Automotive Direct Mail vs. Email: Which is Best for Your Marketing Campaign?

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In the beginning, there was mail…

And the mail was good. Letter and post delivery has a centuries-long history. For much of the last 300 years, it’s been the main, and perhaps most efficient way for people to communicate with each other over long distances. Love letters, packages, bad news, catalogs, job applications, and so many other things were passed from delivery person to depot to station and back again to whomever it was addressed. For many who lived in rural and remote areas, mail was a way to reach out to the world and to get the things that weren’t readily available in the world around them.

But then came the information age.

Then, in the late 20th century, there was email. Email was first a means of electronic communication among the few, often within the same network or institution. Then came the digital age, household Internet, and free email services. Now, almost everyone has at least one email address.

Email is nearly instantaneous. It’s cheap, and for most recipients, it doesn’t cost a thing. An email to your co-worker in the next office takes just as long as to the office in London or Shanghai. 3 words or 3000, pictures, attachments, and the like can zip through space and time.

So, why would anyone still use snail mail?

Email never actually replaced snail mail.

Email can never be tangible. It can’t be glossy or satin, or brightly colored. It can’t be seen peeking out of the mailbox. It can’t be held in the hand, opened, and unfolded. It can’t contain a little gift, or a hand-signed letter. There’s nothing crisp and complete about email; unlike a letter, if there’s something to open in an email, it needs a virus scan first. No one wants to see the black-on-white text of your emails, but that letter with the cool graphics? The postal carrier, your roommate, your significant other, and whoever else can pick it up and look at it.

Email marketing hasn’t replaced direct mail, either.

In fact, direct mail marketing is seeing a quiet Renaissance. This may seem counterintuitive: after all, who reads mail anymore? Everyone who opens their mailbox reads some part of a single direct mail piece, even if it’s just the hook line the envelope before they throw it out. That is a visual-tactile sensory that will stay with the reader, an experience that email just can’t mimic.

On the other hand, does anyone actually go through their spam folder anymore? And how many times have you unsubscribed to an email list simply because you received too many emails?

Sure, email can be sent directly to someone important. If you want to reach the CEO of a company, you can email the CEO directly (if you have her email address). That doesn’t your email will be read by anyone though, or that the title of your email will make it stand it out any more than the other emails.

However, a beautiful direct mail piece may land on her desk, and even if she doesn’t open it, she sees it. She picks it up.

You may be getting less direct mail than you did 15, 20 years ago, but you’re looking at the direct mail you’re getting nowadays because it is specifically targeted to you, highly designed, and carefully planned.

Is Direct Mail always the answer to my marketing questions?

If the question is “How do I become seen by as many people as possible in the most direct way?” then the answer is yes. However, if the question is “how do I hold the attention of the customers I already have?” the answer is…

…it depends.

A good rule of thumb: quick campaign, quick method. Slow campaign, slow method.

Have a flash sale? Want to reach a core group of subscribers or members today? Use email. Are you anticipating more sales over the holiday season? Send a direct mail piece.

Or use both.

You can always send an email blast to your customer list, but if you want to reach just a few of them in certain demographics at certain times, or you want to do a favor for the most loyal customers, consider all the options that direct mail provides. Printing too has caught up with the times, and the possibilities are nearly endless. Now, you can create vivid, eye-catching direct mail packages for small campaigns without having to worry about the ROI on a niche campaign requiring no more technical know-how than desktop publishing.

You always have the option to email your customers, but don’t overlook direct mail and the power of curiosity that makes someone open an envelope.

Targeted, Personalized, and Web-To-Print Expected to Grow Fastest

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In order to grow your business, targeting marketing practices is extremely important. The more personal the advertisement, the greater the chance of the information landing home with the potential customer. In order to do this, utilizing different forms of marketing is key. One of the fastest growing methods for performing this action, especially at the local level is through a Web to print (also known as Web 2 Print) format. This method of marketing uses both traditional, print based marketing and Internet based options in order to best reach a perspective client.

