Articles

Advice on using Royal Mail Bulk Mail services for maximum postage discounts

Royal Mail Advertising Mail and Business Mail Low Sort and High Sort services. There are some excellent postal discounts that can be achieved by using Royal Mail Bulk Mail (Mailsort) services. To achieve sizeable postal discounts, CPM pre-sort mail before presenting to Royal Mail. There are two levels of sortation, known as Low sort and High sort. Mailings sorted to Low Sort level are sorted into 88 selection areas. High Sort mailings are sorted into 1525 selection areas. Sophisticated software is necessary to assign a selection area to each record in your database. This software also produces the computer planning report and list of selection areas (line listing) as required by Royal Mail. Letters for each selection area are all placed into the same bag or tray for distribution to the correct delivery office. Your mailing house can mail via your own bulk mail account if you have one or will mail via their own account. Payment for postage is usually required prior to despatch as postage costs are passed on at cost. Choosing the correct Royal Mail Bulk Mail (Mailsort) service There are two main categories of mail service as follows: Advertising Mail is used for mailings which promote a product or service. Business mail is used for other types of communication such as change of address notifications, invoices, statements etc. There are several different services available within each of these categories as follows: Low Sort OCR – A machine readable service, prepared to stringent Royal Mail guidelines so that it can be read by Royal Mail’s sorting machines. (Available for letters up to 100g and large letters... read more

What is Mailsort?

So What is Mailsort? Royal Mail Mailsort (often now called Low Sort or High Sort) is a discount postal service offered by Royal Mail on bulk mailings. Centreprint Print & Mail take your mailing name and address data and sort it carefully into Royal Mail selection areas. This means that when we pack your letters, we Mailsort the letters into these areas and put each delivery area into separate mail bags or trays. This saves Royal Mail a lot of work, as the mail is pre-sorted for them, ready for local delivery. In return, Royal Mail give us up to 40% discount on the postage cost. Mailsort reduces postage costs by 40% or more and is a vital part of making your mailing a success. Do I get all the Royal Mail Mailsort discount? Yes. Centreprint pass on ALL the discount that Royal Mail offer on your Mailsort postage. We also offer FREE direct mail planning, including a full and complete explanation of “What is Mailsort”. The cost of Direct mail services can be minimised with careful planning. It is well worthing asking “What is Mailsort“ as our advice is FREE. Planning your next mailing is very important as Centreprint not only answer the “What is Mailsort” question, but also offer advice on the whole project. From design and print, envelope supply through to direct mail fulfilment – we will handle the whole project – quickly and efficiently. For help and advice on your mailing project please call 01902 402693 or fill in our enquiry form. Some planning now could save you a lot of... read more

Case history number three: Business promotion

Brian runs a highly successful health club in the south of England. Although already very successful, there is a high turnover of members in health and fitness clubs, so new clients are constantly needed. Brian decided that he needed a steady flow of new members and took the trouble to research his target market carefully and to aim at the right sort of affluent areas. After careful research, Brian used his business promotion budget wisely by booking a twelve month leaflet distribution campaign with Royal Mail, spreading his budget over quite a wide area of affluent homes. He then ordered well designed leaflets from a specialist print company and made sure that they could be trusted to always deliver just the right amount for each monthly delivery campaign, direct to the Royal Mail distribution centre. In this way, the promotion was almost effortless. Royal Mail distribute leaflets, with the mail, using their reliable post men and women, who have the integrity to ensure that each leaflet goes where it should go. No database is required, just an agreed list of post code areas. The advantage of having Royal mail deliver the leaflets is that, unlike the local free newspaper, they guarantee to deliver accurately, at the same time as the mail is delivered. Sadly, newspaper and freesheets, although offering cheaper distribution, are not as reliable as Royal Mail. We have even heard cases of bundles of leaflets being found behind hedges and in litter bins. Brian is now also targeting lapsed members from his database, using personalised mailings sent by a reliable mailing company. All he does is send... read more

Case history number two: Targeted business promotion

This case involves a successful loan company. They had been trading for many years and were doing well, but the MD of the company had always felt that he could be doing better. He advertised in the daily papers and his staff manned the phones until 9 pm, seven days a week, taking the enquiries. Generally, they were doing everything right, but the MD had the brilliant idea to try direct mail as well. His first step was to get a data expert to trawl through his past enquiries, find all those that were over six months old. He then got the mailing company to send personalised laser printed letters, direct to these past enquiries and ask if they were interested in a loan. Extra business flowed in from these previous enquiries, so the MD continued to the next step. He sourced some suitable names and addresses of people who may be looking for a loan or a second mortgage, from a specialist data rental company and got his mailing company to send personalised letters to these people as well. More business flowed in. By steadily mailing out more and more targeted letters each month, the MD has made very good growth to his company and can turn the enquiries on and off, like a tap. He can expand just as fast as he wishes, or slow the flow of enquiries during staff holidays etc. He is now considering using the power of reward, by giving a printed pad and pen, mug, pocket knife or calculator to his enquiries and a larger business gift upon completion of the loan... read more

