they send the request and an image that will compel you to respond. They are providing short codes for text to donate campaigns that are very effective. Reaching people in the moment and providing that quick response mechanism drives and increase in ROI.

Think of all the ways you could incorporate MMS into your marketing campaigns. Draw people into signing up for MMS by highlighting the benefits for them. Tell them what they will get from you and make sure that you are actually providing what they want. Sometimes you need to go outside your organization to get good feedback on what people want. You can take a poll on Facebook or use a Twitter hash tag to get instant feedback on your ideas.

Want to know more about Mobile Marketing? Click here

If you have any questions, call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email
We are glad to help!

5 Benefits of Social Media Marketing


Social Media Marketing San Diego

When people hear the term social media marketing, they instantly think Facebook. However, social media marketing is so much more; sites like Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and so on are all good relevant social sites. So what is social media marketing? Social media marketing is a unique medium for businesses, in that it allows you to humanize your business, connect with your prospects/customers on a personal level.

5 benefits of social media marketing: 

  1. Build Trust: By continually connecting with prospects/customers, businesses build trust and familiarity as well as increase the likelihood that those prospects/customers will refer their friends and family to your business.
  2. Build Exposure: By getting your followers to engage with your content, you are increasing your exposure to their followers. In turn, if they engage their followers will see your content and so on. This is how content goes viral, the more people who see it and pass it along the bigger it gets.
  3. Gather Information: By using your followers to get feedback you can utilize this information for future marketing, generate ideas and create a stronger relationship with them. Make them feel a part of the decision making process and you will hook them to you for life.
  4. Listening: You can learn a lot about how your brand is perceived by listening to all the social media channels. This will allow you to see if your messaging and branding are working. Beware: you do not need to respond to everything you hear (unless there is an urgent customer service issue), just be aware of what is being said, where and by whom.
  5. Engagement: Social media marketing needs to be fun too. Your followers are more likely to engage with you when your content is more than just business. Let them see your humor and share it. The humanizing of your brand will draw people in and help to create them into advocates for your business.

Social media marketing will provide you with opportunities that other marketing channels do not. Take advantage of the benefits listed above and so much more. Don’t feel like it will be too difficult. There are many tools available to you for scheduling and listening. It does not have to be a full time job. You can become the go to business for people through social media marketing. Go get started today!

If you have any questions call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email
We are glad to help!

Direct Mail Marketing: The Power of an Image


San Diego Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is driven visually and is the quickest way to capture your recipient’s attention. The old saying “a picture says a 1000 words” is true. But remember, not all pictures are created equally. However, choosing the right images will greatly impact your ROI. Make sure they convey your message in both your brand and your current campaign as conflict with the brand or current message will confuse the recipient. Your pictures literally "speak visually" for you. The images will fill in details that are difficult, if not impossible, to communicate with written words.

Here are 4 ways to make images speak visually in your direct mail:

  1. Analogy: These kinds of pictures work best to explain abstract ideas. An analogy takes the known to help clarify the unknown. If a person is familiar with the “known” scenario, they will be able to apply it to the unknown situation through comparison. Be careful to use concrete known concepts here. If you do not, the analogy will be unclear and confusing.
  2. Context:  These kinds of pictures tend to be helpful, rather than distracting. They set the scene or mood you are trying to convey. Try to find scenes that frame whatever information you’ll be discussing. As a general rule, these are more large background photos that fill the entire panel on your mailer.
  3. Compare/Contrast: These kinds of pictures highlight differences, growth, contrasts, projected outcomes, or any other shift from one position to another. These images can be very dramatic and help you illustrate a much desired outcome. As a general rule, a side by side comparison is the best use.
  4. Story Telling:  These kinds of pictures take a series and put them together to walk the viewer through a story or a process. Each picture change tells one part of the story and shows a progression that when one reaches the last image the story is complete. Make sure to choose images that are full of detail and correctly portray the story.

There are several things you can do to enhance the visual appeal of your direct mail, images just happen to be very effective. Purchasing stock images is perfectly fine as long as you are choosing ones that really represent what you are trying to say correctly. Sometimes finding the best image is time consuming, but when done correctly can really enhance your response. Make sure to involve people outside of your organization to look at your images and tell you what they see and feel. You will be surprised at how different they may look at the images than you do.

Learn 20 Ways toReduce Postage Costs Now!


If you have any questions call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email
We are glad to help!

3 Tips on How to Use Humor Email Marketing


Funny Email Marketing

The other day I was asked the question “Should email marketing be funny?”. Before this question can really be answered correctly, we need some qualifications. To just say yes, would be a disservice. The reality is that not every marketing email can be funny and effective. Careful thought needs to go into the creation of humor in email marketing and when used correctly, it can help to boost your ROI.

