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How to Create Stand-Out Customer Messages

If you looked in your inbox right now, how many messages and promotions would you see? From email to social media to direct mail, you (and your clients) are constantly bombarded with companies trying to get their message in the hands of their customers. So, the question becomes: how do you make your message stand out among the hordes of others? We’ve put together a few simple tricks designed to help your message grab—and keep—the attention of the reader.

1. Turn on the Right Channel

The first step is deciding where to send the message. Your customers have a litany of communication channels to choose from, and it is up to you to accommodate their channel preference. This is by no means a one-size-fits-all situation. A segment of your customers will prefer email communication, while others won’t even have email accounts. The right communication channel can be the determining factor as to whether your customer ever sees your message, so choose wisely.

2. Add Some Color 

Color highlights important information in your messages, drawing the attention of your reader. Using color can have a big impact, so it’s imperative not to go overboard. Pick 2-3 colors that are consistent with your branding and don’t be afraid to add various shades of those colors to enhance to your design. Use white space to your advantage; this will help to draw the eye to the important information you want to get across. As Chris, our in-house graphic designer puts it: “Leave room for white space. Not every inch of your message has to be filled with something. Blank space will actually enhance your design and draw more attention to the pertinent information in your message. Sometimes, as they say, less really is more.”

beforeafter-prototype2

3. Design for Action

You will want to create a design that is eye-catching, colorful and informative. Keep to your company’s branding to maintain consistency. Don’t overdo your design. Too much information can be off putting, leaving the reader unsure where to look. Make good use of your text, images and color to leave an overall good impression with your customer. A well-constructed design will be sure to get your reader’s attention!

4. Consider the Recipient

Personalization has become so prevalent across every industry that it is no longer acceptable to simply send out mass communications to your entire customer base. When your customer opens their email or direct mail, they want to see a message that relates to their specific interests and buying preferences. If it doesn’t, your carefully crafted and designed communication is headed straight to the (virtual or physical) trash. Utilizing data in your communications allows you to target your messages to each customer, ensuring you keep the customer’s attention by offering promotions and products that directly address their specific needs.

Don’t let your critical customer communications get lost in an inbox. Whether it is relaying vital billing data or checking in about a new service, each message you send relays important information to your customer—and important information deserves to be noticed. Still not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.

Channel Surfing: The New Customer Communication Model

The term channel surfing brings to mind images of lazy teenagers flipping from one TV station to another, halfheartedly looking for a show to pique their interest. When it comes to customer communication however, channel surfing takes on a whole new meaning.

Choosing Your Channel

Your customers no longer solely rely on one source for their entire catalogue of communication needs. Instead, they navigate between channels to receive their information and relevant news. With clients perpetually changing devices, it is more important than ever for businesses to offer multiple forms of communication. Only utilizing one or two channels means you end up ignoring huge chunks of your customer base and losing out on building lasting relationships with those customers. According to Aberdeen Group, Inc., “Companies with strong omni-channel strategies can expect to retain an average of 89% of their customers.” Be it print or digital, communicating with your customers where they are most comfortable means you are guaranteeing you remain connected.

Different Channel, Same Message

The variety of communication channels can bring about a significant issue for companies—unifying the message. Although print and digital may seem like two completely different worlds, it is crucial for every channel – be it online or off – to have a consistent voice. If a customer chooses to receive email notifications instead of a printed bill, they shouldn’t be receiving a completely different message. Aligning cross-channel communication means you create a unified voice for your company and a better overall experience for your customer.

Whatever channel your customers pick, it’s up to you to ensure your message is received.

The Benefits of Having Production Facilities Across the Country

Customer communications need to be timely, because time is money. There’s urgency even in the minor transmissions, which is why it’s a no-brainer to seek assurances that production of these communications is quick, fluid, and uneventful. There must be options and back-up plans in place. With key business matters, more of the same is better.

OSG now has 630,000 square feet of space in nine strategic locations across the country. This is advantageous for several key reasons, and part of a longterm business continuity strategy that offers greater guarantees to our customers.

  1. Quick Turnaround Time

With nine production facilities that operate on a 24/7/365 production cycle, we can guarantee a 24-hour turnaround time.

  1. Disaster Recovery Options  

This is a rare instance where redundancy is a good thing. Imagine a power outage or internet issues. The redundant configuration of our production systems and the identical, standardized processes throughout each facility ensures that your data is secure and your service is not disrupted in these instances.

  1. Postal Optimization  

We offer mail delivery anywhere in the country within 1.5 to 3 days by mailing out of multiple facilities. We also have on-site postal coordination across companies.

We’ve built a cross-country framework that has the speed and protections that are non-negotiable when dealing with transactional communications. As they say: location, location, location (times three).

 

2018 Postal Rates Increase Takes Effect Jan. 21

After approval from the Postal Regulatory Committee last month, the USPS will move forward with new postal rates for market dominant mail (first class letters, postcards and flats, and standard mail letters and flats) and competitive mail (priority mail, packages). The changes go into effect on January 21.

