Color psychology is a concept we often find ourselves delving into at Bluegrass. Being in business development, it’s my job to communicate the cost-effectiveness of every decision we encourage our clients to make. In this business, it’s a universal truth that color costs more. Furthermore, things like bills and account statements are better left in simple black and white. These colors evoke a sense of seriousness and finality—two things these two articles of mail should evoke. With that said, is there room for color in this type of mail?
The United States Post Office thinks there is. They’ve even gone so far as to drum up a new promotion they’ve called the “personal color transpromo”. Before I dive into how to take advantage of this particular promotion, I’d like to first explain what the promotion is.
“Transpromo” is short for transpromotional and it is a term relating to First-Class Mail when describing any statement or announcement found within the white space (empty space) of a bill or statement. It’s a great way to use up that otherwise neglected space by including a promotion, announcement, or any other manner of statement relevant to a customer. Transpromo messages often include variable data printing, so the messaging is especially relevant to each customer.
There are a handful of reasons to take advantage of transpromo in your billing statements and overviews. Wikipedia does a great job of breaking them down:
Openability: Statements and invoices are expected — they contain important financial information and usually require action. More than 95% of transaction documents are opened and read each month – far more than any other type of direct response effort.
Engagement: Bills and statements receive more attention than any other form of communication including television advertisements. As a result, marketing included in these types of documents has a higher conversion rate. The average customer invests between one and three minutes for statement review.
Reporting: Billers can track detailed promotion activity. This type of detailed tracking and reporting facilitates intelligent, revenue-based marketing decisions, derived from measurable customer behavior.
Returns: Statement-based marketing is effective because it targets current customers. A five percent increase in current customer business can translate into as much as a 50 percent increase in bottom-line profits.
Customized offers: Statement-based marketing is effective because it enables customized offers to be automatically generated by the transactional data within the document itself. It can be personalized according to customer demographics, business drivers and marketing criteria.
When I distill all of this information into something a client can easily digest, I simply tell them that transpromo turns something they already send, that every customer opens, into an opportunity to further communicate and advocate.
The USPS summarizes the personal color transpromo promotion as follows:
“The Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion incorporates marketing messages that use color, dynamic variable print, and personalization. By using color messaging in bills and statements, business mailers can enhance the value of First-Class Mail and foster a better connection and response from customers.”
When I summarize this promotion, it’s usually for a customer already taking advantage of transpromo in their mailings. That information makes my job easier—so, I ask them if they want to add some color to more effectively communicate their existing transpromo material and if so, they can get a little discount in the process.
Your business gets a 2% discount on your postage for the period of the promotion. I like to bring up this option any time we strategize with a business that uses transpromo already. It’s a fairly straightforward promotion and only affects your business if you choose to participate. There are a few ideas I give as examples of how to best take advantage of this promotion, which I’ll highlight later on.
As is the case with many marketing opportunities I discuss with clients, the biggest question I get is if it is worth the trouble. After all, it’ll cost you more to print in color regardless of whether you receive discounted postage.
It depends. With this particular discount, as with many of the USPS promotions, the question of value is relative. Rather than answer this question outright, I like to instead have a conversation with my client to see what is important to them.
However, if you’re all about the bottom line, this promotion isn’t going to necessarily save you money. It offers a 2% postage discount incentive as a means to convince you to enhance your mail. Printing mailers is affected by offset cost—the more you print, the more you save per printing. I’ve found that, unless your mailing is substantial in volume, the postage discount will not cover the increasing cost of printing in color. In fact, I’ve calculated the numbers and, with the color transpromo discount, you’d be saving an average of $9.20 per every 1,000 pieces of mail printed. To be fully transparent; the cost of printing 1,000 pieces of mail in color will be more than what you’re saving in postage.
This promotion should be thought of like a cherry on a sundae. It’s optional, it enhances the whole product, but you’re still paying for the luxury of the sundae.
An example that I provide our clients are as follows.
It’s easy for a piece of informative news to slip by your customers when they’re most concerned with the amount they owe you. People tend to scan bills and, after they’re clients for longer than a month or two, their eyes know exactly where to go to find the information they need. They might as well be blind to the rest of the statement in their hands.
However, what if a local water company published the date and details of their upcoming recycling event in brilliant green ink at the bottom of its bill? Not only would their customers notice the printing amid the black ink typically found on that type of statement, but it might evoke feelings of excitement in them that they otherwise wouldn’t have if the announcement blended into the rest of the page. Sometimes a splash of color isn’t just attention-grabbing, it’s psychologically value-adding.
We understand when and how to use color. The personal color transpromo promotion through the USPS is just a little extra incentive to give clients. If you’re still wondering if adding color to your First-Class pre-sorted mail is worth it, we’ll be glad to discuss the strategy with you.
However, we’ve found that color is just another resource we can tap into. When you use it right, it can more effectively communicate with your customer base. Better communication leads to increased trust and trust directly converts into value. As a business, value-added decisions are the decisions that help grow your business and keep it sustainable at the same time. With this promotion isn’t for everyone, we’ll be sure to work with you closely to see if it’s something you should take advantage of.
Learn more about the USPS’ Promotions here.
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