Trends in Direct Mail: Solid State Shipping

FullSizeRender.jpg copyUpdated: February 12th, 2016

What are the new trends in Direct Mail?

Solid State Shipping

Solid state shipping is the practice of sending dimensional marketing collateral through the postal mail with no packaging or envelope. The message and postage stamps are applied directly to the solid state object shipped.

Want to solid state ship a Ping Pong paddle?

Write your message, return address and shipping address on the paddle, and take it to the post office where it will be weighed, and then stamped.

No packaging necessary! No packaging means you don’t have to worry about open rates. This is one of the cutting edge trends in direct mail 2016 for increasing cold connecting and adding unique touches for your marketing demand generation.

Benefits & Research on Solid State Shipping

The statistics backing sending dimensional objects through the mail for demand generation and increasing response rates are compelling:       

Research from Baylor University shows that dimensional mail has 20 times the penetrating power and boosts demand generation by as much as 75% over flat direct mail.

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s Response Rate Report of 2009: Dimensional mail averaged the highest overall response rate, at 5.49 percent, of any direct response medium.

Marketing Campaigns for 2016

Along with each marketing/demand generation campaign are sources to purchase recommended solid state marketing item, pre written copy prepared for you as a template, and price estimates for each campaign.

Prospecting with a ‘Message in a Bottle’


You built a solid list of prospects and email isn’t enough. Maybe you’ve already tired direct mail. Since people rarely follow call to actions in standard direct mail, how would the right segment respond to a message in a bottle?

Here’s where to buy shippable bottles for this campaign at $3.41 per bottle (shipped).

Prospecting Template

934,434,834 to 1

Those are the odds you’ll find a message in a bottle washed up on shore. Those are also the odds of finding a traditional service provider whose key focus is customer happiness. {{company}} is untraditional. No hidden fees, no cancellation cost, and local 24/7 customer support.

{{}}, call me at my personal cell at {{}} for a free week trial.

– {{}}

Reactivating Dead Leads with Handwriting on Boomerangs


Granite Medsystems reactivated 47% of their dead leads from a reactivation campaign placed with MailLift. With a high average customer lifetime value, they rave about their handwritten reactivation campaign’s success.

We’re going to replicate their success, using boomerangs! It may seem unusual to send a boomerang through the mail, but sometimes unusual is just the unique touch you need when the lead or opportunity is not responding.

Here’s where you can buy cheap bulk boomerangs at $2.92 per boomerang (shipped). MailLift also offers this service for a flat rate. Click here to contact us.

Reactivating Dead Leads Template

Hey {{}},

We talked a few weeks back about {their.goal} and how my team at {{company}} can assist, but I have not heard back from you. Here’s to hoping you’ll be like the boomerang! Yeah boomerangs leave, but they always come back.

Call me at{{}} to chat!

Converting Prospects to Workshop Attendees with Coconutsenhanced-23690-1396192283-1

Alpha Graphics got a 20% conversion to in-person workshop by doing what? Sending coconuts.

Alpha Graphics reached out to 200 “high value” prospects hoping to see a 20% response rate of which they planned to sell on a workshop. They offered a chance to win one of two gift cards ($150 and $50) if they respond to the coconut mailer.

The coconut campaign had a response rate of 46% of which 41 prospects attended the workshop. They also reported increased new revenue by 25% over the next six months.

The price varies between $8-$17 shipped depending on distance, weight and coconut type.

Converting Prospects to Attendee Template

 Hey Bonnie!

Put on your Hula Skirt and pour yourself a Pina Colda; We want to hear from you! We’ve put together a year-end survey to get feedback from AlphaGraphics’s most valuable customers (You) Here’s your personalized link!

– Nick

Bonus: 6 Marketing Ideas

Solid State Shipping Services

Utilizing trends in direct mail takes work. To outsource this to a company that over a 1,000 business trust, visit or contact us via email.

How Hugo Boss Engages Customers Quickly

Josh Braun, is VP of Customer Happiness & Success at Basecamp helping Basecamp be even more awesome in the areas of customer success, churn mitigation and growth. Josh writes about sales on his blog SalesJunkie.

Building relationships, thank you note, importance of customer relationship

It was the mannequin wearing a dark blue wool and silk suit that drew me into the Hugo Boss store in Boca Raton, Florida.

But it was Dawn, the stylist that kept me there. After answering a few questions, she showed me a suit, helped me try on the jacket, explained why it was the right choice for the occasion and responded to my objections without sounding sales-y.

“Don’t worry about it sweetie,” Dawn said. “We’ll see Matt in alternations next and he’ll take care of it. Relax Josh. Want some wine?”

It was a fantastic shopping experience.

Five days later I received this handwritten thank you note from Dawn:

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 3.21.29 PM

Wow. Typically, when I’m asked for my contact information at checkout I get a catalog, but Dawn used this information to create a wow moment. It’s the only time I’ve experienced this level of customer service at a retail store.

Worth it? You bet. Not only did it strengthen my relationship with Hugo Boss (you should see my closet), but I’ve also shared Dawn’s note on social media and at my speaking engagements which often have audiences of 150 people.

In the fast-paced world of multitasking and digital communication, a handwritten thank you note is like taking a deep breath. It slows things down –– even for just a minute.

Regardless of the product or service you sell, you’re in the relationship building business. Period. And few things come close to building relationships more than a handwritten thank you note.

Handwritten thank you notes are also a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition because so few people send thank you’s let alone handwritten notes.

If you’d like to try this “low-tech” method of thanking your customers, consider sending a handwritten thank you note as a simple touch to make a prospect smile or after:

  • Getting a referral
  • Giving a pitch
  • Winning a sale
  • Losing a sale
  • Having an initial phone conversation
  • A face to face meeting

If you liked this post, you might like: 6 Unique Use Cases & Templates for Direct Mail.

Need Some Last Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas?

holiday marketing ideas, holiday marketing campaigns, holiday marketing campaign ideas,

Your Turn

There are many effective last minute holiday marketing ideas. It’s important to utilize holiday marketing even if it is last minute. What are some of the creative last minute holiday marketing ideas you have seen? Tell me @MailLift.

3 Under Utilized Ideas for Customer Engagement

customer engagement, customer experience

There isn’t a marketer on the planet that doesn’t wish his or her clients would take more action. But unfortunately in today’s dynamic marketplace, most of what we produce gets muted (or in some cases ignored) by the sheer amount of online noise.

