Category Archive: Uncategorized

Creating Customer Loyalty

What does it take to create customer loyalty, the kind of loyalty that makes customers stick with you, even when their favorite sales representative, hair stylist or financial advisor moves on?  

Here are some tips from the experts. 

1. Know your customer base. Customer bases are not homogeneous. They are made up of different demographics, with different needs and with different motivators for shopping with you. Profiling your customers can tell you a lot about how to keep them. When was the last time you did a customer survey or conducted a focus group? 

The more you get to know the unique makeup of your customer base, the more you are able to adjust products and services to respond to their unique needs and the more likely you are to hang onto their loyalty. 

2. Make it personal. Shift from mass mailings and generic communications to personalized print communications as much as possible. This should go beyond “Dear <<name>>” and include content driven by demographics, demonstrated preferences or past purchase history. The goal here is not just to let your customers know that you know their names, but to increase the relevance of your communications to their lives.  

3. Spread the communication around. Some companies assign each customer a specific customer service representative or sales consultant. This creates a special relationship between customer and sales rep that can be invaluable. The downside is that this relationship can become so valuable that, should the sales rep leave the company, your customer might be willing to leave with them. For this reason, encourage your customers to have multiple contact points within your company.  

4. Increase the frequency. Stay in communication with your customers on a regular basis, not just when there is a special promotion or event. This is the idea behind most drip marketing campaigns. They help develop a relationship that creates a value beyond price and convenience and keeps your company top of mind. 

5. Reinforce and reward loyalty. When customers are loyal, let them know that you appreciate it. Then reward them for that loyalty. Send them special “loyal customer” discounts, personalized to their unique habits and preferences whenever possible. 

Retaining customers takes effort. It requires a customer retention plan and an intentional, focused effort to keep those customers you’ve worked so hard to have. What’s your plan? 

Why Digital Print-on-Demand Services are the Sustainable Choice for Colleges and Universities

Digital print-on-demand services have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. These services offer a sustainable and cost-effective solution for colleges and universities looking to print materials such as course materials, communication pieces, and marketing collateral materials.

One of the biggest advantages of print-on-demand is that it eliminates the need for large print runs and inventory storage. Traditional printing methods often require printing massive quantities of materials, which can result in a significant amount of waste if the materials become outdated. With print-on-demand, materials can be printed as needed, reducing the number of excess materials.

A key benefit of print-on-demand is that it allows for greater flexibility and customization. Materials can be easily updated and customized to meet the specific needs of a program. This is particularly useful for universities and colleges, where curriculums and course offerings are constantly changing.

Digital printing by nature has minimal makeready and waste of paper involved, as the settings can be easily adjusted and fine-tuned digitally. Additionally, the digital printing process is much faster than traditional methods, which means less time and resources are used in the printing process. This not only saves money for the institution but also reduces the environmental impact.

In recent years, there has been a growing focus on sustainability in the printing industry, and this is reflected in the availability of more environmentally friendly paper options. Today, many digital print-on-demand services offer a wide range of paper options that are made from sustainable and/or recycled materials. For example, many providers now offer paper that is made from post-consumer recycled content, which means it is made from paper that has already been used and then recycled.

In addition to being more sustainable, digital print-on-demand is more cost-effective than traditional printing methods. Because materials are printed on demand, there is no need to pay for large print runs or storage of excess materials. The result can be a significant cost saving for universities and colleges.

ImageMark Business Services, Inc. offers a wide range of digital print-on-demand services for colleges and universities. We have invested in state-of-the-art digital presses which allow us to produce high-quality materials quickly and efficiently. Our quick turnaround time means that materials can be printed and delivered in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months.

In addition to our digital printing capabilities, we also offer a unique software platform called ResourceONE®. This platform allows colleges and universities to store their digital files, making it easy to reorder materials or make updates as needed. This is particularly useful for universities and colleges, where curriculums and course offerings are constantly changing. ResourceONE® also allows for easy ordering across multiple departments within a college or university, streamlining the process and saving time while maintaining brand standards across campus.

