With a Combination of Direct & Digital Marketing (and the Right Partner)
Maybe you’ve heard about the paper shortage, or maybe you’ve experienced it first-hand. Either way, it’s something you should know about, as it’s seemingly becoming a bigger issue in our field day by day. But, before we sound all doom and gloom, we do have good news. Although it’s a current issue we’re facing, there are ways to combat it and work around it. In this blog, we’ll walk you through what exactly is causing the shortage, what it means for us (and you), and how we all can continue business as (almost) usual.
What’s Happening with the Paper Shortage?
So, what’s really going on? Well, there are many shortages going on right now – primarily due to all of the craziness that’s ensued over the past few years. The pandemic has been the primary factor in most shortages, from toilet paper to manufacturing products, and everything in between. Something else that’s suffering? Lumber, and in turn – you guessed it – paper.
Back in 2020, the demand for paper dropped by “up to 75% in some segments” due to drops in education and office space usage. Because of this, “paper mills reduced or curtailed production…which caused inventory to drop to levels which have not been seen previously.”
More recently, there’s been a “convergence of Canadian lumber tariffs, increase in demand for home remodeling and building of homes brought on by the pandemic, and hiccups in supply related to transportation.” From home projects to home purchases, we’re now using a lot of wood. More wood demand has called for changes in processes for these previously idle lumber suppliers, which has slowed production – and even worse, transporters impacted by Covid-19 risks has made for fewer available drivers to carry out shipments from mills and shipping ports.
Generally, one thing has led to another, causing a domino effect that’s triggered lumber prices to skyrocket, and has disrupted several industries.
What Does This Mean for Marketers & Print Projects
Yes, the paper shortage is concerning, but it doesn’t make print and direct mail marketing impossible or any less effective. With that said, don’t go overboard. Be aware of the materials you’re using and try to keep a close eye on the balance of supply and demand. While the lack of resources is a hurdle, the shortages are actually giving printers and marketers an opportunity to get creative with project execution by combining print with digital and trying new outreach possibilities.
How Can We Combat the Shortage?
There are several ways to work around the current hurdles we’re facing. The first? Using more digital technology wherever possible (and effective) – like QR codes, for example – to cut back on the paper needed to communicate a message or tell a story. Not only can QR codes and PURLs, or other tools help you use less paper, but they can help you more effectively track, monitor, and enhance your campaign. You can also try supplementing your multiple direct mail touches with other tools like digital ads and emails. A multichannel approach is always more impactful than a single channel, anyway.
Next, look into making your mailers, flyers, and other print marketing materials more cost effective by using a smaller paper weight, or stand out in the mail with a smaller but more uniquely shaped piece.
Lastly, look to work with a company with paper buying power and ample experience. They’ll be aware of the current issues, and will understand what’s best for your company’s marketing needs.
When it comes to shortages of any kind, remember to be patient and plan ahead. The paper shortage most likely won’t be around forever, but the more flexible you can be, the more you can mitigate the issue. After reading this, we hope you’re feeling a bit more knowledgeable of the current shortage as well as what you can do to combat it. If you’re interested in learning more about how Strata’s working through the shortage with our client (and on our personal projects), or are looking to work with us on your next multichannel marketing campaign, feel free to reach out.
7 Ideas for Your Digital Strategy
So far in the Power of Digital series, we’ve highlighted digital’s general power and presence in today’s world, and shared key tips and tricks to plan, execute, and get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns. This week, we’re shifting gears a bit to take you through 7 unique and effective ways you can use digital in your next marketing campaign.
1. Content Marketing
Content is key and king, and that will most likely never change. Especially on digital platforms, content can make or break your marketing campaign. Almost every channel can benefit from content marketing, but those that benefit most are websites, blogs, e-books, white papers and one pagers, infographics, online brochures, social media, and digital advertising. You can expect about 67% more leads every month if your brand has a blog (compared to those who don’t). Digital content marketing can help you get noticed, help customers find you, and build brand reputation – and high-quality content can make you a subject matter expert, thought leader, and front-runner in the industry. A good online presence created through valuable content can earn your audience’s trust and influence prospects to take action, especially if that content includes an effective call to action.
2. Social Media Marketing
As widely used digital marketing channels, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, can help you expand your digital audience and reach (and connect with) people in several areas of the internet. Social media is an excellent, easy, and often free way to promote your business through visual and valuable content that can be uploaded in seconds – whenever and from wherever. Like we said, social media is a great place to reach, interact with, and communicate with customers. It’s a place where customers know they can reach you quickly, get instant gratification, and grow to feel more personally connected to your company. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are useful for sharing announcements, blogs, landing pages, and more, and all of this content can also be shared, liked, and commented on by your customers and interested prospects. In fact, 53.6% of the world’s population uses social media, so take advantage of the crowd.
3. Video Content & Advertising
If you’re not already taking advantage of advertising with online videos, the time to start is now. According to Optinmonster, video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year. Video is an effective, memorable, and authentic way to share company messages. It can be inspirational, entertaining, thought provoking, surprising, educational – you name it. It’s a great way to tell a product story, make announcements, or show the faces behind a company. Just make sure when you’re making video content that you know your intentions. What do you want to tell your audience? What do you want to show them? How do you want them to feel? And maybe most importantly, what do you want them to do? The best channels to post your video content are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin – but video content can be posted pretty much anywhere, and can be broken up and used on several different platforms to target audiences in different stages of the buyer’s journey and acquire varied results.