If you’re searching for inexpensive and innovative ways to better connect and stand out, I’ve shared three ways to drive home that call to action and strengthen your bottom line.

  1. Utilize Video Email

All great marketers know the power of an email follow-up after a sales call or in-person meeting.

But normal email users are driving a Honda when compared to the Ferrari that is video email.

Implement The Digital Handshake, a concept I adopted about a year ago, which gives that highly sought-after personalized feel to your correspondence.

I use a $70 webcam and one-button uploads to WOW clientspretty much like I would in person.

Of course, you wouldn’t send someone flowers before the first date (that’s just creepy) so use your video handshake immediately after that first point of contact for ultimate results.

  1. Bring Back The Handwritten Note

Elaborating on the need for personalization, clients today face a barrage of stimulation when it comes to newfangled communications:

Facebook ads that follow clients around, bulk emails, text messagesetc.

So it becomes difficult for your message to stand out (and in some cases, even get read at all!)

But thankfully, the old-fashioned hand-written note will never go out of style.

Whether it’s a post-card reminder to book your vacation rental for the winter season or a follow-up letter thanking a client for their amazing business this year, there’s a reason Gary Halbert’s A-Pile vs. B-Pile has been blowing pretty much everyone’s minds for decades now:

Because getting real mail that’s not spam is returning as a luxury again!

  1. Share Insider Advice

Information is everywhere and clients don’t just want authoritative blogs or industry experts…

They want privileged access.

So the most engaging marketers are providing clients with intel that’s not available to just anyone.

If you are in the travel industry, share the privileged or exclusive experiences that you’ll be providing to your clients when they arrive (stuff that most tourists don’t get to see).

If you’re selling real estate, be generous and transparently display the very market trends your agency is seeing internally.

No matter your niche, distributing exclusive data, comprehensive resources, or unique perspectives is, according to this amazing infographic from Quick Sprout, the absolute best way to engage clients and ultimately close more sales.

What Does All This Mean?

Today’s marketers are constantly seeking ways to better engage their clients and stand out from the noise.

For the same reason you wouldn’t walk up to someone on the street and start pitching, no longer do interruptions really make that personal connection that we all so desperately need.
But here’s the good news:

Chances are, you’re very good at explaining your product or service in person to someone who could really benefit from its’ use.

So get proactive and start utilizing these techniques that – while they ain’t no cocktail party – will effectively recreate the very dynamics that make an in-person interaction so gosh darn golden.

This is a guest post by Matt Landau. He is known as the Tony Robbins of vacation rental marketing. His writing has been featured on CNN, BusinessWeek, and US News & World Report among other publications.

With holidays around the corner, you marketers are trying to figure out how to stand out from their competitors.

Eight figure marketers don’t just talk at prospects and customers, they build relationships and engage them. That’s why successful marketers use tools that are high touch and more personal.

Sending handwritten holiday cards to high value and top prospects cost $5, but the return on a card that costs as much as a cup of coffee is in hundreds and thousands.

The Ultimate List Of Email Marketing Mistakes (and what to do about it)

Marketers are the new sales reps. Especially, the email marketers.

Before the internet, if you were considering purchasing something and researching your options, you had to call a salesperson to get all the info. That means a sales person had the power to influence the buyers from the very beginning of the cycle.

With Google, most people don’t have a need to contact a sales rep anymore until they are 70-80% into the buying cycle. Instead, it’s you, the email marketer who has to take over.

You have to take over the task of building trust and educating. That means now you are in charge of influencing the buyer in the early stages of the sales cycle.

With that in mind, let’s look at 31 scary email marketing mistakes to avoid (experts make these too):

      1. Lack of Targeting and Deep Segmentation

        (Source: Hubspot)
        Segmentation is not just reserved for when you are asking people to buy or to push them through the funnel.  You can start segmenting right from your welcome email. “This means sending targeted emails with specific goals that actually match each customers’ interests,” says Chris Hexton.

      2. Not Running Multichannel Campaigns

        Lifecycle marketing campaigns should involve a little more than just emails. Reaching them on different channels including direct mail can help shorten the sales cycle and improve buyers experience with the brand. For example, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Adding personal touches like writing handwritten notes or even just picking up the phone to follow up can show customers that you care.

      3. Not Separating Transaction Emails From Email Marketing

        (source: Mailchimp)
        Emails like receipts and shipping confirmation are considered transactional emails. People expect these emails from you. However, this does not give you the permission to send other emails unless they have explicitly given you the permission. Other types of emails include behavioral and email newsletters. Email newsletters can be blog posts and similar content. While behavioral emails give readers relevant information or offers based on where they are in the buying cycle.

      4. Assuming People Remember Who You Are

        (source: Mailchimp)
        People don’t always remember who you are, especially if they signed up soon after they first discovered you. Remind them who you are frequently, without annoying them.

      5. Writing Like a Used Car Salesman

        (source: Mailchimp)
        You don’t talk like a used car salesman when you are with a person face-to-face so why write like that. If you are going to pitch something, first record your pitch as if you were talking to a person and then write it down. I am sure many people have talked about this, but I first heard this tip from Neville Medhora.

      6. Poor Subject Line Copy

        (source: unbounce)
        To make sure your CTRs and response rates are high, first and foremost, you need people to open your email. There are many ways of doing this, but break up your message in the form of AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) works every time. And your subject line is the “Attention” part of your message.  Protip for attention grabbers: Subject lines and attention grabbers don’t have to be complicated. Just make a point no one else is making.

      7. Overselling in the Subject Line

        (sourceForbes/Constant Contact)
        Two reasons not to do it: One is people are not going to believe what you are saying — aka, won’t open your email. If they do buy into it, they will feel tricked and betrayed. Say bye-bye to all your future opens and click-throughs from this person. On the other hand, don’t undersell either.

      8. Leaving the Subject Line For Last.

        (source: Marketingprofs)
        Writing the subject line down first means you have to decide what the goal of the email is going to be. Create your CTA along with the subject line. That means, all you now need to do is figure out how to keep them interested and create desire while moving from point A (subject line) to point B (CTA). Whereas the other way round will change the goal of your email, as many times as your mind wavers and wanders. Plan ahead.

