5 Reasons Direct Mail is Vital to Your Multi-channel Marketing

Whether you find it in an email folder, in the company mailroom or the box at your curb, “junk mail” is unwanted, unsolicited and sent in bulk. In a word, it’s a nuisance. No one likes being spammed by electronic or physical mail.

Rather than be discouraged, successful direct marketers are motivated to deliver mail campaigns that are relevant to and welcomed by highly targeted prospects, customers and supporters.

In today’s unexpected environment that has kept many people closer to home and disconnected from their usual routines, direct mail marketing has seen a resurgence in popularity for a wide range of industries across local, regional and national markets. Many people have lightheartedly joked on social media channels that going to the mailbox has become an outing – and they’re dressing up to do it!

All fun aside, studies have compared how our brains respond differently to physical and virtual stimuli. The research revealed that engagement with a printed piece shows more brain activity than with digital views, suggesting that physical material is more “real” to us and involves more emotionally vivid memories.

Still, any single marketing channel can’t do it all. Mail teaming with digital strategies and each playing to its strengths results in a multi-channel campaign that delivers the strongest performance.

Digital tools and technologies, like personalized landing pages for response, elevate a simple print project to a can’t-miss, easy-to-respond-to piece that is well within reach of small business marketers and nonprofits. Think in terms of print and rather than print or other marketing channels.

Here are five characteristics of direct mail that make it a powerhouse, and as part of a multi-channel campaign, can help to drive more sales or donations, enhance customer relationships and deliver long-term return on your investment.

1. LIST AVAILABILITY AND REACH

The ability to target mail by geography, interests, specific demographics and lifestyle characteristics gives personalized and relevant messaging laser-sharp focus for improved response.  

If you’ve paused acquisition mailings, consider reengaging with further refinement to your mailing list. You will likely experience more attrition in your customer base during a downturn, and prospect mailings can help you regain lost business. Alternatively, no-list mailings to a defined geographic area are an affordable, fast and effective strategy for local businesses whose customer base is close by.

2. LOW NUISANCE/LOW THREAT

There are some products and services that are a natural fit for direct mail. Nonprofits, service industries and restaurants are a few. And when someone needs a longer period to research and compare their options, mail can give you an intimate space to do it.

It doesn’t mean we are going to stop shopping online. Marketers should have email in their arsenal for nurturing relationships and special promotions, recognizing that there can be suspicion about data security among customers and prospects who prefer physical mail.

3. HIGHER RESPONSE RATES

Physicality may positively influence the effectiveness of the call to action. A recent study shows 42% of direct mail recipients read or scan the pieces they receive.1 Advertising mail is kept in a household for 17 days on average, meaning it offers multiple opportunities for recipients to take the desired action.2

4. FLEXIBILITY OF FORMAT

Mail is highly adaptable to your audience and campaign objectives. With formats including postcards, letters, self-mailers and dimensional packages, mail is telling your story in print. Digital messages can sometimes look sterile. A mail piece supports long and short content, and different paper textures, inks or finishes all work to make the emotional connection that is so powerful.

5. LONG SHELF LIFE

A tangible printed mailer that can be set aside and picked up later or passed on is appealing in households and businesses. Yes, you can forward an email. But days or weeks later, that’s history. There are dozens of more emails right behind the one you just got.

Let us know when you’re ready to put the power of direct mail to work for you. Our pros can help.

Multi-Channel Marketing Tips for Success

Multi-channel marketing tips

As business owners, the journey to getting your message through to consumers quickly and efficiently can be daunting, but one thing is for sure: your audience is no longer in one place. Average consumers toggle back and forth between a number of platforms and channels every day, and in order to reach them, your business should do the same.    


For those who are new to the idea of multi-channel marketing, or for those looking to polish their multi-channel skills, here are a few tips to set your business up for success in your next campaign.

Choose Your Channels Wisely

According to the Data and Marketing Association, multi-channel marketing campaigns use three different media types on average. When choosing the channels you want to leverage for your campaign, look closely at your audience and understand the media types that have worked for you in the past. You can use customer feedback and data metrics to determine which platforms your audience responds best to and which are equipped enough to carry out your campaign objective. And, don’t forget to think outside the cloud – offline channels like print and mail can be key players in marketing campaigns.

Make Modifications for Each Channel

After deciding on the right channels for your campaign’s audience, adapt your strategy to work best with each channel individually. Say you chose to launch your campaign through email marketing, social media marketing and mobile app messages—how will the channel differences affect the phrasing of your message? A lengthy email can carry more content than an Instagram photo, but an Instagram photo will certainly require more creativity than a push notification. By adapting your strategy for each channel, you can be more effective in getting your message across.

