4 Ways to Promote Social Media with Direct Mail

There is no doubt that social networks are continuing to grow in popularity among all age groups. Recent statistics from Pew Internet & American Life Project indicated that 65% of online adults use social networking sites.  Marketers should continue to devote resources into using that channel to reach customers and prospects. However, this can also create an opportunity for your mail and print channels.

Direct mail and social networking efforts can both be improved when they are integrated together. Here are 5 ideas to make that integration happen:

Put the Social Media Badge on your Direct Mailer
Alright, this one is probably the easiest and most obvious of the bunch. If you’ve invested the time in creating and managing social media profiles for your company, you need to make sure that people know about them. Sure, some might find about them via links that you’ve added to your corporate website or via their own searches.

But to ensure that everyone knows, try adding the “badge” of social media icons to your direct mail pieces.

Simply seeing the “Facebook” or “Twitter” logo on your postcard may help your target audience become aware that your company is sharing information via those channels too.

Post Links to Your Landing Page on Social Media Sites
Let’s say that you’ve created a landing page that is filled with compelling information and a form that asks the perfect amount of questions. Will people only get to that page if they receive a direct mailer that contains a personalized URL?

Give this a try — in addition to the personalized landing pages, create versions that will be available to the general public. Then, post links to the general version of the landing page on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites that your audience uses.

Throughout the campaign, measure how people are getting to your page. Is it via the PURL on the direct mailer? Or via Twitter or Facebook? These types of reports may help you to better invest your resources in future campaigns when it comes to segments of your audience.

Make the Mailer Interactive with a QR Code
Companies of all sizes and varieties are creating videos with their Flip cameras and smart phones and uploading them to YouTube. Those videos can certainly help to spread your company’s message and to increase your SEO efforts.

But online video can also be re-purposed to make a direct mail piece interactive.

Simply create a QR Code that points directly to the YouTube video or to a mobile-optimized site that provides a link to the video. Place the QR Code on the direct mailer with a call-to-action, and then watch how your growing mobile audience responds.

Enable Landing Page Visitors to Easily Share the Link with Others
This might be the one idea where you can truly start to see growth in the overall success of your campaigns. When someone visits your landing page, make it easy for them to share a link to your content on their social media profiles.

This could be via a simple “Tweet This” button for Twitter, a ”Like” button for Facebook, or some other sort of social media plug-in.

If your content is truly helpful and you make it easy for people to share it, your audience will grow with the help of others.

Drive People to Your Social Media Sites from the Thank You page
Let’s say that someone responds to the call-to-action on your direct mailer, types in their PURL, and fills out your response form. What do you then? Do you simply say Thank You?

Well, you could do that and then follow-up with them later. Or, you could try to further the engagement at that moment.

Try integrating your social media profiles into your Thank You page. This could mean simply putting icons that link to your social media pages. It could also mean embedding a YouTube video onto the page as well. Since the person has already shown interest in your company, perhaps they’d be more than willing to take a few minutes and learn a bit more about who you are and what you can do for them.

————

These are just a few ideas for integrating direct mail with social media. I hope that they help improve the success of your marketing and educational efforts.

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3 Ways to Utilize Data to Improve Direct Mail

One of the biggest ways you can reduce your costs (but also increase your ROI!) is to segment your mailing list. Once you do that, you can then use the following techniques to improve the success of your marketing efforts:

  • Present targeted text and graphics: While segmenting your mailing list, you should be able to identify key attributes of each group. Those attributes might be based on demographics or previous purchasing history. Use that data to tailor the creative and messaging on the direct mail piece specifically to each group. If you want someone to respond to your mailer, you must reach their heart. The right graphics and words may help you accomplish just that.
  • Tailor the call-to-action: While considering the attributes of each group in the mailing list, you must identify what triggers will appeal to your audience. Are they more apt to respond to messages about discounts and limited-time offers? Or, would they be more excited to respond to offers that will give them special treatment or status? Appeal to them properly in the call-to-action, and you should increase the response rate of the effort.
  • Provide multiple response mechanisms: Whether it’s a personalized URL, a QR Code, an SMS short-code, or a Facebook “Like” icon, offer a response mechanism that utilizes more recent technology and channels. However, you must be willing to accept the reality that not everyone on your mailing list is on Facebook, has a smartphone, or wants to see their name in the URL. Thus, increase your chances of success by providing multiple response mechanisms on the mailer.

