Print or online mail? Try both!

When it comes to presenting a comprehensive and up to the minute guide to what you do and offer there's nothing to beat a website. Unlike print you can keep it constantly updated and it costs little if anything at all to add new products and content. The snag with a website is that all too often it can sit unnoticed unless you 'prod' potential customers to go and take a look. Naturally we'll work hard and smart with you to engineer a good position in the search engines but invariably you need to be proactive in finding other ways to channel traffic to your website. Social media or email campaigns are of course useful tools in spreading the word.

If you are thinking non-stop about e-marketing spare a thought for the 'p' word ... and remember the option of printed brochures and direct mail. In some regards print has slipped down the pecking order as we've all bought into the dream of the paperless office and low outlay 'e' marketing. But, probably because we're all using e-methods, end users are besieged by marketing approaches so achieving meaningful click-throughs is difficult. Perhaps now is a good time to re-consider printing and introduce a little more 'cross media' thinking. We have a number of customers doing just that, and finding that printed brochures can be very valuable in stimulating initial response.

Case study: The Playhouse Company

Richard Frost at The Playhouse Company has been targeting the schools sector with a number of brands and products under the Educational Play banner. Direct mailing has been at the heart of their marketing approach. Richard says,

"We wanted to make a quick impact, not least as a number of our products are unique so it was important to establish ourselves ahead of competitors. We use a mailing list we purchased, together with schools who have ordered or enquired. Every month we mail around 10% of schools across the country with offer-lead leaflets which are mailed by Orphans in envelopes and mailed at maximum postage discounts. Our experience is very positive and the costs of printing and mailing versus the sales we can attribute to the mailings stack up well. Our sales have increased by 116% year on year which we can almost entirely attribute to our mailings campaigns. Over time we expect the investment will deliver long term gain as most of our customers will purchase other products over the years. In parallel to the physical mailing we are also running regular email campaigns and we may find the skew between the two shifts in due course as schools gradually look forward to our emails!"

Playhouse Company mailing

Case study: Milton and Manor

Another customer who has utilised mailings is Kate Morris who runs Milton and Manor. Kate produces country homewares with her own fresh and modern designs and her business is centred on her e-commerce website (developed by Orphans). However, Kate also produces a seasonal brochure which is mailed to her expanding mailing list. She is convinced it plays an integral part in the growth of the business. Kate says,

"I know from what my customers tell me they look forward to the latest brochure landing in the post. It is then given pride of place on the kitchen table and the pages are well thumbed, not least by friends and family. The evidence is we get our products in front of more people this way and word of mouth recommendation is so important."

Milton & Manor Christmas 2012 mailing

In summary

The key to the use of print in mailings is to ensure tight targeting and to carefully monitor response. If the arithmetic looks positive you may just be able to benefit from the higher proportion of customers who will at least get chance to see what you are promoting!

Orphans on film

We are all for marketing initiatives promoting Herefordshire. We did have to think twice when it came to the notion of appearing on film though - we're quite a bashful bunch really. We finally overcame our trepidation and now we see the quality of the 'Behind the Door in Herefordshire' video (below) we are glad we did.

New website heads up the rankings

Fiona Davies from Woodlands Self Store has kindly shared her experience of making sure her site is well positioned in Google, an important objective when this newly set up business approached Orphans to develop the website. Here she explains what worked for them.

Mailmark accreditation for Orphans

A good number of our customers like us to mail out what we print for them. As much as anything it avoids the need to ship on to a mailing house. So over the years we have developed our service, from the purchase of automated envelope inserting machines and polywrap lines to address printers and software designed to maximise Royal Mail discounts for larger mailings.

Elan Exhibition - pulling it all together

The Elan Valley visitor centre had been missing a cornerstone of any popular attraction ... an Exhibition! It was nice then for us to be asked to put together the new exhibition, 'This is Elan'. This was a true team effort. Ruth Lloyd produced great content, researching the incredible history of the Elan Valley, not least the building of the dams and  the diversity of nature and wildlife.