Archive for the ‘email marketing’ Category

Are Your Customers Targeting Consumers Aged 65+? Check Their Channel Mix!

Friday, April 18th, 2014

According to just-released data from Pew Research Center, 41% of all adults 65+ still have no Internet access at home. This changes for more educated, affluent adults, but particularly for those who are older, less affluent, and who have physical or health conditions, print is still a critical part of the mix.

However, this is not a homogenous group. Within this demographic, the differences are striking. Among younger, affluent, and more educated 65+ consumers, the percentage going online and having broadband access at home is higher than the U.S. adult population overall. But among those with lower household incomes, particularly those with physical or health conditions, the percentages are much lower.

Digital enablement also varies significantly between younger and older adults in this group. As reported by MediaPost:

  • Among U.S. adults overall, 86% go online and 70% have broadband at home.
  • Among seniors with an annual household income of $75,000 or more, 90% go online and 82% have broadband at home. For seniors earning less than $30,000 annually, 39% go online and 25% have broadband at home.
  • 87% of seniors with a college degree go online, and 76% are broadband adopters. Among seniors who have not attended college, 40% go online and just 27% have broadband at home.
  • 68% of Americans in their early 70s go online, and 55% have broadband at home. By contrast, Internet adoption falls to 47% and broadband adoption falls to 34% among 75-79 year olds. [1]

If you have clients selling products into the 65+ demographic, this article is a must read for channel mix. It impacts the channel mix in terms of print vs. email, and if they are doing email, the type of email sent (text only vs. HTML for non-broadband users).

These results also mean that if your clients aren’t tracking their customers by household income, education, and more detailed age brackets, you need to be working with them to get this done.  The difference between great response and dismal response hangs in the balance.

Great Infographic to Share with Clients

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Looking to convince clients that they need to make a greater investment in updating their databases? Here is a great infographic that makes the point in a powerful (but sometimes funny) way. The infographic relates to business data (such as changing address or phone numbers) more than it does consumers, but the point is made regardless.

For example,

  • In the 30 minutes you spent checking your mail, 127 companies changed phone numbers.
  • In the 25 minutes you spent commuting to work, 40 businesses changed locations.
  • In the 15 minutes you spent eating breakfast, 27 business changed names.

It also claims that bad data costs businesses $600 billion annually and up to 20% of revenue. It’s a great attention grabber . . . and a great excuse for your customers to let you help them update their marketing databases!

The infographic was created by Infogroup Targeting Solutions and shared by Marketing Profs.

Day Worth of Data

Why Your Clients Should Be Offering Email Couponing

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

If you’re a printer, you want clients to spend more money on print. So why should you encourage them to offer email coupons? Because email coupons are trackable, and they tell your clients what their customers are buying. That tells your clients a lot about those customers they can use for higher value print personalization later.

Experian Marketing Services’ 2013 4th Quarter email trends and analysis found a 50% year-over-year increase in the number of email campaigns offering coupons. As reported by MediaPost, whether the coupons were redeemable in-store, online, or both, email blasts with coupons outperformed other promotional mailings on open, click, and transaction rates. They also had 48% higher revenue per email ($0.10 for coupon mailings compared to $0.07 for other promotional mailings) in Q4 2013.

That’s a very active, engaged audience that can feed you a lot of information. Let’s say your customer is a specialty retailer offering a variety of pet products. It doesn’t have a loyalty program and isn’t large enough to track data at the point of sale. But you start sending email campaigns with coupons. The coupons that get printed, clicked through, or downloaded tell that customer which households have what types of pets. This allows you to help the store craft targeted campaigns directed at their specific pet needs.

Over time, it can alert the store to changes in pet ownership, too. Suddenly, the Smith, Jones, and Gordon families are downloading coupons for puppy chow. It’s a pretty good bet they just purchased a puppy. This can prompt mailings for grooming services, puppy beds, crates, and a variety of other products they are likely to need. In six to eight months, puppies grow into nearly full sized dogs, and those families will need larger beds, larger crates, training classes, flea and tick control for larger dogs, and so on.