Is your college or university looking for a sustainable and cost-effective solution for printing materials? If so, we invite you to contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your printing needs.

6 Principles of Marketing Persuasion

Understanding buyer psychology is key to grabbing consumers’ attention and getting people to buy. The 6 Principles of Marketing Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini is one of the most influential models in this approach. Cialdini’s six principles—scarcity, reciprocity, authority, social proof, liking, and consistency—can help boost results and get customers to act quickly.

Let’s take a quick look at each one:

1. Scarcity. People want it more when something is in short supply and are more likely to act quickly. This is why marketers use messaging such as “Offer by invitation only!” or “Only for a limited time!” Offering free shipping if shoppers order within the next 20 minutes can increase checkouts by up to 300%.

2. Reciprocity. The principle of reciprocity is when marketers offer something of value, such as a gift or sample, to customers right out of the gate. This triggers the natural desire of customers to give back in kind (reciprocity). It’s why nonprofits put personalized notepads and address labels in fundraising envelopes — because it works.

3. Authority. Authority uses the demonstration of expertise to inspire trust in customers. Authority can be established through external sources such as press coverage or third-party endorsements. It can also be established through internal content like blogs, whitepapers, case studies, or interviews. By building authority, businesses can create credibility and increase the likelihood of customers responding to offers.

4. Social proof. Social proof relies on peer influence to increase credibility and trust among potential customers. This could include customer testimonials, displaying reviews or ratings, showing celebrity endorsements, or featuring influencer posts.

5. Liking. The principle of “liking” states that people are more likely to comply with the requests of someone they like or identify with. For example, popular influencers sharing their experiences and stories about using a company’s products is more likely to resonate with customers than regular advertisements.

6. Consistency. People want their beliefs to be consistent with their values. If buyers see themselves as good parents, for example, they are more likely to respond to messaging that positions them this way. “As a great mom, you know how important it is to…”

These are essential principles, but it may take some testing until you get the messaging right. Subtle changes can make a big difference, so be patient. Keep testing until you get a winner.

How Much Should Direct Mail Marketing Cost?

Direct mail services physically deliver your message to a targeted audience’s residence or business to boost awareness and generate leads. We will explore the cost of fulfilling a direct mail marketing campaign with the United States Postal Service (USPS), compare targeted and saturation lists, discuss material and postage expenses, and explain how delays can affect your campaign.

When correctly implemented, direct mail marketing helps websites increase their traffic and convert traffic into subscribers or buyers. It can expose potential buyers to a brand or service to raise awareness. Direct mail marketing can improve an overall marketing strategy by targeting the right audience and can provide exceptional benefits by placing the message in front of individuals in need of the product or service you are promoting.

While more general advertising, such as billboards and television advertisements, convey a brand’s message to a broad audience hoping that the message will reach buyers, direct mail services convey a targeted message to a select audience. If the audience is properly selected, the promotion can be highly efficient. Successful direct mail campaigns contain the following elements:

  • An identifying mark, such as a logo
  • A call to action
  • Company contact information

Target Lists Vs. Saturation Lists

A saturation list reaches every household in a geographic location. Sometimes called an occupant list, it allows marketers to advertise to a broad audience. Postage rates are reduced because the USPS carrier delivers one advertisement to every household on their route, minimizing the work involved on their end. Saturation lists may exclude some households with no name on file with the USPS.

When using a saturation list, advertisers can select a list from one or more of the following:

  • Carrier route, Radius, County, ZIP or ZIP+4, or Custom Map
  • Dwelling Type
  • Route Type
  • P.O. Boxes

The USPS allows advertisers to use a targeted mailing list of 200 or more recipients in compliance with USPS standards. Marketers can choose the exact households that will receive the advertisement to ensure only the demographics they select are a part of the campaign. Targeted lists yield increasingly higher response rates as the targeting becomes more refined. While targeted list postage costs more than saturation list postage, the price is significantly lower than first-class postage. It provides higher response rates worth the price difference. Targeted mailing lists allow advertisers to reach their target market with the utmost success. 

