Make Your Direct Mail Thrive with Tracking, Enhancing, and Attributing Results
We’ve said it time and again – direct mail really works. In fact, direct mail open rates can reach up to 42%, which is a lot higher than most e-mail open rates. Recipients of direct mail also “purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more money than people who don’t get that same piece of direct mail.” While these are excellent stats, we know it’s not always that easy to track and measure ROI from physical mail in the same way you track ROI from your digital strategies. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you out. We believe in not only the importance of direct mail, but in its results – with the right tools and resources.
First and foremost, consistency is key when it comes to direct mail ROI. To get the most out of your direct mail, make sure it isn’t just direct mail. What do we mean? Weave digital touches into your direct mail – like your social media, digital ads, and website – and make sure everything is connected. With the right direct mail partner or resource, you can take mailing addresses and match them with social accounts, IP addresses, and more to really understand who your audience is and what actions they’re taking. Weaving in digital information can help you share your message before, during, and after your direct mail is sent out – making the chosen brand message consistent and more impactful to your audience.
Not convinced this is all necessary? We are, because combining offline and online tactics is proven to really work. In a recent study, a whapping 68% of marketing respondents saw that combining digital and direct mail increased visits to their websites. Considering the multichannel experience and the customer journey while creating your direct mail will not just increase website visits, but many areas of ROI.
When it comes to getting the most from your direct mail, it’s important to ABT – Always Be Tracking. Not only tracking information and results from your direct mail campaign like you would your digital ones, but tracking the delivery of your mailers – just like you would a package. This will help you know when to prepare the recipient with other messaging before delivery, and when to follow up with them to make the greatest impact. Take it a step further by working with your direct mail partner or resource to send the recipient an “informed delivery” message by USPS to make them aware of their mailer’s arrival, and send them direct links to ROI-rich landing pages. If you haven’t noticed already, every step we’re highlighting truly combines the traditional and digital worlds of marketing.
If you’re still with us, you’ll see that we’ve created an experience for the recipient along many steps of their customer journey, tracked their direct mail’s physical journey, and have notified them that there’s a special something waiting in their mailbox. So, what’s next? Reporting, recording, and attributing. Without these, you won’t know how to improve upon your direct mail and increase your ROI for next time. Your recipients may respond or perform an action by phone, BRC, personalized landing page (PURL), or in another way, so it’s important that the information is correctly recorded in real-time. The best way to record and store this information is on a platform’s dashboard specifically made for tracking. There are many out there – so find whatever works for you and make sure you use it to your advantage. The chosen platform can help you store names, addresses, ages, and other helpful demographics to assist you in understanding and targeting your true target audience.
You may have some recipients who will visit your website but will not directly respond to your mail. That’s why it’s important to use identifiable URLs that you can easily track, like UTMs, PURLS, or specified QR codes. If these recipients aren’t quite ready to reach back out to you or make a move, you’ll still have a gauge on their interest, and will be able to send them digital ads or e-mails reminding them of your product or service until their ready to take the next step.
Instead of continuing to throw mail like paper planes to your audience, track and know if your mailers make an impact. Make sure you’re always examining your data and attributing it. You’ll quickly realize it’s easier than you expected to see what’s working, what’s not, and where you can improve on your direct mail campaigns.
As one of our specialties at Strata, we know that direct mail can be uber effective when using the right processes and tools. The key is always combining traditional and digital to catch your audience’s attention before, during, and after direct mail is in their hands. And, like we said before, never stop tracking and modifying.
To learn more about how to create successful direct mail, check out our direct-mail-focused blogs, “Dimensional Mail: Four Criteria for the Perfect Promotional Item” and “7 Ways to Make Your Postcard Stand Out”, or simply contact Strata. We’ve been doing this for years and would be happy to help you get an ROI rich direct mail campaign started.
