Archive for category Connecting

Designing For Mobile Users

Don’t Forget Your Mobile Users – or Why I Still Have Bangs

Mobile User ExperienceIf you are driving customers to your online presence to make a purchase, pay a bill or just to learn more about your product/service, don’t forget that many of these people will be viewing on their mobile devices.
At Strahm we view our messages on every device available to us. How does it look on an iPhone, android, tablet? Do all the images appear? Do links work? If there is personalization, is it correct? Does it take forever to load?
You can ask for more information from your respondent, but keep it very short and very simple. They won’t stay on your page to fill out form after form.
An example is a website I would love to browse – they have great content that I’m just dying to read – but as I navigate to every page, I get a pop up requesting that I sign up for their newsletter.
Although I already receive their newsletter, I don’t mind that their request appears as soon as I hit their home page. The annoyance is as I click through to articles I want to read, I get the same message over and over. And I close their page and go somewhere else for my daily dose of fashion advice.
I have tried access on my tablet, phone, through the link in their newsletter and twitter. Each format had the same result of the never ending pop up. (It’s so bad that I sent them a tweet. I do really want advice how to grow out my bangs.)
What are the takeaways?
• Design with mobile users in mind
• View on every device you can get your hands on
• Make adjustments as needed and view again
• Test, test, test download time, links, etc.
• Keep it as simple and easy-to-use as possible.

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Direct Marketing Program

My Direct Marketing Program Was a Success! Now What?

 

We talk a lot about developing a strong direct mail program – everything from list  development,      Direct Marketingtargeted messaging and calls to action. But what happens next?

Your marketing program was successful – people are redeeming coupons, visiting your store, signing up for your service. Are you capturing more data about them to use for future campaigns?

First, determine what you want to know. You can get pretty deep here, but below are a few data points you may want to consider.

  • Name?
  • Address?
  • Email address?
  • Product or service purchased?
  • Geographical area?
  • What and how did they respond to your marketing – email, in-store purchase, etc?

Try to keep your requests for more information simple. No one wants to answer 20 questions. It can come off as intrusive and really, the easier you make it, the better.

Look at it this way, I can go to ABC’s website to purchase a widget but I have to fill out a bunch of forms. Or I can go to Amazon and buy with one click. Even if Amazon charges me a little more for the widget, the ease of use has won me over.

You can see where we’re going with this. You can use this “beefed up” data to more effectively target your market, just don’t be creepy about it.

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Curious About “Greening” Your Mail?

The USPS Asked In a Sustainability Campaign,

“How Green is Your Mail?”

Mailers have opportunities to decrease their environmental impact and any organization can implement these strategies. Oce Business Services shares these tips: images

  1. Manage Ink: When designing your mailpiece, choose fewer colors and less ink coverage/usage. This reduces chemicals used during the printing process.
  2. Think TransPromo: Create a document that combines transactional printing (think statement or invoice) with a marketing piece – all in one document and one envelope. In fact, USPS will have a 2015 promotion encouraging the use of TransPromo marketing.
  3. Paper Usage: Use a smaller font and/or decrease the margins in order to keep to a single page document. Can’t do it? Default to printing both sides (duplex). Going duplex can save you up to 50% on paper costs while serving the environment as well.
  4. Sourcing Paper: Choose paper stocks that come from managed forests. The Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) certification supports responsible forestry; forests are audited for best practices and must meet strict guidelines. As well, this sends a clear message to your customers that you care about forests.
  5. Utilize Print on Demand: This concept has been around for years and centers on printing only what you need/when you need it. This eliminates waste caused by document obsolescence. As well, you could select a printer at or near your point of consumption, reducing or eliminating transportation costs.
  6. Mailing Lists: Updating your mailing list may be a challenge, but the cost savings and environmental impact is significant. It is estimated that 15% – 20% of individuals and businesses move each year. Reduce waste and eliminate the printing and postage costs of mail that is non-deliverable.

Has your organization implemented green initiatives in their mailing practices? What outcomes did you experience? We’d love to hear your stories!