The fact of the matter is some people respond better to local advertisements they receive in the mail while others are more likely to interact with an ad they see on their social media account. Due to this, it is very important for any business to obtain and source their information and use variable data they receive in order to convert their Internet visitors and possible clients into print recipients of marketing material, which can help drive sales up through the roof.

With the help of Web to print marketing, a company can obtain all of the specific information they need o a key demographic, ranging from the products they are more likely to purchase to the kinds of services they like. From there, they can alter their print marketing campaign and send out the mailers, posters or other marketing material directly to the customers. This way, the company uses the benefits of the Internet while producing the close, personal material of a traditionally produced marketing campaign. With the utilization of both of these formats, it is possible to take advantage of all of the different benefits and services available and to also grow the company faster than ever thought possible.

Email Marketing and Small Businesses

Time has changed for everyone in the world, especially for anyone in business. Whether the business is small, large or a corporation, technology has changed the way businesses market their company. Technology is everywhere in businesses and private homes and the Internet is becoming the fastest way to keep in contact with customers. Email marketing is what helps to keep the business profitable.

Email marketing is an affordable way to contact customers for any number of reasons such as, product information and problem solving, perks, rewards, coupons and promotions. Businesses find email marketing cost-effective and when small business email marketing done in the correct fashion can build their brand and form a group of loyal clients.

Most companies send out newsletters and there is no better way to do this than through inexpensive emails. Emails help businesses to tailor their products and their customer services through emails.

If a small business decides to correspond with their customer base through emails, they must decide if they need an HTML. There are pros and cons to this question and the small business owner must research these pros and cons and decide if an HTML is going to fit their needs. Next, the small business needs to ask themselves if they are going to offer a newsletter as many other businesses do for their customers.

Newsletters offer information about specific products, services, sales and special tips. Add a bit of humor to your new email newsletter and people will sit up and pay attention. There is an old saying that says it just right, “Why I am too broke to even pay attention.”

Surveys find that more and more businesses are establishing themselves on solid ground through a business website. When small businesses start email marketing like the big companies it puts them in the race and gives the small business owner the same advantages when it comes to competing businesses.

The small business owner must get in and run the race for profits through their use of Internet marketing and email marketing to stay profitable and compete with other small businesses offering the same products and services.

Five Steps To A Solid E-Mail marketing List

In order to extend sales opportunities and generate new customers an email marketing list is a very influential tool for reaching potential customers, with targeted messages or promotions. Here are five steps, that are sure to build a solid email marketing list according to Entrepreneur.com

Sign Up With Email Marketing Service Provider

In order to get the opt-in form, you must pay (around $20 a month) a service provider to collect email addresses, send messages to providers and manage the volume for you. Once you have your account set up, customers can sign up.

Create email opt- in link on your home page

Integrating an email opt-in link on the first landing page of the website will quickly get attention, ask the least amount information as possible-its gets more sign-ups. Offering a gift or bonus to customers for signing up is a great way to increase your list, and keep them coming back.

Ask For Opt-In At Check Out

Most payment processing companies work hand in hand with email marketing, adding an opt-in form at check out promising future discounts and sales information to customers that already buy your products is beneficial for return sales.

Pop-Up Forms

The continued presence of pop up ads proves although irritating, proves they are an effective marketing tool. However opt-in pop-up forms have to be tracked for an increased subscription rate, if it is effective you will see it in the metrics.

Opt-In Forms On Blog Sites

Proving a popular way of reaching people that are already VIP customers, communicate on your blog and have a genuine interest in what your company is all about. Engaging customers in useful conversation. Using blog plug-in software, a low cost investment (about $100) for a more personal connection with customers.

Email marketing strategies change, keeping current on trends and most importantly “what your customers want” will ensure a solid email marketing list to grow and business to expand. In order to continue the success, tracking and inventive ideas and promotions are sure steps to a solid email marketing list.

