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Does Your Direct Mail Have Grit?

Direct mail is not an easy marketing channel to do right the first time. It takes persistence and perseverance to get the results you want. Angela Duckworth has written a book called “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.” This book has many great takeaways for how we can improve our lives, but it is also very applicable to direct mail marketing. Grit means committing to make things better, not waiting to see if it gets better. Grit takes control of a situation and makes things happen. So how can we apply this to direct mail?

When you consistently look for ways to change your direct mail for the better, you are more likely to find them and make them work.
When faced with a direct mail failure, identify the problem, fix it, and try harder next time.
Continue to innovate and change your direct mail formats.
Be open to all possibilities and the good parts of change.

How can you accomplish these ideas? Ask yourself the following questions:

What can I do differently this time?
Is this the right color, right message, right offer?
What ways can people respond, do I need to change them or add more?
How is my list doing? Do I need to refresh it?
Who can help me? Someone on my team, an expert I can reach out to?

Direct mail strategy meetings can be a great way to generate ideas from your team. Ask them to come to the meeting with some sample mailers that they have received in the mail. Keep in mind that you have to try hard things — they push you to do better than you thought you could. They help you grow and create better direct mail. The more you try them the better you will get. As you make changes and try new things, you should test them on only a segment of your list at a time. This A/B test will allow you to see if the changes you have made gave you a better result. After all, the results are what matter. A bad result is not a failure, but an opportunity to change what you are doing and make it better next time. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” Along the way, you also find what does work — do not get discouraged; have grit.

Remember to strive against conforming to direct mail norms. Stand out proudly as something special. Of course, you do need to keep postal regulations in mind so that you are not spending extra on postage. Even with the regulations, you can create fun direct mail that stands out. The more determined and persistent you are in your direct mail marketing, the better your results are going to be. You don’t just will it to happen, you make it happen through relentless testing and change. That is having grit in your direct mail marketing. That is how you have success.

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Create a Compelling Direct Mail Moment

In order to be as effective as possible, your direct mail needs to be compelling. There are several factors involved with this. You need to send to a list of people who will be interested in your product or service — targeting to well-qualified people will make your offer more compelling to them. You need a good relevant offer and finally you need a good attention getting design. For now, let’s assume you have a good list so that we can focus on your design and messaging.

When you create and send direct mail to prospects and customers, you are creating a conversation with them. You get to control the message. So as you consider what your message is going to say, here are a few things to consider:

Decisions: Are you clearly stating the benefits your prospect and customers will get by purchasing your product or service? Write your messaging from their point of view — what is in it for them? They will be making judgments about your product or service quickly, so you need to have them fall in your favor.
Layout: Do not overcrowd your message. Be clear and concise. Use bullet points, bold key information and vary the font sizes you use. Keep white space in your design to give a calmer feel. Too much copy and imagery too close together is overwhelming.
Interpretation: People interpret your messaging differently based on their life experiences. It is best practice to have your messaging read by a variety of people to see how they interpret the meaning of what you are trying to say. You may be surprised that the message you thought was so clear is not.

Now you are ready to tackle the design. The first decision is what format you want to use. Do you want a postcard, self-mailer or a letter in and envelope? They can all be effective when done correctly. To make your postcard or self-mailer compelling, you need to consider more than if you use a letter. Consider the following things:

Images: You need to select images that convey your message and draw attention. Emotions are very important. The right images can enhance the appeal of your direct mail piece. They are the first thing people see when they look at your mail piece.
Colors: You need to select colors that create the feeling you wish to convey. Really take the time to plan out your color pallet. Colors have meaning, so make sure yours mean the right thing. Want more information on the meaning of colors? Check out this article.
Fonts: Choose fonts that are easy to read and set the mood. The sizes matter as well as the format. Consider your audience before choosing. Larger fonts for older people really do help get your mail read. We do not recommend super script fonts. They are hard to read. Make it easy for people to understand.

Compelling direct mail is really well planned. You know your audience, you know your message and you know your design are all aligned to bring you the best results. Focusing on the perspective of your audience will drive response. One thing we did not talk about is the offer/call to action. Create your offer as a special onetime thing. Give it an expiration and an exclusivity that is only for a select few. Be very clear on how they can respond to get the offer and provide multiple ways such as web pages, phone numbers, email and more. Are you ready to create the most compelling direct mail ever?

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Worry Free Direct Mail Marketing Services

Direct mail marketing is a tried-and-true marketing channel. It's been around since before we were all born and there's a reason smart companies like Google and Apple still use direct mail. It still produces fantastic results today.
Direct Mail Delivers Your Message Directly to Your Audience

Have you ever used a coupon you received in the mail? Have you ever signed up for insurance or a credit card after getting a letter? Sure you have! We all have. It's because direct mail works.