Keep it Consistent

While your methods should vary for each channel to adapt to its purpose, your messaging and design should remain consistent throughout the entire campaign. Your goal is to ensure that the audience will become familiar with the message and recognize it across all channels, but beware of sounding redundant or “spammy.” You can do this by executing similar designs for your social media collateral and email headers, and using the same key words and phrases throughout the platforms.

Multi-channel campaigns are not always a smooth experience—there are a number of factors to consider and keep track of in order to execute it successfully. However, multi-channel strategies are efficient in reaching your audience on more than one level, thus more likely to get your message across. These tips are a good start, but for in-depth consultation and guidance, contact the professionals at Allegra.

Optimizing Your Email Marketing Strategies

Optimizing email marketing

Email marketing has proven to be one of the most effective ways of generating customer interaction and driving sales, no matter what business you run. With consumers spending more time on their devices, your content becomes even more likely to reach a lead or existing customer via email.

However, email campaigns can require a bit more TLC than other marketing strategies. In addition to proper follow-through actions, the platform and tactics are constantly changing. And in order for you to get the best results out of your email marketing campaigns, you must find ways to optimize. 


Below are a few key tips to get you started with optimizing your email marketing strategies.

Customize Senders & Subject Lines

Grabbing the customer’s attention is often the first obstacle when launching any sort of marketing strategy. With email campaigns, the first thing that recipients will see is the email’s sender name and subject line. To increase the chance of your message getting across to the recipient, list your sender name as a real person. Sending emails with a real name, and maybe adding a picture of the sender instead of a general business name helps set a friendly, humanizing tone. You can also test different sender names, such as your company’s CEO vs. a marketing representative, to see which performs better. For subject lines, the best tip is to keep it short and sweet. To prevent the subject line from being cut off in a mobile or desktop preview, use a short phrase with actionable language like “learn more about a trial,” or “join us for a limited time offer.” You can also customize the subject line by including the recipient’s name, which will help draw their attention.

Call on Customers with a Call to Action

A call to action can be one of the most important aspects of an email campaign because it will essentially get you to your end goal of completing a sale or converting a customer. To optimize your call to action, first decide what action it is that you want readers to take. Then, decide how you want to bring it to life. If you are currently using a link for readers to click on as a CTA, consider opting for a button instead. Clickable buttons are often included “above the fold,” or in the top half of the email. Regardless of where yours is located, make sure it is bright and easy enough to read so recipients don’t scroll right past it at first glance.

Create Segments for Personalization

Using segmented lists in email campaigns is an effective way of personalizing the messages you send. Most email marketing services now allow you to segment your email lists into smaller groups with specific attributes. For example, you can break your master email list up into groupings based on geographical location, age, gender, purchase history and more. Say you are launching a promotional offer for customers who have previously purchased the same service or product. Through segmenting, you can send the offer to those with a matching purchase history without having to send it to customers that it doesn’t apply to. Thus, email segmenting can increase the likelihood of getting your message across to the right customer.

Email optimization is a journey, rather than a one-and-done action. The goal of optimization is to continually adjust and test different aspects of your email marketing campaign, record the results and compare strategies to see which proves to be the most effective for your business. There are a number of ways to begin optimizing your email marketing strategy aside from subject lines, senders, calls to action and segments, but if you need additional support in getting started, the experts at Allegra are always happy to help.

Three Simple Ways to Enhance Your Print Marketing Tactics

Print marketing and communications are some of the most trustworthy and fundamental tactics for small and mid-sized businesses. However, many business owners may feel overwhelmed by trying to keep up with growing trends and enhancements to print technology in order to deliver top-of-the-line print communications to their customers.

Think about the print communication strategies your business relied on in the past. Are there any aspects that feel out-of-date or need a refresh? If the answer is yes, you are in luck. Here are three simple and fool-proof ways to bring your print marketing to the next level.
Print marketing

Get Creative with Color

Changing your usual color selections is one of the easiest ways to refresh your print solutions. However, using spot colors, or specialty inks that range outside of the four staple colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), can be costly when used too often or unnecessarily. There are instances where the use of spot colors is simply unavoidable, such as when a specialty ink is required for a specific logo or design, but it isn’t the only way you can improve your color scheme. Tricks like color transitions (such as ombres and gradients) are growing in popularity, and can help give your print materials an impressive new look without having to succumb to expensive spot colors.

