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Developing Relationships with Online-Only Customers

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You may create opportunities for more business by developing relationships with customers that only order online. These relationships might enable your business to help the customer with their other needs.

Here are 5 ways that you may be able to build greater relationships with your online-only customers:

The Order Confirmation E-Mail
When someone places an order from your site, they certainly expect to see key details in the confirmation email. But don’t be afraid to put a personal touch on it. This may include placing your logo in the email, choosing a “friendly” font, and also phrasing the email in a way that makes people think of the humans that will be fulfilling the order.

Also, you should add links that make it easy for people to check on the status of their order, as well as to check out your company’s social media pages.

Send a Thank You Note/Gift
Alright, we know that you may not be able to do this for everyone. But from time-to-time, send a thank you note to people that have done business with you. By doing this separately from the confirmation email, you are reaching the customer multiple times but in slightly different formats. If you can send this “Thank You” in the form of a hand-written note, or accompanied with a small gift, you may make a lasting impression on that person.

And since they are already comfortable with being online, perhaps they’ll talk about your kind gesture on their social media pages.

Cross-Promote on the Web-to-Print Storefront
Certainly, you do not want to overly distract people while they are placing an order on your online storefront. However, you may reap benefits by cross-promoting other products and services in under-utilized

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real estate. This may entail putting a banner advertisement somewhere in your site that highlights something else that you offer.

Connect via Social Media
After someone places an order, take some time to search for their social media profiles. Chances are, you will find a great majority of people on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. You can use these channels to learn more about your customers, and perhaps identify ways that you can offer additional value to them in the future. This may start by simply saying “Thank You”. Or, you could comment on or “Like” content that they have posted. Also, if you add their profiles to your CRM solution, you will provide valuable data to your customer service team and marketing department in the future.

Invite them to Opt-In for Further Communications
Does your company offer a free eNewsletter? Do not hesitate to mention this to people when they are registering to use your online storefront. If they’ve enjoyed your company enough to order products from it, they may also be inclined to receive helpful information from you in the future.

Integrate Your Direct Mail and Social Media Efforts

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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.

Improve Direct Mail Efforts With Data

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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:

 

Marketers, Prepare Yourselves!

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!

Increase Your Amount 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

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possible if you have a good great database.

If you are looking for ways to build your marketing database, a very practical goal

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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 — 000-998 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
    EC0-232 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.

Do You Have an Effective 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
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    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.

3 Ways to Utilize Direct Mail

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

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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!

Enhance User Experience with Landing Pages

When designing and building a landing page, we typically have a specific purpose in mind. For example, let’s say that we have a goal of registering 100 people for an Open House event. We may promote it through direct mail, emails, and a banner ad. All of those medias will point to a landing page.

When people hit it, we certainly want them to be able to easily figure out how they can register for the event. We may take steps to ensure that there are not too many distractions on the response form. We may limit how many fields we require, or how many questions we ask of people. These types of decisions can have a positive effect on the percentage of people that do respond to our

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offer.

However, once someone clicks the Submit button, we can take a slightly different approach. Many times, we may be tempted to simply put up a “Thank You” message and call it good. If so, there is a chance that we are losing out on an

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opportunity to capitalize on an interested audience.

If we only say “Thank you”, then we have created a dead end. We may have accomplished our specific goal, but we are pretty much guaranteeing that they are going to close the browser or go visit another website. However, by using that Thank You page as a way to further communicate and engage the responder, we may find greater success.

Here are a few possible ideas for how to “extend” a user’s experience with a landing page:

  • Put a link to your corporate website, and a compelling reason to visit it
  • Embed a YouTube video that is associated with your company
  • Link to your social media sites (add the social badge, or simply promote one of them with a big logo and reason to click: “‘Like’ our Facebook page”)
  • Encourage people to share what they just did on their social media pages (i.e. “Tweet This: I just RSVP’d for ABC Company’s Open House on the 23rd”)
  • Invite them to subscribe to your newsletter
  • Are you selling something? Put a link to it.
  • Deliver a personalized experience — based on how they responded, display a custom message (in the form of text, pictures, or video)

These are just a few possible ideas.

Sure, not everyone will click on the links that we provide on our Thank You pages. But we will never regret putting forth an effort to extend someone’s engagement with our brand.

(If you’ve had success with extending your landing pages, please feel free to leave a comment on this post.)

Improve Your Marketing Campaigns with QR Codes and PURLs

QR codes offer a number of benefits for marketers. One of the most important benefit is the ability to tie together the print, mobile and web channels to increase the response rates on multichannel marketing efforts.

Since QR codes make it easy for people to jump from print to the web, this intelligent tool can add to the success of your personalized URL (PURL) campaigns, too.

QR codes have the ability to lower the barriers often surrounding customer response which, in turn, leads to an increase in overall campaign response rate.

Here are several benefits that can be easily achieved by coupling QR codes with PURLs to boost the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns:

Providing one-to-one communication
PURLs can be embedded right into QR codes, so when a customer or prospect scans the code, they are taken directly to their personalized landing page.

Once a recipient is at that personalized page, you have the opportunity to engage with them and have a one-on-one dialogue.

Making it easy to respond
QR codes make PURLs portable. They allow the recipient to access each individual PURL without the need to sit in front of a computer.

Because people are on the go, and many carry their phones with them at all times, this portability is ideal in increasing the response rate.

Additionally, QR codes eliminate the need for a recipient to type what may be a rather lengthy PURL into their web browser.

By simply pressing one button on their smartphone, your prospect or customer is automatically directed to their own personalized website. This eliminates the chance of typos and

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decreases the amount of effort required by the recipient to access the information.

Tracking and measuring
Every marketer knows there is nothing more important than being able to measure the success of a campaign.

PURLs provide the ability to track which recipients visit their personalized page and, depending on the level of the PURL, gather additional contact information about each individual.

Similarly, various software programs have been developed that will also record the amount of scans per day, what time those scans took place, the location of the scans, and the type of device being used to scan the code.

Together, QR codes and PURLs can provide a more complete picture of which recipients express interest and which leads are the hottest.

QR codes will only enhance the value PURLs already bring to campaigns, becoming a logical extension of the PURLs you may already be implementing. Use them to fill the gap that other cross-marketing tools cannot.

Add Value to Your Marketing Campaigns with Variable Data

Are you using your customer data to the best of your ability?  Are you not satisfied with your return on investment for all of your direct mail marketing efforts?  Utilizing variable data may be your answer to these frustrations.

By using this particular service, it will help you create more customized marketing campaigns for your customers depending on what information you have about them.  By creating and delivering more customized and personal messages to your audience, you can be sure to see an increase in your marketing response rates!

Here are some of the ways variable data can add more value to your marketing campaigns:

  1. Create personalized messages by using your customer’s name and company in your online and offline marketing campaigns.
  2. Add coupon codes for specific services and promotions.
  3. Use it for the numbering sections for invoices, and cross-promote related products if applicable.
  4. Take advantage of their order history to promote related products to them at a later date.
  5. Utilize their address or location for geographical promotions if you have more than one store.
  6. Add a personalized URL to track who went to the correlating landing page.
  7. Graphics can be different depending on what types of clients you are sending your promotion to.
  8. Just like graphics, text can also be adjusted to help your marketing message relate to your audience more.

As you can see from these examples, you can understand why these tactics will help make your marketing efforts stand out more to your targeted audience.  If you have data that can help you make more specific marketing messages to your audience, take full advantage of it!

If you would like to learn more about how you can start incorporating variable data in your marketing campaigns, give us a call!