4. Audio Content
As consumers are settling into their new routines of life at home, consumption habits are dramatically shifting across digital mediums. Podcasts are all the rage these days, and for good reason. Businesses, influencers, and thought leaders have started to realize that no matter what someone’s schedule, while they may not have time to watch, they’ll often have time to listen. Whether it’s on the traditional radio or via a podcast, audio has become an extremely relevant medium to offer on-demand listening for your busy audiences. Even better…audio marketing can often be easier and cheaper to produce and distribute highly tailored content than other forms of marketing.
5. PPC Advertising & SEM
PPC (Pay Per Click), advertising and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) efforts can draw a ton of traffic to your website. PPC focuses on driving search traffic with direct commercial intent. Pay-per-click ads through the Search Network help ensure you’re fully visible and front and center on an SERP when users submit queries that are relevant to your brand offerings. This digital marketing tactic varies in its cost, because the advertiser pays the publisher depending on how often their ad is clicked. Yet, the more you pay, the more possible prospects you’re likely to get. This type of advertising’s a great way to show off your brand to individuals who are actively looking for products and solutions that your brand has to offer. 65% of B2B companies have acquired customers through LinkedIn ads alone, just one of many places these advertising opportunities exist.
6. Digital Display Advertising
This subset of SEM efforts is also a great way to reach new customers using text, images, banners, rich media, interactive imagery, and video. Digital display advertising presents you with the opportunity to showcase your brand in a wide variety of ad formats. Display advertising is an excellent way to build brand awareness and get clicks, conversions, and sales from users who have an interest in your business and have found your display ads to be relevant to the solution or product they’re searching for. Digital display ad messaging can be easily customized based on your customer’s interests and shopping behaviors, but before getting into display advertising, make sure you choose an expert to work with to get the most out of your efforts and obtain higher ROI.
Lastly, SEO is a good digital focus for your company to have if you’re looking to increase organic search rankings for your website. The higher your pages rank on Google’s SERP, the better chance you have of growing your business and brand awareness. Having a high ranking also builds consumer trust and company credibility, and betters user experience, making it more likely for customers to become repeat buyers. The mediums that most profit from SEO auditing include websites, blogs, and infographics, but almost every channel can benefit from improved SEO.
Ready to enhance your next digital campaign? Contact us. We’ll help you brainstorm and execute, and make sure you get the most ROI for your digital marketing efforts.
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.
Convenience, Connection & Speed
You may have read our last blog series, The Power of Print. If you did, you know we have a lot of trust and are well versed in print services and print marketing materials. Print is how we started our company, and we’ll always believe in its power. We could probably go on for 15 more “parts” of the power of print series, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t switch over to another very important aspect of marketing (especially in today’s world) – digital.
Digital marketing is powerful on its own, and even more powerful when it’s mixed with print. It has so many different avenues, varieties, and uses, and is so commonly used today that it’s become almost unknowingly intertwined with our daily lives. Many times, we don’t even notice that we’re being marketed to at all when it’s through a digital platform.
Today, we’re living in the most digital age yet, and our world seems to get even more technology-driven every day. To start this new series, The Power of Digital, we’re looking at why digital avenues of communication and marketing are so incredibly powerful.
First and foremost – we all know that the smartphone is taking over. Why? Convenience. Many of us wake up to a smartphone alarm, use it to check the weather, contact friends, family, and coworkers, to track our wellness, check social media, and later, look up how to make dinner…you get it. We’re on our mobile phones all the time. Gone are the days of turning on the TV to check the weather channel, hopping on the computer to respond to an email, or digging out the cookbook to find a recipe. Smartphones have seriously given the word “convenience” an entirely new meaning.
With a few taps on your phone, you can find, order, and pay for something in seconds. You can view a photo or video in real (live) time – or just seconds after it’s taken. Conveniently, consumers can get something when, where, and how they need it, right away if they’d like. If your business is found digitally, and is convenient to get to, you’re seen as useful, easy to buy from, low-effort, simple to understand, and responsive…the list goes on. In fact, 52% of customers in a recent study said that half or more of their purchases are influenced by convenience.
Being a part of the digital world and having a strong online brand presence shows customers that you value their time and energy. Having a positive digital presence can not only increase consumer awareness, but can also work to strengthen your brand by building credibility. Today’s consumers will naturally expect to find your business online. If they can’t find it, they may question your reliability and even your authority. Your presence online displays a sense of professionalism that allows you to prove your authoritative expertise and stand out against your competitors.
With so many avenues of convenient communication, customers feel more connected to their favorite (and least favorite) companies than ever before. As technology advances, so do interactions between consumer and company. Customers are even so used to getting digitally contacted by companies that welcome emails have an average open rate of 82%!
Digital communication opens many doors to how and when a company or customer chooses to communicate. Whether they choose social media messaging, emailing, chatting, advertisements, or another medium, they’re able to quickly and easily connect with a customer or business. A customer’s experience with one or more of your touchpoints can make or break a sale. Every digital touchpoint interaction should be optimized & simplified to make sure your customers have the best experience possible. This will guide them through the sales funnel so they can convert from a prospect to a customer. The easier and simpler the communication with a company, the better. Simplifying every touch point of digital communication can ultimately be the reason consumers connect with a company over its competition.
Last but not least, digital is almost always much faster than any other marketing and communication medium. Reach someone right away by direct message and quick notifications. With this instant gratification, customers and businesses alike feel no need to wait anymore.
Your customers are bombarded by so many options on the internet. So it’s important to use digital ads and content to your advantage to stand out among the competition, and like we’ve said before, it doesn’t hurt to combine digital with print marketing in an effective multichannel campaign.
By 2024, digital advertising spending worldwide is projected to exceed half a trillion to $524.17 billion. Make sure you’re yielding the power of digital marketing and when you’re ready, contact us to start brainstorming your next digital strategy.