 

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The Questions that Marketers Need Answers To

We all love answers.

If our boss asks us a question, we feel really good if we have one.

If we are doing the question-posing, a satisfaction itch should be scratched at least a little bit, even if the answer wasn’t exactly what we wanted. (For example – Q. Can we just order pizza tonight for dinner?   A.  No. We are having broccoli and salmon.  [JUST KIDDING])

The Questions that Marketers Need Answers To

If you are in the marketing world, you must be prepared to answer a lot of questions.

However, questions involving data may be tougher to answer than others.

Think for a moment about your own situation. If management or the sales staff asked you these questions today, could you answer them? And, how long would it take to actually produce the results?

  • How many people are on the current customer list? Can I see it?
  • Do we have a list of previous or dormant customers?
  • Where are the prospects and new leads from Trade Show [InsertNameHere]?
  • In our pipeline, how many people are from this industry? Or that industry?

The questions involving the actual data will certainly lead to additional questions.   If you have the records, the next questions may be:

  • Do we need invest more time and money attracting attention among a certain vertical?
  • Have we reached out to our dormant customers lately?
  • What has been done to follow-up on the leads from the trade show that we spend tens of thousands of dollars on to attend?

Are You Sweating Yet?

If you are involved with marketing, those questions may possibly be causing a few beads of sweat to appear on your forehead. You may even be visualizing (or having a flashback of) your boss demanding answers to those questions recently.

If you are in the position where you cannot produce the answers easily, or the data, then here’s a solution.

The Solution

Build, manage, execute, and measure your marketing initiatives across multiple channels, and make sure to collect data from those channels for your marketing database.  Segment your data across specific fields and demographics, and then view your reports to see how each segment is faring.  This allows you to slide and dice data, view the big picture of the campaign, and then make the next marketing effort even better!

 

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4 Essential Steps to Sales Lead Follow-Up

When it comes to the worlds of sales and marketing, there are always items that we can look at to improve our effectiveness.

In marketing, it may be that we want to increase brand awareness and acquire more leads. Or, it could be that we want to do a better job of attracting leads that are more qualified before they are handed off to the sales team.

But when it comes to Sales, one of our goals, that should always be high on our priority list, has to do with our follow-up process.

Here are four tips to help increase the effectiveness of your lead follow-up process:

  • Do your research: If we want a sales call to go smoothly and turn into a success, we must take the time to learn what we can about each lead before we call them. We don’t need to go overboard — but in today’s world, we can quickly find out key details about most of the people that we may be interacting with. We should look at the data on social networks and in our contact history records. That data can help us to deliver a relevant and compelling message to each lead.
  • Be ready to get to the point: Are people busier than ever before? While I don’t know the answer to that, I do know that this is true: people have more communication and technology options at their fingertips than ever before! Thus, we must ensure that we can deliver our key message to people in a short period of time. Sales reps should have a catchy “elevator pitch” ready so they can quickly start the follow-up conversation and get it moving down the right path.
  • Recognize the difference between pushing and being too pushy: While sales does rely on doing what it takes to close deals, it is important not to come off as too aggressive or rude. Nowadays, people are quite apt to air their grievances or complaints about a company on their social networking profiles. If you are outsourcing your sales follow-up needs, or perhaps using someone with limited experience, help them to understand the consequences of their actions during the follow-up process. However, we must strike a balance. We need revenue to survive — and that doesn’t happen simply because we’re nice.  We need to find ways to ensure that our prospects understand the importance of looking at our products and/or services.
  • Be happy and passionate: People like interacting with someone that enjoys what they do. They also will be more willing to listen if they think you truly believe in the product or service that you are selling. The tone and content in our follow-up efforts can certainly leave a big impression on other people when they think about our brand.