Material Costs

Direct mail services can begin at $.30 each and above, depending on the design, material cost and quantity mailing. The total price can also be affected by paper stock and finishes. Heavy paper stocks and coatings can come at a premium and may increase the postage cost. The USPS determines postage on several factors including size and weight so thicker pieces could increase postage cost.

Postage Costs

The USPS gives priority delivery to First-Class Mail®, delivering it faster and at higher prices. Their rates range in cost from 40% higher on average for direct mail, depending on the size of the piece.

The USPS offers Standard Mail at a bulk discount called Marketing Mail® for direct marketers as a cost-saving option. Standard Mail delivery can take longer than First-Class Mail, with an estimated delivery time of 3 to 21 days for Standard Mail, compared to the significantly lower 1 to 5 days of First-Class Mail.

Direct mail marketers can also choose Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM), a lower-cost option than Standard Mail for use within a limited demographic compared to other options. The advertiser selects mailing routes within a ZIP code, and every household within that area will receive its advertisements.

Turnaround Costs and Cost of Delays From the Wrong Partner

Direct mailing service costs can increase if an advertiser requires a quick turnaround. Planning a campaign in advance is vital to getting a lower price on direct mail printing services. For example, an advertiser ordering 1,000 catalogs can save on cost if they are willing to wait seven days rather than four days. Advertisers can save a considerable amount if they can plan their direct mailing campaign with enough time for the printer to work their print job in with other similar jobs to reduce the cost of paper and printing.

Direct Mail Services From ImageMark

Direct mail marketing can increase traffic and conversion rates with targeted advertising to an audience most likely to buy your product or service. It is vital to consider your budget for materials and postage and whether you need targeted or saturation lists when creating your direct mail campaign and plan in advance to benefit from lower-cost direct mail printing services.

ImageMark can optimize your direct mail marketing campaign with direct mail fulfillment services tailored to acquiring valuable customers for your brand. Contact us to learn how we can help you reach and retain new customers.


Direct Mail Advertising: Advantages and Disadvantages

Direct mail comes with many benefits that make it one of the most effective forms of advertising. In an era when digital advertising is everywhere, you can stand out with direct mail campaigns that lend a more personal touch to your marketing efforts.

If you’re thinking of adding direct mail advertising to your strategy, the following are some of the specific advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Advantages of Direct Mail Advertising

Direct mail advertising comes with numerous benefits that make it integral to successful ad campaigns. These advantages include:

  • Highly targeted. Direct mail offers superior targeting capabilities that enable you to adjust messages for specific audiences, from new prospects to loyal customers. This means that your audiences will only receive offers that match their individual buying habits and needs.
  • Personalization. Direct mail advertising can contain personalized information that addresses your customers’ needs based on their previous purchase history. By altering each message, you can appeal to each customer individually.
  • A hands-on advertising experience. One of the most critical elements of direct mail advertising is its tangibility. This increases the chances of customers receiving your message, as customers are more likely to view advertising content when they receive a physical copy.
  • Multiple format options. Direct mail advertising can be sent in a variety of formats, including magazines, catalogs, self-mailers, and postcards. You can also customize aspects such as colors, mail format, and paper quality.
  • Easily measured. It’s easy to measure direct mail campaigns to gauge their performance, with traceable codes for customers to use when going online. You can then determine how successful your campaigns are and whether you need to make any adjustments to your efforts.
  • Cost-effectiveness. Creating direct mail campaigns can be cost-effective and effortless. Not only is the creation of such campaigns inexpensive, but the execution itself is also affordable when sending out large volumes.
  • A track record of success. Direct mail has a proven track record of reliability over the years as one of the more established advertising techniques.
  • Cohesiveness with other marketing content. Direct mail advertising can complement other types of marketing media to reinforce your campaign efforts. For example, special elements such as QR codes can drive the customer to a specific landing page for digital marketing.