Digital Campaigns vs. Print Campaigns

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The very basic fact – which has been true for some time now – is that digital email campaigns don’t have as high a conversion rate as commercial printing. The reason: brochures, posters, banners, direct mailers, and similar products are in front of potential customers, and in easy view. For example, anyone who has ever gone through their physical junk mail knows that any flyer, brochure, etc. that is high quality and has a particularly visual ad will easily draw their attention. Thus, they are effective at generating interest in a service or product.

On the other hand, email campaigns are much more affordable and can reach a much larger volume of potential customers than print campaigns can. However, what needs to be taken into account is that cheaper isn’t always better. Most email account holders can and often do delete an ad email without ever reading the actual email. Moreover, most people are bombarded by dozens of emails each day and they most often only pay attention to emails sent from people they know. This makes it difficult for a large number of people to open a digital advertisement email. There’s also junk email filters and spam filters to worry about as well.

Any product from a quality printing company – posters, direct mailers, brochures, etc. – will allow you to reach more people, captivating their interest from even thirty feet away. This is effective even if it’s for a moment or two. Some printing advertisements can be seen as works of art that capture the human eye, and ultimately the person’s interest. Sure, print costs more but it has proven time and again to have the highest conversion rate among potential customers just for the fact that you can’t immediately delete a print advertisement.

Is Email Marketing Still an Effective Marketing Tool?

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This is a trickier question than it seems to be. Print campaigns and email blasts both have their benefits and drawbacks. It may be safe to say that in order for companies to truly be effective in their marketing endeavors, both campaigns should be used. That being said, email blasts are not completely dead as an effective marketing tool.

There are a number of reasons why email blasts continue to be part of the business arsenal. If a company sends out a traditional print mail campaign, that company cannot track whether or not the intended recipients trashed the mailer, read it then trashed it, read it and kept it, etc. That is the beauty of email campaigns – you can do what you can’t do with print. Of course, it is important to mention that print campaigns do have a higher conversion rate than email campaigns. But that depends on the design of the printed materials, the quality, and who you’re sending it to.

With email blasts, assuming a company is using an established email marketing system, there are a number of advantages. For one, most of these organizations provide email reports that allow companies to know if their email was opened, when they opened it, how many times it was viewed, if it was forwarded, which links they clicked on, and a number of other useful pieces of information. In turn, this information can be used to then target future email campaigns to certain individuals to ensure that they both open the email and actually read it.

One of the most obvious reasons email blasts still exist is their cost effectiveness. It is much more affordable to have a company create and design an email blast and send it out than it is to design print materials.

5 Tips for a Successful eNewsletter

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There’s no doubt eNewsletters are highly effective ways to market goods and services to both existing and prospective clients. But how do you create a successful newsletter that customers will read and respond to?

Here are some tips to consider.

1. Write an effective subject line.

The first thing the reader sees is the subject line. Make sure it’s enticing and lures the reader into your content. Otherwise, the piece get sent straight to the trash folder.

2. Use the masthead appropriately.

Make sure your masthead includes your logo (linked to your site, of course) as well as a catchy name for the newsletter. The masthead shouldn’t take up too much space either. You want your content to be prominent and not “below the fold.”

3. Include a table of contents.

The average reader will spend less than a minute deciding if he or she will read your content. Make certain you’ve given them a clear picture of what’s in store if they investigate further. Oftentimes, a reader will use the table of contents to select the content the want to read instead of reading what you’ve placed at the top. The result? More clicks for your site.

4. Avoid sales speak.

Newsletters are supposed to contain just that – news. Readers don’t want a blatant sales pitch. Include facts, figures, photos, infographics, statistics, how-tos, tips and other helpful content that a reader can actually use. Sales pitches should be made in separate emails.

5. Highlight clients.

Incorporate testimonials and client spotlights so readers know your business is a quality outlet. Plus, by highlighting a client in your newsletter, you’ve secured your relationship even further.

Use these tips to create an effective eNewsletter for your customers and prospects. You’ll enjoy greater client engagement and increased sales thanks to a little forethought.