Case history number one: Targeted business promotion

Ian bought a very expensive lease from his local brewery and became the proud landlord of a village pub. Although the pub had been there for many years, trade was rather poor as the previous landlord had not bothered to serve any food and had relied on the wet sales alone, which seems to be in decline. Heavy drinking is not very fashionable or health orientated these days, so Ian decided to offer delicious home-cooked food as well. He and his wife revamped the kitchen, had a very nice menu printed and waited for the customers to pour in. A few locals tried the meals and enjoyed them, but most of the time, Ian’s poor wife was standing about in the kitchen, twiddling her thumbs. Eventually Ian approached his local newspaper and booked a very expensive series of adverts, aimed at local people. The trouble was, the newspaper circulation are was very large, so he was paying to advertise to areas well way from his hostelry. There are thousand of pubs in all areas, so not many people will travel very far to eat out, however good the food. Alan and his poor wife waited and waited and although a few new customers did try the meals, the cost of the adverts far outweighed the profit on the meals. Luckily, one of Ian’s customer had some experience of business promotion and advised Ian on a course of action. He pointed out that less than a mile away, there was a very large, modern housing estate, containing about ten thousand private houses. Ian plucked up his courage, knocked on a... read more

Targeted Business Promotion

Busines Promotion – How to make your business stand out from the crowd with direct mail An article on the merits of using TARGETED BUSINESS PROMOTION, using a combination of advertising in one way or another, leaflet distribution and (most successful of all, for many) direct mail. We all have to buy our customers, one way or another, so which way is the best value? Increasing business Whatever business you are in, you will usually be looking to increase the amount of customers or clients that you have, by business promotion and branding. Most people in business find it fairly easy to actually supply or produce the product or service that they are offering, but many find it quite difficult to get enough people to buy it. This is where branding and promotion come into play. Business does not come from nowhere – you have to go and get it. Business promotion The obvious answer then, is to promote your business. To get your products or services in front of potential customers and to persuade them to buy. Whether you are a multi million corporation or a one man shoe repairer, your difficulty remains the same. How to get extra business without spending more actually getting the business than you will earn from it. All businesses have to buy their custom, in one way or another. Coca-Cola do it by spending millions on brand promotion. W H Smith do it by being in the right place – the High Street or shopping centre. B & Q spend millions on national newspaper and television advertising. Currys, Argos, Homebase, Morrisons and... read more

Direct Mail Advice Guide

Direct Mail Advice Guide – An introduction to the basics Direct mail is a form of advertising which, when done correctly, is a highly cost effective way of gaining new business or servicing the customers that you already have. This direct mail advice guide explains the basics of direct mail. Direct mail has many applications. Use it as a selling tool, to find and convert sales prospects, to distribute price lists, samples or newsletters and to encourage repeat business from existing customers. It is easy to measure the effectiveness of direct mail and many very highly successful businesses have been built upon it. At its best, direct mail is a highly targeted mailing piece, posted only to the correct address of people who are receptive to buying your product or service. If however, your offer is sent to the wrong group of people, or to an incomplete or incorrect address, it is then just junk mail. A waste of your time and advertising budget. The best direct mail should be welcomed by the recipient. What is junk mail? An example of junk mail would be if a company sent a nicely produced, glossy leaflet on their range of UPVC conservatories – to someone who lives in a multi-story flat! Your mailing is only as good as the address that it is sent to, so make sure that you use a good mailing list. If you send a fishing tackle brochure to a keen fisherman, he will be delighted to receive it. If you send the same brochure to a fishing enthusiast, it will go straight in the bin. Identify... read more