Direct mail works when the message, timing, offer, and audience are right.
There's a Proven Process

- Goals, Budget, and Timeline
- Identify Your Perfect Audience and Customer
- Design the Campaign - great design helps you achieve your campaign goals and elicit a respons
- Print and Mail - quality printing and mailing experts that can save you on postage and get your mail through the post office without any troubles
- Response Tracking and Follow Up
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Coupon Marketing – The ultimate guide for small to medium businesses

Coupons are an effective way to attract new or existing customers for your business. There are various ways a business can distribute and market coupons. They can be distributed via TV ads and radio; but these ways can be costly especially for a small business owner. However, with advanced technology, advertising a business has become a lot easier and cost effective; such as placing advertisements in newspapers, magazines or on the web.

Coupon marketing isn’t just a method to satisfy the deal hunters in your life. It’s an imperative method to drive new customers to your business.

Before you dive in the world of online coupon service providers to create coupons for your business, you need to understand the goal of coupon advertising.

Are you striving to draw in new customers or retain the existing ones? Coupons enable you to be more specific, unlike a sale where you mark down your products for everyone. They allow you to target a particular group of customers, competitors, events and products.

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Let's have a look at the most common coupon marketing goals:

To remain in the competition
At times, coupon marketing is simply mandatory. Online stores usually need coupons to remain in the competition with giants like Amazon and eBay. However, for businesses like a pizzeria, users might just expect to find coupons in the deal booklet or a local newspaper.

To foster existing customers to buy more
Providing occasional discounts can foster your existing customers to buy more from you. The biggest advantage of offering coupons to them is that they are usually motivated by small discounts.

To draw new customers
Well, this is the most common reason to create, distribute and market coupons. Offering a heavy discount certainly bring new customers through your door, or to your website. Businesses often risk attracting deal hunters with no intent of becoming consistent customers and thus they risk losing money from existing customers.

Thanks to the internet and coupon creating services, it has become relatively easy to design your own business coupons. They should always be exclusively designed considering the interest of the targeted customer. ImWithBob outlines helpful guidelines for effective couponing. Also, they must always include an expiration date. These dates are added to give customers a sense of urgency. If the coupon is valid for months, the customer is more likely to forget about it. Businesses are advised to use specific and bold headlines and always have your brand logo somewhere on the coupon. Never clutter or cram the information, and images are always an amazing addition.

Then, after its expiration, businesses can employ an analytic tool to find out how that coupon performed.
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Top 35 Coupon Advertising Ideas From the Pros - Part 4.

31. Postcard Marketing

We wrote up a guide to postcard marketing not too long ago. Although the slant of this article was on real estate, you can easily parlay any type of coupon into postcard marketing. The benefit of using postcards is that customers don’t need to open it–all information is readily available.
31. Postcard Marketing

We wrote up a guide to postcard marketing not too long ago. Although the slant of this article was on real estate, you can easily parlay any type of coupon into postcard marketing. The benefit of using postcards is that customers don’t need to open it–all information is readily available.
33. Niche magazines

Can you business gain exposure by placing a coupon in the advertisement section of a magazine in your niche? If so, don’t hesitate to do so. Although you may be a local business, you may be able to sell remotely, or at least build awareness of your company so that your potential customers can know that you exist.
34. Red Plum

Red Plum is a coupon service that’s available online, in your mailbox, in the newspaper, or online. You may recognize it as a coupon circular. It often has brands like Suave, Hawaiian Tropic and Degree.
35. SmartSource

Very similar to Red Plum, Smartsource is also a coupon service. You can advertise with both, but Red Plum and Smartsource are fiercely competitive and may not allow you to place coupons in both simultaneously.

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Top 35 Coupon Advertising Ideas From the Pros - Part 3.

21. Facebook

With Facebook, you can increase your likes while providing a coupon. There’s several apps that can help you create a coupon on Facebook. Try apps such as Woobox or AgoraPulse Facebook Coupon App.
22. Twitter

Use Twitter to make quick posts, like flash coupons, for your products or services. If you have an active customer base who’s on social media, they will jump at the chance to buy from you at a discounted rate.
23. CouponCabin

CouponCabin is similar to RetailMeNot. It allows users to hunt for promotional codes, and also search by sales.
24. On Your Website / Lightbox

Use your own website to promote your coupons. Customers check out your website for many different reasons–they want to know more about your business, they want to read reviews, they want to understand your product, or they want to find a discount. Add a discount with an opt-in lightbox. There’s different ways to do this, but check out Kyla’s tutorial on OptinMonster.
25. Mobile Coupons

Ashley Eckel has a very useful article about how to create a successful mobile coupon campaign. It’s important to diversify your coupon advertising. Study this article to find out how to create the highest engagement.
26. Postcards

If you don’t want to share ad-space with other businesses, you can send coupons yourself with a direct mailing service. We highly recommend PsPrint‘s Direct Mail Postcards. Not sure who you’d mail it to? No mailing list is required with PsPrint, simply enter the address or zipcode for your desired neighborhood and they’ll send your postcard to every door. You can narrow down by location, age, and other factors, like hobbies and interests.

