Category Archives: Direct Mail

Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation Commissions Syl Wilson Marketing for Gala Design


In 2016, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation commissioned Syl Wilson Marketing to design their Gala program, brochure, social media campaigns and email campaigns. Not only did we design these elements, but we also participated in the Gala and it was OUTSTANDING. The sponsors of the event gave incredible amounts and the night was very special for the children of the Greater East St. Louis area.


Technology used to design: Adobe InDesign, Photoshop
Client: Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation
Industry: Nonprofit

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Filed under Adobe, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Direct Mail, Facebook, Marketing, Uncategorized

The nightmares that marketers face

I was chatting with a good friend of mine yesterday about how she always appreciates all of my marketing advice. She said I was one of the smartest people in the industry she knew. It was a nice compliment, however I told her sometimes I find myself  having a reoccurring nightmare about not being able to Continue reading


Filed under Direct Mail, Marketing

Segmentation…even with Twitter and Facebook!

Segment your customers into different markets.  Once you have your customers segmented (this can be extremely detailed or not – depends on what type of life cycles you put toward the segments) you can begin targeting them in a more focused manner or you can broaden your marketing efforts.  Either way, you will understand more about your customers by the process of segmentation. Many of these techniques can be used in social media marketing as well. You can segment your followers on Twitter with the use of lists. You can segment your friends on Facebook through the use of lists through the customize tool in the privacy settings, not to mention all the different tools within Linked In, MySpace, etc. Understanding the importance of segments will allow you to better market! Keep reading to find out how.

Buying Behaviors

Past response is indicative of future response.  The most predictive piece of marketing is the Continue reading

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Filed under Direct Mail, Facebook, Internet Marketing, Marketing, Social Media, Twitter

7 principles for direct marketing success

7 principles for direct marketing success:

  1. Establish your objective before you start
    1. Keep it simple
    2. Don’t make customer choose
    3. Generally one theme per promotion is best
  2. Target the right audience and market segments
    1. This will help you integrate your marketing with the sales department.
  3. Write copy to show what your product will do for the prospect
    1. Focus on the customer.  They buy benefits, not features.  Talk about how they will feel when they buy your product
  4. Make it easy for your prospect to Continue reading


Filed under Direct Mail, Marketing

How to get over writers block


To break through writers block, recognize the difference between preparation and procrastination.  Review background, take notes, make lists of key points, jot down spontaneous ideas.  Talk with people about the project.  To get started use “Cluster Writing”.  Cluster writing is a technique where you put one word Continue reading

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Filed under Direct Mail, Internet Marketing, Marketing

Track your customers with greeting cards..Yep, there’s an app for that too!

I have been using a company called to send out thank you cards to my customers after a sale of one of my capital pieces of equipment for about a year now and I love it.  The system allows me to upload my own image to personalize the outside of the card and also allows me to upload a list using a .csv or .xls file to send to large groups of people.  What’s cool about this type of communication is you are able to create a special card for each marketing campaign.  So if this months campaign is based around electronic devices, you could create your own design in any program you prefer as long as you can turn it into a .jpg file.  Once this is done, you simply go to and upload your design and POOF you’ve got a personalized card! Now…what sets this service apart from any other online card service is this:

Trackable Greeting Cards

You all should know by now, that I don’t do anything “Marketing” unless I can track the behavior of my customer. I personally feel online tracking is the best method, because it’s in real time and it allows for the messaging to be changed very quickly without wasting a lot of money. So with Enthusem cards not only can you personalize the cards with your own image and message, but also, you can “Attach” a file or website for the user to go look at.  So as seen in the example below you would be able to literally attach a document to the card that the customer would be able to view once they receive their card.  The way it works is the customer receives their card. Inside of the card is your personal message and at the top half of the card it says “Visit to pick up your personalized message,” it can be a website or a document that you upload to and is hosted on their site.


What happens Next?

When the customer clicks on their attachment, an email is sent to you! So, you know in “real time” when they received the card and opened their attachment. It’s the perfect time to call them and ask if there is anything they need from you! Remember, from my earlier post on PURL’s the best time to communicate with a customer is when they are on your website. You’ve got approximately 5 minutes from the time they log on to keep their interest peaked!

When should you use Enthusem?

