You’ve got mail still rings a bell

Young woman checking email on her phoneLast month, we talked about direct mail enjoying a renaissance. It remains the best medium for cold-call outreach. Email, however, is the most effective way to keep in touch with those whom you have already developed a relationship. Make sure, however, that your emails are mobile-friendly.

Here are some stats that should persuade you of the power of email marketing. The were compiled by Francisco Rosales, founder of SocialMouths, and Niti Shah, head of Email Marketing and Lead Nurturing at HubSpot.

  • 95 percent of online consumers have an email account. 91 percent of consumers check their email daily.
  • 22 percent of emails will not reach the inbox. Compare that with the 74 percent of your Facebook fans who will not even know you posted something.
  • 75 percent of the reach of a Facebook post happens in less than two hours, but an email needs to be actively deleted before its reach terminates.
  • For every $1 spent, the average return on email marketing investment is $44.25. Put another way, email marketing has an ROI of 4,300 percent.
  • 77 percent prefer email to receive promotional content, while only 4 percent prefer Facebook.
  • 66 percent of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message.

But if you’re using an email marketing campaign, make sure it’s optimized for mobile. Shah provided these statistics from 2013:

  • 48 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices.
  • Only 11 percent of emails are optimized for mobile.
  • 69 percent of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for mobile.

Let’s revisit those last three statistics, because they are extremely important. In 2013, 48 percent of emails were opened on mobile devices (that number is likely much higher now). Yet only 11 percent of emails were optimized for mobile. If your emails are not optimized for mobile, 7 out of 10 recipients will delete them – a 70 percent unnecessary failure rate.

Mail programs such as MailChimp and Constant Contact can help make your emails readable on small devices.

Email remains the most effective way to keep in touch with those whom you have already developed a relationship. Email has a high open rate and a high ROI–as long as it’s mobile friendly. Do not use email to attempt to reach those you do not have a relationship with. That’s called spam. For cold-calling, direct mail still is your Number 1 medium.

Any questions? Contact us.

(Photo credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Fisher Photostudio)


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English Tips: The principled Klingon cow

Communicate for Success—English Tips, Vol. 7

Klingons and cows are not known to be uniquely principled, whether or not their days are numbered. Those are the concepts we explore in this edition of English Tips.

Communicate for Success word cloud taken from Consistent Voice Communication's web home page and created with tagxedo.comThe principled principal—A principle is a fundamental law, truth, rule, or other abstract ideal. Principal means first or foremost, and refers to a person, place, or thing. If you remember that a pal is solid, you’ll use principal for the solids and principle for the abstracts.

Criterion is one in Klingon—Actually, it’s the singular of criteria. One can never have one criteria, as criteria is defined as two or more. A Klingon and Romulan walk into a bar. That’s a criterion for war.

Amount’s days aren’t numbered—Use “number” or its derivatives when the items in question can be counted. Use “amount” when the number is unknowable.

She’s unusually unique—To be unique is to be one-of-a-kind. To be unusual is to be rare. Few things are unique, so its use should be unusual. Alas, it’s not.

It’s the first annual cow-tipping competition, but another won’t pop up until the cows come home—An event is not annual until it repeats at least once the following year. Otherwise, it’s the inaugural event. Moo on that one.

More to come. Be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss any. Or click on the archive link below. Have a question about the English language? Ask it in the comments section.


English tips archive


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See you on the other side of the dictionary.

English tips: Are you piqued when you peek at the peak?

Communicate for Success—English Tips, Vol. 6

Today is our homophone edition, words with similar sounds but different spellings and meanings. Here are five you need to be aware of.

Communicate for Success word cloud taken from Consistent Voice Communication's web home page and created with tagxedo.comLoose, lose—Only a loose loser confuses the two. “Lose” is the verb of the noun lost. “Loose” is an adjective meaning “not constrictive.” “I may lose my keys because of my loose pants.”

Peaked, peeked, piqued—A “peak” is a high point. To “peek” is to take a quick look, often surreptitiously. To be “piqued” is to be annoyed. “I was piqued when I peeked at the peak.”

Then vs. than—“Then” denotes time. “Than” compares. “I would rather have an orange than a pear. Then, I will eat my apple.”

Compliment vs. complement—If something “complements,” it completes or goes well with something else. A “compliment,” on the other hand, is praise or flattery. “I complimented her on her complementary accessories.”

Where, we’re, were, wear—“Where” is a place. “We’re” is a contraction of “we are.” “Were” is the past tense of are. “Wear” is to adorn yourself. “Where we were tells a lot about where we’re going and what we’re wearing.”

More to come. Be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss any. Or click on the archive link below. Have a question about the English language? Ask it in the comments section.


