Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Direct Mail With Social Sharing Revs Response

Taking social media and direct mail from parallel tracks to integrated teamwork delivers added response power to multi-channel marketing campaigns. For those who are scratching their heads over mail-social integration, we recommend a Target Marketing magazine article by Summer Gould, including two case studies as templates. Gould boils a successful mail-social marriage down to a simple formula: Use the power of social sharing to expand mail response. Basically, start with an existing direct mail campaign that is working well. Create landing pages for the target audience to visit and direct recipients to those pages in the mail piece. Ask the audience to provide the information that you want on the landing pages. Finally, to get your offer, ask people to share with others. Marketers don't have to reinvent the wheel to get this done, but they do need to remember to include vital spokes! Gould starts with the basics: Define objectives and the target market. Then adjust direct mail design to include landing pages and social media sharing. Make sure that the offer is the same for both direct mail and social media, and be sure to effectively incentivize sharing. Focus carefully on the data capture required in return for the offer, including social media accounts so you can reward those who share! Finally, make sure you have the social media monitoring software to track results. Gould's article offers two case studies that should inspire emulation. First, Chick-fil-A, which wanted to both build its customer database and increase store traffic, launched a direct mail campaign of 5,000 plastic postcards that included social sharing. Thanks to the viral impact, the campaign gained a 279.8% response! Second, Stein Mart wanted to increase store redemption through a referral program. The discount retailer mailed 20,000 postcards with a social sharing component, and the campaign gained a total response of 150.58%. For more, including links to the case studies for details, see our web blog post at

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

AccuList USA Fetes 20 Years As Data Broker

AccuList USA® celebrates a 20th anniversary this June in a very different place from its start as a traditional direct mail list broker and manager. As a member of the Data & Marketing Association and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and as an SRDS-recognized mailing list and insert media broker and manager, it has successfully adapted to successive marketing challenges—including the rise of e-mail and social media, the digital flood of “big data,” and today’s complex omnichannel marketing strategies. AccuList USA has distinguished itself by embracing new marketing tactics and by identifying rentable prospect lists that conventional data brokers ignore, including exclusive second-party data on active customers and donors. Its clients also benefit from first-party data enhancement for improved monetization. AccuList USA relies on predictive analytics and proprietary mailing research to select the best names from individual lists as well as from multimillion-name compiled “big data” and modeled cooperative databases. AccuList USA goes beyond merely supplying data and helps business and fundraising clients attribute omnichannel marketing results, so that they can effectively measure campaign success and the costs to acquire a new customer or donor. The focus is always on sales or gifts, not just open rates, page views, and clicks. Its data pros even track which postal and e-mail lists perform best for leading marketers in designated vertical markets. Over the past two decades, AccuList USA has helped 1,000s of companies and non-profit organizations to further monetize their data and acquire new customers and donors in the following verticals: Catalog & Ecommerce; Fundraising; Insurance; Museums & Zoos; Performing Arts; Pet Owners; Publishing; and Trade Shows & Conferences. AccuList USA and its corporate parent AccuList, Inc., are headquartered in San Antonio, TX, but serve clients targeting businesses, institutions, and affluent consumers nationwide and in several foreign countries. For more on AccuList USA and its omnichannel postal, e-mail, and digital marketing services, visit

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

E-Mail Marketing Success Relies on These Basics

E-mail is a key part of most omnichannel marketing strategies, Yet dodging spam filters and reeling in responses from crowded inboxes is an ongoing challenge. A recent Direct Marketing News article laid out some basic tips on how to get the most out of e-mail marketing. First, data matters. Even the most well-crafted e-mail will end up in spam folders if delivered to an e-mail list with too many duplicates, outdated addresses, missing permission hygiene, spam traps, etc. Quality e-mail data is essential to deliverability, which means regular cleaning and updating of house lists, or carefully vetted rental lists (sponsored e-mails) for prospecting. Quality data is also key to the targeting that maximizes response, using segmentation and personalization to tailor offers and messaging to specific audiences and individuals. Once an e-mail lands in the inbox, the subject line, a brand's first impression, impacts open rates. While there are few absolute guidelines, be aware that 50-70 characters in length is the "sweet spot" for readability, per the article. In those few characters, the subject line needs to quickly convey an offer/value and tone that intrigue the audience. Beyond avoiding words and symbols likely to trigger spam filters, A/B testing is usually the best way to find which subject line leads to higher open and click rates, as the article advises. While focusing on a first impression, too many e-mail marketers forget the importance of a closing impression. For example, after gaining response and conversion, marketers can use transactional e-mails (e-mails acknowledging a purchase, donation, sign-up, etc.) to expand customer/donor value by offering a reward (discount on next purchase as an example), a loyalty program, a newsletter, social links and more. When it comes to design, the key to success today is the ability to translate across desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Remember, research shows that more than two-thirds of consumers access e-mail through their smartphones! Plus, e-mail isn't usually the only method for connecting with an audience, or necessarily the channel preference of all recipients. That's why e-mails also should highlight social media buttons, invite readers to share content, or urge them to visit appropriate social pages and profiles, as the article notes. For more tips, see

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Creative Format Shifts Key Direct Mail Metrics