For more about this option, check out our guide Best Direct Mail Service: VistaPrint vs. PSPrint vs. EDDM.
27. Local Newspaper

Tom Egelhoff offers insightful information on how to place a small town newspaper ad. Even if you live in a big city, you should probably stick with smaller publications that cater to your core demographic. Most communities have a local newspaper. Place an ad with a coupon for maximum
28. Valpak

Valpak is a direct marketing service that sends coupons and ads through the postal service. The coupons come together in a blue envelope, and usually feature local businesses. Prices vary depending on the scope of the campaign, but a minimum of 10,000 houses is required. Expect to pay between $150 to $400 per campaign.
29. Flyers

We’ve talked extensively about flyers before. Flyers are a direct way of sharing your coupons with customers. You are literally handing them a coupon. Whether the flyer is only a collection of coupons, or if you’re sharing information about your business and adding a coupon as an incentive at the bottom, flyers are effective at evangelism.

Remember to add a special code for your coupons, so that you can note the source when the coupons return to you.
30. Pizza Box Advertising

Want to put your message straight into your target’s hands? How about on top of a steaming hot pizza pie? The best part is they’ll see your ad every time they grab a slice. Pizza box ads are reliable and highly effective, making them a great way to advertise your business.

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Top 35 Coupon Advertising Ideas From the Pros - Part 2.

11. Bring Them Back with a Double Offer

Chris Fehrmann, G/O Digital Marketing

If a customer found you through an offer, research shows that they’re likely more loyal to their pocketbooks instead of your business, and will search for more offers in the future. To curb this behavior, you can create a double offer. A double offer is a secondary offer that compliments the first. Ask yourself the same questions you did for the first offer, but also ask yourself what you would want after that first service. By answering that question successfully, you’ll be on the right track to double up your offers for greater business – and start converting deal aficionados into a loyal customers.
12. Advertise Your Coupon on Facebook with Waymark

Most of your customers are already on Facebook every day. That built-in audience makes Facebook one of the best ways to reach new customers. It’s easy to create an ad – just put in your phone number and Waymark will create an amazing looking ad in seconds. Try it now.
13. Use Bing and get a free $100 advertising coupon when you spend $25

Bing is the second largest search engine in the world and can drive a lot of traffic to your business. Because most advertisers are focused on Google, you may also be able to acquire clients on Bing at a lower cost. Try Bing Ads Today With a Free $100 Ads Coupon when you spend $25.

This billion dollar startup is highly influential in the marketplace. If you want to reach frugal-minded consumers, you must have a local presence on This company allows you to advertise your business via printable coupon. Coupons are one time use, with a maximum print out of two coupons per computer. You can definitely control quantity with this service.
15. Email Newsletter

Creating a newsletter is a must for small businesses. It keeps you relevant. When sending out your newsletter, why not include a coupon? It a wonderful incentive for your core customer-base. It doesn’t have to be a significantly high amount (stay around 10%), and it may not even be used, but it will inform the customer that you provide discounts, and they will be more likely to look out for a discount in the future.

Check out Mailchimp, our recommended email marketing program, which includes tools to create and automatically send coupons to customers.
16. Groupon

As a typical consumer, chances are you’ve purchased a Groupon in the last 12 months. If you haven’t purchased, you’ve at least considered the option. Group can have a tremendous impact on small businesses, but it’s important to execute your strategy carefully. If you’re considering this route, check out our Ultimate Guide to Groupon for Businesses which explains costs and effective Groupon strategies for small businesses.
17. LivingSocial

LivingSocial is a deal of the day site and is very similar to Groupon. While the two are competitors, many customers shop on both. It may be beneficial to alternate between both and find out which one brings you the most loyal and compatible customers.
18. Yelp for Business

Use Yelp Deals to create coupon advertisements on Yelp. You offer a discount, typically around 50% off. Yelp takes 30% off of the purchase price, and you get the rest. It’s similar to the Groupon model, except Yelp leaves you with a greater profit.
19. Angie’s List

Similar to Yelp, Angie’s List allows businesses to create coupons. When a customer makes a search, coupons appear at the top of the results. Angie’s List is an especially good choice for service-based industries like home repair and medical practices, as this tends to be their specialty. For more information, check out our guide How to Use Angie’s List: Advertising Costs and More.
20. RetailMeNot

RetailMeNot is a huge digital coupon marketplace. Unlike the other websites we’ve listed so far, RetailMeNot is not typically used for local searches. Instead, it’s used by retail chains and websites (big & small) to share coupon codes. A fun thing about RetailMeNot is that users can directly add coupon codes to the site.