      9. Slowing Down Your Readers

        (source: Marketingprofs)
        Things like long texts, lots of call-to-actions and lots of distracting images will slow your readers down. Worse yet, you will lose them quicker than the time it took them to open your email. Here are a few tips:

        1. Break it up with headings. Make it easy to skim.
        2. Keep your CTA limited to just one. You can repeat the same call to action. If anything, dedicate one-third of your copy to get people to take Action. Yup! 1/3.
        3. Make sure your images are actually making people imagine a scenario (preferably what it feels like to solve their problem with your solution), or it’s making them laugh.
      10. Ignoring Campaign Reports

        (source: Mailchimp)
        Don’t check your campaign reports once a week or once a month. As soon as you send out a campaign, check the results immediately. Figure out why you have the results you have (good or bad). Then test your hypothesis in your next email. If your reports are good, you want to figure out how to repeat the success. And if your report is bad, well you know you are probably spooked by now.

      11. Not Take Action

        While you are checking your reports, don’t forget to make changes to the campaigns or emails that are set to go out next. Look at your reports, make a list of new findings and hypotheses. Then go ahead and implement or test them in your next set of emails.

      12. Lack of Automation

        (source: unbounce)
        Avoid planning your lifecycle marketing on the go. Instead list out all the steps people will have to take for you to make a sale. For example, if you funnel looks like this: sign up -> fill out their profile -> invite friends -> surf your site -> do something -> add it to the cart -> enter credit card -> hit purchase. Each step needs an email, whether it’s transaction, behavioral, newsletter or a combination.

      13. Poor Ddeliverability and Engagement

        (source: unbounce)
        Email deliverability depends a lot on how much you list engages with your emails, i.e., opens and clicks. If the engagement is slow, make sure you have double have opt-in in place and also place where they can choose the frequency of the emails they receive from you. Yes, that means fewer people on your list, but they will definitely be more engaged and qualified. Also, make sure you are that you are setting proper expectations, and they remember you.

      14. Lazy List Management A.K.A. Not Building Lists

        (source: unbounce)
        It’s so easy to build a list and then forget all about it. However, you need to constantly work on improving the performance of the list. Remove all the emails that bounce and move people who have stopped engaging with your emails  to another list. Sending emails to only to engaged list members will increase your deliverability.

      15. Expecting New Creative to Immediately Lift Metrics

        (source: Marketingprofs)
        The problem with new creative is that it is new. You don’t know if it is going to work. What you can do though is before you get a new creative going, form a couple hypotheses based on the persona’s you have created. Then, test it. It will help you figure out what works, and it will help improve your personas.

      16. Focusing Only on ROI

        .  (source: Marketingprofs)
        Not all your marketing emails are going to drive conversions and revenue. And that’s not the only type of marketing emails you should be sending out. Your email marketing should have three goals:

        1. Improve brand recognition,
        2. Get people in the habit of clicking links in your emails (so they click when it counts the most – bottom of the funnel) and
        3. To influence them earlier in the buying cycle (not in a manipulative way).

      17. Thinking Email Exists in a Silo

        (source: Marketingprofs)
        Passing the leads to sales once they are sales qualified is an old way of doing this. Sales and marketing need to be integrated. They are partners in crime. Sales need to know what the customer knows, sales also needs to be on social channels being a source of information for

      18. Emailing too Often and Emailing too Little

        (source: business2community)
        Too many emails and you are risking banner blindness and fewer emails (even if they are sent consistently). It also means you may be forgotten and worse, they will lose interest. You do not want to stop selling if they are not ready to buy and you don’t want to keep selling when are ready to buy from you.

      19. Sending Emails that Offer no Value

        (source: business2community)
        An email with no value, usually means you are not targeting your prospect for the stage of the cycle they are in. But you could use AIDA to plan your lifecycle marketing campaigns. Getting them to sign up is the “Attention” part of AIDA. The next part in the process is to keep their “Interest”, which is what your emails will do. And your behavioral emails will create “Desire” which will then lead to “Action” aka sale. So send the right type of info means you are sending and evoking the right mix of emotion and logic.

      20. Using Spam Words

        (source: business2community)
        You might be using spam words without even knowing. Here’s a list for your reference: The ultimate list of spam words.

      21. Sending Emails That Offer no Call to Action

        (source: business2community)
        This is a big no-no. Enough said. Although the next one might not be so obvious.

      22. Not Using Ttransactional Emails to Drive Conversions

        Transactional emails have the highest open rates. Use that to your advantage and ask them to take action. What type of actions, you say? How about asking for referrals in your invoice?

        People are most excited about your product when they have made the purchase. Because if your product is bad, it’s just going to downhill from there (and you have bigger problems). If your product is good then, it will eventually seamlessly integrate into their workflow and become invisible. So the best time to ask them to take action is when they are happy.

      23. Sending Emails that Offer no Links to External Content

        (source: business2community)
        Again, all your emails should drive action, but make sure these CTAs are low risk. That is, you are not asking for a big commitment. If they have to make a big decision every time you ask them to take action, you are going to lose them. You are going to build a habit of avoiding taking action.

        Eventually, you will have to ask them to make a big decision (aka part with their money). But by then you will have built trust by managing their expectations properly, which leads me to the next mistake…

      24. Poorly Managed Reader Expectations

        (source: hubspot)
        When you ask people to take action, whether its opening your email or clicking on your CTA, you need to make sure, you are giving them exactly what they are expecting.

        I am not talking about click bait. I am talking about things you do unintentionally.

        You might not be trying to manipulate them, but you need to know your customers and their personas to understand how they might interpret  what you have written. If you don’t manage their expectations well, their trust will soon erode. That means you won’t be able to convince them to take action or spend that money with you over your competitors.

      25. Overuse or Underuse of Personalization

        (source: hubspot)

        You don’t want to act like you are high school buddies with your customers, but at the same time you don’t want to act like you haven’t even bothered to learn who they are. I am sure you know that. But what you need to be careful about is the gradual familiarity that will develop over time.

        You should gradually boost your personalization depending on where they are in the cycle just as a sales person would do. How you talk to them after they signed up will be quite different after they have opened and responded to a couple of your emails just like it would be in face-to-face interaction. It’s lots more that just from using a personal tone in your copy.