Using printed noted pads for business promotion and as conference pads

Printed note pads and printed conference pads Printed note pads and printed conference pads are a universally popular way to promote almost any business. They are inexpensive, easy to order and highly cost effective. The pads are always welcomed and will carry your message and contact details over a considerable period of time. Printed note pads are also commonly used as conference pads – given away to delegates to use at the conference and afterwards. Order inexpensive pads online The recent massive increases in the cost of newspaper, magazine, radio and television advertising means that more and more companies are looking for an efficient way of subliminally keeping their message in front of prospects and customers, without huge expense. Combined with direct mail, printed note pads are an inexpensive and efficient sales tool, as well as being seen as a reward for loyalty by existing customers. As well as small and medium sized pads, A3 desk pads are available with a calendar strip running along the bottom. These pads are glued along the bottom edge to minimise curling and provide an excellent surface for note-taking and doodling, both of which are keeping the message and contact details in front of the user at all times. A novel addition to the printed pad idea is the printed mouse mat pad. This clever pad looks like a conventional mouse mat, with rounded corners, yet has 50 tear-off sheets, so may be used for note taking as well. Consider the following: Everyone likes a free gift – however small. Your gift will NEVER be thrown away, just slowly used up. Pads are... read more

Writing a Successful Direct Mail Sales Letter

Useful advice on writing a powerful and successful direct mail sales letter Your successful direct mail sales letter is your salesman (or saleswoman). Just as you would not send a scruffy and badly informed sales person to see a valuable prospect, make sure that your direct mail sales letter presents an image that you would be proud of. The following direct mail advice can help make your mailing a success. Please remember that a successful direct mail sales letter is (or should appear to be) a very personal item. Although you may well be very aware that you are sending many thousands of letters, the recipient should feel that you have written just to them. Every mailer or letter should be personalised as much as possible, with their name and perhaps job title. Remember, a letter, or at least an envelope, that is not personalised is just a leaflet. Everything about your letter should make them feel that you are interested just in them. Ideally, you should appear to care about them, about their wishes, their likes and dislikes and their value to your company. Write a short and to the point letter. You have to gain your prospect’s attention immediately. Don’t waffle and ramble on about your company and how much you love it. Use a headline stating the facts that apply to your propect and what is in it for them. They really don’t care about you! Put your best offer first – in the headline. Use the word “You”. Try not to use “we”, “our” or “us”. Remember, they only care about themselves, not you or... read more

Direct Mail Advice – Printed Postage Impressions

Advice on using Royal Mail Printed Postage Impressions (PPIs) for Direct Mail This page will tell you all you need to know about using Printed Postage Impressions (PPIs). Before you go through the process of opening an account, changing your internal systems, passing accreditations etc, why not challenge us to cut the cost of your mailing activity whilst handling the print, personalisation, fulfilment, mailsorting and despatch? We can often print, personalise enclose and post your mail, at lower cost than you currently pay for franking or stamps. Please feel free to contact us for a quote. Why not challenge us to cut the cost of your direct mail activity?   Using a Royal Mail Printed Postage Impression (PPI) for Direct Mail and Business Mail. All letters or packages delivered by Royal Mail must have an indication that the postage has been paid. Individual letters or packages posted in small quantities will have a postage stamp or a franking label attached. For larger volumes, however, a Printed Postage Impression is printed onto the outer envelope to indicate that postage has been paid. The PPI has two functions. To show that postage has been paid on the mail. To identify which postal account the mail has been posted through. The PPI usually appears in the top right hand corner of the envelope. You will notice that there is a PPI on most pieces of mail which come through your door. Have a look at the envelope your next bank statement comes in. PPIs have two main advantages over stamps or franking. Printed Postage Impressions are much more efficient (and cheaper) to apply... read more

Advice on using Business Reply Cards and other Reply Elements in Direct Mail

Business Reply Cards and Business Reply Slips are known as Reply Elements A business reply element is a very important part of your mailing. To be effective, your mailing must include a call to action at the end of it and the business reply element is the means of reply. The reply element may be a business reply paid envelope, a pre-paid business reply card or a printed and personalised order form. It may even be a request for your prospect to make a simple telephone call. For example, “Ring me today on 01234-56789 with your credit card details and we’ll despatch your gift same day” If you do need your responder to telephone you, don’t rely on them finding the number on your letterhead or sales literature. Always make it easy for them by putting the whole telephone number (including the dialing code) in your call to action here is ours. Business Reply Cards are better than a telephone call If at all possible, avoid the telephone call route. Use a printed reply element instead. People much prefer to pop something in the post than to use the telephone. Many older consumers still totally avoid the telephone if they can. Include your web site address and e-mail address if you have one (and if you have not got a web site and e-mail address, get one now). All reply elements are useful, but the advantage of a written response from a business reply card or in a business reply envelope is that your respondent will happily give their full address – critical for your mailing list. Please fill... read more