Make Your Brand Known

Many business owners can recall the pressure of creating a logo or slogan that represents their brand, while simultaneously catching the attention of their key audience. So, when the perfect identifiable logo or slogan comes along, make it proudly visible in your work. Incorporating your emblem in your print solutions can help you connect with your audience and make your message easy to identify. Instead of just placing a small symbol in a corner of a flyer or card, integrate it within unique designs, shapes or outlines on the materials.

Give Your Format a Unique Edge

Today’s advanced print technology has resulted in a wide range of alternative materials for basic flyers, business cards and brochures. Accordion booklets with multiple panels and sliding inserts can create space for more information while still maintaining an appropriate size, giving you the best bang for your buck. Plus, unique formats will make your print materials stand out against the rest. To take it up another notch, consider including augmented reality features to make your solutions multi-channel and interactive.

It can seem difficult to keep up with the ever-changing solutions and technology of print marketing, but simple and effective methods are out there. As a business owner, you can explore different color options, designs and formats to see what your audience responds to well. There’s nothing wrong with branching out, and if you feel like you need a little bit of guidance, the experts at Allegra are always happy to help.

Creating Comfort for Customers as Businesses Reopen

Back to Business - We can help!

We are all eager for life to begin to return to normal – or at least a new normal, with increased social distancing and safety precautions. One element to that process that cannot be ignored is customer comfort. Even once stay-at-home orders begin to be lifted, individuals may still feel anxious at the idea of resuming normal activities like shopping and visiting local businesses.

As a business owner, there are ways to create comfort and stay top of mind for customers as you begin to reopen and welcome people back:

Share What (Unique) Things You’re Doing to Keep Customers Safe

Be thoughtful about the safety and hygiene practices you’re highlighting on social and in emails to customers. What do they really want to know? We have all started to feel fatigued at the sight of yet another COVID-19-related brand email with no new information. Try to anticipate your customer’s questions and concerns for your business in particular: “While we are following all local, state and federal guidelines for health and sanitation, I want to tell you about a few unique ways our business will be keeping you safe next time you visit.”

Let Your Customers Know You Missed Them

We’re all missing one another during quarantine, and now is a good time to let your customers know they’ve been on your mind. You may choose to send personalized messages to your most loyal customers, share heartfelt notes from your team or find other ways to communicate how much you’re looking forward to seeing them in-store once they feel safe enough to do so. You can even create an invitation to visit, date TBD, with a small promotion or discount included. Above all, be genuine in your words and put a face to your business as customers begin acclimating to communities reopening.

Express Community Gratitude

A simple “thank you” goes a long way. Show your support for the community with signage and graphics outside of your business and on your social channels thanking medical professionals, first responders, essential workers, teachers and other frontline workers. If it makes sense, create a special giveback for frontline workers or make a donation to a COVID-19 relief fund as a way to show your commitment to frontline workers in your community.

We know business owners are eager to reopen and welcome back customers and clients, but getting back to business will not be as quick as turning on a switch. In the meantime, nurture your relationships with customers with thoughtful touches as you begin ease them back into doing business with you once again.

2020 Branding Webinar: 5 Small Steps to Make a Big Impact

In the upcoming Allegra Marketing webinar, “2020 Branding: 5 Small Steps to Make a Big Impact,” marketing expert Carla Johnson will teach us the five steps to build a brand, no matter the size of the company.

In this hour-long session, she’ll explain the importance of little interactions customers have with your brand throughout their buyers’ journey.

Whether we are talking about corporate branding, product branding, service branding, and even personal branding, each detail and interaction matters. A brand is an idea your customers have about your company and the products or services it delivers. You have the power to shape these ideas and perceptions by customizing each experience a customer has with your brand.

Shaping the idea of your brand in the mind of customers is an ongoing process, and it requires consistency. According to this global study from SDL, 90% of consumers expect a consistent brand experience across all channels and devices. This is why it’s crucial to start thinking about the small moments’ consumers interact with your brand to always deliver a predictable service that meets their expectations.

To build a consistent brand, it’s necessary to start this process from the inside of your company. The first people who need to understand your brand are your company’s employees. Each one should know the promise, vision, and mission of the brand. The more informed and engaged each employee is, the more empowered they will be to advocate for your company and support your brands’ identity.