English tips archive


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See you on the other side of the dictionary.

Direct mail marketing enjoys renaissance

Arrows in a bullseye on a mailbag. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / tashatuvangoDo you think direct mail marketing is a dinosaur in the age of digital media? If it was, why would online giants Google and Apple routinely send out direct mail solicitations? Laurie Beasley, founder and president of Beasley Direct Marketing, Inc., argues that “direct mail is going through a renaissance.”

Beasley’s contention is backed by the numbers. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), 79 percent of respondents to its survey used direct mail campaigns, comparable to the 83 percent who used email campaigns.

DMA also contends that 65 percent of consumers of all ages have made a purchase as a result of direct mail. That includes Millennials. I know when I bring in the mail, my Millennial daughters are right there to see if anything is addressed to them.

Direct mail also has a higher rate of return than social media or email. In 2012, Direct Mail News reported the average response rates to direct mail were 4.4 percent, while those from email solicitations were 0.12 percent.

Here are other reasons to consider direct mail as part of your marketing package:

  • A $167 expenditure per person on direct mail results in an average of $2,095 of sold goods, or an ROI (return on investment) of a whopping 1,300 percent.
  • Direct mail has a longer shelf life than email.
  • Research shows that print media leaves a greater impression than electronic media.
  • Postcards have the highest read or scan rate of direct mail pieces, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

Direct mail has also taken advantage of new technology, allowing it to be more reactive and creative than in days of old. Beasley offers an example:

“American Signature Furniture once conducted a test, sending a self-mailer to people who visited a showroom but did not buy. The mailer included the customers’ names and the name and contact information for the sales rep who served them, as well as the date and time of the visit. Photos displayed the styles they considered during their visit to the store.

“Results were impressive. People who receive the mailer and return to purchase spend about 40 percent more than those who did not receive the mailer. The reminder also boosted return visits to the store by 10 percent.
So don’t take a meteor to your direct mail campaign. It hasn’t gone extinct and probably never will.

Contact us to help you design and implement your direct mail campaign.


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English tips: Watching boob tubes on the boob tube. How Americanly British.

Communicate for Success—English Tips, Vol. 5

We Americans refer to the television as the boob tube. But to the British, a boob tube is a tube top. Americans and Brits have other subtle differences in our languages that go beyond the imperial “u” the British like to insert between “o” and “r.” We explore a few of those subtleties in today’s English tips. (Thanks to our friends at Oxford University Press for noting most of these and many more.)

Communicate for Success word cloud taken from Consistent Voice Communication's web home page and created with tagxedo.comToward vs towards—Only use “towards” if you’re British. You don’t need the sovereign “s” if you’re American.

That’s very accommodating—Only use “accommodations” if you’re American. The British drop the sovereign “s” and speak only of “accommodation.” They must have been miffed at the queen that day.

More than one math is too much—We Americans hate “math,” as our test scores show, which is why we treat it singularly. To our friends across the pond, however, it’s “maths.”

Unlike a—No, we’re not referring to unliking someone on Facebook. We Americans, speak of “unlike” as in different, unlike the British who speak of “unalike.”

What an ugly home—In America, when we speak of “homey,” we speak of a comfortable and inviting abode. The same concept in Britain is “homely,” which to Americans means “ugly.” Want to confuse the British next time you visit? Refer to yourself as a “homely American.”

More to come. Be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss any. Or click on the archive link below. Have a question about the English language? Ask it in the comments section.


English tips archive


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See you on the other side of the dictionary.

Rekindling Your Childlikeness: The Elephant Sessions

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Robbie Schaefer and I were in sync Monday night. He had no idea what he was going to do and I had no idea what to expect.

I have been a Schaefer fan since the first time I heard Eddie From Ohio, an alternative/folk/rock/please-don’t-pigeonhole-me band composed of Virginian natives. With its four-part harmonic and hard-driving songs like “Eddie’s Concubine,” “Tommy the Canexican,” and “Let’s Get Mesolithic,” what’s not to like?

Robbie Schaefer performing on stage at Jammin Java, Jan. 5, 2015.

Robbie Schaefer at Jammin Java, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. Shut Up and Be Grateful.

But what Schaefer promised at Jammin Java in Vienna, Virginia, on Monday—and for the next three Mondays—is a different experience than an Eddie from Ohio show. Dubbed “The Elephant Sessions,” Schaefer promised “informal and intimate evenings focused on music and exploring the creative process. We hope to present an occasional special guest, spark conversation, and enjoy music and one another. It’s kind of like a musical town hall. With snacks. And beer.”