Disadvantages of Direct Mail Advertising

Although direct mail advertising offers many benefits, there are some potential downsides to keep in mind:

  • Risk of miscommunication or mistargeting. If your direct mail is not correctly worded, it can come across as “junk mail.” To prevent this, you’ll have to work hard on your overall brand message to persuade customers that the mail is valuable.
  • Potential overexposure and frequency. If you send direct mail too often, customers can start to find it annoying. Be sure to research and determine the right frequency based on your target audience. You should also carefully target your campaigns and only send mail pieces that are relevant to each recipient.
  • Targeting the wrong audience. By not fully understanding your audience, you can waste time and money. To avoid this, be sure to determine your target based on proven criteria. Working with the right marketing partner with a history of success can help you make the best decision regarding the frequency and timing of additional submissions.
  • No proof of ROI in some cases. If you incorrectly build and launch your campaigns, there may be no proof of a return on investment, which can lead to a wasted budget.

Types of Direct Mail Advertising and Their Benefits

Common types of direct mail advertisements include:

Postcards offer an economical and effective way to attract more leads and promote your product or service offerings. They’re available in many sizes from small to oversized, giving you plenty of versatility.

Self-mailers, such as leaflets and brochures, offer a great way to introduce new customers to your offerings. These designs can be colorful and rich with images and designs to maximize their appeal.

Personalized letters can be designed to reach current customers and highly targeted customers who have specific tastes. This format allows you to secure and contain confidential information for recipients.

Dimensional Mailers
Dimensional mailers provide an up-scaled version of self-mailers and brochures for higher-level B2B contacts and other similar applications. Dimensional pieces stand out in a stack of mail, driving higher open rates.

If you offer many products, catalogs are ideal for showcasing them. It’s best to limit the cover of your catalogs to your best promotions and products, which will encourage readers to flip the pages and learn more about your other offerings.

Build a Successful Direct Mail Advertising Campaign With ImageMark

Direct mail advertising can be a key asset to your marketing strategy, offering a proven method of getting your messages to targeted audiences. At ImageMark, we can help you design, strategize, and deliver your direct mail campaigns while keeping costs low. With years of experience, we can handle both large and small projects to meet your direct mail goals.

For more information about our direct mail capabilities, contact us today.


What is Last Mile Marketing?

The “last mile” of your marketing campaign is often the most challenging, but it is also the most rewarding. This type of marketing occurs close to the point of purchase and relies on advertisements in electronic and print media. When ensuring the success of your last-mile marketing, it’s important to partner with a company that has the skills and experience to implement your ideas in a timely and effective manner. Here, we will discuss what last-mile marketing is and what you should look for in a last-mile marketing company.

What Is Last-Mile Marketing?

Last-mile marketing is the final leg of a marketing campaign that focuses primarily on the importance of the consumers’ first impression of a new brand. Businesses can spend a lot of time designing new logos and other branding materials, but the actual implementation of said branding is what dictates the customers’ first impression.

Some of the key elements of last-mile marketing include:

  • Physical branding: When a shopper buys your product from a store or opens their delivered package, it should match their expectations based on digital marketing efforts.
  • Consistency for multiple launch locations and distributors: If you’re releasing a new product through multiple different websites, store locations, or third-party distributors, it can be difficult to guarantee a consistent customer experience. Creating checkpoints to ensure compliance with your brand standards can stop portions of your audience from having a drastically different experience from others. By working with a single vendor for this process, you can centralize your consistency standards and timelines.
  • Picking the right marketing partner: Picking the right marketing partner is crucial to the success of your last-mile marketing. Working with a single vendor rather than multiple ensures consistency as well as the proper execution and implementation of any marketing campaign. 