One of the big hurdles to detailed targeting for small and mid-sized businesses is the lack of tracking at the point of sale. It’s great to talk about targeting and personalizing based on past purchase behavior, but most small and mid-sized marketers don’t know what their customers are buying. Email couponing gives insight into those behaviors in a way that’s realistic and affordable even for small businesses.

Increase the Value of Your Email Marketing Efforts

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Would you like to give your customers the marketing messages they want, the way they want them? Of course you would. That’s why you need to make the most of your email marketing. With up to 77% of customers preferring to get their marketing messages via email, it’s time to make sure you are getting the most out of this valuable resource.

Why Email Marketing Matters

Email marketing offers a lot of advantages. Email is:

  • Customizable – you can customize everything from your email content to what triggers an email to be sent. It’s a versatile medium, so use that to your advantage.
  • Affordable – setting up an email campaign is cost effective. Crafting a good email takes time, but emails are still relatively quick to put together compared to other marketing materials.
  • Relationship focused – email brings you into direct relationships with your customers, encouraging them to take action on your messages.
  • Measurable – email metrics tell you everything from open rates to click through rates and unsubscribe rates. All this tells you what you are doing well and where you could do better.

How To Make The Most Of Email

Email is a great ally for your business, but how do you make the most of it? Your aim is to send timely relevant emails that will be opened and acted upon. Start by:

  • Keeping it personal – you’re not sending email to “your list”, you’re sending it to the individual customer who is going to read it. Keep them in mind and address them directly.
  • Keeping it snappy – customers get a lot of marketing messages. Make yours stand out with an attention-grabbing headline and content that lets your brand’s personality shine through.
  • Keeping it customer focused – make the time spent reading worth their while. Instead of opening with why they need to buy your product or service, offer information that will be useful to them. Inform and entertain first, sell second.
  • Keeping it actionable – email is a great medium for encouraging action. Make it clear what the next step is, whether that’s getting in touch, placing an order, or looking out for the next eye-catching missive.

Email is a marketing mainstay that offers a welcome boost to your business. Give plenty of love to your email list and give them tantalizing content that will establish your business as worth paying attention to.

Have you had success with email marketing? I’d love to hear. Share your tips and best practices below!

The Dos and Don’ts of Multi-Channel Marketing

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Building a successful multi-channel marketing campaign is a bit like making a cake. For the recipe to be a success, you need to add all of the right ingredients.

In order to help you do so, let’s take a look at some quick dos and don’ts for executing multi-channel campaigns that will keep your clients and their customers happy.

Learn how you can execute a successful multi-channel marketing campaign by downloading, “The Dos and Don’ts of Multi-Channel Marketing,” free for The Digital Nirvana readers!

Take a moment to read and share this resource at http://ilnk.me/DoDontMMC! Do you have any additional tips for executing successful multi-channel marketing campaigns? I’d appreciate your feedback below!

Can Social Media and Direct Mail Merge Seamlessly?

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

“Social media isn’t a fad, and I think we can all accept that,” said moderator Barbara Pellow, Group Director of InfoTrends, in January’s webinar sponsored by Canon Solutions America.

This we know: social media isn’t a new trend. It has an established yet evolving role within the marketing sector. So the question becomes, how does the print industry integrate social media into traditional marketing pieces, like direct mail, to offer optimal customer outreach?

Renée Hall, VP of Business Development at Dukky, and John Ortiz, Director of Operations and Sales at Your Preferred Printer, give an overview and case-study examples of successful, seamless integrations. The speakers touch on strategies and software tools for merging social media with direct mail, which ultimately bolster a client’s network and increase bottom line sales.

Let’s consider the facts. When 1000+ enterprises were surveyed in 2013, social networks were cited as the number one area in which media usage will increase. In addition, 47% of printed marketing materials were linked to a digital channel in order to reach broader audiences and boost response rates.

