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Author: Phil Sperling   Printco, Inc.

Put a little effort into your print for bigger results

Printing, specifically direct mail printing, is a very effective way to communicate and market your business or organization.  Generally direct mail is used to try to get us to buy something, donate to somewhere or show up to some event.  That “Something” you’re trying to get me to do is something I’ll need exert some of my effort into doing.  I’m more likely to do that if you give a little effort too.  Including variable data into your direct mail can be an easy and effective way to give a little effort on your part.   Variable data means that the data or information changes with each mail piece to better match the person receiving it.  It changes “Current Resident” or “To Our Customer” to Dear John, or Dear Mary.  Variable data can help give a different message to your different customers.  It can give different recognition to large donors vs small donors.  If you sell swimming pools, it can help you avoid marketing to people who live in an apartment.  I’m sure there’s some apartment tenant out there somewhere with a pool, but they are the exception (and probably a bad tenant).

An great example of a little effort going a long way is recall cards for Eye Doctors.  If you go to your eye doctor each year for a check-up without prompting, well good for you, your optometrist loves you for it.  As for me, I will go without prompting only when I break my glasses.  I KNOW I should go each year and yet I put it off, because I, like everyone else, has a million other things I’d rather do.  (I even like my eye doctor too)  People like me need better reminders, more effective reminders.  That’s where variable data comes in.  Add in 2 additional data points, my age and the date of my last visit, which most optometric offices have that info on their customers, and we can create a variable card that gets better results.

Let’s say Customer 1 “John” is a 17 year old boy that came in last year.  His message might include something such as “Dear John, Your eyesight is so important to learning and good grades while in school.  At your age, your eyesight is changing just like you so it’s important to come in each year.  Call us soon to set up your annual checkup.”

Now, Customer 2 “Phil” is a 41 year old guy who hasn’t come in for 3 years (coincided with breaking his glasses).  His message will be different and a little more urgent, such as “Dear Phil, It’s been over 3 years since you saw us last and that is way too long!  At your age, you are becoming more at risk for eye disease that impacts your overall health.  We really want to keep your eyesight and you, healthy for a long time, so call us and set up your appointment today.”

Variable data allows us to give similar messages to customers who are similar, but without different customers all getting the same message.  If you give “Phil” the same generic message as “John”, you’ll get the same response,  “I’ll do it later”.  With variable data driving variable messages, John may think “I gotta keep my grades up, so I’ll tell my mom to call” and Phil may think, “I didn’t realize it’s been 3 years already, I shouldn’t put that off anymore”.  Different messages will get better responses and therefore more effective results.

Distributors and their print partners can help you get better results with your direct mail by finding ways to utilize your data.  Ask how the information you currently have on your customers, donors or community can be used to better market your company.  Ask how you can get missing information so you can better market to the right person.  If you’re asking your customers for a little of their time or money, shouldn’t you be giving them a little something for their effort?

To learn more please call us at 717-625-1255!

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