There will be a one cent increase to postcard stamps and metered letters. The rate change does not include any price change for single-piece letters being mailed to international destinations or for additional ounces for letters.

Per USPS: “The prices will raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 1.9 percent, and most Shipping Services products will average a 3.9 percent price increase. While Mailing Services price increases are limited based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Shipping Services prices are adjusted strategically, according to market conditions and the need to maintain affordable services for customers.”

2018 Commercial First-class letter rates:

Automation Automation Machinable Non Machinable
Weight Not Over
(ounces)
5-Digit AADC Mixed AADC Presorted Presorted
1 0.378 0.408 0.424 0.458 0.668
2 0.378 0.408 0.424 0.458 0.668
3 0.378 0.408 0.424 0.458 0.668
3.5 0.378 0.408 0.424 0.458 0.668
Postcard 0.257 0.268 0.274 0.280
Nonmachinable
Surcharge
0.210

2018 Commercial Marketing Mail rates:

Carrier Route Automation
Entry Point Saturation High-Density Plus High-Density Basic 5-Digit Scheme AADC Mixed AADC
None 0.186 0.196 0.200 0.292 0.251 0.274 0.287
DNDC 0.164 0.174 0.178 0.265 0.227 0.250 0.263
DSCF 0.158 0.168 0.172 0.257 0.220 0.243
DDU

For more information, go to USPS.com.

3 Reasons to Outsource Your Billing with OSG in 2018

Outsourcing your transactional communications can have a powerful effect on your business and its bottom line, whether you opt for an EBPP solution or traditional print and mail. Here are three specific reasons to do it.

  1. Free up your employees’ time.

Billing can be a complex process. Using a single-source provider for all your billing and communication needs eliminates the internal day-to-day tasks that bog down employees. They can use their productivity and passion in different ways while we streamline this process.

  1. Benefit from the latest technologies and operational experience.

Digital, print and mail, mobile: Offering those channels isn’t enough; they must be optimized. At OSG, we use programs like MailTrek to monitor inbound and outbound mail, which improves the efficiency of your collection efforts (and ultimately saves you money). We offer dynamic messaging, which turns invoices into marketing tools and engages customers month to month.

Our solutions are also practical. With production facilities across the country, our distributive print process guarantees a quick turnaround time.

  1. Move into the future with us.

As technology continues to evolve, customers are going to expect an omni-channel experience—an unbroken stream of access to their information. Through new acquisitions, more robust printing processes, and additional digital solutions (i.e. OSG Letter Composer), we’ve positioned ourselves to move with customers as they engage with the world. Because this is ultimately about more than billing—it’s about communication.

It’s almost a new year. Let’s talk strategy.

How to Send Additional Messages to Customers Without Additional Mailings

Checking the mail nowadays really means checking for what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to toss without opening. In that competitive atmosphere—fighting for a customer’s attention over Bed Bath & Beyond coupons and pre-approved credit cards—sending multiple mailings a month is overkill.

OSG’s Additional Messaging Page is designed to let you communicate more with less.

The AMP makes it easy to turn a transactional document you’re already sending into a multipurpose document. It’s a supplemental page that prints seamlessly alongside the invoice or statement. (In other words, they can’t just throw it away.) This also saves you money on printing, postage, and administration costs.

The specifics of the message are in your hands. It could be a welcome letter, a monthly promotion, or, yes, an incentive to try online billing. It can be single or double-sided, full-color, and targeted. It uses OSG Campaign Composer to segment your customer base so people aren’t receiving redundant or irrelevant messages.

The options are endless, but the pieces of paper won’t be.

Dear Diary: 3 Interesting Facts from the USPS 2016 Household Diary

The United States Postal Service recently released their 2016 Household Diary Study, which, since 1987, has set out to collect data on household use of mail and how that use evolves over time. The survey culls information on “demographics, lifestyle, attitudes toward mail and advertising, bill payment behavior, and use of the Internet and other information technologies.” It’s a long, comprehensive, and interesting (really!) document. We pulled three facts worth noting about transactions mail.

  1. The share of bills payed electronically has increased—significantly.

Not too surprising, right? In 2006, 62 percent of households paid their bills by mail. In 2016, that number dropped to 27 percent. Conversely, the percentage of households paying electronically has jumped from 32 percent to 70 percent in those ten years. The study attributes this to “electronic diversion” which is another way of saying Internet access. A smaller percentage of households pay their bills in person, but that number also declined in the 10-year span from 6 percent to 3 percent.

  1. BUT the shift to bills received electronically hasn’t happened as quickly as you might think.

Though the Internet has dramatically affected the number of payments made by mail, the percentage of households receiving bills electronically hasn’t followed the same pattern with an increase from 4 percent to 23 percent. Why? The study attributes this to a correlation of household Internet access with income and education.

  1. Electric bills experienced the largest decline in payment by mail.

From 2011 to 2016, the percentage of households paying electric bills by mail dropped from 46 percent to 33 percent. The next largest decrease was with medical bills, with a drop from 41 percent in 2011 to 32 percent in 2016.

To see the full report, go here. And learn more about OSG’s digital communications solutions, go here.

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