Now, how are these social networks leveraged?

In order to answer this question, printers must first start by defining their business altogether. Hall finds that most printers have either transitioned to become full marketing agencies with in-house printing capabilities, or they now characterize themselves as a ‘printer+’. As a printer+, the business presents itself as a traditional printer, but integrates online, digital components to complement mail pieces. “Embrace new technology, keep and expand your services, provide tools for measurement and analytics, and leverage what already exists” are just some of Hall’s suggestions for success.

After updating the business approach, printers must next consider the new role of direct mail. It’s no longer a one-way, exposure-oriented form of communication; rather, it’s an entry point to cultivate a conversation and gather information. Take Hall’s Chick-Fil-A example: 5,000 mailers were sent out to gather demographic information of potential customers and to inform them of the branch’s opening. The postcards featured free food promotions that required online validation. Once online, customers were prompted to take a short, information-gathering survey. Once completed, they were able to receive the promotion and “share” the offer within their social network. On opening day, 14,000 customers walked through the branch’s doors. 20% of which accredited the decision to the direct mailer and it’s online component ‘call-to-action’.

Sounds like one successful way to get customers engaged, mobilized and excited. For more examples of seamless integrations and for the complete list of tips, check out the recorded webinar here:


 

 

4 Marketing Channels You Must Invest In

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

No matter how large or small a business is, the following four marketing channels are must-haves for increasing brand awareness, growing product interest, and enhancing your online presence.

  1. Your Website: A corporate website should be your business’s first priority for establishing a strong marketing effort. Strong websites have the ability to promote all of your products and services, collect data from inquiries and leads, and help enhance your search engine optimization. Online searches are the primary way for people to find any type of business these days – make sure their first impression of your business is a positive one!
  2. Email: Whether your business is B2B or B2C, this channel is a must-have because people use their email every day, for both personal and business reasons. You can use it to announce new products, cross-promote services, and for follow-up campaigns from previous events. Email is a great way to stay in front of your audience, increase product awareness, and drive traffic to your website.
  3. Mobile: In case you didn’t notice, mobile devices are kind of a big deal right now and they aren’t going away. Businesses of all kinds need to review their website from mobile phones, tablets, laptops – you name it! If the user experience of your website is not mobile-optimized, you are losing your mobile audience.
  4. Social Media: There are many benefits of social media marketing for businesses. These channels are great for staying in front of your audience’s eyes on a daily basis, driving traffic to your website, and finding new audiences. Social media channels also tend to rank higher in search engine results because they are updated so frequently.

Each one of these marketing channels are essential for broadcasting your business’s capabilities to your audience.

What other marketing channels does your company invest a lot of its time into? I’d love to hear below!

QR Codes Being Mistaken for Tracking Codes?

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

I’ve put the question out there for awhile: Has there been sufficient adoption of QR Codes that we should start removing the explanatory text around them?  The answer has been a resounding “No!” Feedback is that the explanations are still necessary.

The other day, a friend mine, knowing that I write about QR Codes frequently, pointed out a “QR Code” on a label that might be of interest to me. It was, in fact, a Datamatrix used for tracking.

That made me wonder. Have consumers become so used to seeing the square black-and-white tracking codes (such as those used for inventory management) that, when they see QR Codes, they think they are just larger versions? Could this by why some consumers still don’t recognize QR Codes as marketing response mechanisms?

If so, then it makes sense why some sort of explanatory text is necessary. Perhaps that explanation doesn’t have to be how to scan, how to download a reader, or that level of detail. Perhaps it can be something more subtle, such as making it part of the call to action: “Scan this code to get a 10% discount!” Or, “Scan this code for a chance to win free tickets!”

Such calls to action should be used anyway. The point is just that perhaps it’s less critical to tell people how to use the codes than it is simply to draw the distinction between codes for tracking and inventory management (which consumers ignore) and codes for marketing response (which they shouldn’t). What do you think?

Are We Making Cross-Media Accessible?

