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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:

 

Why Should Your Content Be Mobilized?

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
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    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.

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.

6 Ways to Revamp Your Marketing Efforts

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 youMB7-224 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
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    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.
    225-030 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
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    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!

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.

Keep Print Alive in Today’s World

To truly capitalize on advancements in the worlds of marketing and communications, businesses must find ways to make print work with new channels.

Here are three ways that print can be made interactive:

Use QR Codes to Drive People to Mobile-Optimized Sites

The numbers behind the growth in mobile marketing truly are impressive. More and more of your customers and prospects are visiting websites on their mobile phones. By adding a QR Code to your printed materials, you will be able to reach that mobile audience. QR Codes truly can make print interactive. By driving people a mobile-optimized site where they can watch a video, learn more about a product, or sign up for future alerts, you will further build your database and increase brand awareness.

Promote Social Media Pages for a Company or Product

Companies of all sizes and across all types of verticals are turning to social media to help better serve their customers and interact with prospects. However, they need people to know those pages exist to truly maximize the impact. One way

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to do this is to promote the social media sites on printed materials. Many people use their smartphone to hop onto sites, such as Facebook or Twitter. They may do the same thing after learning that your company has something to offer on those sites.

Use SMS/Text-Messaging as the Call-to-Action

While we may place less phone calls on our cell phones than we did two years ago, SMS/Text-messaging usage seemingly continues to rise. A number of companies have found ways to engage their fans and build their mobile marketing database by inviting people to send a text message to opt-in for a special offer.

There are plenty of tools and channels to choose from when trying to make print interactive, so see what works best for your audience and take it from there!

How to Use QR Codes in Your Fulfillment Efforts

There are plenty of examples where marketers have put QR Codes on their materials simply because they could. But there also have been a great number of

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QR Code applications that truly provide value to a customer or prospect, and in return, to the company as well.

Here are three ways that companies could incorporate QR Codes into their fulfillment process:

QR Codes that Point to How-To Guides and Instructions

Thus, one way that companies could reach the emerging mobile audience is to place QR Codes on packages and boxes of the material that they sell and ship.

These QR Codes could point to mobile websites and/or videos that provide step-by-step instructions and online videos that demonstrate how their items should be properly assembled.

QR Codes that Lead to Mobile Surveys and Forms

Social networks have made it easier than ever for people to tell the world if they are happy or not with a company or product. Companies could seek to acquire that information directly as well by putting a QR Code on their packages that lead to mobile website surveys.

These surveys could seek to ask the most important questions that a customer may want to answer — “Are they satisfied? Do they need help? What could be done better?”

This feedback could be provided while the company and its products are absolutely fresh in the customer’s mind… right through their mobile phone.

QR Codes that Make it Easy to Order Additional Materials

When someone needs to order a replacement part or to reorder an entire unit, companies would certainly want to make that an easy process.

This could be done by including a QR Code on packaging that leads to a mobile website. The website could either contain a Form that allows a user to request the item or a response from a sales rep; or it could even include an option for placing an order directly from the phone.

Think of QR Codes as not just an interactive marketing tool, but a mobile customer service representative. These 2D codes can offer extra assistance, gather feedback, and help give your customers more of what they want!