Why They’re Not (at All) the Same
Sometimes direct mail gets a bad rep. Why? Because it’s commonly mistaken for junk mail. But other than being mail, these two have nothing in common. Direct mail only falls into the category of junk mail when it’s poorly executed. When done right, direct mail targets, entices, and benefits a specific customer. Someone, who through market research, is most likely in need of your product or service. It’s designed with purpose in mind, is backed by research and data, drives audiences with calls-to-action, and is highly customized and personalized. Take a quick read to further understand how direct mail differs from junk – and why it should be a key part of your company’s marketing strategy.
Direct Mail Starts with a Good List
The biggest difference between direct mail and junk mail is a good list. A list that’s backed by data, and one that targets the right people – not just any people. Before making an effective, comprehensive or specified list, first review the mailing lists you currently have. Who are you sending mail to? Who have you sent to in the past? Are they the right audience(s)? Are there more audiences (or more specific audiences) you should be targeting?
A wrong list will fail to target those who’d be interested in buying from you, and will often also target those who’d have no interest at all (cough, cough – junk mail). For example, sending “get 10% off your first order with us” to a loyal customer, or even worse, trying to sell meat to a vegetarian. Junk mail goes to anyone and everyone, and often with irrelevant and impersonal information. Plus, it’s often a waste of money, as many of those unspecified and uninterested customers will throw your mail out without a second thought.
In contrast, direct mail is sent to people in data-driven lists, and with messaging that makes sense for their specific customer profiles. Compiling this strategic list makes all the difference in targeting the right customers and catching their attention. Direct mail, unlike junk, is sent to direct people for direct reasons. In fact, 42% of recipients read or scan direct mail that’s relevant to them.
Types of Direct Mail Lists
Direct mail lists come in many forms, so it’s good to take a look at them all before deciding what will work for your company and its marketing needs. Here are the 4 most common ones:
House List: A list you’ve collected on your own time of prospects and customers you’ve made connections with. People on this list are likely to respond, because they’ve already responded to previous offerings.
Response List: A list you’ve put together of people who’ve responded to and reacted to your outreach before. Whether they’ve purchased something or have asked for more information, these people have some level of interest in your offerings.
Compiled List: A list of candidates that went through screener questions and possessed a characteristic or set of characteristics you searched for. These characteristics are fixed, and are most commonly age, gender, location, or income level.Another characteristic could be new movers – those who just moved in and are looking to become loyal customers of your services.
Segmented List: A list curated through a high-tech analysis platform that defines key prospects. This type of list accesses information far beyond age, income, and gender, and gives you the ability to micro-target your market for more extreme results and higher ROI. This type of targeted list also helps you avoid sending to “do-not-mail” contacts.
Direct Mail Has Personally Relevant Messaging
After you decide on a list, the next step is deciding on the right messaging. Direct mail isn’t just about knowing who to send to, but how to speak to them to get them to notice, develop interest, and potentially buy from you. Look into your customers’ buying habits. What entices them? What offerings are they most interested in? And, how can you best reach them? Knowing the proper way to connect with your current and potential customers will help your mailer stand out. Don’t just use a cheesy, typical slogan or generic text. Craft words that highlight who you are, what makes you unique, and why they should use your surfaces or buy your offerings (over others). Make your mailer personal by adding their name, incorporating content that makes sense to their age and other demographics, and including offers applicable to them. Lastly, a clear call-to-action can educate the recipient in how to respond in the most efficient and convenient way possible.
Direct Mail Has Purposeful & Impactful Design
Lastly, once you’ve crafted effective messaging, design your mailer with intentional and engaging visuals. Make sure you’re thinking through the following key design aspects:
Sizing: Think about what size mailer makes sense for your audience, and what will help yours stand out in the mailbox among others. And, in terms of font size – think over what message is most important to get across. Use sizing hierarchy to emphasize words like “free” or “grand opening”.
Layout: Always consider how you want the viewer’s eye to be lead across your mailer. One good technique is the “s-curve” layout – which leads the eye down and across by using imagery on the left and words on right, or a similar variation.
Graphics: Using unique and eye-catching graphics is a great way to make your business stand out from the rest. Be sure to use high quality images as well as consistent branding elements – such as a logo, fonts, colors, and textures. And, go further by using variable images depending on who’s receiving the mailer to make it resonate with the viewer.
Color: Pops of color are also a great way to spice things up – especially when they’re not expected, or to emphasize a call to action. For example, use pops of color on new services, departments, or special offers, or to emphasize a QR code.
Altogether, the key to good mailer design it to ensure it resonates with the customer and emphasizes who you are and the message you’re trying to send. For more help with mailer design, specifically, check out our blog on current direct mail trends.
Now that we’ve gone through what makes direct mail, well, direct – we hope you can see that it is drastically different than unsolicited junk mail. If you’re looking to make a change with your direct mailers or simply want to learn more, contact Strata’s experts.
