How do I purchase a mailing list?
There are many services out there if you do not have a mailing list or if you would like to supplement the list you have. Accudata is a good source for lists that allow you to select by zip codes, income level, family status, profession and other criteria. You can test different scenarios before you purchase at www.acculeads.com.
For pilot specific lists, Aerodata is an outstanding source. Bill Culbertson is the contact and is very helpful in assessing your needs. He can be reached at 303-442-7244 or at email@example.com.
Cost for any list varies by the fields (or selectors) you choose. There may be a small initial charge of $35 or so and then a per 1000 rate after that. This usually starts in the $40 per thousand range for a base list, then can be anywhere from $2 to $30 per thousand for each additional field.
If you are going to be mailing to the same people more than once, make sure you order a multiple-use list. Services sometimes seed or place their name in a list purchased. If you buy a single use list and use it more than once, there is a chance you may get an unexpected additional charge in the mail for the extra uses.
When is it better to use a mailing service?
We recommend a mailing service (or lettershop) whenever you are mailing a large quantity (approximately 3,000 pieces and up), laser personalizing a piece or adding complexities such as inserts and multiple drops. While a lettershop has basic set-up charges, your savings on postage can offset that as the quantities get higher. By wafer sealing, bar-coding (automating) and sorting your piece, it is not unusual for a brochure to mail at 19¢ - 20¢ instead of the usual 37¢.
The downside to this is timing. By mailing at the presort standard rate, the post office usually delivers the piece in about 1 - 3 weeks. This would not be recommended if you have something that is time-sensitive. If you can plan ahead of time though, the savings can be dramatic. For example: Let's say you have a brochure you want mailed 3 times to 5,000 people. At the standard 37¢ rate, you would be spending $5,500 on postage. This does not even include all of the time it would take for you to label each piece. A lettershop would probably charge you a processing fee of about $275 for the list and about $42 per thousand to address each piece, wafer-seal it shut, sort it for the post office and mail it. From this, the service would charge you $905. But at 20¢ a piece to mail, your postage comes to $3,000. This gives you a total savings of $1595, not including the time you save.
Now let's say you need this piece to go first-class. You can't wait 2 weeks for delivery. It needs to be there as fast as a first-class stamp. The mailing service can do a presort first-class mailing just as easily. The postage rate on a piece such as a brochure will most likely be in the 27¢ - 29¢ range. So taking the same scenario above, your total price would be around $5,105. (Lettershop $905 + postage $4,200).
The other benefit of a lettershop is the customization. For very little charge, they can add teaser headlines with the addressee's name already worked in or laser personalize a letter with the recipients information worked into the body copy. All of this will aid your chances of closing a sale or getting a response from your piece.
If you are interested in finding out more, please give us a call or email or look in your local Yellow Pages under "mailing services".
Can images from a website be used in printed pieces?
Usually not. Image resolution is based on pixels per inch. Websites are set up a 72 pixels per inch which is fine for a monitor, but not for a printed piece. Most offset printers and designers recommend 300 pixels per inch on anything printed. To maintain quality, an image that is 4" across on your website (4" x 72 pixels = 288 pixels across) would be less than 1" across in a printed piece. While it could be fudged a little, you could never make it large enough without the printed piece looking very coarse.
What resolution should I set my digital camera for images to be used in printed pieces?
Whenever possible, use the highest and finest settings for your pictures. You can always size them down later, but you can't increase them once they are taken without tremendous loss of detail and focus. Your camera manual should give you a pixel size of each picture for the different settings. Usually the lowest setting will give you a picture of 640 x 460 pixels. This would be fine if you were using a shot for your website where resolution is only 72 pixels per inch. This would give you a web image of approximately 8 1/2" across (640 divided by 72 = 8.8"). If you intend to use the photo for print, it becomes more of a problem. Print recommendations are for 300 pixels per inch. Using the same formula above, you would have an image that is only a little over 2" across.
If your camera has a higher setting of 1800 x 1200 pixels, you now have an image for print that is 6" across. This can be resized for your website or sized down for your printed piece, if necessary, but at least you now have the flexibilty. If your camera can only hold a few of these larger images, purchasing a bigger memory card is a good investment and should only set you back $50 to $100.
