Archive for December, 2015

Make the Most Out of Your Direct Mail Marketing

For companies that run direct mail campaigns, the ability to effectively measure the highs and lows of those campaigns is vital to the success of their advertising as a whole. The following tips will have you well on your way toward making the most out of your company’s direct mail marketing:

  1. Utilize a tracking software system that will measure the statistics of your campaign easily and efficiently:  Yes, there is no denying that it may cost less money to send emails than it does to send direct mail. However, if the act of sending direct mail to your audience could bring you better results, wouldn’t you want to do that? Of course! However, we must put forth the effort to prove that is true.  This may primarily mean that we set up our campaigns and landing pages in a way so that direct mail responses are measured differently than responses to your emails, social media posts, or activities on another channel.  Response mechanisms such as QR Codes and personalized URLs can help us measure direct mail effectiveness as well!
  1. Select a focused audience versus conducting a blind mailing effort, thus increasing the potential for successful contacts: The days of spray-and-pray must be a thing of the past. This is certainly true from a budgetary perspective. But it also should be true from the fact that technology makes it easier than ever to create targeted, personalized materials and by doing so, we can increase our response rates.  By segmenting our audiences, we can deliver direct mail pieces that may have text, images, and offers that are relevant to each individual.
  2. Ensure that your direct mail pieces are both informative and aesthetically pleasing: We must never forget marketing fundamentals. Sure, it can be fun to get excited about new marketing channels; however, we must not neglect putting forth an effort to ensure our direct mail pieces look good and tell a compelling story.

These are just a few of the ways that companies can successfully incorporate direct mail into their marketing mix.

Posted in: Direct Mail

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9 Ways to Keep Leads and Prospects Engaged

Sometimes the usual phone call or email is just the complete wrong way to follow-up with leads.  While tempting, keep in mind that you may catch prospects at a bad time, lead them to feeling like they’re “being sold,” or have them ask you to stop attempting altogether.  How can you spark action and interest into that lead without a hard sell?  Simple!  Here are 9 types of information you can send to your leads to keep their attention:

Recorded Webinars
Webinars are a convenient way of educating a large audience with minimal costs associated.  What is also great about them is that they can be recorded!  If you’re going to deliver a great presentation that highlights your expertise, make the most of it by saving the recording and using it as a sales tool for future leads and inquiries.

Recorded Sales Demonstrations
In sales, you may come across a situation where you have to deliver multiple demos for the same company before you can close the deal.  While every point of contact is an opportunity to get closer to the lead, make sure they don’t forget you (and can show you off to colleagues) by sending them a recorded demo.  That way, they can refer back to it at their convenience and never forget the greatest parts of your company.

Digital Company Brochures
If you have a fantastic printed brochure, turn the original PDF file of it into an electronic sales tool!  It’s a great way to sum up all of your company’s benefits and services into one well-designed package, and your leads can then save it on their desktop.  Be sure to share this via a software that handles electronic fulfullment so that you have a history record of sending it.

eBooks
Educate your audience with an enticing eBook that includes interesting facts about your audience’s pain points, and the solutions to those problems.  You can subtly promote your services and products within them, but have this eBook act as a reminder to all that you’re the answer to their problems.

Videos
Position yourself as the expert by giving tips, best practices, and a summary of services in 1-2 minute video clips.  Send this along to your prospects as a conversation starter, and let them get to know you through creative videos.

Podcasts
If you have team members who are fantastic speakers, podcasts may be the best approach to take when trying to capture their knowledge.  You can get away with longer podcast sessions as opposed to videos because the listener can listen in the car, at their desk over lunch, or on their morning run. Invite educational guests and keep folks coming back monthly for more knowledge!

Infographics
If you have a great graphic design team, and some captivating statistics, highlight both of these resources in an infographic.  They’re interesting, fun to look at, and share-worthy.  You can share information about the industries your target audiences are in, how you have increased success for clients, or how you’re keeping up with new technologies.

Service and Product Sell Sheets
Perhaps your leads don’t need the entire brochure, all they may want is a one-pager that goes over key benefits of one service or product they may be interested in.  Think real estate; they’ve mastered the 1-page sell. What’s great about having electronic sales sheets of your various offerings is that you can send a mixture of them depending on what your lead needs, and not clutter up their mind with too many ancillary services that don’t suit them.