Common Omnichannel Mistakes & Their Solutions
We’ve really covered a lot of ground in the journey that’s been our Omnichannel Marketing 101 blog series, but we’d be remiss if we got you ready to make and optimize a great campaign without setting you up to fix some inevitable mistakes. Now that you know what omnichannel marketing is, the steps to getting started, and the most important best practices, we’re talking common omnichannel campaign missteps – from creation to execution – and how you can not only learn from them, but fix them and improve on your current campaign strategy and strategies to come. Even when you have all the tools and knowledge for success (which we supplied in parts 1-3 of the series), mistakes can still be made, especially when you’re trying omnichannel marketing for the first time. Thankfully, we have solutions.
Errors during creation and execution of an omnichannel campaign can be due to a lack of data, lack of experience, missteps in implementation, or simply partnering with the wrong omnichannel “expert”. That’s okay! Omnichannel marketing, no matter how much expertise you have, can (and should) take some trial and error. That’s why we’re giving you some smart advice on how to fix the most likely mistakes along the way.
Most Common Mistakes & How to Resolve Them
Mistake 1: Sub-par content strategy
Resolution: If this seems to be the problem, go back and review your content again. It’s most likely not customer-centric, user-focused, or brand-consistent enough. Review your data and make sure your campaign’s messaging is enticing, on-brand, and relevant based on where your customers are and what they want to hear. “A spray and pray approach will make your content irrelevant to certain segments of users, and that would mean potentially losing out to your competitors.” If you’re content’s irrelevant, it’s a major waste of resources, and even worse, can cause your customers to mistrust your company.
Mistake 2: Inadequate data or data misuse
Resolution: “79% of executives believe that companies will fail without embracing big data solutions.” Make sure you have a centralized data management hub for your company (if possible), have adequate tools to get the best data, and ensure everyone on your team (or various teams) can understand and use the same tools to gather information. Contrasting information can really hinder the success of a campaign’s creation and completion. Furthermore, “37% of the people in the US alone change their contact details within a year, making your data obsolete” unless you consistently update it, so make sure you use up-to-date data, and review and refresh your data when necessary.
Mistake 3: Missing out on new data throughout the campaign
Resolution: Like we said, out-of-date data is of no use to your customer’s current information – and even more, their current journey. Don’t just “set it and forget it”. Consistently go into your data to see patterns and understand how and where your campaign is (or isn’t) working. “You are supposed to capture more audience data based on the experience you offer and identify areas you need to improve.”
Mistake 4: “Isolated analytics measurement” (not getting the full picture when looking at data from various devices and platforms separately)
Resolution: Instead of viewing everything as a separate metric of success, think of each touchpoint of the campaign as a part of one ecosystem. “Take a top-down approach wherein you can analyze the success of your marketing campaign as a whole and then get down to the specific channel to know which ones performed well and those that require attention.”
Mistake 5: Problematic execution
Resolution: If you’re lucky and have some omnichannel experience, you may be able to fix this problem in-house. Try focusing on customer experiences instead of touchpoints and channels, better understanding your customer base, and better segmenting your audience. If you’re still having problems with execution, it may be worth it – and best – to bring on technical hires or work with a partner company (like Strata) to optimize data and technology.
Mistake 6: Incorrect & inefficient measurement of KPIs
Resolution: While it’s very important to look at the big picture, make sure you’re measuring results at each part of the customer journey. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on some granular yet important data. “For example, calculate the number of unique visitors on your website during the awareness stage or the duration of visit in the engagement stage, to determine if the user is interested in your product.” Data like this will help you better personalize the experience for each and every customer.
Mistake 7: Forgetting about the mobile experience
Resolution: “71% of shoppers who use mobile devices to research products online say their device is an important component of their in-store experience.” Make sure your customer’s mobile experience aligns with their in-store or in-person experience with your company. Get an understanding of how your customer base may use mobile devices, and how you can best reach them (on mobile) along their journey.
Mistake 8: Simply put, a bad strategy
Resolution: Step back with your team and take the time to re-evaluate your strategy. Is it customer-centric? Is it data-driven? Does it truly meet your customer where they are? If it doesn’t, it’s time to revise accordingly.