Last Mile Delivery Communication

A crucial element in last-mile marketing is providing communication that is both adequate and helpful. For example, if a customer buys your product online, you may want to provide communications such as thank-you emails, tracking information, and other updates. Another key element is sending nurture emails throughout the communication process. Providing this level of communication is crucial in increasing trust in your brand, making customers feel more valued, and increasing customer satisfaction. 

The right marketing partner can help you decide which of these (and other) elements of communication are the right fit for your brand as well as how to embody your brand in these messages. This will help customers differentiate your brand experience from others and create a positive buying experience.

Choosing a Last-Mile Marketing Company

Because last-mile marketing is so important, choosing the right company is essential. Look for one with experience in your industry and values that align with your own. When making your selection, consider the following: 

  • Partnership: Find a company that can offer you dedicated and personalized services, not a one-size-fits-all solution.
  • Professionalism: Look for a business with great testimonials, a lot of experience, and a history of success. 
  • Scalability: Ensure you choose a partner that can meet your business’s current needs and grow with you in the future.
  • Service Levels: Look for services that guarantee on-time delivery, accurate reporting, and the right delivery speeds.
  • Technology: It’s important to work with a marketing company that can meet your expectations for analytics, predictable pricing, and other technical capabilities. 

Why Use ImageMark for Marketing Support Services?

At ImageMark, we provide scalable last-mile marketing services that are customizable to each of our clients. Our team handles communication tactics across multiple different channels, and our services include:

  • Kitting and distribution
  • Wide-format printing
  • Promotional items
  • Direct mail

Through personalized service and the ability to deliver outcomes, ImageMark is your ideal partner for last-mile marketing. For more information about our capabilities contact us today.


Guide to Designing an Effective Postcard

Postcards offer one of the best ways to utilize direct mail, providing an affordable method of getting messages to your customers. When done properly, postcards can produce great results for your business. In this blog, we will walk you through some key tips and best practices to keep in mind when designing effective postcards.

Tip #1: Keep It Simple

One of the most important tips is to keep your postcard simple. To get your message across, your postcard should be easy for the recipient to understand and feature clear, concise language. If your point is not easily recognized, you run the risk of recipients throwing your postcards in the trash before understanding the message. To prevent this, keep your design simple and to the point.

Tip #2: Create Different Messages for Different Target Audiences

Fully personalizing your postcards to individual recipients is highly effective and enhances the customer experience but is not always practical. A great alternative is to divide your audience into targeted segments. For example, postcards targeted toward parents with young children will look different than postcards catered towards empty-nesters or single adults. By creating different messages for each targeted segment, your postcards will have higher relevance, which increases the chances that they will be read and acted upon.

Tip #3: Use Eye-Catching Images

Eye-catching images and graphics are critical in delivering effective postcards. Since postcards have a very limited amount of space to get your message across, it’s important to use it wisely. Studies indicate that individuals process visual information 60,000 times quicker than written information, so when space is limited, images offer the best way to tell your story and spread your message.

Tip #4: Don’t Forget the Call To Action

Last but certainly not least, be sure to include an obvious call to action. This step is often overlooked or forgotten by many businesses, which leads to disappointing results. To ensure your customers are directed to where they need to go, include a clear and enticing call to action. For example, if your postcard is announcing a sale, you could include a CTA that says “Visit our website today and use promo code XYZ for 20% off.” 

By leaving out a call-to-action, recipients may throw away or set down the postcard without taking the desired steps. Rather than assuming your audience will act without direction, include a CTA!

Direct Mail Services from ImageMark

Direct mail postcards offer a great way to reach your target audience and generate leads for your business. To ensure optimal results, it’s important to keep designs simple, mail to segmented target audiences, use attractive images, and include a powerful call to action. By following these four tips, you’ll be well on your way to designing effective postcards that will achieve the results your desire.