Exploring in detail each touchpoint a customer has with your brand includes rethinking all the moving pieces that work together to build long-lasting relationships with customers and prospects. This is where branding comes into play to help you forge emotional connections with your audience at every touchpoint. Doing this will shape the identity of the brand and reinforce its message.

Paying attention to these small moments will give customers a consistent impression of your business, which is key to building brand awareness and loyalty. This webinar will help you identify the different opportunities you have to engage your target audience. You’ll walk away from this webinar with a new perspective and tips to make the most of the small moments where customers experience your brand.

Register today and don’t miss this FREE Allegra Marketing Webinar on May 6 at 12 p.m. ET!

Allegra has partnered with author and branding expert Carla Johnson to bring you game-changing tips to enhance your brand. Allegra is your local, single source for strategic marketing and print communications with measurable results. Register here for this upcoming webinar.

How Brochures Can Help You Reach Your Business Goals

There are many creative ways brochures can be used by business owners to promote and education about their business offerings. They attractively present a solution to a problem and the benefits of choosing your company, as well as how to obtain the product or service. Here are a few examples on how businesses use brochures for different purposes. 

  • To Raise Brand Awareness: A perfect example of this are travel brochures. When placed in a hotel’s brochure rack, they inform visitors of local attractions and services. A 2018 study tested the impact brochures placed in a hotel lobby have on travelers. The study revealed that 85% of visitors became aware of an attraction or business as a result of picking up a brochure and 61% of visitors planned to purchase tickets or merchandise, they learned about from a brochure.
  • To Start a Conversation: Dentist offices often have brochures in the waiting or examination room explaining treatments or services such as teeth whitening. An interested patient can grab a brochure and discuss any questions they may have about the service with their dentist.
  • To Close a Sale: Businesses, such as massage clubs, use brochures to provide a visual to potential customers while a staff member walks them through pricing packages and services. Circling the best value option or jotting down a promo code during the conversation can make it personal. If the client is unconvinced and needs more time to think about it, the brochure serves as a reminder of the brand, the product, and the special attention received.
  • As Handouts for Different Occasions: Many companies distribute marketing brochures at trade shows or sends them as a targeted mailing. These methods allow for a larger reach rather than waiting for a customer to select one in-person.

Custom brochures can do more than just promote a business’s full range of products or services. They can help advertise upcoming events, raise awareness for a cause, or serve as map or program guide. A advantage brochures have over other forms of marketing is they don’t have the character limit often found in digital ads or smaller print mediums. The multiple panels in a brochure allow you to break up text into easily digestible pieces. This also allows for you to get as creative as you want, playing around with the use of images, layout, paper stock, and finishing techniques to communicate your message.

Allegra has the experience and expertise to help create a high-quality brochure. To get started, contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location today.

Five Tips to Help Prospects Find You, and Keep Them Coming Back for More

Inbound MarketingBusinesses have been hearing about inbound marketing since 2006 when Hubspot coined the term. In contrast to outbound marketing strategies such as advertising or direct mail used to interrupt prospects to grab their attention, inbound marketing focuses on tactics that earn it.

How are businesses earning the attention of their prospects? Earning attention from prospects is a four-stage process:

  1. The first step is to create compelling content and personalized experiences to attract a steady stream of qualified people interested in your business.
  2. The second step is to convert people who visit your website or business. This step is about getting people to make their interest in your business known. On a website, every time a person submits a contact form, clicks on a specific call-to-action, or visits one of your targeted landing pages, it can be counted as a conversion.
  3. The third step is closing the deal and turning those interested prospects into customers.
  4. The fourth and final step is called delight, and it’s about keeping your customers engaged after they make a purchase. There are many ways to do this, for example, online surveys or royalty programs.

Driving people to your website is not enough. After prospects get there, you need to keep their attention, provide support, encourage them to take action, and help them connect with your business. The end goal of inbound marketing is to pay close attention to those interactions and create opportunities to connect with your audience.

To build compelling content, every business needs to have an in-depth understanding of its target customers. This is what marketers refer to as the process of creating a target persona, and you can do this by reviewing all the data you have about your customers, from website analytics to sale records.