Mistake 9: Partnering with the wrong omnichannel experts
Resolution: Do your research when finding and choosing your omnichannel partner. Make sure they’re experienced in all aspects of omnichannel marketing – not just a single channel.
If you’re still feeling intimidated by omnichannel marketing, don’t fret! Strata can help you create and implement a smart, results-driven omnichannel campaign for your company. We specialize in multi-faceted omnichannel campaigns to reach your clients, prospects, and strategic partners. Our campaigns are designed to help you put the right message in front of the right people. Contact Strata to get your very own campaign up and running.
Best Practices & Use Cases
What We’ve Learned (So Far)
In Part 1 of the Omnichannel Marketing 101 Series, we went over exactly what omnichannel marketing is, not only including its actual definition, but how it differs from multichannel marketing, its importance, and examples of when, where, and how it’s used. In Part 2, we outlined the steps to getting started on an omnichannel campaign. From those two blogs, we hope you’ve seen that omnichannel marketing’s an excellent way to gain and retain customers, and that it’s maybe not as intimidating as it sounds, but does require research, planning, focus, and sometimes, a team of experts like us!
Now, we’re giving you the inside scoop and sharing just a few of our secrets (yes, our secrets!) on best practices for creating an omnichannel campaign that powers a unique customer experience and cultivates company success.
What Industries Can Benefit from Omnichannel Marketing?
One of the many reasons omnichannel marketing is so popular is because of its versatile nature. It can be used in many different ways across several industries. Here are just a few we’d like to highlight…
Omnichannel marketing is often used by the telecom industry to conduct various tasks, such as helping customers make payments and send out new launch notifications. As a result, telecom companies can quickly boost revenue and drive engagement.
Travel agency customers go through numerous stages in their customer journeys. Omnichannel campaigns can help promote travel accommodations, send reminders about upcoming flights and delays, deliver other announcements, give out deals for restaurants, stores, and hotels, and keep an open line of communication that’s easily accessible to the customer.
There are several ways banks can use omnichannel marketing – from reminding their customers about impending bills and other costs, to providing account balances, and promoting new features or products. It streamlines their services and allows them to offer multi-device experiences that often save the customer time (and improves their patience).
Healthcare (Our Specialty)
Strata has helped many healthcare companies acquire and retain customers using smart and successful omnichannel campaigns. Marketing campaigns can be tough to create and execute in a highly regulated industry like healthcare, but omnichannel marketing has taken off, and more and more healthcare companies are utilizing it. Healthcare companies can use omnichannel campaigns to reach new movers in their area, connect them with physicians, send out appointment reminders, provide additional access to portals…the possibilities are kind of endless.
With all of that in mind, you can see why businesses that create and conduct omnichannel strategies have 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates. So, even if you’re in a different industry than the four above, you don’t have to miss out. Read on to learn more about the best practices for creating successful omnichannel campaigns…
Creating the Perfect Omni-Strategy
When planning out an omnichannel strategy, it’s most important to research, collect data, and, well…thoroughly plan. Not only do you want to research and keep in mind the customer base you’re targeting, but you’ll want to examine how your customer base will experience each channel, and carefully prepare the different messages you’ll want and need to communicate to them. Like we said in our second blog of the series, knowing your customers inside and out is key to a successful omnichannel campaign. Learn their demographics, environments, behaviors, habits, and even their goals. Use analytics and CRM data to get to know your customers’ behaviors and actions. Make sure to personalize your omnichannel campaign by segmenting this audience based on your acquired data and the journey they’ll take.
On a related note, always be customer-centric. Make sure your team understands the value of consistent messaging and experiences, and is well trained, because “different customers will interact in different ways with your brand, and there is no one way to do it”. Have staff ready to not only provide assistance, but to welcome new customers, consistently engage them in new ways, and turn them into advocates of your brand with, like we said, consistent communication and customer experiences.