At ImageMark, we support our customers’ marketing efforts through a wide range of services. From printing and fulfillment to kitting and direct mail services, we are here to deliver the solutions our customers need to drive results for their businesses. For more tips on designing the best postcard for your marketing campaign, or to learn more about our services, contact ImageMark today.

5 Fun Stats for Your Fundraising

Nonprofit organizations know the importance of personalized direct mail. Most likely, you are already personalizing your mailers by the donor’s name, giving history, and often household income. But are there other data points that could help? Here are some exciting statistics that, while they may not all apply to your organization, illustrate how important it is to know as much as possible about your donors. You never know what data might be vital to increasing their support.

1) Should you be targeting Millennials? Not necessarily. Millennials (those born 1981–1995) are more socially-minded than older generations, but does this mean they are a fundraising gold mine? Actually, no.According to Blackbaud, Millennials aren’t significant givers. On average, they give $481 per year, compared to $732 for Generation X and $1,212 for Boomers.

2) Mac users are more generous. On average, Mac users give $182 per donation, while PC users give $137. This reminds us that correlations related to giving can be found in the most unexpected places, so dig deep!

3) Add video. According to Olgive, 57% of people who watch a nonprofit video will ultimately donate. Use print-to-mobile tools like QR Codes and augmented reality to enable donors to feel more personally connected to your cause.

4) Be mobile-friendly. According to Nonprofits Source, 51% of people visit nonprofit websites on mobile devices. Even if you send your appeals through the mail, make sure your website is optimized to look fantasticregardless of what device people use to access it.

5) Don’t overlook lower-income households. If you think the more money someone has, the more likely they will reach into their pockets, you’d be wrong. In one survey, households making $25,000 per year gave an average of 12.8% of their annual income to charity. This is the highest percentage (and nearly double that) of any other income demographic.

All of this points to the need for more and better data. Every nonprofit’s donor base will look and act differently, so before mailing out that appeal, invest the time to understand yours.

What Matters More Than Products, Services, and Price? Customer Experience!

When two companies offer similar products, what differentiates one from another? It’s more than price. When it comes right down to it, there is something even more important. It’s the customer experience.

While “customer experience” can be an overused buzzword, there is a lot of truth behind its importance. At lunchtime, for example, there might be a deli right down the street that makes the best pastrami on rye in the entire country, but if the floor is dirty and the people behind the counter are snarky and rude, it doesn’t matter. You’ll go somewhere else.

The same occurs at the retail level. Take the example of Nordstrom’s, which has been regularly praised by the National Retail Foundation as both setting and raising the standard for customer experience. Nordstrom customers know that when they shop at one of its stores, they will not only find premium merchandise, but they will be treated with value. From their interaction with employees to the chain’s policies designed to enhance speed and convenience, shoppers may buy the same merchandise at other high-end retailers, but they won’t be treated the same way.

Customer experience matters. With so many brands competing for the same customer dollars, experience can become the main differentiator between one company and the other. Not just in a positive way, but in a negative way, as well. In fact, Microsoft found that 58% of American consumers will switch companies because of poor customer service.

That’s why we put so much emphasis on customer experience at ImageMark. We hope that, when you interact with any of our team members, you feel that we really care.

  • From how you are greeted when you first contact us, to how promptly and professionally your estimate is handled, we hope that you feel respected and valued from the very first moment.
  • If you have questions, we hope our salespeople and customer service team answer those questions promptly and offer suggestions genuinely designed to benefit your business and marketing plans, whether they improve our bottom line or not.
  • When things go wrong, we hope that you know that we will take full responsibility for anything that is on us, and we will make it right, no matter what it takes.
  • We hope that you do business with us, not just because of the value we offer in print and marketing services, but because you feel that you matter to us and that we value the projects you are doing.

If there is any area in which your customer experience falls short, let us know! We want to exceed your expectations because we know that, even though we take great pride in the print and marketing services we offer, a great customer experience is the greatest value we can provide.