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

When we read about cross-media marketing, we are most likely to read about sprawling, comprehensive campaigns that involve multiple social media sites, TV, mobile, posters and billboards, integrated dashboards and real-time metrics from global brands. White papers abound from IT services and data management companies like SAS.

It’s as if cross-media marketing has to be big or it’s not effective.

But what is cross-media marketing really? It’s communicating a marketing message using multiple channels or moving consumers from one channel to another to reinforce branding or communicate a marketing message.

That means that QR Codes are cross-media marketing. Personalized URLs on direct mail or email are cross-media marketing. Direct mailers with email follow-ups are cross-media marketing. These are campaigns that are easily implemented, and as long as they are done well, they generally achieve much better results than a single channel alone.

In an ideal world, every marketer would be able to use big data, gain a 360-degree view of the customer, and start, monitor, and measure social media conversations relating to their brands. But if that’s the only way we talk about cross-media marketing, it makes these campaigns sound inaccessible to the average marketer.

It’s time to bring the cross-media marketing conversation down to earth and talk about real campaigns that are really implementable by even small and mid-sized marketers.

How are you helping your customers do that?

 

3 Places to Get Content for Blogs, White Papers, and Other Content Marketing

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

When it comes to marketing, content is king. Sure, you can go out and try to find customers on your own, but increasingly, customers are finding you. They know what they want, and they are actively searching for, filtering, and vetting their print and marketing partners based on the content they find.

But where do you get the content? Especially for smaller companies, this can be a real challenge. For SEO and differentiation, you need a constant churn of print and email newsletters, white papers, blog posts, Webinars, case studies, and content for social media. What if you don’t have the resources to pay a copywriter to produce them?

If you are not in a position to write your own content (or need more content than you can create in-house), here are 3 ideas for places to get it.

1. Third-party providers. There are a number of third-party content providers that offer content you can brand as your own. They write it. You brand it. Use your logos. Even lay it out in-house so it matches your own in-house style. However, as with anything else, not all purchased content is the same. For PSPs and MSPs, content should be 1) industry-specific, 2) reflect your company’s individual expertise and business focus, and 3) offer solid, useful information but not be text-heavy.

For example, I write the content for Great Reach Communications’ Market Builder and 1:1 Messenger programs. In the seven or so years I’ve worked with them, there has been a very clear trend. E-mail articles and blog content has always been short, but especially for print, the text is getting shorter and the graphics are getting more prominent.The print newsletters are now featuring shorter, pithier articles and standalone graphics with relevant data bytes. Readers can scan the page and get the main points very quickly. This increases the chances that the newsletter actually gets read.

2. Third-party providers . . . a la YOU. When you purchase third-party content, it’s yours. That means you can tweak the content to suit your company’s unique niche or perspective.

Clients of third-party providers will often use the purchased content as base, then add to it with their own data, metrics, resources, and case studies to create custom newsletters for less than they can write from scratch. As another example, I sell brandable white papers on the best practices of digital printing, personalized (1:1) printing, Web-to-print, QR Codes, and so on. Many printers will purchase them as templates, then I will do an interview with one or more people at the company to  customize the content. I will use that time to replace generic examples with their own case studies, their own perspectives, and their own technology.

3. Tap into your suppliers.  Many suppliers develop white papers and other content that you can brand as part of the value they offer as a supplier to you. Look not just to press suppliers, but software vendors, as well. Even if they don’t offer content you can brand as your own, you can often distribute it as a resource. They will often have case studies and white papers you can draw from or cite in your materials.

Contact your sales rep and peruse what your hardware and software vendors have available on their websites, then you can reference the highlights in your blog, social media, and other communications. If you see something you want to use verbatim, ask the company permission to do so. More often than not, you’ll find the answer is yes. You’ll often see at the bottom of blog posts and magazine articles “reprinted from . . .” and the original source. With permission, you can do it, too!

This industry’s need for content is voracious. Don’t think you have to write everything yourself. If you can, that’s great. If you can’t, there are resources to help you.