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Personalized URL Tips!

Tips for Using PURLs

If you’ve ever considered using Personalized URL as part of your mail campaign, here are some helpful tips we’ve compiled.

Starting at square one –

  1. Start with a new domain name. You can use Go Daddy’s bulk registration tool to see which ones are available to you. Get creative and tie your domain name into your campaign vision.
  2. When crafting your PURL message, don’t offer too many choices to the respondent. Give them one offer or one premium, not 10 different offers. When a respondent has to stop and think over an offer, they are more likely to click away and never respond.
  3. Keep the landing page clean, simple and relevant. Don’t crowd your message or add distractions. White space is your friend here, just as in a direct mail piece.
  4. Get them to the submit button as quickly and painlessly as possible. Only ask questions that are absolutely necessary; oftentimes you can get some of this information after they respond.
  5. If they are able, ask your PURL vendor to customize the thank you page and email follow up as well. Personalization goes a long way in increasing response and customer loyalty.

A PURL offers valuable information. You can track who visited their landing page and responded, who visited but didn’t choose to respond, and who didn’t visit at all. Each type offers unique insight to the effectiveness of your marketing, allowing you to tweak future communications to prospects and clients.

How do you see yourself using PURLs to enhance customer communications? We’d love to hear your feedback.

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USPS 7 Day Service for Holiday Mail

USPS 7 Day Service for Holiday Mail

Getting everything done – both personal and professional – during the holiday season can be tough. The Postal Service is stepping in to help you out by offering seven day a week delivery in major cities and high volume areas beginning November 17th through Christmas day.

They expect double digit growth of their package services during this period – up roughly 12% over the same period last year. The expectation is that they will handle 450 – 470 million packages. This is in large part due to continued e-commerce growth and improvements to Priority Mail services.

“Football has its season. But the holidays? That’s our season,” said Donahoe. “That’s crunch time for us, and year after year, we step up our game. E-commerce package business continues to be a big player now more than ever, so we’ve enhanced our network to ensure America that we’ll deliver their cards, gifts and letters in time for the holidays.”

USPS’ competitors recently announced increases to their services, while the Postal Service lowered some of its prices for businesses and other large shippers. The reduced Priority Mail pricing has affordable options and improved tracking ability.USPSHoliday

“The Postal Service will be out making deliveries every single day during the holiday season, including Christmas Day,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “During the holidays, no carrier makes more deliveries to more places than the Postal Service, and this year, we’re raising the bar with enhanced tracking and Sunday delivery.”

With the continued growth of online retailers, more products are shipped directly to consumers.

“Every household in America relies on us to get their packages in time for the holidays, and we take great pride in taking on that responsibility,” said Donahoe. “We’re prepared to do whatever it takes to deliver for our customers.”

 2014 Christmas Shipping Deadlines

For expected delivery of holiday mail and packages by Christmas, the Postal Service recommends keeping the following mailing and shipping deadlines in mind:

  • Dec. 2 – First-Class Mail International/Priority Mail International
  • Dec. 10 – Priority Mail Express International
  • Dec. 15 – Standard Post
  • Dec. 17 – Global Express Guaranteed
  • Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail/Priority Mail (domestic)
  • Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express (domestic)

Skip the lines and ship online

Consumers can avoid holiday hassles by visiting usps.com — the Postal Service’s website that will help make mailing and shipping easier. Nearly 75 million customers will skip the trip to the Post Office altogether and take advantage of convenient online shipping this holiday season. Click-N-Ship and other online services allow customers to print shipping labels, order free Priority Mail boxes, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.

Next week’s blog? Our annual guide to holiday shipping tricks and tips!

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USPS Update | USPS Cyber Intrusion and Employee Data Compromise

USPS Cyber Intrusion and Employee Data Compromise

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You may have heard in the news this week that USPS has experienced a data security breach. This impacted USPS employees and also consumers who directly contacted the USPS call center. Mail Systems Management Association has provided a great review of what happened and who is at risk.