Introduction Ice-breaker with a new prospect.
Thank you Follow up to a meeting.
Congratulations When a customer reaches a significant milestone or was in the news.
Closer Send proposal as an online attachment.
Keep in touch When you don’t have time for a phone call.

So…what are you waiting for? Get your marketing more creative today with some of these great trackable tools!

Note: There are plenty of other services that do similar types of communications, I just use Enthusem and that is the only reason I am promoting them. I am in no way affiliated with them, nor am I stating that you will make more money by using their service. Only that I have had great success using them. Good luck to you!

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Filed under Direct Mail, Internet Marketing, Marketing, Uncategorized

Marketing better with PURLS (personalized URLS)

What is a PURL?

PURL is short for Personalized URL. It allows personalization and tracking of direct mail pieces, email, magazine advertisement, and virtually any means of media. Customer’s appreciate and acknowledge marketing that seems to be about them (personalized) and their industry more than random bulk mail.

What is the Purpose of a PURL?

The goal of using PURL’s on your marketing campaigns is to increase response rate, track & test marketing pieces in real time, and create targeted and better focused campaigns for segmented lists.  All of these things will improve the quality of your customer database lists over a period of time.  The reason is because of the data that you will receive back from using the online method of tracking and requiring certain data to be filled out prior to receiving their intended item.

When you couple a PURL with Direct Mail what are the advantages?

Using variable printing, I have been able to switch out the imaging on every mailed piece along with the actual copy changing based on location, product of interest, or any cataloged item in my excel spreadsheet.  When you use four color presses this technology is not as readily available and certainly not at a low price. With variable printing and PURL’s the price actually drops lower due to the digital print along with bulk mailing methods. Even if you don’t have a lot of mail in one particular zip code, now marketing companies have so much mail going out, an individual company can qualify for bulk rates under the marketing companies rate. You just have to find the right company!

How does a PURL work?

  • With direct mail each piece is dynamically printed using variable data printing and an excel file.
  • Printing personalized information on the card or changing the message on the card does not change the cost of the printing
  • It matches a unique URL with the customer’s name at the end to a personalized website


Where is the PURL pointing to?

  • My PURLs are all being hosted on my vendors online system (there are several out there but if you need direction on where to turn, I am more than happy to refer you to the company I use)
  • This management software allows us to upload any html coding
  • Their system generates a PURL using our company’s domain name. (A quick setup was required by our IT department)

What hiccups did I encounter when I started using PURL’s?

In order to get high response rates and have qualified leads, the customer list is the most important piece of information for a direct mail campaign that uses a PURL. Since the goal of each direct mail piece is to get people to visit a “microsite,” where the most important information is located, the call to action is the second most important piece of information for a direct mail using PURLs.

So now, I am able to mail direct mail pieces that are more focused to a more qualified and targeted group of my list. This has allowed for much faster conversio in the lead to sale process.

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Filed under Direct Mail, Marketing, PURL, Uncategorized

PURLS aren’t just for direct mail campaigns anymore


You can use a PURL (personalized URL) in anything these days. I use them in my email campaigns, my magazine ads and even in my tweets on twitter. I thought I would talk about the benefits of using them in a magazine ad over using a phone number today.

In the old days you might have used a 1-800 number on your magazine ad and that’s fine and dandy, but let me ask you this… “how’s that workin’ out for ya?” Not to be mean, but uh – I bet you my mortgage, I’m getting more response than you are…See, the reason why I am so positive that you can get faster response using a PURL is simple. If you use a 1-800 number, you are ahead of someone who is just putting an ad in a magazine. At least you’ve taken the initiative to put something so that the reader can contact you.

HOWEVER, what if you put a PURL in the ad in addition to that 800#?  Then, you would have REAL TIME results that you could track! You would know where in the “WORLD” that person was when they clicked on the link, what pages they visited while they were on your site, if you put a form on the site, then you can ask for more detailed information from the reader like their name, address, email address, etc – and NOW you have developed your database so you can market even better as well as you can potentially close a sale to this now VALIDATED customer!!

PURLS make sense! Also, using a PURL on a magazine ad will reduce the time that you have to wait on those analysis reports from your marketing people. Now you can just do a few clicks from your website and find out quickly how well the PURL campaign went.