Interested in Learning about NFC Tags?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Happy New Year to all! Now is a time to make resolutions and innovate. For those of us in the print industry, one of our resolutions likely involves making traditional print more interactive.

In this Printing Impressions webinar sponsored by Canon Solutions America, moderator Lisa Cross talks about where Near Field Communication (NFC) tags fit in accomplishing this goal. If you’re like me and you’ve wondered what NFC Tags are – this is the place to learn. This webinar defines NFC technologies, shows how they are creatively implemented, and provides statistics from recent studies of their success.

Let’s jump to the content. Lisa introduces Matthew Bright, the Chair of NFC Forum’s Retail Special Interest Group and the Technical Marketing Director of Kovio, who focuses on the importance of NFC technology and provides examples of its use. To complement Matthew’s expertise, Nate Mullikin and Jill Krueger from Corporate Graphics International tell their company story and provide interesting examples of print interactive products and solutions.

To set the scene, Lisa highlights how technologies have emerged to combine traditional print and digital media to maximize the communication experience; a combination referred to as ‘tradigital’. Like most of us know, the key challenge in navigating the tradigital space is reaching an audience that now has control over the media they consume. In an Infotrends study, Lisa points out that 47% of printed marketing materials were linked to online and digital channels. Specifically, mobile use is the fastest growing channel within spending distribution. Therefore, a market for NFC solutions exists to cut through the communication clutter and to make strategic connections throughout campaigns.

Building off of Lisa’s introduction, Matthew describes how NFC is a ‘magical technology’ for interactive print. There are three main cases of NFC use, but the focus of this presentation surrounds the ‘touch to learn more’ concept. The ‘tags’–or stickers—connect printed material to multimedia content uploaded onto the cloud. The stickers can be adhered to posters, mailings, and even embedded into product packaging. For example, with a NFC sticker on a wine bottle, the consumer can then touch his or her phone to the tag, which links to tasting tips and optimal meal pairings on an online interface. It takes a view from print to digital in mere seconds.

Nate and Jill add to the discussion by citing how Taylor Company has adopted the use of NFC technologies in the solutions they provide their clients. From networking with customized business cards to the creation of interactive digital booklets & registries, NFC technologies offer an enhanced gameification of brand, product, and services.

This blog really just touches the surface of NFC technology. Take a deeper dive and be sure to check out the webinar here:


 

Marketing Ideas You’ve Overlooked?

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

We’ve all got lists of marketing ideas for the new year, but are there a few you’ve overlooked? On its website, Great Reach Communications has just published its downloadable “10 Marketing Ideas for Printers,” and there were three ideas I thought were particularly interesting.

1. Blog content. Yes, blogs are the “in” thing right now, but the point made in the white paper is that Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is a game-changer when it comes to this investment. It used to be that you had to load everything up with key words to help with search rankings, but that’s not the case anymore. You no longer have to be an SEO whiz to get noticed. It also gives you more to tweet about.

2. Write a letter.  Yes, it’s old school and you don’t see this often, which is one reason why you should do it, Great Reach president Patrick Whelan writes. I thought this was funny because of how true it is. In our email, text, and social media dominated world, it’s easy to forget the most obvious (and truly personal) ways to contact people. Like the way I catch myself texting to make plans with friends all the time, forgetting that I can also just use the phone and call them.

3. Add downloadable content. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on social media and web content itself, forgetting that search engines find your downloadable content, too. So white papers, case studies, and other downloadable resources will not only help you track who’s accessing your site and how popular certain content / services are, but help with search engine rankings, too.

Happy marketing in 2014!

More Positive QR Code Data for the Naysayers!

