direct mail printing

Printing for the Real Estate Industry

Printing for the Real Estate Industry

A nice shout out. Priorities sometimes change during a recession. A business philosophy can start to take hold that says: people aren't buying, therefore customer service is no longer priority number 1. But an experience we had this week at Hotcards proves that there's still a lot of positive energy and great business being done out there. Recently, we printed 8000 postcards for OlsenZiegler Realty, as part of a direct mail real estate postcard campaign. It was our second time printer for Cleveland-based OlsenZiegler, and Chris Olsen was so pleased with our service that he posted a very nice blog about Hotcards on ActiveRain, a busy online real estate network. In Olsen's words: “I have done a lot of comparisons of direct mail full-color printers over the years and I have found this company so far to be the best in terms of price and turnaround… I highly recommend HotCards.com and hope you are as happy with their cost, service, […]

Designing On-Point Direct Mail Part 2: Writing Great Copy

Designing On-Point Direct Mail Part 2: Writing Great Copy

Contrary to popular belief, yelling doesn't work. There are a lot of different copywriting mistakes that can be made when putting together a direct mail campaign. Everything from typos to going off-message can weaken a print ad, but the majority of mistakes can be grouped together under the heading, “yelling at people.” As we all know from life, someone doesn't actually have to be in our faces, screaming, to make us feel like we're being yelled at (or talked at, or talked down to, or threatened, or even unduly questioned). There are a million different ways to make someone feel uncomfortable in a dialogue, and most of those can be found in writing copy for direct mail, too. Here are some of the major things that can make people feel uncomfortably like they're being yelled at in a print ad received in the mail: A font size that is too large within the context of the rest of the ad. […]

Personalized URLs – The Future of Direct Mail?

Personalized URLs – The Future of Direct Mail?

Great ROIs or empty hype? Thanks to variable data direct mail printing, marketing tools like postcards and door hangers now include offers and keywords tailored directly to recipients. I got a particularly choice example of this in the mail the other day, in which a psychic who works for Publisher's Clearing House had a vision that I, Anne Stewart, would win the grand prize and retire to a yacht. I appreciate your faith in me, Publisher's Clearing House psychic. Unfortunately, the problem with variable data direct marketing, vs. say, targeted mailing list management, is that few recipients actually fail to realize that they're being pandered to. Worse, an improperly designed piece can seem A) Intrusive, and B) like you know my name, but you don't really care who I am, do you? That being said, variable data direct mail printing is evolving every day, and one of the newest tentacles on this particular monster is the tentacle of the Personalized […]

Direct Mail Printing Appeals to Recession-Conscious Consumers

Direct Mail Printing Appeals to Recession-Conscious Consumers

And it's not bad for tight ad budgets, either! I've had direct mail on the brain lately. First, it made my advertising/branding trends to watch list for 2008, THEN I listed it as a great way for designers to self-promote during this recession. But I only just realized why the topic keeps coming up – because we've seen a rise in direct mail marketing in recent months. At a time when budgets are tight, direct mail is one of the most effective and economical forms of print advertisement. For advertisers, AND for consumers. I'll be the first to admit that direct mail printing can be perceived as 'junk mail' at times. But not when people are watching their bank accounts, and looking for savings. For consumers, a piece of direct mail is now an opportunity to find out about sales and special pricing, and to cut coupons, of course. In the words of print marketing expert Margie Dana, “In direct […]

Eco-Friendly Direct Mail Printing

Eco-Friendly Direct Mail Printing

How to send a green message. As the printing industry gets greener, one of the main areas where tensions arise is direct mail printing. How can it remain an effective advertising medium as consumers become more eco-conscious? An interesting study conducted by market research agency CCB Fast.MAP, in the UK, has come up with some answers. CCB found that un-personalized direct mail – stuff like flyers handed out by kids on the weekends – is perceived as being bad for the environment by almost 50% of consumers. On the other hand, addressed, targeted direct mail – the kind brought by the postman – is seen as environmentally harmful by only 20% of consumers polled. It also seems that people are more inclined to view poorly printed, black and white leaflets, flyers, and brochures as 'junk,' as opposed to nicely designed, full color direct mail printing. If an advertiser makes the effort to design a nice mailer, and has it sorted, […]