Benefits of a Monthly eNewsletter

In today’s economy, it is harder than it has been in a very long time to get the customer to open up his wallet and give you his credit card information. Due to this, small businesses that fail to innovate or, worse still, fail to connect with their existing customer base, simply fail. One of the simplest ways to make this vital connection with an existing customer base is to produce a monthly e-newsletter.

In addition to the obvious benefit of making the customer base feel appreciated and “in the know,” a monthly e-newsletter allows for experimentation within that group of people. By taking the core of your consumer base and subjecting it to things such as new schemes for sales, you are given a

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quick and dirty look into how well this new idea will fare with the cross-section of the population with the highest response rate toward your personal product. This high response rate also extends to the ability to leverage your existing customer base to provide free product reviews, free general marketing information, and free off-the-record critiques by simply asking them. People are often quite pleased when they learn their opinions not only valued, but specifically asked for. Use that impulse.

For those with very small businesses, the production of a monthly newsletter is just another regular cadence that can prove to the IRS that you are a business and not just a hobby. Remember, hobbies don’t pay the self-employment income tax, but cannot offset losses with deductions to anywhere near the same extent as a business. For those who are transitioning to a larger, more stable business, having as many sources of proof that you are serious about this as you possibly can will help enable you to classify yourself as a business.

5 Quick Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

Email marketing may help you reach your target audience or stay in touch with past customers, but it can also create problems if you do not use caution when you are creating a marketing campaign. Fortunately, understanding what is appropriate and what is not will help.

Do Not Send Messages Several Times Per Day

Never send email ads more than once in a day. Ideally, limit the ads to two or three times

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per week. Sending several emails will result in being considered a spammer rather than a legitimate company.

Do Create Content that is Easy on the Eyes

Reading online is hard on the eyes due to the glare from a computer. Make your ads easier to read by offering a large amount of empty space. For example, create bullet points and keep your paragraphs very short. Make it easy to scan the advertisement.

Do Make the Headline Compelling

Focus on a catchy subject or headline that will make your customers interested in looking further. For example, if you are having a sale, then advertise the possible savings in the subject line.

Do Not Make Major Changes

After you select colors and the basic design of your brand, do not change it. Consistency is a key part of reaching your target audience because it shows that you are a company rather than a scam artist. Consistency can make customers more likely to look at your emails.

Do Allow Customers to Opt-Out of Emails

Although it might seem counter-productive, give customers the chance to tell you that they do not want emails. Offering the opt-out option will allow them to decide if they want to look further.

Email marketing can help improve the growth of your business, but you need to follow a few rules to make it more effective. By learning the dos and don’ts of the marketing strategy, you will see a greater level of success in the future.

3 Ways to Produce an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is an effective way to reach your potential customers, but only if they actually look at the email. The key to creating an effective email marketing campaign is focusing on producing email newsletters, advertisements and announcements that your potential customers are willing to look at when

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Create a Marketing Plan

Set a specific direction for your marketing campaign and work on creating email messages that follow that idea. Organize each ad so that it is consistent with the previous ads. Nothing is more irritating than a marketing strategy that has no obvious direction and constantly seems to contradict itself. Create a focus point, even if it is just that you sell great products.

Make the Message Easy to Scan

Email marketing is not the same as a video ad or a newsletter you sent in the mail. Focus on concise messages that are easy to scan. When men and women read online, they do not usually read word-for-word until after a quick scan shows what the email is about. Use bullet points and break up the text with short paragraphs.

Limit the Emails

Send one email every few days rather than sending an email message every day. By staggering the emails and sending them less often, the email is less likely to end up in the spam folder. Nobody likes to have an inbox with so many email ads they can’t possibly follow

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the message. Limit the messages with one or two ads in a week and a newsletter once every two weeks or one month.

Email marketing is not as complicated as it might seem, but it does have a few key rules that make it effective. By focusing on your main point, creating messages that are easy to scan and respecting your customer’s space, you are more likely to see an increase in sales.