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Filed under Direct Mail, Internet Marketing, Marketing, PURL

Getting smart with your PURLs

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It’s best for your PURL call to action to be more of a tease. I will give you an example of a piece that I mailed recently with the theme based on the NBC game show “Deal or No Deal.”

On the mailer which was a postcard, I used a picture of a briefcase that said “Please go to visit your PURL (Personalized URL) for a chance to win the contents of case No. 13” This is a good call to action one might think – but you can’t stop here. You’ve got to put even more. So next I say “When you get to your personalized URL you’ll see what’s inside case #13” This will create enough interest and a buzz to get the client to visit their PURL and find out what the heck is in case #13?

So what did I do next? Well once they arrived at the “Microsite” they saw the contents of the case with a very creative microsite I designed that had the music from deal or no deal along with the banker in the background and I even had the whole stage as my layout. But I didn’t stop there. That really wasn’t the important part – THIS IS, so pay attention please! I only sent these mailers to people in my list that I knew were interested in what was in the case. The contents of the case was a hunting trip in the Texas area. The list went to people that lived in Texas and that were avid hunters. We also made sure that they were clients that were in the 80% range of making a purchase of the capital equipment that we were attempting to sell. So on the microsite there was an offer that read “Joe, please come to our office for an open house and purchase a particular machine at a very attractive price and also register for the contents of the case by filling out the form on the microsite.” The personalization doesn’t stop with the mailer – it continues on the microsite all the way down to the particular piece of equipment that we already know they are interested in. Whether it’s a widget “A” “B” or “C” we can switch out the widget with variable printing an variable data on the microsite as well.

The only way to win the contents of the case is to actually show up at the office and attend the open house. Once they come to the open house, our goal is to sell them the high dollar capital piece of equipment.

Tracking back to the PURL is simple, as soon as a client clicks on their PURL an alert is sent to both the salesperson and the sales assistant so that the sales person can immediately contact the client and make communication to get them more interested in the product. My research has shown that if you contact a client while they are on your website within the first 5 minutes, you have an 80% chance of having good communication. However, if you wait 20 minutes those chances go down to 5%.

So what do we do with all the data? Well, its very cool actually, we can learn how often they visit the site, whether they forward the site on to someone else, or if they move from page to page if we’ve built a microsite that has multiple pages. So we can tell their interests very easily. PURLS can help you determine in a short matter of time what your clients needs and wants are without being invasive.

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Filed under Direct Mail, Internet Marketing, Marketing, PURL, Uncategorized


So, a little more information about PURL’s today.  When talking about PURL’s one might say “I want to know why I would want to use a PURL in a marketing campaign.” The answer to that question is simple.

  1. If you want to target an audience that is defined such as by age, gender, or any list for that matter then this would help you.
  2. PURL’s will increase your response rate by double in most cases. The reason is that you have real time responses and there is no error. With PURL’s there are “Microsites” that are developed based off of your own website that you can create or your design team can develop. Once this is done, you have the ability to completely control the responses that are coming in. An example of this would be my Twitter PURL’s. What I do is create “Microsites” that have a unique PURL for every tweet that I create. Next, I create unique tweets that engage the audience to click on the link within Twitter. Once people click on the Tweet I can immediately go into my software for my Microsite CMS system and watch everyone clicking on the microsite to see what pages within the microsite have been hit.  I always place a form on every “Microsite” to entice people to a call to action so that more is done.
  3. When talking about Direct Mail the best reason for using a PURL is simple. With a PURL now your customers have the ability to feel more connected with you as being PERSONALIZED.  The PURL reads as so the customer is immediately drawn to the mailer because they think “hmmm how did my name get it’s own website?” They go to the website and then they see a website that has their own name on it again that says “Hi Tom (or whatever the customer’s name is), We’ve got this special widget for you today at a steal of a price. If you buy today it’s marked down to $10 instead of $50.  Immediately the customer thinks – “Wow, they really know me..I need this!” 

If you have a good list managment process, and have been keeping track of your customers, then you will know exactly what your customer needs are and will have sent them the exact widget they wanted. You can purchase a good list from many different sources these days for next to nothing. I can talk more about that later. But again, I am just giving you little bits and pieces for now to wet your appetite with PURL’s!  Use them often, use them wisely!

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Filed under Direct Mail, Internet Marketing, Marketing, PURL, Social Media, Uncategorized