Here are 3 tips on how to use humor email marketing correctly:

  1. Related: Your humor needs to be related to the content in your marketing campaign. Funny for the sake of being funny does not move people to respond and can turn them off. You need to tie the humor into the overall message and brand. For instance Berkshire Hathaway should not use humor created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone the creators of South Park. The brand does not relate to the humor.
  2. Backseat: Your marketing message and call to action need to be the most prominent points in your email. The humor is secondary/complimentary to them. If you use a cartoon, make sure the size does not overwhelm the email. You do not want to confuse the recipient or dilute your call to action. The humor should help to drive the call to action.
  3. Images: Consider more than just images. In many cases the email browsers are blocking images. The look, feel and tone can all play toward the humor while still conveying the message and call to action. Using special fonts and colors can help to highlight the humor without distracting from the message. By cleverly designing beyond images you really integrate the humor into the email and create a much more powerful punch.

Be careful with your humor. Try to keep it light and stay away from controversial things as you do not want to offend recipients. When done well, humor will accelerate response as it draws the reader in and connects them to your company. That connection will also help drive future behavior with your company. Continue to build that relationship with future emails targeted to them by past behavior. This will help to insure a long lasting relationship.

If you have any questions call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email
We are glad to help!

3 Key Focused Social Media Marketing Tips


San Diego Social Media Marketing

There is a lot of information out there about social media marketing, and how your business needs to use it. Many of these articles are focused on the wrong thing. The value in social media is the ability to gain valuable information by communicating directly with your customers and prospects. Yes, the “viral” aspect of social media is a good benefit and can dramatically help your marketing, however, the information you gain with direct contact and honest feedback will not only benefit your marketing but your whole company.

When you approach social media this way, your whole marketing plan should change focus. Here are 3 tips to engage people with your social media marketing.

  1. Customer Service: Yes, customer service is marketing in social media. This is the most viewable form of your customer service. Everyone can see how you handle difficult situations. It is very important to have a CSR plan in place so that your responses are quick and correct. People will be watching you and making judgments on how you handle issues. Make sure they are saying good things about you.
  2. Focus Groups:  You can create instant focus groups with your social media. If you need feedback quickly on a new product or service, reach out to your social networks and find out what they like and dislike about it. The speed of this information will allow you to quickly make changes or modifications as needed and makes people feel like they are contributing to your company so their voice is valuable to you.
  3. Fun: Successful social media marketing contains an aspect of fun. By doing that, the content becomes more engaging and therefore more popular. It does not have to be games or quizzes. Funny material can generate a lot of interest. Of course, you need to keep it clean and in line with you brand. Having some light hearted posts can go a long way towards building your brand image as more human.

When you take the time to actively gather information from your social networks, you will learn valuable insights into how people see your company, what they are looking for and how you can help them. This translates into great data for you to use when you are creating your marketing campaigns. The data provides you with more targeted information, which you can use in other types of channels to improve your marketing. The better you are able to target your audience, the better response you are going to get.

If you have any questions call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email
We are glad to help!

Mobile Marketing: The Time is Now


San Diego Mobile Marketing

If you have not started using mobile marketing you need to. As our day to day lives move faster and faster, there is no better way than mobile to reach your prospects and customers. Everyone has their phone with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. More and more, people are using their phones instead of their computers to do searches and make purchases. If you are not there or not tapping into the mobile market, you are missing out on new customers and potential sales.

Here are some things mobile can do for you:

  • Create interactive print pieces such as including QR codes, Augmented Reality or Near field Communication.
  • Use text messaging to get a 99% delivery rate and have your messages read instantly.
  • Get customers more engaged with mobile options for coupons, ordering, surveys, and location based information.

One pitfall to watch out for is creating mobile as a separate silo channel. You need to incorporate mobile into your other channels so that they are all working together for the common goal. When you are able to do this, people get a common experience throughout all the channels. That way, there is not a choppy unrelated feel between channels. You are offering a better experience for your users.

Mobile should be looked at as a gateway for your current marketing. Boost your website visits by creating a mobile version of your site. Easy to read, easy to push buttons and a slimmed down version from what you offer on your full site. Boost your direct mail response by adding a mobile response method for quick ordering or more information. Boost engagement with text-in options or create a game with mobile check in’s. If you can get creative and provide a fun experience for people, they will keep coming back as well as share it with others.

You can take small steps at a time to build your mobile presence. Start with mobile ready landing pages including your website. From there, decide what you are most interested in that will drive the experience you are looking for. Once you have mastered that, then you may want to get into text messaging and mobile coupons to round out your mobile marketing.

If you have any questions, call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email
We are glad to help!

