How to Improve Your Mass Mailings

When it comes to staying in touch with your network of relationships, bulk messages – whether sent as email, video, hard copy or in some other format – are an important tool.

But just because these are sent en masse, and whether your writing relies on overused French phrases or not, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a warm, authentic connection.

Today’s two-minute, prop-laden video offers two examples – one good, the other not so good – regarding how to do these better.

Click below to watch… (Move slider at bottom of video to adjust volume!)

 

 

 

25 thoughts on “How to Improve Your Mass Mailings

  1. Mark

    As someone who went to RIT for a while, that is a LONG 300+ miles. Mine was a little more, even, growing up further east than Hopkinton. But it is a great school!

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Good to know, Mark! My daughter is definitely considering it and here too, it’s amazing what a positive impact the card has had on her perception of the school.

      Reply
  2. Ken Haedrich

    Michael –

    That was very good. You have a nice stage presence…very comfortable. Good solid content and message. If was was going to hire someone to do what you do, I’d hire you. You might want to get a new hair and makeup person, however: I noticed you had a couple of hairs out of place…

    Best of wishes,
    Ken Haedrich

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Oh that last line really hurt, Ken. (Unless you meant eyebrow hairs, in which case, point well taken!)

      Reply
  3. Jill Whalen

    Ha! We got that key one too…lame!

    I typically put all the postcard mailers straight into the recycle bin. But I did notice one the other day from SouthWest Air that was very personalized. Had my name all over it and told me I had unclaimed reward miles. For it to have caught my attention (I’m totally blind to pretty much all advertising) it had to have been good. Turns out, it really was worth my while to look at it, as I was able to get online and claim some trips that I took this year before I had gotten my Rapid Rewards card.

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Hello Jill! Funny how the “real” stuff gets lost since we’re all so immune.

      On a similar note, the other day I got a telemarketing call from a guy who said he was “calling from the chimney company.” We had some chimney work done not too long ago so I assumed (as he was hoping) that he was my chimney company. Once I figured out who he was I was quick to hang up. Does this stuff actually work on anyone?!

      Reply
  4. Raj Thejaswi

    Hi Michael,

    We received the RIT card too, and I agree with your point completely. It resulted in so much conversation at home and at work, so much close inspection (I was impressed that they even selected MA license plates, based on the location), I think their material really got them a big bang for the buck.

    Not only I have saved the cards, if my twins get accepted there, they want me to buy them each a Volkswagen Golf in green with custom license plates, I want to just frame the cards from RIT (Hey! I have pay for the college, on the double!!).

    Thanks for this blog-post, it opened my eyes to another viewpoint on the same card.

    – Raj

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      My pleasure, Raj. And I agree, I think the framed cards are a more cost-effective solution!
      Michael

      Reply
  5. Robert Widdowson

    More good advice.
    Also, I wanted to test my new avatar out, since receiving your sage counsel (to someone else) on avataring. The fact that you actually have a video explaining how to obtain one demonstrates what you talk about in your latest video – personalization.

    Reply
  6. Tom

    What a great marketing lesson, Michael. Car dealers have some of the worst advertising going. Someone should be showing these guys how to market!

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Thanks Tom. And I agree on the car dealer thing, for the most part. Even when the buying experience for me has been good, the ones I’ve encountered seem to make no effort beyond that to stay in touch, other than emails telling me it’s time for service. Next time I’m up for a new car I always start from scratch, having developed zero dealer loyalty over the years.

      Reply
  7. Mark Rosenthal

    Personalizing a message may sometimes be a good idea, but not always. This video made me think of a post card Move On recently sent to my daughter.

    JANE DOE’S
    VOTER REPORT CARD

    You were a voter in one of the last five general elections, according
    to public records for your current address only.

    That’s less than average for your neighborhood.

    Comparison Rating

    X Excellent ***
    X Good **
    X X -> Below average
    You Neighbor-
    hood

    I found this offensively intrusive. Move On emphasizes that, although who you voted for is secret, whether or not you voted is public record. But although it may be legal for them to have this information, it’s information that your mail carrier and your housemates generally don’t make a point of looking up. Printing it on a post card instead of putting the information inside a sealed envelope shows that Move On clearly intended to publicize this information in the hope of embarrassing you into voting.

    Interestingly, neither my wife nor I received any such post card. For decades, the two of us have voted in every general election, whereas at the time this postcard was sent my daughter had only voted in one such election. I’m guessing that Move On only sent mailings to people whose voting frequency was low, and they were too dumb to figure out that a low number is meaningless if you’re young enough that you could only have voted in one previous election.

    This Move On mailing was personalized, just as the RIT mailing your daughter received. But unlike the RIT mailing, everybody who’s seen my daughter’s post card from Move On has found Move On’s tactics offensive.

    Bottom line – think about your messages from the recipient’s point of view. There are times when personalizing a message may be good, but at other times it’s exactly the wrong thing to do.

    Reply
    1. Mark Rosenthal

      In my previous posting, I tried to represent Move On’s charts from the postcard by drawing them with characters. It looked OK in the preview, but in the form published on your webpage multiple spaces all get collapsed into a single space, so the X’s don’t line up properly and the histogram they’re intended to represent is all messed up. If you want to see what the post card actually looked like, go to: http://www.slate.com/blogs/victory_lab/2012/10/31/moveon_can_its_voter_report_card_shame_slackers_into_turning_out.html

      Reply
      1. Michael Katz Post author

        I agree Mark. The way it feels makes a huge difference. Thanks for sharing this and the link!
        Michael

        Reply
  8. Kelsey

    Michael, great message and super examples! I grew up in Pittsford, NY which is 20 minutes from RIT…great school! If she goes to RIT, please tell her to bring me back Abbotts frozen custard and Pontillo’s pizza, thanks! 😉

    Reply
  9. Diane Spadola

    Always a pleasure to hear your voice and I find the RIT card to be ingenious. Can I steal it? Something like mailing out a party invite, with the guest of honor’s name on it, featuring services appropriate for that age group…

    Reply
  10. Alexandre L'Eveille

    Great video and an excellent point. To take it to another level, I would bet that the RIT folks got what they paid their marketing dollars for, by listening to the professional advice of a smart marketing team. The Subaru dealers probably took their co-op advertising dollars and tried to go cheap with a direct mail agency that was inexpensive, but not very professional, either graphically or ethically. You get what pay for…or don’t pay for.

    Reply

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