Saving money on direct mail

Advice on saving money on direct mail mailshots by careful planning A pound saved is a pound earned. Very few mailings or mailshots make such a vast amount of money that the cost of the mailing is unimportant. Every penny spent on a direct mail campaign should be carefully planned for maximum effect. Direct mail mailshots, if handled carefully, is an extremely efficient form of marketing. Saving money on direct mail is critical to your success. Most people who send successful mailings have remembered the following points. Save money on direct mail mailshots by: Careful targeting. It is critical that your mailing lands on the right doormat. Your job is to minimise the number of mailings that go straight in the bin. Your mailing should only go to people who will be potentially interested in your product or service. If you are offering credit cards or loans, that may be almost anyone. If you sell cake decorating supplies, very few men (or younger women) would be interested in your products. So do not mail to them. You can target even closer. Readers of a magazine called “Sugarcraft” would almost all be interested in your products. The secret of careful targeting is in using the right mailing list. Use the correct method of posting. Mailings of 4000 or over (1000 for larger packets) can utilise the Mailsort 700 service. With clean data, postage discounts of up to 27% are available. You need to talk to a professional mailing house such as Data Consultants about this. Their charges to clean and Mailsort your list will always be less than the savings... read more

Advice on using Royal Mail Bulk Mail services for maximum postage discounts

Royal Mail Advertising Mail and Business Mail Low Sort and High Sort services There are some excellent postal discounts that can be achieved by using Royal Mail Bulk Mail (Mailsort) services. To achieve sizeable postal discounts, CPM pre-sort mail before presenting to Royal Mail. There are two levels of sortation, known as Low sort and High sort. Mailings sorted to Low Sort level are sorted into 88 selection areas. High Sort mailings are sorted into 1525 selection areas. Sophisticated software is necessary to assign a selection area to each record in your database. This software also produces the computer planning report and list of selection areas (line listing) as required by Royal Mail. Letters for each selection area are all placed into the same bag or tray for distribution to the correct delivery office. Your mailing house can mail via your own bulk mail account if you have one or will mail via their own account. Payment for postage is usually required prior to despatch as postage costs are passed on at cost. Choosing the correct Royal Mail Bulk Mail (Mailsort) service There are two main categories of mail service as follows: Advertising Mail is used for mailings which promote a product or service. Business mail is used for other types of communication such as change of address notifications, invoices, statements etc. There are several different services available within each of these categories as follows: Low Sort OCR – A machine readable service, prepared to stringent Royal Mail guidelines so that it can be read by Royal Mail’s sorting machines. (Available for letters up to 100g and large letters... read more

Advice on using the Internet in your Business

Using The Internet in your Business is important to your success The internet has finally come of age. After all the hype and spurious “dot com” booms, it has settled down to become a very useful business tool, in addition to all the other tools that a modern business uses. Where would we all be without telephones, fax machines and photocopiers? The internet is just another business tool. It is also very useful for research purposes, to see what your competitors are offering. Also, selling prices are often lower on the internet as companies large and small jostle for your business. It is often cheaper to produce your own simple web site than to produce a glossy catalogue, for instance, and it is then much easier to keep it updated. Some companies use direct mail simply to drive traffic to their web site, where the actual sale takes place. Others use it so that the customer can view pictures and a specification of their products, while still placing the order by telephone or by post. Using The Internet in your Business is important to your success The internet has finally come of age. After all the hype and spurious “dot com” booms, it has settled down to become a very useful business tool, in addition to all the other tools that a modern business uses. Where would we all be without telephones, fax machines and photocopiers? The internet is just another business tool. It is also very useful for research purposes, to see what your competitors are offering. Also, selling prices are often lower on the internet as companies... read more

Advice on Offering Something for Nothing in Business

Something for nothing? – Really? It is important to make your prospects really want to deal with you and send in their order or reply card quickly. Your mailing should therefore be as irresistable as possible. If your sales letter does not excite you, it will not excite your prospect either. One of the easiest ways to excite your prospect and to grab their attention is to offer something for nothing. The word FREE is extremely powerful and cannot really be overdone in direct mail. We all like something for nothing don’t we? Offering something for nothing is appreciated Offering a free gift with the customer’s order is a well-tried and successful route to success. The gift should be worth having, yet may actually cost you very little. Printed note pads are a case in point – from only 18p each they are affordable, yet always welcome. It could also be an extra supply of what they are already ordering, “Two months supply of tablets for the price of one”. Or it could even be something that you or your supplier may wish to get rid of, like a book that has not sold very well or a booklet on an interesting and relevent topic. It could be a free sample of a different product, which is sent with an order form for a larger quantity, thus generating an extra sale. This is called cross-selling. If you spend a lot of money with an existing supplier, try to get them to supply you the free gift for nothing. This is what the supermarkets do. (No, it’s not the shop... read more
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