A Strata YouTube Channel Original
Creating a personally relevant multichannel campaign can be difficult without proper preparation and guidance. Luckily, in this blog, featuring our most recent YouTube video of our Multichannel Marketing series, we go over some marketing personalization statistics, how to create a personalized, cohesive, and seamlessly relevant journey across multiple channels, and ways to better know who your buyers are.
The key to starting is to understand who your audience is and their specific buyer journey. Once you collect this data, it’s time to personalize and make sure the content you’re putting in front of them is relevant.
Map Out Your Customer Journey
When creating the perfect multichannel campaign for your audience, take a look at who your buyers really are and then work backwards to figure out how they became a customer. What high-value acquisition channels did these customers use? Which customers have strong LTV (lifetime value)? Talk to your customer service team and your customers. Once you organize and map that out, you’ll have a much easier time figuring out where the problems are, and where objections are coming from. And finally, discover where customers dropped off in the funnel. Put all of this together, and you’ll have a clear look at the journey your customers take and how you can improve your connections with them.
Establish Your Data
When we say establish your data, we’re talking way more than first names and company names. While those are important – that’s not the personalization customers are looking for these days. You’ll want to start partnering with a company (or using software) that can help you gather info like real-time, on-site behavior, online and offline conversion history, geographic location, product affinities, and device activity. All of this will help you develop a strategy that’s consistent and relevant from one channel to the next.
Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all personalized experience – that’s why customers crave it so much. To see what steps are next in establishing your personalized approach, click on the video below. You’ll hear our Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, Bridget, go through best practices. Or, if you’d like to discuss this concept with one of our multichannel experts, contact us today to get your next (or maybe even your first) multichannel campaign started.
How to Attract Your Audience
Video ads aren’t anything new, but keeping up with the rise of their increasing online presence is. Most of us don’t even realize how often we come across video ads. With so many different apps and sites, it’s important to get your company’s video ads out there, in the right places, and noticed. The key is to look beyond traditional practices and dig deeper into the variety of different ways and places you can utilize them. Follow along as we take you through best practices for video ads.
Rise of Video
With the rise of social media and its many marketing uses; video advertisements have been more popular than ever before. So popular that, in the past 30 days, more video content has been uploaded than video created by major U.S. television networks in the past 30 years. Moreover, it’s estimated that the average person currently spends 100 minutes every day watching online videos. This is a 19% increase compared to daily viewing minutes in 2019, which stood at 84. What all of this means is that it’s not just that people are watching more video than ever before, but that competition for this space is on the rise. Stay on top of new trends and ways to engage your audience over your competitors with our five tips and tricks, below.
1. Choose the Right Video & Placement
The right video placement can be the determining factor for your video advertising success. Before anything else, make sure your company has a clear idea of where you want these ads to be – and where they’ll best meet your potential customers. Here are four highly successful video ad placements to keep in mind as you’re getting started.
Skippable in-Stream Ads: Skippable, in-stream ads play before, during, or after other videos. After five seconds, the viewer has the option to skip the ad.
Non-Skippable in-Stream Ads: Non-skippable in-stream ads are 15 seconds (or shorter) and play before, during, or after other videos. Viewers don’t have the option to skip the ad.
Native Video Ads: This video ad format blends in with the website’s layout for a seamless interaction.
In-Banner Video Ads: In-banner video ads are videos built inside a banner ads.
Knowing these four placements can allow for your brand and message to be properly delivered the way you’d like it to be within your diverse video ads.
When we say captivate, we mean make a good first impression. It’s best to keep your videos around 15-60 seconds, because most of your audience may drop off if your ad drags on too long. The message may begin to get drawn out and blurry, causing the viewer to forget it. Short and sweet is the rule of thumb, and grabbing their attention in those first 3-5 seconds is key. You really don’t have much time before the viewer may click “skip ad” or exit out completely. Keep users engaged by using upbeat music, compelling questions, humor and more, based on your brand voice. Once you have your general ad idea ready, figure out the best place to position the ad. 79% of the people say a video ad has convinced them to buy a product or software – so make sure its length and creative makes it memorable. Not sure where to start? Take a look at one of our personal video ads below for inspiration.
Online video ads tend to differ heavily from traditional television ads. This is primarily due to the personalization of online ads. Using personalization tactics can give you an impactful advantage over your competitors, so take advantage of this and research and study your customer demographics to better understand their behavior and buying patterns to properly place your ads in the right places. For example, if one of your demographic audiences viewed your services and clicked through the contact us page, but didn’t submit any information, you can infer that they got the chance and had the time to go through your website (showing some interest) and look over your services, but weren’t ready to take any next steps. In this case, a video ad with personalization could be used to help them progress, reading something like, “Learn more and get in contact with xyz to see how x company can help you with…” This way, you’re serving as an outlet and solution to their unanswered questions, and gently pushing them make that next step, instead of placing an ad for them to see that doesn’t apply to their current situation. The same goes for the placement of the video ad. If you find that the majority of your audience is viewing your content on Facebook or Instagram, place an ad within these platforms. Similarly, if you’re communicating a lot through email with potential customers, place a video ad in an email. An initial email with a video ad can receive an increased click-through rate of 96%. And, using the word “video” in your email’s subject line can increase open rates by 19%, click through rates by 65%, and cut the number of unsubscribes by 26%.