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Just out from Mobile Shop Talk — new data from Marketing Land shows that 15% of shoppers are scanning barcodes or QR Codes as part of the shopping experience.  Here’s the range of what shoppers do:

  • 31% — Compare prices of products through Amazon, other online retailers
  • 30% — Look for offers and coupons
  • 28% — Call friends or family for advice
  • 27% — Look for product reviews
  • 18% — Found other stores that have a desired product in stock
  • 15% — Scan barcodes or QR Codes
  • 13% — Look for gift ideas

Granted, scanning other types of barcodes is not the same as scanning a QR Code, but increasingly, we see barcodes and QR Codes being lumped together in mobile shopping surveys. This tells me, not that QR Codes are going away, but that they are mainstreamed.

These days, I am no more surprised when I see a QR Codes on a label, postcard, product package, or magazine ad than I am a web address. They’ve become part of the landscape.

I see fewer and fewer codes with text above or below them explaining how to scan them or how to access a reader if readers don’t have one — less frequently enough that, in combination with the steady, consistent 15-30% rate of scanning among smartphone users, I’m considering removing the addition of “how to use” text from my list of best practices for QR Codes.

What do you think?

Personalized URLs: In-House Lists Vs. Prospecting Lists

Friday, December 13th, 2013

On Tuesday, I wrote a post about the changes in perception and expectations regarding personalized URLs. I’ve gotten some great feedback, including a comment I’d like to share here.

Many see anything interactive like a PURL as being a trip to nowhere except a hundred more emails a month, and more telemarketing calls.  It takes time to separate the legitimate benefit from previous pratfalls.

I totally agree with this. In fact, it’s why I have listed as one of the best practices for personalized URLs as using an in-house list rather than a prospecting list. In-house lists naturally come with a higher level of trust.

An exception would be prospecting lists in which respondents want ongoing contact from the marketer. A classic example comes from the Zeiterion Theater (whose case study can be found in PODI’s case study archive). It created a profile of the ideal patron, then sent a prospecting campaign to the desired demographic and invited them to log into a personalized URL for a chance to win free theater tickets. Even if respondents didn’t win, they responded because they were interested in theater and were most likely wanting and expecting additional and ongoing contact.

But the issue of not responding because of concern about unsolicited telemarketing calls is a very legitimate one and one of the reasons that in-house lists can be a more effective channel.

What’s your experience? Do you encourage clients to use in-house lists? Or do you use personalized URLs for prospecting? If so, how do you get around this perception?

What’s the State of Personalized URLs?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Once or twice a year, I update my educational reports and brandable white papers on a variety of topics related to digital printing and personalization. Recently, I updated the one on personalized URLs. What stood out to me?

How mainstream they’ve become. Years back, I remember regularly writing blog posts and articles on how personalized URLs were being unfairly criticized as under-performing in comparison to other personalization techniques. It wasn’t because they didn’t “work.” It was because expectations were unrealistic and they were being used improperly. (Sound familiar? Can you say “QR Codes”?)

I talked about how personalized URLs were not campaigns in themselves, but simple response mechanisms used for the right campaigns to achieve specific marketing goals. I talked about how success campaigns using personalized URLs were often (not always, but very often) being sent to in-house lists, not prospecting lists, and how critical targeting and segmentation were to success.

It really struck me how I don’t write about that anymore. In fact, response rates for personalized URLs and full personalization are equalizing, but not for the reasons one might think.

The ear-tickling answer is that people have figured out personalized URLs and response rates are rising to the level of the super-successful, full-blown 1:1 personalization, but that’s not true. It’s because expectations for what full-blown 1:1 personalization can do on a day in, day out basis are becoming more realistic.

When I first started writing on these topics, campaigns had to be getting response rates in the 20-30% range before they were deemed article-worthy. Today, they have become sufficiently mainstream and the focus has sufficiently switched to ROI that even single-digit response rate campaigns are written about when they are highly profitable. Response rates matters less now than conversion rate and ROI.

That’s good news for personalized URLs, which had a bad rap for a long time. But it’s really good news for everybody because it means, not that the personalized URL market is maturing, but that marketers’ understanding and expectations of these applications is.

What’s your opinion? What do YOU think is the defining change in this marketplace?