Don’t forget to get content (and context) right. Make sure your messages are relevant and timely. Engaging with your customers at the wrong time with irrelevant information can very easily turn them off from your brand. Communicate with customers at the most pivotal touchpoints, “from identifying and understanding a need to researching solutions, comparing products, and making a decision”. Engage with your customers when it’s applicable to them, not just when it’s best for you. Utilize CRM software to stay aware of your customers and “maintain consistent, personalized messaging with customers on whatever channel they reach you on”. Meet them where they are with a message that sparks their interest and answers any questions that they may have about your business or service. And when you can’t be there 24/7, use automation to share content, send confirmations and reminders, and communicate in other ways when triggered to.
And, maybe most importantly in our opinions, always review your metrics (which can include conversion rate, customer acquisition or retention, social media engagement, click-through rate, and more) and revise as needed. An omnichannel campaign isn’t about setting it and forgetting it, but always reviewing and improving, so set milestones for you, your team, your marketing, and your brand.
The best way to perform all of these best practices is having the right tools. Like we said, CRM technology is an excellent way to store data, keep track, and communicate. If you’re a commerce-based company or service, it’s also a good idea to use a POS system so that all of your data is stored in one place. With a POS system, you can also more easily track customer behaviors and “provide them with conveniences like remembering their passwords, storing payment information, and suggesting relevant products”.
We’ve Got You Covered
If you’re thinking this is a lot to take on all on your own, we’d recommend partnering with a knowledgeable company with a staff of omnichannel experts (like us!). Strata can help with everything omnichannel – from data sourcing to execution and production.
The Omni-Steps to Getting Started
Omnichannel marketing can be intimidating at first. The very word itself starts with “omni” (meaning “all”), so we get it, it’s a lot! That’s why we’re peeling back the layers for you. We hope this blog, and our other blogs in this series, helps you understand how beneficial omnichannel marketing can be for your company. In the first blog of the series, we explained exactly what omnichannel campaign marketing is. Now, we’re on to the next step – how to get an omnichannel campaign up and running.
When building your omnichannel strategy, what’s most important is building your target audience. Without that, you’re simply creating a strategy that meets possible customers on the journey you think they’re on. You’ll likely miss who and where they really are. Since your customers are moving from device to device, it can be challenging to follow them, but it’s imperative to set up parameters to catch this data and meet them where they are and see where they’re going. Track their behaviors and record where they’re connecting with your brand and company. Research, research, and research more on your consumers – because as much as you’d like to optimize communication on every channel, your demographic may only be active on a few of them. Decide on which channels you should invest in by reviewing your website analytics. What’s getting you high traffic, time on your site, conversions, and other metrics?
Use Tracking Technology
Like we said, you’ll need a lot of data for your omnichannel strategy – but getting that data takes a lot of research and tracking. Review all website analytics to better understand where your customers are coming from, and why. Use this information to provide a positive experience for the customer along their journey. After all, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience. Using machine learning will also save you time and energy in tracking and finding these customers. Lastly, use collaborative filtering, to make suggestions to new audience members.
Segment Your Audience
To target the right people (the ones you found in your research) at the right time (where they were in your research), you’ll need to utilize audience segmentation. Group your customers by demographic, psychographic, geographic, behaviors, and other applicable segments. These specific audiences will most likely be marketed to in distinctive ways, on different channels, and with differing touchpoints.
Be Your Own Customer
Before rolling out your omnichannel campaign, always test your omnichannel experience as if you’re the customer. Try to get into the customer’s mindset (using the data you’ve acquired and your knowledge of their behaviors) and keep in mind how personal the experience should be. Pretend to actually purchase something from your service to see if there are any problem points or errors along the way, and make adjustments to your campaign where they’re needed. We know that 79% of consumers say that they will purchase more products or services from a company after a positive customer experience, so make sure the experience is definitely a positive one before providing it to real customers.
Be sure to record quantitative and qualitative data not only before, but throughout your campaign. Keeping up with the campaign will help you understand where customers are connecting, purchasing, or dropping out and moving on. You’ll see where and when you need to adjust your campaign. Additionally, send out surveys to current or potential customers to see how and when you can improve their experience.