      26. Infrequent Testing

        (source: hubspot)
        Testing is one of the most overlooked parts of email marketing. Just like you can’t dig a well when you are thirsty, you can cannot test your emails when you are driving an important campaign. Run tests that will reveal more about your segments and personas earlier. So you can run successful campaigns when it counts.
        Some other things to test:

        1. Varying content lengths
        2. How many times you repeat the CTA
        3. Location of the image on the page
      27. Buyers Cycle vs. Sales Cycle

        This is the one of the hardest part of email marketing. Each of your verticals or personas will have different priorities based on what role your product plays in their professional and personal life.

        For example, if a company sells tools to protect against hurricane, your weather app is not going to be a priority unless it is hurricane season. On the other hand, if a company needs to watch out for huge fluctuations in temperature, finding a weather app to help them is going to be high on her priority list. Selling and influencing these two companies requires understanding both your buyer’s cycle and your sales cycle.

      28. Building Persona’s Once

        Most of us create personas and then forget all about it. Let’s admit who has the time. But this is one item that will boost both your conversions and because personas will help create smarter segmentations. That means keep testing your hypothesis and updating your personas. Don’t just use A/B testing. Supplement it with customer interviews.

      29. Setting Short Term Goals for Campaigns

        Campaigns by nature make us think short term. They have a start and an end date. However, we need to see that our efforts tie into the main goals. For example, do you changes in sales KPIs like growth in sales pipeline, shorter sales cycle or increased qualified leads.

      30. Not Using the Industry Language

        People buy from people they like i.e., those who are similar to them, who behave like them and who talk like them. So, if you want build trust and want them pay attention to your messaging, learn their language and speak in their language.

      31. Being Leeching Larry Instead of Giving Gary

        (sourceNoah Kagan & Neville Medhora)
        We all hate friends and people who are asking for favors and never thinking about how they can help us. I bet your customers think the same. Here is how Neville explains it:
        In the marketing world however, people turn into THATdouchebag Leeching Larry:
        “How do I raise my prices?”
        “How do I double my email list quickly?”
        “How do I increase my website traffic?”
        “How do I get people to pay me more money?”
        “How do I build a big business so I don’t have to work?”
        “I want to grow my email list to 10,000 people.”

        SO instead let’s flip all these questions around, and ask them like Giving Gary would ask them.
        “What can I give away that would help 10,000 people?
        “What will 10,000 people how to double their sales?”

As they say, the “devil” is in the details. So while all these don’t seem like a big deal avoid these email marketing mistakes can boost sales and customer loyalty. Those little personal touches go a long way to show a customer you care.

It can get you word of mouth as companies like Grasshopper, Brooks Brothers and many others have seen. And it can also reactivate hot leads that have stopped responding.

For example, GraniteMed sent one handwritten letter and they reactivated 47% of their dead leads. Learn how you can do it too.

36 Powerful Sales & Marketing Influencers You Should Follow This Week

sales influencers, marketing influencers

With 130,000+ people attending Dreamforce and only 5 days to connect with amazing people. We thought we should help you out. Every year there are influencers that we all know about and there are tons of people who are hounding them but there are many others that you might not have heard about. I have made a list of sales and marketing influencers at Dreamforce plus others who are contributing to #DF14 on twitter. Make sure you don’t miss them…

  1. Eric T. Tung #33 Global Social Influencer, #36 Digital Influencer, Social Media Consultant & Speaker, Social Manager @BMCSoftware, 2 degrees from @KevinBacon, Free Hugs!
  2. R Ray Wang Constellation Research Founder, Provocateur, Keynoter, Disruptive Tech, Innovation, Biz Model Strategy, Author, Contract Negotiator Dominate Digital Disruption!
  3. Marshall Kirkpatrick CEO @GetLittleBird: enterprise marketing tech to pinpoint the best people to talk with and to listen to online. To build reach & see the future first.
  4. Matt Heinz B2B revenue acceleration via sales & marketing strategy, demand generation, sales pipeline & process improvement, retention & renewals.
  5. Koka Sexton Social Marketing @LinkedIn | Leader of the #SocialSelling movement | Inspired by great content, social marketing, data and a cup of espresso. Let’s Go!
  6. S. Anthony Iannarino Catalyst. Instigator. Agitator.
  7. Dion Hinchcliffe Chief Strategy Officer, business strategist, enterprise architect, keynote speaker, book author, blogger, & consultant on #socbiz & next-gen enterprises.
  8. Miles Austin is The Web Tools Guy. Sales & Marketing Technologist, speaking & writing on web tools at FilltheFunnel blog. Seeking warm weather for Harley trips.
  9. Josh Druck Social Business Strategist – Content Developer – Marketing Coordinator @PeopleLinx
  10. Jill Konrath Author, AGILE SELLING & more. Take a sneak peek now: Speaker at lots of sales meetings.
  11. Jill Rowley Founder & Chief Evangelist. #SocialSelling #ModernMarketing. Delivering Keynotes, Strategy Sessions & Workshops. ABCs of Social Selling = Always Be Connecting.
  12. Mike Merrill is an Enterprise Account Executive at @Salesforce @ExactTarget @MarketingCloud, TEDx & Keynote Speaker, Founder @SMCDallas, Chief Bacon Maker
  13. Gabe Villamizar Social Selling Expert | Social Media Marketing Manager at @HireVue #SocialSelling. Former @InsideSales SMM – Data, Analytics & Metrics.
  14. Zena Weist Integrated media strategist @LevelFive, wife, mom, @UnboundOrg sponsor, autism awareness advocate. Guinness, wine and chocolate devourer, therefore I run.
  15. Nancy Nardin We are an advisory firm specializing in sales productivity tools & advanced selling strategies. Recognized as a #Top50 Most retweeted Vendor by B2B Marketers.
  16. William Tyree Marketing technologist and writer. CMO at RingDNA.
  17. Tonya Hall Digital Marketing CMO / CEO @Barzhini Media / Host, Producer and Booking Ninja
  18. John Taschek Marketing strategy @salesforce. Author ~ Speaker ~ Enterprise. Described as a seething mass of enlightenment. Soccer fan!
  19. Sam Capra Digital marketing enthusiast with a heavy emphasis on mobile, social and email.
  20. Alex Hisaka Content Marketing Manager at @LinkedIn. Previously at @Desk and @Salesforce.
  21. Trish Bertuzzi Inside Sales Thinker, Writer, Builder. Passionate about all things related to phone, web and social prospecting.
  22. Ryan Bonnici Head of #Marketing @Salesforce Marketing Cloud // Passion: #digital #transformation // Writes: @MarketingMag // Loves: #kitesurfing
  23. Kelly McCormick Biz Growth & Marketing Wiz! You get creative ways to increase revenues. Plus marketing methods for social media & beyond. For small to mid-sized biz & orgs.
  24. Tiffany Hsu social media, marketing, technology, community-building. Community manager @salesforce.
  25. Zachary Jeans Strategist Facilitating Conversations Around Leadership, Social, Mobile, Salesforce & Cloud w a passion for NonProfits #LeadWithGiants Co-Host.
  26. Sasha Pasulka Product marketing @tableau. Seattle is my Mothership.
  27. Ryan Cox Digital Marketing Specialist at J.C. Hart Company. I do things ontheline. Marketing nerd. Hustle type. I #hashtag in real life. #feedthekids
  28. Christine Crandell Creator of Sellers’ Compass, author, blogger, advisor and speaker on #B2B customer success. #customerexperience #customerengagement #marketing
  29. Marin Perez Writer at @bluenoseinc, helping SaaS companies master #customersuccess and fight churn. Tweets are inescapably mine. Love hoops, mobile, startups and media.
  30. Robert Alexander #digitalmarketing, #socialselling, #cx, hunting, golf, competitive shooting, #cx #saas #crm #idpa #reloading. Love Helping Others
  31. Kathy O’Reilly TV Producer for 15+ years, made the move to online in 1999. PR/Social Media/Digital Content by day for Philips Healthcare. Wife & Mom 24/7. Tweets are my own.
  32. Casey Cheshire Marketing 24/7 | Connector | Future of the Web Ponderer | Speaker | iOS Dev | Mountaineer | Skydiver | Marine
  33. Mick Hollison Chief Marketing Officer at @insidesales – Sales Acceleration Technology. Contributing author for Inc
  34. Hugo Sarrazin Senior Partner – , McK Digital Labs, Business Technology, and TMT practices – interested in cloud, data, and innovation. Tweets are my own
  35. Robert J. MoreauExecutive  Sales, #BusinessDevelopment, #Consultant, Corp Advisor, #Speaker, Gym Rat, Passionate about #Sales, #Marketing, #Fitness #BI and #Technology!
  36. Robert Mahowald Vice President @ IDC, covering SaaS and Cloud services

