I love the fresh start of a new year. In the direct mail industry, the year-end mailings are done, all those holiday closures are over, and we’re finally back to work – it’s a great time to focus.
I think it is a given that 2024 will be full of challenges and opportunities. The Postal Service’s constant rate increases are taking a toll on mail volume, and those higher prices come with dwindling service. The economy is a mystery – even more than usual. On the other hand, a hotly contested election and mail growth incentive promise to stimulate volume. Will it be enough to make up for the decreases we’ve seen so far? We’ll see…
To go along with a new year, here are six resolutions for your business:
- Focus on helping your clients get better responses more than just cutting costs. No one sends direct mail because it’s cheap. They send it because they are trying to raise funds or sell something. Of course, you want to help your customers minimize postage and processing costs, but you can only cut costs 100%, and that’s no way to run a business! Instead, work with your customers to boost response – the sky’s the limit on better response. Leverage the experience you have gained over the years. Read and learn everything you can about the strategic side of direct marketing. Become your customers’ partner in their success. They’ll value that more than $1.00 per thousand.
- Be an educational resource for your customers. Do at least a monthly newsletter that highlights what’s going on at the Postal Service and in the industry. There are a ton of easy to access resources. Share the SnailWorks Mail Traffic report. Share other interesting things you see and read. Remember it should be educational, so don’t always be selling. Well, I mean it’s always good to encourage them to “Contact Us.”
- Participate in a new USPS promotion this year. Of course, you’re going to do the Informed Delivery promotion, but stretch out a little this year and try some of the others. The Mobile Shopping promotion is fairly straightforward. So is the Tactile one – many of our clients were surprised at how easily the Postal Service OK’d their designs. This has the double bonus of saving your customers money AND improving their response rates. It’s worth the effort.
- Treasure your employees as much as you treasure your customers. The best ideas we get for new and enhanced products invariably come from employees and customers. Your team makes going to work every day a joy and can offer unique insights into the services your clients most value. That extends to machine operators, too. Years ago, one of my favorite bosses told me that with every pair of hands we hire, we get a free brain. Who else loves mail as much as you do?
- Get yourself some of that political work. Some of it will fall in your lap, but with some effort you can probably pull in some more. Political mailers want some organizational help and need instant turnaround. If you can do that, they’ll love you. And reward you.
- Track your mail. Every last piece of it. Do I really need to say this?
Do a couple of those and you’ll have a better year. If you’re already doing all of them, this is going to be a great year. As always, if we can help, you know what to do. Contact us.