These are just a few tips to help improve the sales lead follow-up process.

I hope that you find them helpful!

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5 Reasons to Mobilize Your Content

Mobile is the next big thing in marketing, and it is here now. Why should you mobilize your content? Here are five reasons!

1. QR Codes On Direct Mailers

When you mobilize your content, you should have QR codes for people to scan. Using QR Codes on direct mailers has become a popular trend because now you can encourage people to take further steps towards using your products or services.  With your direct mailer QR Code, you can send people to all types of mobilized content that will give them more incentive to take action.  Offer a mobilized coupon, event registration form, survey or a mobilized purchase form.  QR Codes that send people to mobilized landing pages allows your audience to take these actions quickly and easily from their phone.  By using a straightforward, mobilized format for your content, it will spike response rates and impress and your audience.

2. Interactive Marketing Opportunities

Having mobilized content allows for users to interact directly with your company and submit information right to your database. Offer incentives for customers to supply their email address, or give surveys that can be easily taken right from a phone. You can add these opportunities on any type of printed piece- trade show posters, direct mailers, brochures and more.  Use your mobilized content as a tool to compile information and better service for the needs of your consumers.

3. Smart Phone Prominence

You have seen the statistics by now. Smart phone numbers are through the roof. Mobile marketing isn’t a niche anymore; it is a massive segment of the population.

4. No More Zooming and Scrolling

Smart phone website viewing can be a hassle. Zooming in to read microscopic text and then scrolling left to right to read just one line is awkward and unpleasant. Having mobile optimized websites, landing pages and content alleviates this problem. A mobile optimized site is designed to be read on a smart phone with minimal scrolling and no zooming necessary. Give your eyes a break!

5. Get the Word Out!  

A mobile website is a great way to get out all the information you want to bring to your potential customers. And a mobile website also allows you to have additional pages, or sites, devoted specifically to particular services or products. Different QR codes can lead customers to different pages. Be creative! The possibilities are endless.

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10 Ways to Build Your List of Newsletter Subscribers

Yes, content rules. And timing is everything. Oh, and it can make a big difference if you target ME specifically. But in the end, those things are only possible if you have a good great database.

If you are looking for ways to build your marketing database, a very practical goal is to increase the amount of people that are subscribed to your newsletter. How can you do this?

Here are 10 ideas that may help!

  1. Your Corporate Website: This is where the effort should absolutely start. When people visit your corporate website, there should be a clear call-to-action to encourage them to sign up for your newsletter. In many cases, there should be a link or form built into every page within your site. However, you could also look for ways to incorporate that encouragement into your web content (for example — would you like more tips such as the ones found in this blog post? Sign up for our free eNewsletter! >>
  2. On Lead Generation Forms: Marketers spend a lot of time, energy, and money getting people to visit their lead generation forms. When people take the time to fill them out and ask for more information, include “Sign me for your newsletter” as an option on the form as well.
  3. At Trade Shows: Simply scanning a person’s badge at your booth does not exactly give you permission to add them to your newsletter subscription list. However, you should actively seek to build up your database at the show. This may mean encouraging sales reps to ask people to sign up when they swing by… Or, you could have a QR Code in your booth that directs people to a mobile-optimized sign-up page.
  4. Facebook: It truly is easier than ever to create custom tabs on your company’s Facebook page. By putting a custom tab that encourages people to sign up for your eNewsletter, you’ll be able to start developing a multi-channel conversation with folks that are interested in your company.
  5. Phone Reps: Make it easy for employees that talk on the phone to sign someone up for your newsletter via your CRM solution. Sure, they will need to ask the person on the other line for their permission. But when they do receive it, make sure that they can easily update their preferences in seconds.
  6. Email Signatures: Guess who might truly want to receive your eNewsletter? Yep, the people that are already communicating with you via email! Perhaps these are prospects, media/PR folks, former customers, or other associates. Increase exposure to your newsletter by highlighting it within your email signature.
  7. In the Waiting Room: Do you have an area of your office where people might spend some time waiting for a meeting or appointment? Use the power of print to make them aware of your newsletter. Perhaps this is done via a sign on a wall, or via a table-tent piece in the middle of the room.
  8. Encourage Current Subscribers to Share: Do not assume that just because someone loves your newsletter that they will automatically tell others about it. Add social and email sharing tools to your newsletter that make it easy for people to spread the word about it.
  9. Mention it During Webinars and Presentations: As marketers, we are all willing to pay for the opportunities to have a captive audience.  During those times, we must fully take advantage of the exposure opportunities that are available to us. Did you just deliver one heck of an informative webinar or presentation? Encourage people to learn more by signing up for your company’s newsletter.
  10. Via a Tattoo on Your Face: Okay, did I get your attention with that idea? I hope so… Here’s what I mean — don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to dreaming of ways to grow your list! Do not shy away from things such as Foursquare, QR Codes, Twitter… Do not discount all ideas that involve giveaways, contests, or some other sort of gimmick. Rather, creativity may be your best friend when it comes to finding ways to dramatically growing your list.