This is MailLift’s second year attending Dreamforce, and Brian (MailLift’s CEO) is definitely going to be there! If you haven’t met Brian yet, I would say he is a person you don’t want to miss. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this..

16 Valuable Facts On Changing Sales Process

sales trenThe average length of the sales cycle has increased by over 24% in past two years. With changes in technology in the past decade, how people buy has changed, significantly changing the sale process. For example, 2014 has become of the year of mindfulness. As Hazel Barkworth puts it,

“In a world full of buzz and surface interactions, people are seeking more depth and meaning… People are craving time away from the stimulus of the internet, and are severing their connection to technology.”

That means super personalization and personal touch have also taken hold. No doubt, it’s here to stay. And since the buyers are more and more in control of the beginning of the sales cycle, it is becoming ever important to keep up with consumer trends. Here 16 facts from sales and marketing experts that will affect your sales and marketing team’s performance:

  1. 5.4 people are involved in the average B2B buying decision” (Source: @kokaSexton) 1salessummit
  2. Social buyers have higher influence, larger budgets, and purchase more. (Source: @kokasexton)
  3. You have a 5x more likelihood of people engaging with you if you’re a thought leader. (Source: @kokasexton)
  4. Close five times more sales by cold calling prospects who are thinking of changing NOT those already searching. (Source: @CraigElias)
  5. 3% of population change jobs each month. 4 things you need to know when they change. (Source: @CraigElias)6salessummit
  6. Executive buyers say salespeople aren’t prepared. (Source: @MarkLindwall)
  7. People are more willing to answer calls from a local phone number than out of town number (Source: @mickhollison via Doug Devitre @dougdevitre)
  8. Email is the preferred communications channel (Source: @mickhollison)9salessummit
  9. Firmographics, demographics, geographics, psychographics, & histographics are five heuristics of neuralytics (Powerball of sales) (Source: via @dougdevitre)
  10. Early morning or late afternoon on Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to contact. (Source: @mickhollison)
  11. Salespeople spend 59% of their time not selling. (Source: @JoinMe)
  12. 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make decisions and choose between vendors. (Source: @kokasexton)
  13. Four out of five sales organizations closed 60% or less of forecasted deals! That’s “MUDA”. (Source:  @sellingtools)16salessummit
  14. What sales reps spend their time on most. (Source: @sellingtools18salessummit
  15. The real cost of every transaction (Source: @sbarmmer17salessummit
  16. The real ROI of CPQ: 105% larger deal size. – @Apttus ROI of CPQ

What does all this mean for you and your sales team? Buyers are extremely knowledgeable and are looking for sales to be a lot more than just “product pusher”. If you want to shorten your sales cycle or revive dead leads in your sales team’s pipeline, you have to stand and add value. But, if you are struggling to get your prospect’s attention, check out how Granite MEDSystems did it after emails, calls and even gift boxes failed to activate dead leads.

Connecting with Customers through the Entire Lifecycle

This is a guest post by Justin Gray, CEO of LeadMD Gray has emerged as strong voice for marketing automation and conversation marketing with 13 years of experience in the industry.

customer life cycle, customer life cycle marketing,

For the first time in history, consumers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to making purchases. Social media, review sites, peer networks—all of these resources are at the fingertips of buyers, enabling them to obtain information and comparison shop on their own time and at their own pace.

Thanks to these technologies and innovations, today’s buyer now expects instant gratification from companies in the form of content, social media response and readily available information they can access whenever it works with their schedule.

Interestingly, this has become true of both B2B and B2C customers. No one wants to spend time on the phone to speak to someone, or fill out a form and wait to be contacted. Any delay in gratification is likely to push them to the nearest competitor until they find a company that understands how they want to be communicated with.