You can read it here:

USPS IT performed work this past weekend to upgrade system security, which resulted in some loss of system functionality. It is also in response to a cyber-intrusion into some of our information systems. You may see this in the news today.

The extent of the breach is somewhat limited. We have had some employee data compromised and some customer care data compromised. We are notifying our employees today and are providing resources for them.

The compromised call center data was submitted by customers who contacted the Postal Service customer care center with inquiries via telephone or email between January 1, 2014 and August 16, 2014. The compromised data consists of names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and other information for customers who may have provided this information. At this time we do not believe that affected customers need to take any action as a result of this incident. It appears that no customer credit card or financial data was compromised.

We are investigating the intrusion and are working closely with all the agencies you would expect – the FBI, the Department of Justice, our own Inspector General and Postal Inspection Service, and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team. Additionally, we have brought in outside experts who specialize in investigations and data systems to help us understand what happened and how to improve our security.

We have already implemented some important security measures over the weekend and we will continue to roll out other new security measures in the coming days and weeks.

As things currently stand, it is business as usual for nearly every aspect of our operations – Post Offices are functioning normally and mail and packages are being delivered as usual. We have posted Q&As and other information about this on usps.com.

Click here to read FAQs written by the USPS.

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Strahm Automation | Open House

Add A Splash Of Color To Your Day!

Come join the Strahm Automation & Mailing Open House from 3-6pm TODAY!! Introducing our new Océ ColorStream 3500 Inkjet Printer.

This video showcases the newest addition to the Strahm Automation & Mailing family: Océ ColorStream 3500 Inkjet Printer.

It provides sharp, full color CMYK printing, even printing duplex simultaneously. This high speed printer can produce up to 1,000 letter size sheets per minute. Added to that is the ability to perf – both horizontal and vertical – and trim in line. What can’t this workhorse do?

With the Océ ColorStream 3500, Strahm gains the ability to more effectively respond to ever-changing customer demands, resulting in a finished product that delivers on expectations. At the same time, cutting edge technology and low-waste operation allow Strahm to pass savings along to customers.

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Strahm Open House | Add a Splash of Color

Add a Splash of Color!

StrahmOHStrahm Automation invites you to join us on Friday, November 7th from
3–6pm at our open house. We are proudly introducing our new Océ ColorStream 3500 Inkjet printer!

The newest addition to our production facility provides sharp, full color CMYK printing, even printing duplex simultaneously. This high speed printer can produce up to 1,000 letter size sheets per minute. Add to that the ability to perf – both horizontal and vertical – and trim in line.JoinUs

What can’t this workhorse do? We think our customers will love the new Océ 3500 as much as we do!

So come by November 7th, add a splash of color and something sweet to your day. We will be holding the open house from 3–6pm. Just follow the balloons at 17th and Broadway.

 

Strahm Automation & Mailing Services
1700 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 756-2733

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USPS to Maintain Current Product and Service Prices

U.S. Postal Service to Maintain Current Product and Service Prices

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Oct. 1, 2014– The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service have decided not to seek a price change for mail and shipping products and services in January in part because of the uncertainty regarding the exigent price increase. This means that the current pricing of postal products and services will remain in effect through the holiday season and early part of 2015. The Board will continue to evaluate pricing strategies and will communicate about any potential price change filings in early 2015. As always, the Postal Service will provide customers advance notice of any price changes.

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Please visit us on the USPS Industry Outreach website.

Thank you for your support of the United States Postal Service.

–Consumer and Industry Affairs

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Strahm Gains Efficiencies with Canon Solutions America

Strahm Automation & Mailing Services Gains Efficiencies with Canon Solutions America

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Thank you, Canon Solutions America, for such a great write up about our new Océ ColorStream 3500.  You couldn’t be more right about our staff and customers’ enthusiasm for our new printer.

One of the best qualities of Brian Dicker is that he embraces new technology, giving Strahm the best possible production capabilities for our customers.

Thank you Brian and thank you Canon Solutions America!

Read the article here!

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