After you have a clear understanding of who your audience is, you will be ready to get started making the necessary adjustments to strengthen your inbound marketing strategy:

  1. Claim your local listings. The way people find businesses now is primarily online. Make sure your company invests the necessary time to claim and manage your business’s website with online directories like Google My Business. It’s important to pay special attention to the accuracy and consistency of your listings to make sure prospects can easily find and reach your business.
  2. Make the most of your website. According to Clutch.co, two-thirds of small businesses rely on their website to connect with their customers. Keep your company’s website updated with relevant and useful content. Use multi-media content, like videos, blogs, how-to guides, infographics, case studies, and success stories to attract searchers and rank well on search engines.
  3.  Access your inner writer and blog. Companies who blog receive 97% more leads to their websites than companies that don’t, according to SevenAtoms. The best blogs are those that contain engaging and informational content that speaks to your target audience and answers their questions. Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy a positive return on investment.
  4. Engage with social media. The relationship between social media and search engine rankings is not clear, but what most marketers have concluded with their research is that it does matter. In addition to helping with your website’s visibility, it’s essential to build a loyal fan base. More than half of businesses who have been using social media regularly for two or more years have been able to establish thought leadership. Sharing engaging content on social platforms, and quickly responding to customer concerns and feedback is a great way to start and keep the conversation going.
  5. Be exclusive with email. When all of your best efforts start to pay off in visitors, fans, followers, and downloads, integrate them with an outbound strategy, like email marketing. Continue to deliver relevant content and exclusive offers as new relationships with prospects develop and convert to sales.

Inbound marketing delivers solutions and opportunities to attract and convert prospects. Need help formulating or executing your inbound marketing strategies? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location today!

Nurture Relationships With Newsletters

Newsletters continue to be one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to reach customers, donors, supporters, and employees. Communication in the workplace, in particular, is cited as an issue by 91 percent of employees. While some of this accounts for verbal communication, written communication is also a critical element. Written communication does not include things like body language and tone, so it’s important to deliver a clear and concise message.

Flat design modern vector illustration concept of regularly distributed publication via e-mail with some topics of interest to its subscribers. Isolated on stylish color background.

Improve communication inside and outside of your organization with a custom newsletter. The best newsletters have a lot of elements in common. We’ve gathered that information here to help anyone who wants to learn how to create a newsletter.

Getting Started

Before you brainstorm newsletter ideas, you should commit to a few important guidelines. These three “rules” will help to ensure your newsletter is effective.

  1. Be Consistent With Your Newsletter Publishing

Inconsistency may be the most detrimental factor in losing your audience. When you determine your communication strategy, you will want to identify and adhere to your publishing goals. This is true, no matter the method of delivery. Consistent communication keeps readers engaged and your brand at the forefront of their minds.

  1. Determine Your Method of Delivery

Depending on your audience, you may want to publish and mail a physical newsletter, send an electronic one or a combination of the two methods. Understanding your target audience and the message you want to deliver will help you determine which method is best for you. You may find your audience may prefer to read a physical paper, more than an online publication.

  1. Choose a Layout Design and Style That Works for Your Brand

Newsletter design and layout are critical components. A newsletter used to promote a creative product or service may want to include more graphics and colors, whereas a company looking to highlight an official message may want to keep the design simple and in line with their corporate colors.

Newsletter Ideas

Once you have completed the three steps outlined above,  you can then begin thinking about the content and how you wish to present it. Deliver your content in a way that engages your audience. Below are a few newsletter content examples to help inspire your next newsletter:

  • Analysis and Opinions: Set yourself up as a leader in the industry. Become an expert and post regular, relevant content that establishes you and your organization as a thought leader. Be the go-to source for your area of expertise.
  • Case Studies: Highlight real examples of customers who have been successful with your product. Success stories provide a more tangible connection between you and your audience.
  • Testimonials: Reviews or testimonials are similar to case studies, but testimonials focus on the customer’s perspective and experience, which can be very influential. Having credible sources who can speak to your service, knowledge, or product can be very appealing to your readers.
  • Numbered Lists: Lists are easy to read; this is why they can draw in your audience. Not every newsletter has to be content heavy. It can be helpful to mix in fun, but relevant, blurbs and content from time-to-time. Top 10 (or 3 or 5) lists are a sure way to engage readers.
  • How To Guides: Like numbered lists, how-to guides are very popular. If you can incorporate a how-to guide into a newsletter, you can be confident your reader will read it. These types of guides can also help you to establish yourself as an expert.
  • Question and Answer: Whether you set this up as a Frequently Asked Question section or solicit questions from your readership and answer them in the next newsletter, this type of content can help you generate engagement.

When you successfully get readers to engage with a specific portion of your newsletter content, they are likely to read more of the content you are sending their way. Being intentional about what you cover and how it is visually laid out will directly impact the success of your newsletter

If your company is ready to leverage the benefit of adding a newsletter as part of their communication strategy, contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location today.