This shift in consumer power has altered something else: the once-linear customer lifecycle. Once, buyers followed a pretty straight path to purchase:

Awareness > Familiarity > Consideration > Purchase > Loyalty

But smart marketers have recognized that the change in consumer behavior means their marketing tactics must change as well. Consumers not only expect instant information, but they also expect an enjoyable customer experience. So instead of ending the cycle at purchase and crossing one’s fingers that a periodic phone call or marketing effort will retain their business, savvy marketers are bending the lifecycle into a circle. They know that a constant cycle of compelling marketing messages will keep customers’ engagement at a consistent pitch.

The New Buying Experience

Global consulting firm McKinsey has been following this trend for years. Back in 2009, they created their own model for what the modern buying experience looks like now.

1.     Initial Consideration

Buyers begin to consider a set of brands, usually based on a recent touchpoint or general awareness.

2.     Active Evaluation

The buyer will research top picks, learning about each company’s offerings, finding reviews, looking at social media and soliciting feedback from others.

3.     Moment of Purchase

It’s time for the buyer to select a company and make a purchase.

4.     Post-Purchase Experience

A customer’s engagement with you doesn’t (or shouldn’t) end after a purchase. This is the moment when your interaction can set the tone for how their entire experience with you will be viewed, and for determining whether or not a referral and/or repeat purchase will be on the horizon. Be aware that this isn’t just about loyalty, it’s about creating a positive, ongoing customer experience.

From the fourth step, this is where it’s beneficial to loop customers back into your marketing by continuing to actively engage them with high-value messaging and content. For their next purchase, they still may go through steps one through three, but hopefully, if you’ve done your job well as a marketer, those decision points become shorter and easier as you stand out as the clear choice. What’s more, satisfied buyers net other satisfied buyers.  Advocates are worth many times their own weight in revenue.  Remember, no one likes change; if you can motivate your customer to continue buying from you and to share the experience with their friends, they probably will.

So now that you understand how the modern consumer buys, let’s look at how you can market to them effectively at every point in the purchase lifecycle.

Content, Content, Content

Good content marketing is all about—say it with me now—delivering the right message to the right person at the right time via the right channels.

Multi channel marketingGleanster Research has found that about 50 percent of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. And that makes sense when we look back at McKinsey’s model and what we know about the modern buyer: it’s all on their terms. Buyers will let you know when they’re ready for more direct contact with you and when they’re close to making a purchase decision. How? By increasing their engagement with your marketing initiatives.

And this is where the magic combination of content and marketing automation comes in. Marketing automation has always been around, but until recently, was priced out of the reach of anyone but enterprise-level companies. Now, the market is filled with affordable providers, so businesses of every size can benefit from these powerful tools.

But first…

Develop a Strategy

Your customers have different needs depending on where they are in the buying cycle. Someone who just discovered you thanks to a banner ad or Google search will respond to different content than someone deep in the evaluation phase.

Begin by developing a map of the purchase cycle and identifying each point along the way where a lead will benefit from receiving content from you. These are not one-off communications, but rather sequences of messages that build on one another to bring that person closer to a purchase. Some examples:

Educational Content – A good way to draw in new leads. Educational content is content that positions you as a thought leader or industry expert, such as white papers, articles, webinars, etc. Once someone requests a piece of content, continue to market to them by promoting content on similar topics.

Product Content– Maybe someone has requested information on a landing page, or got into your database by attending an event. These people are interested in your company and want to learn more, but are likely early in the research phase. Send a series of communications that introduce your products or services with increasingly more detailed information.

Deep Decision-Making Content– This is for leads who are qualified enough to be in touch with your sales team, but perhaps have a longer decision cycle or have others involved in the process. They know who you are and what you offer, and are now looking for deeper content that will help solidify the decision to choose you. Work with your sales team to develop a content series that addresses the information most requested at this point.

Creating a content map is a time-consuming and somewhat laborious task, but it’s essential you see the whole picture before you begin building campaigns in your marketing automation system. Seeing the full scope will help you identify gaps at the outset rather than scrambling to fix them later.

Close the Loops

The examples in the previous section are all examples of nurturing content, thoughtful messaging that both educates and builds trust over a period of time. No one likes a hard sell, especially the modern consumer.

Effective nurturing can have a remarkable impact on your conversion rates and sales numbers. An Annuitas Group study found that businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451 percent increase in qualified leads, and nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.And, those leads cost less to get—companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent lower cost (Forrester Research).

To develop effective nurturing content that addresses consumer needs, be sure to ask these questions:

  1.      Where is the lead coming from? What is the source?
  2.      What are they looking for at this point?
  3.      What will they want to learn or do next?

As you develop your content, it’s important to remember that no content sequence should ever truly end—everyone should be fed into some kind of content loop that keeps your business in front of them. Made a purchase? They should go into a training or upsell loop. Told sales they aren’t ready to buy? Keep nurturing with periodic updates on new features or special promotions. Finished a short-term nurturing cycle without engaging enough to move to sales? Put them in a longer-term series with case study content.

The buying cycle is a never-ending circle, so your content should be as well. Just don’t be annoying about it. Make sure you’re thinking strategically about what and how much content leads and customers get.

Smart Scoring

If you’re an organization with a sales team, the lead scoring tools in your marketing automation system are an invaluable way to keep customers moving along the buying cycle in a way that makes sense to their decision-making process.

Lead scoring allows you to assign point values to different types of actions, to help you better determine which leads are more qualified and likely to make a purchase. Content ties in closely with lead scoring, as criteria often includes actions like opening emails, clicking links and requesting multiple pieces of educational content.

Remember, modern buyers wants to advance through the cycle at their own pace, so rushing them into sales just to try and make your quotas is likely to backfire. An intelligent scoring system along with strategically developed content will follow and encourage buyers along their path.

Don’t Forget to Be Social

Consumers are looking for information about you, so make sure you have a presence everywhere they might look. Get on social media and actively engage with people. Don’t just use social as a “well, we should have a presence, so here we are” tactic. That’s not doing you or your potential customers any favors and is more likely to contribute toward a negative perception of your brand.

Consumers look at social channels early in the evaluation stage, so failing at engagement here could mean you’re out of the running before you send a single piece of marketing messaging.