In planning direct mail campaigns, marketers often turn to standard industry benchmarks courtesy of the annual "Response Rate Report" from the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), soon to be a division of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). However, while general direct mail response rates for house lists (5.1%) and for prospect lists (2.9%) far outpace those of digital media, the mailing piece format selected can make a key difference in expected results. For example, an oversized flat envelope package tends to deliver the highest response rate: 6.6 % for a house file and 4.9% for a prospect list. Next most effective in terms of response are postcards, with a house file response rate of 5.7% and and a prospect names' response of 3.4%. At the tail end, but still far above digital efforts, comes the standard letter format, with a 4.37% response rate for house names and a 2.5% response for prospecting. Some marketers hesitate over the more expensive oversized flats, which have the highest cost per thousand (CPM) among formats at $481 for house files and $467 for prospect files. Which is why postcards continue to win fans among B2C and B2B marketers, with the lowest CPM among direct mail formats benchmarked. However, despite their higher CPMs, the solid response rates of flats mean they can deliver the highest ROI (37% and 30% for house and prospect names, respectively). Postcards and letter packages, meanwhile, are tied in terms of ROI, with house mailings garnering a 29% ROI and prospecting turning in 23% ROI. For links to more data, see our website blog post

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Pet Charity Mailer Opens Hearts & Wallets

AccuList USA has a long and successful history with mailing lists and data services targeting "pet parents" and organizations offering pet-related products, services and causes. One of the surefire ways to engage an audience is to use adorable animal pictures combined with copy crafted to open hearts--and wallets. Here's a recent example of direct mail to inspire our pet marketing clients, courtesy of a post by Target Marketing magazine. Best Friends, which runs the largest no-kill U.S. animal sanctuary across multiple locations, was seeking donations for its mission of ending pet homelessness. The outer envelope of their newsletter package immediately grabs attention with a picture of one of the nonprofit's doggie stars. The heart-tugging gaze is hard to ignore, especially coupled with an intriguing teaser: "Hey, whatever happened to Justin? Find out inside!" When recipients open the envelope, they find a newsletter showcasing the sad story of a pup who had a rough start, including a photo to tug at donor heartstrings. And once emotions are triggered, the format makes it easy to act by putting a donation reply form and call-to-action right at the top of the letter. If prospective donors still hesitate, the Best Friends' copy offers data on the importance and urgency of action by providing examples of the impact that specific dollar-amount donations will have. The copy also educates recipients on the organization's mission, vision and history so they connect with the larger cause. Since a picture, especially one of a winsome pup, is worth a thousand words, go to our on-site blog post for a link to the article about the mailer.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tech Energizes Trade Show & Conference Marketing

AccuList USA has long experience in helping trade show and conference marketers with targeted lists and data services. But we also support an expanded event marketing approach that goes beyond promotion to engage audiences at every touchpoint in a multi-channel world, as a recent post for the Trade Show News Network (TSNN) blog promotes. Luckily, that is easier than ever thanks to emerging event technology trends. Any event pro not using social media to the fullest is missing a key tool in building audience per TSNN's "Top 10 Tech Trends" by Matt Coyne, Technology Engagement Architect at GES EMEA and a 10-year veteran of the events and exhibitions industry. By making it easy for registrants to share their attendance with their own social media networks, marketers can amplify an event and reach new potential attendees that can't be reached directly. Social media can also work in tandem with traditional channels, as with our Digital2Direct tool matching postal records to Facebook users for targeted social ads. Just as important as the boost in registrations is the increase in registration-to-attendee conversion driven by social media engagement, Coyne adds. Digitized content is then the engagement tool that creates an interactive event experience, building repeat attendance and luring prospects via social sharing. For example, Coyne cites the growth of devices like "Smart Badges," which act as a digital briefcase for attendees to collect digitized content. And tools like Facebook Live increase the dissemination and sharing of digital content. Digitized content also can be leveraged with gamification to increase event participation, say by awarding points for Smart Badge usage with exhibitor contacts, speaker downloads, session attendance, etc. and then posting competitive results. AI is another way to help expand attendee experiences; an example is the use of chatbot software to answer attendee questions and offer learned guidance. Finally, there are event-specific apps. Although not every event needs to spend for an app, a large conference can benefit from an app that enables visitors to track their schedules or from a dedicated lead-capture app, for example. For more, see the full blog post at

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Smart Direct Mailers Embrace These Tech Trends

Direct mail marketers looking for success in 2018 should check out a blog post by Postalytics, a direct mail automation tool, which recently mined expert sources for the most influential direct mail trends of 2018, including key technologies. Unsurprisingly, automation purveyor Postalytics puts mail automation software at the top of the list, but they get plenty of industry support. Automation allows marketers to quickly generate high-quality, personalized and trackable letters and postcards by leveraging templates, digital cues and automated workflows, cutting direct mail production cycles from 4-6 weeks down to 1 week. Automation also allows marketers to maximize response by integrating triggered direct mail into any step in the buyer's journey, online or offline, so that mail delivery taps into the appropriate timing, content and call-to-action. Then interactive, mobile-scanned Augmented Reality apps and QR codes, as well as personal urls (PURLs) linked to targeted content-specific landing pages, allow direct mailers to connect offline marketing's printed paper with online marketing's digital pages, images, animations and videos for greater overall campaign response and ROI. But it takes quality, enhanced data to match the right message to the right people at the right time. Good mailing list data allows for targeting based on shopping habits and needs, retargeting and cross-selling, recapturing and reactivating of lost prospects and customers, leveraging of trigger events and personal preferences, and more--provided there is a commitment to database hygiene and processing. Good mailing data also allows for the sophisticated content personalization that has become a basic expectation of customers including personalized coupon codes. For more, see