Wow. And beer! Bonus: Tickets are only 10 bucks a show, or 30 for all four. Being the big spender I am, I quickly splurged for a month of Mondays for the wife and me. (The wife was sick for the first show, so daughter Clare accompanied yours truly.)

Although each Monday night show (the schooliest of school nights, as Schaefer noted) has a theme, Schaefer admitted to not having planned out the evening. The theme for the first show was “Shut Up and Be Grateful.” The “Be Grateful” theme worked well. The “Shut Up” theme integrated well with signs plastered at eye level every two feet throughout Jammin Java reminding patrons not to talk during performances. But that’s not what Schaefer had in mind as he tried to entice the audience to actively participate in his presentation.

No, Schaefer’s “Shut Up” referred to mediation, the silence that allows each of us to listen to our soul. He actually led the audience through a meditative exercise during the program, after which he intoned: “Silence seems to be the birthplace of gratitude.”

Schaefer’s stories were as entertaining as his music—even more so because he quit stories part way through to play a song, only to have an audience member ask him to finish it later on. A disjointed trip to Uganda—which also wasn’t planned beyond having an airline ticket, a guitar, and a destination (sensing another theme here?)—led to the founding of the philanthropic organization One Voice. One Voice’s mission is: “Uniting children worldwide through music and creative expression. Empowering children to build a just, peaceful, and wonder-filled world.”

One Voice had me at the slogan “Power to the [Little] People” because I is a little people.

At the end, Schaefer’s theme didn’t work for me. The theme I left with was “Be a Child and Raise Up Our Children.” Never lose the wonder. Never lose the capacity to laugh uncontrollably. Never stifle your song.

And he sang:

There was a time
When you were young
Every moment
Upon your tongue
And it tasted wild
And it tasted sweet
Now do you
Remember me?

And he sang:

And I prayed for a miracle, I prayed for a sign
Like a dream in the desert or a voice in the night …
But it’s only a miracle if you show up to receive it.

I wouldn’t go as far as to promise a miracle at Schaefer’s Elephant Sessions, but it’s a friendly and gentle unscripted get-together of music- and people-lovers. Having Schaefer on the stage and the audience sitting at long tables perpendicular to the stage didn’t drive the intimacy I think Schaefer seeks. Perhaps in future manifestations he may find a way to come down to the audience’s level while still commanding the stage, arranging for a more circular and less perpendicular setting.

But for now, I look forward to the next three Monday nights to see where Schaefer’s theme drives us and what theme I take away. Maybe I’ll see you there. With beer.

If you go:

Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave E., Vienna, VA, 22180, 703.255.1566

Week 2: Monday, January 12
Theme: “Abundance. Lots and Lots of Abundance

Week 3: Monday, January 19
Theme: “The Work of Art

Week 4: Monday, January 26
Theme: “Compassionate Activism”


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Thank you.

English tips: Me coulda had fish breath if my point wasn’t muted

Communicate for Success—English Tips, Vol. 4

Communicate for Success word cloud taken from Consistent Voice Communication's web home page and created with tagxedo.comToday’s selections reflect my roots in the Long Island suburbs of New York City. It’s clearly a moot point that I coulda done a lot more fishing if Latin homework didn’t get in the way. Except I studied Spanish. And not very well. But here are five more tips to help you to write and speak English well. Yo!

Coulda, woulda, shoulda—I admit it. I use this phrase a lot. It’s a shortening of “Could of, would of, should of,” which is so grammatically incorrect as to make my skin crawl. So I’m trying to reform and say, “Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.” That’s how big a dork I really am.

Fish breath—Do you wait with baited breath? If so, brush your teeth. The correct expression is bated breath. Bated as in restrained. You restrain, or hold, your breath in anticipation. You have baited breath when you want to avoid intimacy.

Mute your moot point—A moot point is one that is debatable or of no consequence. A mute point is silent. Therefore, no one knows it’s there.

i.e. vs e.g.—i.e. and e.g. are both Latin. But you speak English. So remember that e.g. means “for example,” and is followed by a list, e.g. a noun, a verb, and an apostrophe. i.e. means “that is to say,” and is followed by a description, i.e. to put it another way. An easy way to remember e.g. is to pronounce it as “egg” as in “eggsamble.” Remember i.e. by thinking of it meaning “in essence.”

Me and I—“Me” and “I” are often confused in compound subjects and objects. Is it “Charlie called to Mary, Louise, and me”? or “Charlie called to Mary, Louise, and I”? Take out Mary and Louise and the correct usage is clear.

More to come. Be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss any. Have a question about the English language? Ask it in the comments section below.


Previous English tips


© 2015 Consistent Voice Communications, LLCTom@YourConsistentVoice.com

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