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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:

 

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.

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.

How Are You Tracking Your 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:

  1. 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
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    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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

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us to create and launch better marketing efforts in the future.

Track and Measure Your Direct Mail Efforts

When you are planning on sending a direct mail piece out

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to your target audience, make sure you include measurement components into your marketing strategy. That way, you can see which marketing methods are the most effective!

Use Google Analytics to Benchmark Direct Traffic

Prior to sending out the direct mail piece, monitor and record the Direct Traffic that Google Analytics reports on your corporate website.

Then, monitor those numbers as the direct mailer starts to land in recipients’ mailboxes. While this is not going to tell you exactly how many people hit the website because they saw your URL on the mail piece, this approach

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may help you to gauge if the needle moved at all.

Yes, it may sound simple and less than scientific… but it’s something that should and can be done by anyone.

Use Personalized or Unique URLs on the Direct Mail Piece

Rather than printing your corporate website URL on the direct mail piece, use a custom or unique URL that will only

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be promoted to the people receiving the direct mailer.

That URL may simply serve as a redirect to the corporate website once it’s entered. Or maybe it points to a landing page that is embedded into one of your site’s pages.

This activity should help to serve as a good indicator if the mail piece made an impact.

Ask People!

This approach is often simple to execute and can result in solid data… but it’s often overlooked. In the contact forms that are provided on your website, add a question that asks people how they heard about you.

Also, train and encourage sales reps to ask new prospects that request more information if they received the mailer and then record it.

Moving Forward

Of course, direct mail’s impact isn’t necessarily measured only within the few days it arrives at the recipient’s house. People may store and return to that mailer at a later date — perhaps even weeks later. Thus, keep an eye on website traffic over the long-term to see if the impact of the mailer is still being felt.