4. Make it Relevant
Make sure your ads are relevant. Don’t just interrupt your viewer in the middle of their browsing or shopping – add value to their day. Make them do a double take when scrolling to keep your company top of mind for your high performing audiences. The best way to do this is by empathizing with their needs and pain points, especially right off the bat (like we said, in that first 3-5 second). It’s helpful to create different or slightly different versions of the same video ad to ensure they fit seamlessly into whatever page they are placed on.
5. Represent Your Brand
Be sure, possibly above anything else, that each video is a good representation of your brand. Add a logo into the corner of the ad, or place it strategically within the video on certain frames. 3X more people are engaged with an ad when a brand name and message is presented in the first 10 seconds. Also be sure to include a clear & concise call to action (CTA), and use ad copy space to provide additional information about your product or service that didn’t make it into the video. You can even try adding a short teaser phrase or question to the video that compels people to view longer or check out your website, blog, landing page, or other platforms.
Reach Your Target Audience
Lastly, partner with advertising creatives to get your video ads done efficiently and in a timely manner. Having captivating, personalized, relevant information that’s positioned correctly will ultimately put your company in the best position possible to reach your target audience. If you’re looking to learn more about video ads, feel free to contact our skilled creative marketing team, here.
5 Tips & Tricks to Enhance Your Digital Campaigns
Last week, in our first blog of the Power of Digital series, we discussed how powerful and plentiful digital is in our increasingly technological world. This week, in part 2, we’re giving you a few tried and true digital tips and tricks that businesses can use to increase the power of their marketing.
1. Set Goals
When creating an effective and accurate digital campaign, it’s very important to create goals early, and define them with purpose. Loosely defined goals will just lead you to a loosely defined, unsuccessful campaign, so outlining measurable goals should be your first step. Many companies use the SMART method to develop these goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) because it ensures you hit every key factor of effective goal-setting. While many goals should be focused on sales and leads, they can also be set around other variables, such as increasing social media followers, email subscribers, and/or engagement. A recent Harvard Business study revealed amazing statistics relating to goal setting and success. It found that the 14% of people who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals – so set, and don’t forget.
2. Define Demographics & Use Personalization
Your online audience heavily varies based on a lot of different factors, such as gender, age, location, income, and more. Since there’s such a large range of possible digital viewers, it’s important to research, define, and customize based on your specific audience. Creating personalized marketing that caters to each demographic is the most effective approach when it comes to digital campaigns, so once you’ve defined your specific target audience, think about what will resonate with them, and incorporate that into your copy, images, and overall strategy.
3. Know (& Use) Your Voice
Again, knowing your audience is key, and if you know them well, you’ll know how to speak to them. If your social media posts or emails look like those of every other company, you’re doing your digital wrong. You won’t catch their attention if you blend into the vast digital crowd. Make sure your content and messaging are relevant, consistent, and always showcases your brand voice and brand story. Also, it’s important to make sure everyone in your company has a good idea of this brand voice, so that your salespeople, staff, and representatives showcase it correctly and authentically. Developing brand voice standards and distributing them will help ensure these are streamlined all over digital – and in the physical world. Over time, as your audience and goals are bound to change, these standards may change, so make sure to always adapt your messaging.
4. Include Clear Call-to-Actions
Call-to-actions can be just as important as the digital campaign itself. Emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks 371% and sales 1617%. Don’t forget to brainstorm, discuss, and review them to perfection. Whatever you want your customer to do when they see your display ad, read your email, or scan your social, make sure it’s obviously displayed. Don’t make them guess. Your call-to-action should be front and center, easy to find and direct. The first word of your call-to-action should be first-person oriented and action oriented. And, like we said, make sure you focus on the language of the call-to-action and ensure it’s clearly connected to your brand as well as your products and services. Avoid generic call-to-actions like “read more” or “learn more here” – as customers are so bogged down by these and not enticed by them anymore. Try other, more unique phrases like “Try for free”, “Join us”, or “Give it a go”.
5. Design Effectively
Digital campaigns leave a ton of room (literally, endless room) for creativity, but make sure to use that design space thoughtfully and effectively. It’s essential you think about not only what the digital campaign is, but where it’s going. It’s likely your users are absorbing your campaign touchpoints in more than one place (on phones, tablets, or laptop screens), and that it’s surrounded by other images and advertising – so make sure it fits, and make sure it pops. To stand out, use high-quality images, unique brand elements, and enticing content that is relevant and consistent to further reinforce your positioning and brand experience. If you’re not certain something will work, still try it! The best campaigns are sometimes the most out-of-the-box, and A/B testing can be used to give new ideas a try.
If you’re ready to take your next digital marketing campaign to the next level, contact Strata today.