What is the most important part of getting a direct mail response?
First and foremost, the list. Having a targeted list of potential prospects is the most important. Offering flight training to people afraid of heights would be a waste of your resources. It's critical that you are matching your piece to the right prospects. Mixed in with this is repetition. It takes multiple viewings before people register what your company does and what you are offering. In many cases, your response to two mailings of 50,000 each will be greater than one mailing of 100,000.
Number two is the offer. Even if you are reaching the people you are after, you have to have something they want. A discount or a time sensitive free offer that forces the reader to be proactive or take a "call to action" will get a better response. Keep the offer simple. The attention span with direct mail is very short. The more complicated the offer, the more likely it will be discarded.
Number three is layout. Is the piece easy enough to understand? Do the colors and layout stand out from the rest? Visually, black and yellow combinations stand out best to the human eye, but if you receive many pieces like that, it becomes camouflaged in your mailbox. Knowing the characteristics of your market and gearing your direct mail accordingly will help you achieve the desired effect.
Why does my bright blue logo on my website look duller on my printed pieces?
Colors on your website are created out of red, green and blue (RGB) which are a rich and vibrant palette. Full-color printed pieces are usually made up of cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). This conversion changes the look of colors. Some more than others. While darker colors and some families such as blues are close, others such as oranges and pastels just can not be achieved in the CMYK process without a dulling effect. The best option is to do a 5th spot color that will match it exactly but can add expense to your project. This may also force your printer to go to a larger press which could also add a bit more. The alternative is to talk to your printer or purchase a Pantone Solid to Process Guide BEFORE you choose your colors to eliminate unwanted surprises.
Why is it so expensive for a small quantity of brochures?
The bulk of the cost is with the printer and prepping the digital files and setting up the press to run a job. Once the job is on press, most of the cost is just the paper. We tell customers if there is a chance you can use them, order as many pieces as you think you may possibly need. To put a job back on press, even if it is an exact reprint, doesn't save you much in the long run. On many jobs, up to 80% of the cost we charge goes directly to our printer. That is money we would rather see you keep.
Can I change the size of my brochure or flyer?
We can work with you to modify any format. All designs are set up to be the maximum size on a press sheet while retaining cost efficiency. If you want to resize one design to the size of another brochure/flyer template, we can do that very easily. If you need another size that creates a lot of waste on the press, there would be an upcharge for paper usage. Of course, no additional charge would be run without your approval. In many cases, we are able to modify your size specifications to efficiency meet your print needs without any additional cost.
Where can I go to get a domain name for my business?
There are many places on the Web to get your domain name. Since it really isn't a quality issue, www.godaddy.com is the most economical. Most domains are $7.95 per year or less. It was the best deal I could find.
I need a website developed but don't have the resources to hire a web designer. Is there an alternative?
There are many sites that sell templates as a starting point, but you need a basic understanding of code. If you have no experience designing a website, www.godaddy.com and www.effortlesswebsites.com may be the best solution. GoDaddy prices range from $4.95 - $12.95 per month based on the number of pages. This would be the better choice if you have a relatively simple site. If you would like a little more complexity such as a shopping cart or more interactivity, Effortless Websites is excellent. It is a lot of work if you're coming in cold, but it's very flexible as to how much you can customize it. The "help" pages are very clear and the live help is very responsive. The nice thing is you can set up your basic site and add components as your business develops. The price for this is $19.95 per month.
Are the pay-per-click and "hit" purchases worthwhile for traffic?
If you use targeted keywords to get the most qualified traffic, it makes sense. It comes down to how much you can afford per click and the number of clicks you need to close a sale to decide if it's worthwhile. Another option is a "hits" service. Here you can buy hits in bulk. Your webpage gets tagged to banner ads throughout the web. The upside is that they are quite inexpensive (about $10 - $12 for 10,000 hits) and a viewer has to click on your banner to register. The downside is that they go all over the world. The bulk of these hits may come from China or Russia. Fewer than 10% may be from North America. If you just need quantity, this is a fine way to go. On some sites such as buyhitscheap.com, you can target the region and country you want. These hits are more expensive (about $45 for 10,000), but you may end up with a more qualified hit list in the end.