5 Ways to Spice up your Direct Mail Marketing


San Diego Direct Mail Marketing

Your direct mail does not need to be boring. In the old days you created a mailer with lots of copy, a few pictures and sent them to everyone. Now days, we use less copy, more pictures and send to the people most likely to respond. So you wonder, what else can you do? Since direct mail is a tangible form of marketing, why not use that to your advantage?

Here are 5 ideas on how to spice it up:

  1. Use Texture: Coatings can give your mailer a real feel that is very unique. They can be soft to the touch (this works well for fabric softener or pet fur; think pat the bunny), rough (this works well for brick or other hard items; think nail file), raised can create a dimensional feel (works well with steps or blocks).
  2. Use Metallic: Make your products shine with metallic ink. Create sparkle or shine in key areas of your mailer to make them stand out. Imagine Disney princesses with metallic sparkle dresses on a mailer.  They would stand out much more that way.
  3. Use Smell: Add scent to your mailer to emphasize your product. It’s not just for perfume. Imagine what scents a landscaper could use floral, grass, pine, etc. You can even use bad scents to emphasize how horrible it is without your product or service. I think I would hold back on this if I were a Plummer though! That scent, while funny may be a little too much!
  4. Use Thermochromic ink: This ink is really cool! It changes colors when the temperatures change. Think of all the great things you can do with this ink! You have seen them on beer bottles to tell you they are cold, what if your mailer changed color when you touch it? How could you use that to grab attention for your product or service?
  5. Use Lenticular print: Create images that move as you move the mailer or have them change. You can also change the messages. Look at it one way and it tells you to go to this website, look at it another way and the instruction changes. Need to create a creepy feel, use eyes that folllow you every direction! This is a fun way to make your mailer stand out.

Direct mail is about engagement, drawing the recipient into your marketing by creating interest in your mailer. The more interesting it is the better response you are going to get. You will also find that when you create a direct mailer that people really found to be creative, they show others. This is not going viral, but has the same effect, the more people who see it, talk about it, and share it, the better your response will be. Keep in mind as you are incorporating these new methods that it is ok to be funny. Humor is a great way to be remembered.

If you have any questions call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email
We are glad to help!

Fulfillment 101: 7 Key Things You Need to Know About Performance


San Diego Fulfillment

Fulfillment and packaging is more than just shipping out materials. It is the key to your company’s success. You need the materials to be shipped correctly, on time, and in good condition in order to meet your staff and clients expectations. That is why having the correct fulfillment company is required.

Is your fulfillment provider giving you performance information? Here are a few key areas that you should know about:

  1. On-time shipments: How often have your ship dates been met?
  2. On-time deliveries: How often were deliveries rcvd on the date requested?
  3. Order accuracy: How often do your orders arrive correctly?
  4. Orders per month: How many orders are shipping each month?
  5. Receiving to order ability times: How quickly does an item become available for order after it is received?
  6. Low inventory: Are you getting low inventory notifications? Are they soon enough to reorder without causing backorders?
  7. Return handling: When returns come, do you know it? Do you know why? Are they inspected for issues?

Reporting via an online portal gives you 24/7 information in an easy format and allows you to see the process in real time. This information can help you plan for busy times and get a handle on your products. Fulfillment can be a real challenge when done incorrectly. Make sure that you take the time to work with your fulfillment company to get all the necessary reports and issues you can think of.

If you have any questions, call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email We are glad to help!

Email Marketing: It’s All About The List


San Diego Email Marketing

Email marketing can be a great channel to drive response; however, if you have the wrong list or a bad list, you just threw your money away. Unlike direct mail, email marketing lists are hard to gather, keep current and increase. Here are a few tips to keep your email lists current and gather more.

  1. Do not buy a list: You will shoot yourself in the foot if you buy an email address list. This is the quickest way to get labeled as a spammer. Once you are blacklisted, it is very hard to get corrected.
  2. Use landing pages to gather email addresses: You can gather email addresses by using your marketing channels such as direct mail and social media, to drive recipients to landing pages, where they provide an email address in order to get something of value such as a white paper.
  3. Maintain your opt-out list: You must keep your opt-out list current. If you use multiple email platforms it is vital to cross pollinate your opt-outs so that you are not in violation of CANSPAM. Once a person opts out of email communication from you, they are not to be contacted again via email. You can send them direct mail to get them to opt back in, but just changing the type of email you are sending does not count.

The best way to keep a good email list is to generate it on your own, through opt-in responses. You can use an append service to add email addresses to your direct mail or customer data files, but this is not the best way to grow your list. The opt-in lists are much more productive. You can also partner with another company and do some co-email marketing that can add to your email list as responses come in. Many people are lured in by the email list sellers, do not fall for it!

If you have any questions call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email
We are glad to help!

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