As the consumer buying cycle has changed, so has the way marketers reach them. Both have come full circle: customers demand a consistent, comprehensive customer experience that caters to them; and marketers have embraced technologies and tactics that help them serve the customer at every point along the circle. Be strategic, thoughtful and customer-centric, and customers will reward you with their dollars.

Direct mail marketing is a key part of multi channel marketing strategy. According to ExactTarget 2012 channel preference survey57 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds have made a purchase as a result of a direct mail offer. If these direct mail pieces are handwritten or sent in hand addressed envelopes, they tend to have higher open and response rates. If you want to try handwritten direct mail as part of your multi channel marketing strategy to boost response rates and renewals, check out our handwritten direct mailing service.

Don’t Let Your Direct Mail be Mistaken for Junk Mail: Use Postmark Perfect

There’s a reason so many businesses use direct mail as part of their marketing strategy. Sending direct mail has its benefits: targeted recipient lists, customized messages, and measurable results. Direct mail also has advantages over email:

Businesses that send handwritten notes for B2B and B2C communication are also reaping the benefits. 

Unfortunately, with the pure abundance of perceived “junk mail” in the average American’s mailbox (both work and personal), a lot of direct mail gets tossed in the trash without even being opened. 44 percent of mail recipients throw away their “junk mail” without even reading it ( are becoming savvy to handwritten fonts and metered mail, so you have to make sure your direct mail is personal and authentic. You don’t want your direct mail mistaken for junk mail.

Use these strategies, including Postmark Perfect, to assure your mail gets opened.

An Accurate Postmark Helps Outsourced Handwritten Direct Mail Appear More Authentic:

In a past post, we pondered about whether or not it’s misleading to have someone else write handwritten notes for you (i.e. outsourcing handwritten mail).

The conclusion: the real heart of the message lies in the intent, not who carried out the action.

Just because you’re having someone else write the notes doesn’t mean you don’t want them to be as authentic as possible, right?

After all, the authenticity of the letter impacts how sincere it feels. Your sincerity in turn is part of what builds stronger, more trusting relationships with your business partners, customers and clients. As you know, those relationships are extremely valuable and often key to your success.

So, since a lot of stock lies in your handwritten letters, every component of the letter should be true to you and your business. The stationery, the writing style and the content should reflect YOU!

The following strategies can make your outsourced direct mail look as genuine as possible AND they’ll impress your customers:

1. Personalize the letter

Personalization can enhance a consumer’s inclination to read your direct mail piece by creating a sense of familiarity. It also emphasizes their importance to your business. For example, are you more likely to open an envelope that says “Current Resident” or “[Your Name]”? Most likely, you’ll feel important to the second business and choose to open that mail first. (

2. Customize the stationery

The first impression you make with a client should be the best impression. If you can’t meet a potential client in person and give them a handshake and a smile, let your stationery make that visual handshake. High-quality, customized business stationery will give you an edge over your competitors. (

3. Use real handwriting

In 3 separate studies listed on

4. Use a third-party mailer such as Postmark Perfect, to have the letter sent from your location.

What is Postmark Perfect?

Postmark Perfect (PMP) is a MailLift specific service. With Postmark Perfect (PMP), MailLift is able to send your letters from your location instead of our offices in Milwaukee or Austin. This way, when the recipient receives the letter, it will have a postmark from a post office near you!

MailLift actually ships the letters from your location. We have distribution all across America. The USPS marks each stamped letter with your local post mark. Other services may offer you the option of shipping the letters yourself, but MailLift has that covered for you. This is some of what makes us the best option for businesses. postmark mail, handwritten letters, handwritten direct mail

Why should I use Postmark Perfect?

The letters are from you. MailLift is acting as your hands, but it’s you at the very core of the letter. PMP allows your letter more authenticity because it’s mailed from YOUR location, not ours.

Plus, assure your mail doesn’t get tossed in the trash because someone noticed the return address and the postmark don’t match up.

How do I request Postmark Perfect?

postmark mail, handwritten direct mail, handwritten letters

Orders of 100 letters or More:

MailLift offers complimentary PMP to one location on orders of 100 letters or more. It’s an additional $5 per location for each additional location.

Orders of 1-99 letters:

You can choose to add PMP to any order of 99 letters or less for $5 per location. Even single letters can be PMP for the $5 add-on charge.

 *MailLift is now offering free PMP for letters being postmarked in Austin, TX; Milwaukee, WI; and San Francisco, CA!

Increase authenticity and go above and beyond to assure your handwritten direct mail is perfect down to the very last detail.

Try Postmark Perfect with your next order of handwritten letters.

Why handwritten direct mail marketing should be added to your email marketing strategy (+ 5 ways to start today)

direct mail marketing, email marketing, marketing strategy, handwritten letters

Macaroni & cheese. Cake & ice cream. Cookies & milk. Peanut butter &well, anything!

Some things are just better together.

Handwritten direct mail marketing and email marketing strategies are two of those things (though I think we can agree they’re not nearly as edible as the rest of that list!)

Adding handwritten letters to your current email marketing efforts increases your response rate, adds a personal touch to your communication, nurtures your leads and boosts your ROI.

But before we jump in to combine these marketing strategies, let’s look at each of them separately.

Email Marketing

Automated email marketing strategies are fantastic tools for B2B and B2C communication. Emails can be personalized, set to go out with certain triggers, and they’re quick and virtually effortless once you have your email marketing plan in place.

Research shows email marketing works:

  • For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment. (Experian 2013)
  • 95% of online consumers use email.(ExactTarget)
  • According to a recent study published by Target Marketing Magazine, the highest scoring form of marketing for B2C and B2B marketers was direct mail. (Truth be told, this may in part be on account of the fact that digital marketing forms are evolving along with the best way to measure ROI, but the power of direct mail cannot be ignored).

But, email has it’s downfalls….

handwritten letters, direct mail marketing, email marketing, marketing strategy

  • 69% of subscribers say that too many emails is the number one reason they unsubscribe from email. (Chadwick Martin Bailey)
  • On average, subscribers receive 416 commercial messages a month. (ExactTarget) With all these emails, your messages can too easily be ignored.
  • 18- to 34-year-olds prefer direct mail (TMR Direct)


Direct Mail Marketing

Handwritten direct mail marketing is an effective way to communicate as well as to nurture your leads. Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads (Hubspot), and companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost (Hubspot).