LOL Print Ads

LOL Print Ads

Election campaign printing gets the giggles. From Alaska to D.C., all the last-minute election campaign print ads are coming out, and for some reason, they're kinda funny. The Democratic National Convention begins today in Denver, Colorado, but that's not where all the print advertising action is. In Alaska, voters are on the brink of reelecting their one and only Congressman, and for the first time in 18 terms, change may be in the wind. Alaska has been Republican for a long time, but now it looks like the Democrats might have a shot at that coveted House seat. To capitalize on the opportunity, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has produced a series of direct mail printing slamming BOTH Republican primary candidates – mostly by making them look like funny bobble-heads. The direct mail ads are actually glossy full color printing, but I could only find these black and white images. Still, you get the idea. LOL bobble-heads. Hike back across […]

The Next President: Everybody’s Business or MYOB?

The Next President: Everybody’s Business or MYOB?

Candidates are campaigning to an international audience, whether they know it or not. It's a fact. The political decisions made by U.S. voters affect the entire world. Just as this election season has gotten Americans excited about politics again, it has been placed front and center on the international stage, with all eyes on the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. According to the New York Times, folks in Great Britain are just as interested in the outcome of the election as we are here at home. Every primary, every debate, and every print/web/TV ad is under scrutiny across the pond. This attention makes me wonder how aware candidates are that they're campaigning to a worldwide audience. Obviously, Clinton knows how cross-border newsworthy her campaign is. When she held that big Elton John fundraiser last week, I thought it was a bit weird to choose an artist for the project who is not exactly classically American, but it could […]

Direct Mail Comes in Leather Now?

Direct Mail Comes in Leather Now?

The words 'green advertising' do not come to mind… While the rest of the direct mail industry is scratching its head over what it can do to make direct mail campaigning more environmentally friendly, marketers for Mercedes-Benz aren't worried. In fact, they're taking their environmental footprint to a whole new level with their latest campaign, which embodies luxury in the form of a chrome message encased in an embossed leather envelop. Something tells me that leather isn't the alternative to paper that we've been searching for. I'm proud to say that here at Hotcards, no animals are harmed in the making of our direct mail campaigns. In fact, we encourage businesses to choose mailers that don't require envelops, such as postcards and magazines. Even a brochure or a single-sheet letter can be mailed without an envelop by sealing the folds with a sticker. I guess that, unlike Honda, Mercedes-Benz is not looking for was to 'green up' its image.

Honda’s Green Direct Mail Campaign

Honda’s Green Direct Mail Campaign

Plant seeds in the consumer imagination – they are guaranteed to flourish! If you've read the blog before, you know how I love to harp on the importance of using print to offer consumers something tangible, something gift-like that they will be happy to possess and value. This is the earmark of a great ad campaign. Never is the inherently valuable offering more important than in a direct mail campaign, when your primary goal is to mail out something that won't be automatically classified as 'junk.' Honda put an interesting spin on this imperative recently with a one-page letter that had seeds imbedded in the paper. We've seen this done with business cards, but this is the first I hear of the tactic being used in a direct mail campaign. Honda's goal with the campaign was to remind gardeners that that its lawn and garden equipment is built with care for the environment in mind. To cap off the project, […]

“Direct Mail With Teeth”

“Direct Mail With Teeth”

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? At the Graphics of Americas Personalized Communications Conference over the weekend, this was the subject of the keynote address. You can read all about it on the great print news site, WhatTheyThink. The concept behind 'direct mail with teeth,' as explained by speaker Harvey Hirsch, is the trimming of mass marketing communications down to something that's lean, mean, and very effective, in scope, while being less like mail, and more like an interactive 3D experience, in form. Take direct mail printing, for example. Hirsch suggests that instead of running a campaign of ten of thousands of mailers, you invest in just 100 very targeted, very personalized, high quality packages or 'kits'. Offerings so darn lovely, clever, and compelling (What's…in…the box!) that you can expect response rates of 50 to 90%! With Hirsch's method, instead of printing ten thousand postcards, you might have your printer design and create 100 posters, which would wrap around 100 screen-printed […]

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