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Top 35 Coupon Advertising Ideas From the Pros - Part 2.

Whether you’re a restaurant, ecommerce site or plumber, starting coupon campaign can be a major step towards building a loyal customer base. For this guide, we asked experts to share their best coupon advertising ideas. We also uncover the best places to promote your coupons, including both online and offline options.

Want to make sure you’re showing up in local search results? Click here for a free scan from Synup to see how your business is doing on the most important local directories, search engines, and review sites.
1. Use LocalSaver to see what’s popular in your industry

See what the most common coupons are for businesses in your industry. When you sign up for a free account with LocalSaver, they show you 3 popular deals. You can launch coupons on popular websites through LocalSaver, or just use the ideas as inspiration. Follow this link to sign up, or read our guide for more information on LocalSaver.
2. Run the numbers to find the optimal discount

Sherry Holub, JV Media Design

The first thing I recommend small businesses do is run the numbers. That is, make sure you won’t actually lose money with the offer. Lower offers, such as 10% might be better suited to rewarding existing customers, but may not be enough to entice new customers. What would be an offer that would benefit them or drive them to want to walk through the door/go to the website and make a purchase? 2 for 1 coupons are great for businesses like restaurants or entertainment venues (as long as the business is still making money by giving one away for free).
3. Research your loyal customers

Lisa Chu, BlackNBianco

Coupons and discounts has a tendency to attract one time customers looking for a great deal. It’s best to avoid their voices when you write a business marketing plan as they will drive down your prices and not be a repeat customer. On the other hand offering coupons for repeat customers is a great way to build an authentic relationship with your customers and keep your profit margins healthy.
4. Let them spend it however they want

Mike Catania,

A good coupon is a site-wide offer. 3% off your total order is going to vastly outperform a product-specific offer, even if it’s marked down to 50%. Consumers want to feel like you’re accommodating them and the best way to do that is to provide a deal where they have some flexibility.
5. Write coupons that people click

Jeremy Levi,

10% gets looked at, 15% sounds good, 20% and up will get people to stop what they’re doing and open your email. I hate when people don’t put the offer in the headline of the email or promotion and make people dig. It frustrates buyers and you lose them; get straight to the point and don’t beat around the bush.
6. Focus on getting customers through the door

AJ Saleem, Suprex Learning

The most expensive part of my business is actually getting the customer (retaining customers is a lot easier.) The coupon offer that I have been using for my company is a FREE hour of tutoring; this offer tempts a customer to come into my business because of no risks but at the same time allows me to gain their business. This method has been getting around a 80% retention rate after a customer uses the coupon as opposed to a 65% retention rate from customers that find me off of the internet.
7. The More Information The Better

Tim Rich

You’ll obviously want to include your logo, but never presume your customer or client can connect the dots. The more information, the better. So tell them your company name, logo, address, website, email address, phone number, and EVEN directions to your premises.
8. Don’t Forget the Expiration Date!

Mike Catania,

If you’re going to submit your coupon online, be absolutely sure to include an expiration date. Some coupon sites are notorious for not pulling down expired offers so include the expiration date in the description as well as the expiration date field.
9. Split-test Your Coupons

Chris Barr, Every Door Direct Mail

To get the most out of coupons, you have to constantly split-test your offers. Split-testing is the process of distributing multiple offers to the same target audience, and gathering data about coupon redemption rates (sales). For example, if you distribute a flyer with (4) unique coupons, you may find that one particular coupon generates 75% of the sales. Once you identify a winner it becomes your control coupon. From there, you should continue split-testing until you beat your control. Rinse and repeat.
10. Use Coupons to Convince Hesitant Customers

Brian Stumbaugh, Barefoot Solutions

We’ve seen the most coupon advertising success by pushing out the coupons via retargeting email, Facebook Ads, and Google Adwords campaigns. We identify customers that have abandoned carts or filled out forms partially without submitting, and then target Facebook and Google Adwords ads to those customers as well as sending them an exclusive offer via email. We’ve seen promising conversion rates via those channels with customers that otherwise would have been lost leads or sales.

For more information, check out our guide to Setting Up a Facebook Ad Retargeting Campaign.

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Coupon advertising in the Colorado Springs and Denver area is a great way for furniture companies to promote their new products. Here's what Cushion World had to say about Quality Connections.

Wow! Having been in retailing for the past 35 years, I can’t recall ever seeing the response we’ve received from our ads with Quality Connections
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Coupon marketing in the Colorado Springs and Denver area is a great way to promote your burger restaurant. Here's what Fat Burger had to say about Quality Connections.

"Many new customers every mail out. Quality Connections has done a great job… very professional… the highest quality".
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