It’s clear that as a marketer, it is important for you to nurture, nurture, nurture! Where emails can seem impersonal and mass-produced, a handwritten letter offers a personal touch.

An earlier post,6 Clever Ways To Nurture Leads With Your Handwritten Letters” has more on this subject.

The stats support direct mail marketing too:

  • If direct mail is optimized, response rates typically average around 6.5 percent. (TMR Direct)
  • Findings from 2013 show that four-fifths (79 per cent) of consumers act on direct mail immediately compared to only 45 per cent who say they deal with email right away. (CMO Council)
  • Traditional direct mail has an average success or response rate of about 4.4 percent according to the Direct Marketing Association.


For Best Results, Use Email Marketing And Direct Mail Marketing Together:direct mail marketing, email marketing, handwritten letters, marketing strategy

Don’t use just email marketing or just direct mail marketing. Use them both!

Integrating handwritten direct mail and email marketing throughout the sales and marketing funnels gets you the best ROI.

In Making direct mail and email work together, Greg Grdodian, EVP of the list management-data solutions group Infogroup/Edith Roman Associates-ePostDirect, says,

“Response increases across the board when direct mail and e-mail are combined in a multichannel campaign. If executed well, it should more than double! This two-ply marketing will strengthen your brand, especially if your marketing campaigns maintain a consistent look or theme across channels. You’ll gain mindshare, and that will lead to greater ROI.”

Additionally, in an article by Katie Smith, Communications Manager at thomsonlocal, she points out:

“Numerous studies have shown that combining email with other communication channels, such as direct mail, increases response rates.  A multi-channel approach can also help increase customer spend by almost 25%, according to research carried out by Royal Mail.”

The tendency in today’s technology driven world could be to put all your marketing efforts into email, but don’t limit yourself to one form of communication.

Try  incorporating these 5 strategies with your current email marketing strategy to add a personal touch and nurture your leads with handwritten letters.


5 Ways to Use Handwritten Letters With Your Email Marketing Strategy

1. Re-engage Qualified Leads You Haven’t Heard From In A While:

It’s important to re-engage qualified leads to stay top of mind, so that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll come to you. A carefully crafted letter focussing on how the lead can benefit from your product or services is essential. The letter shouldn’t be about YOU, but rather it should focus on the potential customer. Explain how your product or service would benefit them. A well-timed, well-written letter could be the touch needed to re-engage leads that would otherwise have been lost.


  • Send a time sensitive offer as an incentive to order.
  • Send a letter showing you haven’t forgotten about them and you want to offer your services to help them succeed or solve a problem they might have.

Why this works: Going out of your way to send a handwritten letter shows the qualified lead you care and you are going to show them personal attention. If they haven’t purchased or committed quite yet, use a handwritten note to close the deal.

2. Promotion (Product/Event)

Nobody would show up to your party if you didn’t send them an invite, and the same is true of new products or promotional events. Use a handwritten letter to spread the word. If you have a new product you know the customer would love, or if you are throwing an event from which she will benefit, be sure to let her know! The customer will appreciate the fact that you thought of her. This is a great way to nurture leads and show some love to current customers as well.


  • Handwritten invite to a promotional event
  • Note telling customer about a new product or service you are offering.

Why this works: In a 2012 study, “59% of U.S. respondents and 65% of Canadian respondents agreed with the following statement, ‘I enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products'” (Epsilon’s 2012 Channel Preference Study). Give the people what they want. Let them know when you have new products or events you’re excited about.

3. Cart Abandonment Stage

Send handwritten letters to valued customers who abandon their carts.Don’t let huge order just sit in a cart! Get them to purchase. An email can be a quick way to followup up, but a handwritten letter offers a different medium. A multi-channel approach touches customers in two ways to remind them about their carts AND to show them some personal attention.


  • Send a reminder card personalized with information about the customer’s cart.
  • Offer a loyalty program to recover a cart abandoner

Why this works: One of the reasons people abandon their carts is because they start searching for a better price. Tommy Walker, Editor-in-Chief of ConversionXL says,

If a low price cart abandoner starts searching for a bargain, but instead finds a quick win and repeat value through your loyalty program, you’re greatly improving your chances for repeat purchases in the futureAccording to Forrester Research, loyalty program members also spend an average of up to 13% more  and increase shopper annual visits up to 20%.

4. Loyalty Offer

It is important to retain your best customers, so it is smart to offer them something for their loyalty. An email might not be enough to show your gratitude, but a handwritten letter can express your appreciation.


  • Send a thank-you card with a discount offer on the next purchase.
  • Offer loyal customers something only they have access to. For example, a 2-day sale only for loyal customers, or a sneak-peak at new products and the opportunity to purchase before the general public.

Why this works: Loyal customers want to feel appreciated. Offering them something special builds the relationship and lets them know you haven’t forgotten about them in the pursuit for new customers.  

“A handwritten note is worth more than a $100 gift card but probably not more than a $200 gift card.”
Ross McCammon

5. Special Occasions

Show personal attention by acknowledging an important occasion. Sending a handwritten note or card is just another effective way to build a relationship with your customers. People work with and buy from people they like and trust, so acknowledge special occasions and let your customers know you care about them.


  • Send a card after a big life event such as a wedding, buying a new home, or the birth of a child.
  • Send a card a few days before Valentine’s Day reminding them not to forget to get something for their significant other. (Include a gift card for a massage or mani/pedi to really go above and beyond.)

Why this works: Special occasions mean a lot to your customers, so they should mean a lot to you too. Acknowledging important moments in a customer’s life not only shows you care, but it also shows you pay attention and really know your customer. 

These 5 ideas are a great way to start incorporating handwritten letters into your current email marketing strategy. Email is quick and convenient, but handwritten letters are an awesome way to go above and beyond to nurture your leads and your customers.

Use these 5 strategies and start reaping the benefits of incorporating direct mail marketing with your current email marketing strategy.

Nurture your leads and improve B2B and B2C communication by making it more personal with handwritten letters. And, with so many companies relying on email marketing alone, handwritten direct mail can help you stand out among your competitors.


For more info about direct mail and email marketing, check out the following links:

Drip Marketing: 8 Infographics That Will Teach You Everything You Need To Know

7 Steps to Effective Direct Mail

Direct Mail Plus Email Improves ROI