Surveys
This sales tool is beneficial for two big reasons.  If you deliver a survey with weighted questions, you can customize the end results of what the survey would say based on the lead’s answers.  It also helps you qualify the lead in finding out what type of offerings would best fit their needs.

The bottom line?
The sales process doesn’t always have to be direct.  Take more of an inbound marketing approach and let them come to you. Sometimes the best way to keep the conversation going is to send educational and informative materials that will captivate your leads and get them excited about what you have to say so when they are ready, they come to the expert first (pssst…that’ll be you!)

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The Solution to Retail Mobile Marketing

In today’s society we are all practically glued to our smartphones; in fact, I bet the majority of you are reading this blog post from a 4.5” by 2.3” screen. It is no secret that small and large businesses have been trying to crack the mobile marketing secrets for years. From failed text messaging advertisements to recent QR codes, mobile marketing has been a necessity that has yet to deliver the desired results – until now. Apple has once again stepped to the forefront with a mobile marketing tactic that is affordably available to big and small retail players.

Have you ever heard of the iBeacon? The iBeacon uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to create a transmitting beacon around regions, which alerts your store’s app when a user enters into the beacon’s space. Imagine that you are approaching a Macy’s store. As you enter into the Macy’s iBeacon region your phone will transmit customized coupons and even walking directions to the specific aisle where a discounted item is located. iBeacon can go so far as to prompt customers with special promotions or a personalized recommendation based on past shopping history.

A recent Bloomberg article examined the mobile marketing implications of the iBeacon. According to Bloomberg analyst Bill Carmody, at just $99 for three 50-meter transmitting beacons, “It’s as if you just added Google Analytics to your physical store – the real-life equivalent of being able to analyze page views and click throughs.” iBeacon allows retail store owners and manufactures to analyze retail traffic patterns, specific hover zones, and purchase patterns.

The possibilities for targeted mobile marketing are now endless. As we enter the busy holiday shopping season we will soon discover if iBeacon proves to be the mobile marketing breakthrough that it currently seems to be.

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Is Advertising In Newspapers Still Worth The Cost?

It used to be that if you wanted to make sure people were reading about your business, it was necessary to advertise in newspapers. Now, it’s important to ask the question: is it worth it? Newspapers are still selling advertising space, but it’s expensive. Is it worth the expense?

There are plenty of ways for you to advertise that are more effective than newspapers. Target audience has a lot to do with how you choose where you will advertise. For most people, the newspaper is not a place where they get a substantial amount of information any more. There are many people who no longer subscribe to the newspaper in their community simply because everything that they need is online.

With so many places to advertise, why advertise in the newspapers where it’s not as cost effective?

The reason that some people are still advertising in the newspapers is because they don’t know where else to advertise. If you don’t want to advertise online, direct mail is still an option for you. You simply create a campaign with a postcard, brochure, or catalog, get a hold of a mailing list, and advertise inside of everyone’s mailboxes.

Direct mail can be more affordable than advertising inside of a newspaper. You aren’t limited by space and you are able to get your advertising message into more hands simply because you are putting your message into a mailbox where everyone goes at least a few times a week.

Especially when you are in a new area, advertising to a large audience is important. When you are looking for a place to advertise that gives you mass appeal, it’s not as cost effective to advertise in newspapers as it once was. Try direct mail and you will see an increase in your business as a result.

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Building a Keyword Strategy

Is it more important to post content frequently or to post content about the right topics?  Creating content with targeted keywords and phrases is vital for companies.  Below are two important steps to ensure that you can do that successfully.

Identifying the Right Keywords
The first step in identifying the right keywords involves answering the question, “What should I create content about?”

Oftentimes, we look internally for those answers.  What do I want to write about?  What am I passionate about?  While those questions are important, we need to always consider the overall goal.  Typically, that is to build an audience and to drive traffic to our website.

Thus, we must ensure that the topics that we want to create content about also match up to the interests and passions of our target audience.