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A Return to Marketing Strategy

“Tactics, Tactics, Tactics…. Everywhere I look, all I see is tactics!”

Perhaps you have also felt that same way recently. We hear about tactics across nearly every marketing channel out there. QR Codes. Personalized URLs. Augmented Reality. SMS/Text-Messaging. Mobile Email. Social Media Advertising.

Those are just a few of the terms that we hear and talk about quite frequently in the marketing world. I know that I can often get quite excited about them!

But, while there is nothing wrong with diving in and understanding specific tactics, we run the danger of thinking of those things as bright and shiny objects that can solve all of our problems!

Instead of falling into that trap, we must be willing to increase the amount of effort and focus that we put on having a strategy.

Long-Term Solutions Come From Having a Strategy

Because we provide marketing services to our customers, we certainly need to pay close attention to new tools and technologies that could improve our offerings.

However, we must ensure that the services we do add (for example, a QR Code or PURL on a postcard) are not treated simply as add-ons. Rather, we focus on integrating them into the overall marketing strategy that supports our customer’s goals.

Often, the development of a strategy will consist of us asking critical questions. The answers to those questions will not only help us decide which tools and technologies should be used, but also, how should we best use them.

Yes, some of our customers come to us with a fully thought-out marketing strategy. But in today’s world, we understand that many CMOs are running around at a frantic pace; thus, they could benefit by having a service provider, like us, offer some consultation and suggestions.

If you do you have a campaign coming up, here are 4 steps that could help you develop and/or analyze a marketing strategy for it:

  • Describe your business: This sounds simple, but it’s crucial. It may help you to define key characteristics that affect branding and messaging.
  • Define the goal: The goal will help avoid using a new tool or tactic simply because it’s new. Rather, it will help ensure that the the decisions that are made are done for a reason.
  • Understand who the audience is and where they are: Think about QR Codes for a second. If your client is going to be placing print advertisements inside of a subway station where there is no cell service, do QR Codes really make sense? Or, if you are going to send information that is highly sensitive or private in nature, will a personalized URL actually cause people to not respond?
  • How will you measure success?: As a service provider, we may be constantly looking for ways to demonstrate and prove our value. However, in the rush to incorporate a new tactic, we may overlook what steps are necessary to help us measure the effectiveness of a specific tactic. By answering this question ahead of time, we will increase our chances of being able to present valuable data to our customers during the marketing campaign.

These are just a few of the questions that can help us to develop and deliver solutions that increase our revenue now and in the future. I hope that you find them find helpful! Yes, there will be always be new tactics that catch our attention, create some buzz, and get us excited (me included!). But no matter what the tactics are, having the right strategy will help to put us on the right path.

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3 Ways to Deliver Effective Direct Mail Efforts

We all recognize that companies no longer rely solely on direct mail and print to try to reach their customers and prospects. But as long as it remains an effective channel, businesses will use it.

