Stretching the Budget with Smart Paper Choices

One of the biggest expenses in any direct mail campaign is paper, so planning wisely can help you stretch the dollars in your marketing budget. Here are some simple ideas for specing paper that can reap huge dividends in both creativity and cost.

 

When we think about paper, the first thing that often comes to mind is aesthetics: brightness, texture, and decorative elements. Watermarked linens convey gravitas. Less bright stocks with imperfections reflect environmental responsibility. Super bright whites and smooth textures convey a professional image.

 

Designers use these characteristics to elicit an emotional reaction from their audiences. However, many of these stocks carry a premium price tag, often 20% or more. By making a few adjustments, you can often get a great stock with many or all of the same characteristics at a lower cost.

 

For example, you might be looking for a 100% recycled paper, when a percentage of recycled content will do. Stocks with 25%, 30%, or even 50% recycled content will provide you with an environmentally responsible image, often at a lower cost.

 

You may want to consider alternatives to uncoated stocks, as well. Many designers specify uncoated paper thinking it is less expensive when, in fact, the opposite is often true. Coated stocks are produced in high volumes, so the market dictates the price. Many clients are surprised by the variety of coated paper available to them at lower prices.

 

Sometimes keeping down cost might be as simple as ordering the same stock from a different mill. Other times, it might require a calculated decision to choose a different but compatible stock, such as one with a lower basis weight or lower brightness.

 

So before specing your paper, let us help you do some planning upfront. You might be surprised by how much money you can save.

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5 Steps to Breaking Through

Your customers are bombarded with marketing messages–email, SMS text messaging, newsletters, direct mail, and social media. How can you break through all that clutter? Get back to the basics of great marketing!

  1. Find a true differentiator.

Everyone has “quality products and great service” these days. What makes your brand unique? Do you serve a specific niche? Do you have a different approach to a specific problem or technology? Define what truly separates you from the pack.

  1. Find the right positioning.

How is your competition positioned? How are they differentiating? Knowing this, you can position yourself accordingly. If your competition is focusing on price, for example, you might focus on features. If they are using email and web marketing, maybe you should use print.

  1. Target your messaging.

Don’t just know your competition—know your customers. Divide your marketing list into targeted demographic or psychographic segments so that you can target your message accordingly.

  1. Know your channels.

Personalization includes channel preferences. Know which channels your customers are most likely to respond to. Some people prefer to click through a link in a personalized email. Others prefer a phone number on a direct mail piece. Others prefer to scan a QR Code. Capitalize on these channel preferences to further personalize the experience.

  1. Layer up.

Great marketing is never about a single channel. The most effective marketing coordinates multiple channels to touch customers in different ways at different times. Use inbound marketing techniques to get people to fill out an online survey, then follow up with a personalized mailer or brochure. Or send a postcard, then follow up with an email to boost response.

Breaking through the clutter doesn’t have to be complicated. Use these five basics of great marketing to get your message seen and heard!