At that point, we should find a way to build a list of the words and phrases that are associated to those topics.  These items do not need to be stored in a fancy, complex system — you could simply keep them in a document or spreadsheet!  But the bottom line is, make the list!  Do not rely on yourself to try to remember the words and phrases that you should use when creating content.

Promoting and Sharing the Words and Strategy
The list of keywords must certainly have a big presence within the walls of a marketing department (whether those walls are physical or virtual).  But they also should be shared among employees from all departments.  Why?

Well, more and more, people from all walks of life and backgrounds are creating profiles on social networks. Perhaps they primarily use their accounts to talk about personal topics.  But if they occasionally interact with a customer or prospect on those channels, or if they link to your company’s website, or simply list its name in their bio, they are representing your brand.

By sharing the list, you will be creating opportunities for all employees to build awareness of your company’s products and services.

Oftentimes, there may be an employee that wants to contribute to the online conversation about your business, but they are just not sure what to say. Sharing the list can be the spark that ignites more conversations about the topics that are vital to you and your audience.

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Your Business Blog and the Fine Art of Posting Frequency

There’s a thin and very high wire the business blogger must traverse. At one end awaits the mighty search engine whose attention you must capture as often as possible. At the other end, your busy readers are pacing. They want to read your content, glean an epiphany or two and still have time to get to the post office before it closes. One slip of the keyboard can send you tumbling endlessly into a blogosphere devoid of both. How does the business blogger find the happy balance between blog consistency and post overload?

The accepted norm for business blog posts hovers between one and three posts per week — enough to pique the interests of the major search engines without alienating your readership. There are two main points to keep in mind:

Don’t Bury Your Subscribers

No one wants to wake up to a mailbox full of company posts. Even if you have top writers creating content that’s lively and packed full of juicy business pointers — if you inundate your readers with 50 posts over a two-week period, there’s a high probability that you can kiss the majority of your subscribers goodbye.

You’ll gain the attention of major search engines with every post, but remember to balance this against the loss of 200 loyal readers.

Stick to a Schedule

Darren Rowse at Problogger has done significant research on the effectiveness of business blogging. He recommends bloggers, “Find your blogging rhythm and stick to it.” Often bloggers start out all fiery and inspired, pounding out two posts a day, only to lapse into silence a month down the road after they’ve exhausted their vocabulary and keyboarding skills.

Nothing disappoints your readership more than your disappearance from the planet after weeks of posting engaging content. Don’t let this happen to you.

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4 Key Metrics for Tracking Printed Materials

While it sure can be fun to generate personalized URLs and QR Codes and then put them on a piece of printed material (direct mail, flyers, brochures, etc), the real enjoyment can come from the time you spend actually tracking and measuring how things are working.

Here are four metrics that may help you do this effectively:

  • The number of people that scanned or clicked: Half the battle of launching a successful marketing effort involves simply getting someone’s attention. How can you make your message stand out from the clutter of other messages that the recipient may have received? Well, pay attention to the group that at least takes some action on your response mechanisms. Even if they do not actually respond to your questions on the landing page, the act of scanning a QR Code, typing in a URL, or sending a text message involves effort. That bit of effort may indicate a bit of interest in your message; thus, those people should be treated differently than those found a home for your printed materials in their waste basket.
  • The number of people that responded: Yes, we love these folks. They took the time to visit your response page, enter some contact information, and perhaps answer a few questions. Make sure that you are ready to embrace these leads quickly. Of course, pay attention to the data that they provide to you! If they shared preferences on how they prefer to be contacted or in what they’re interested in, make sure that you respect and honor that.
  • Where are the responders in the sales pipeline: At some point, leads are handed off between marketing and sales departments. However, marketing’s job is to support sales the entire way through the pipeline. Thus, marketing folks should have the ability (and the desire) to see where the leads they’ve generated have moved down to in the sales funnel.
  • Actionable intelligence from the responders feedback: We often tend to look at each response and lead as its own entity. This is good and understandable. However, we should also look at the data from a high-level perspective. Take the time to look for trends — when do people click? When do they respond? What answers are being provided/selected by the majority of folks?

Answers to these four metrics should certainly help us to grasp whether our current printed materials are effectively reaching our audience. But more importantly, they should also help us to create and launch better marketing efforts in the future.

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