Here are three ways that you can use effective direct mail efforts for your business:

Personalization and Segmentation: Data was meant to do more than simply be imported and exported. Find creative ways to segment lists by the criteria that you may have. Then, tailor the message, content, and/or graphics to appeal specifically to each group.

Complement the Effort with Other Channels: How many touches does it take to make a sale? If there really is a magic number, the bottom line is this: the answer is not typically 1! Rather, it may take multiple efforts through multiple channels to truly make an impression on a prospect. Use channels such as email, social media, and mobile marketing in addition to the direct mail piece to truly deliver an integrated, cross-channel campaign.

Test Multiple Designs & Offers: Testing multiple offers does not indicate that you are not sure of what you’re doing. Rather, it proves that you are truly supporting your marketing efforts and that you’re determined to ensure that your marketing & educational campaigns are the best they can be. Try testing multiple mailers with different wording and graphics. Then, present the reports to your team to show them what’s working the best.

If you need help with your campaigns, let us know!

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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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6 Results-Oriented Marketing Tasks to Do Today!

If you want to re-ignite your marketing efforts, here are 6 tasks that you can do today that will drive results for your business!

Review Your Marketing Plan
Does your company have a marketing plan? If so, that’s a good thing. However, if it has simply been filed away since you created it at the end of last year, that’s not such a good thing!  A much better approach is to keep your marketing plan in front of you constantly as the days and weeks go by. It can serve as a force that guides you and keeps you inspired! It can help to make sure that your daily tactics support your goals and objectives.  If it’s been a little while since you’ve last looked at this year’s marketing plan, it’s time to print it and review it!

Spend Time Connecting and Listening on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
If you have a profile on those social networks, that’s a great start!  But if you primarily only use them to log-in, share some company information (perhaps a blog post, a press release, or some other news about your products and services), then you are truly missing out on some of the major value points social networking efforts can bring.  Take at least 30 minutes today to simply use those networks as a listening tool.

Read what your customers and prospects are posting there. Use each network’s search form to find out what people are saying about industry trends, conferences, and other news-worthy items.  Also, spend some time making sure that you are connected with the right people. Look up some of your recent customers and sales leads, and make a connection!

Create a Video and Upload it to YouTube
“Video sells.” Have you heard that expression? If you haven’t used video yet in your sales and marketing efforts, you are missing out. Online video can be one of the most effective ways to reach your audience with compelling messaging about your products and services.  Best of all, creating and uploading basic videos can be done quickly and inexpensively nowadays.

Give it a try! Sit down in front of one of your company’s posters, banners, or other collateral items. Have someone film you with a smartphone or some sort of handheld device. Then talk for about a minute about one of the major benefits your company can offer… or simply talk about an industry trend.  Then, upload the video to YouTube! But also make sure to include keywords and a link to your website in the “Video Description” field.

Write a Blog Post with Your Customers’ Needs in Mind
One of the best ways to keep your website fresh and up-to-date is through a blog.  Of course, having a blog is not enough. You must make sure that you’re posting content to it on a regular basis.  Also, in order for the blog to be effective, the content should address the needs and concerns of your customers.  Take 10 minutes today and think about an item that might be on your customers’ minds. Then, write two paragraphs that include some commentary, advice, and/or tips that will help them with that item.  Then, post it on the blog to offer instant value to your clients!

Analyze Your Website Traffic Reports
How often do you access and read your company’s website traffic reports?  Chances are that it may not be enough.  Take some time today to login to whatever system you may use for Website Analytics, or pull up the latest report that your marketing agency may have sent you.  Read through what’s happening — take a close look at traffic trends (good and bad), keyword usage, sources, goal conversions, and other data points.  You will most likely uncover important data points that can help you improve your website marketing efforts in the very near future.

Create a QR Code and Add it to Your Printed Materials
Print can still be an effective component in your marketing mix today!  However, it often delivers the best results when it’s integrated with other channels, including mobile.  QR Codes can make your printed items interactive, they can engage the mobile audience, and they can help you better measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts!

I hope you found these tips helpful, and remember that it is never too late to strengthen your marketing efforts!

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