Make sure you’re not only responding to your customers – but also their behaviors. If your tracking is showing a change in your customer base’s actions, react to that change and alter your campaign.
What should also be responsive? Your design. If your targeted audience is moving back and forth between devices, you should too. Research shows that consumers use more than four devices each day. Provide an optimal experience not only on desktop, but on tablet, TV, mobile, and anywhere else you may be connecting with your audience. Make sure those in your company connecting with customers are trained to work across all of these possible channels, and can continually help you improve your customers’ user experiences. Use cross-screen advertising to “efficiently advertise to viewers as they consume content across different devices”. Create a touch-point on each screen your audience uses, or make sure the touch-point works on all possible screens.
Getting your omnichannel campaign started may require some company and mindset shifts, but it’s a strategy that can truly enhance your user experience and provide high ROI. 87% of consumers want brands to have more consistent experiences across all platforms, and omnichannel does just that. By investing in omnichannel marketing tactics, you’ll position your brand as a customer-centric business, which will help you pull in more consumers, increase conversions, and ultimately grow your revenue. Could you use some more help starting your omnichannel campaign? Let us know.
An Intro to Omnichannel Marketing
What is Omnichannel Marketing Anyway?
In the past, before the great omnichannel marketing came about, many businesses solely relied on one-touch marketing campaigns that would die upon completion. They’d send out one piece of direct mail – one digital ad – one email – and expect a plethora of results. Whatever the trend of the moment was, that’s what they’d focus on, and only that.
Omnichannel marketing is “a cross-channel content strategy used to improve the customer experience and drive better relationships across all possible channels and touchpoints.” It takes all of the most relevant trends combined with multiple marketing touches to reach people how, when, and where they are, and provide them with the best customer experience, whether that experience be point-of-sale, digital, or physical. It meets customers where they are in the buyer journey with unified and steady messaging, instead of at a stop along the way.
At the end of the day, omnichannel marketing is all about driving better relationships – and targeting prospects and customers with the right messages, in the right places, at the right times.
Multichannel vs. Omnichannel
These sound very similar, and although they’re both great trends and important marketing tactics, they’re not one and the same. While omnichannel marketing, like we said above, is multiple marketing touches along the buyer’s journey, creating unified and steady messaging, multichannel marketing is interacting with potential customers on various platforms – but not necessarily messaging that’s tied together seamlessly and consistently. Multichannel marketing could mean you’re using print ads, retail locations, a website, promotional events, product packaging, and WOMM, but they may not all convey the same communication.
Here’s a trick to easily remember the difference:
- Multi means many (simply enabling each touch point), and casting the widest net to connect with the most customers
- Onmi means all (all touchpoints convey the same message to all customers), which focuses on building stronger relationships between consumers and brands
The Importance of Omnichannel
Omnichannel marketing can be great for many aspects of your business. Like we said, it can and will, if used correctly, attract the right people, at the right place, at the right time. In the digital age of 2021, it’s more important than ever to utilize technology to accurately find and target these recipients. Use omnichannel marketing to do the following for your company…
- Boost customer loyalty: Ensuring consistent messaging across all platforms, and going further to offer personalized experiences for each audience member, creates a better brand image and increases customer satisfaction
- Improve brand recall: Making sure your brand is represented in the same way across platforms and devices can produce better customer recollection
- Increase revenue: Content personalization, WOM marketing, and again, consistent messaging, can help retain and attract new customers
- Utilize purchasing patterns: 73% of shoppers use multiple channels during their purchasing journey, so capture your current audience and expand your content to reach a broader scope of your customers
Example of Omnichannel Marketing
To help you better understand how omnichannel marketing works, we’ve put together an example of omnichannel touchpoints along the customer journey, below:
Customer receiving text message about sales promo while in store -> Customer receiving an empty cart email at checkout -> Customer receiving retargeting digital and/or print ad
How to Get Started
Before jumping in and creating the marketing touchpoints of an omnichannel campaign, think about the customer first. Review all of your current touchpoints, and evaluate whether they provide a positive, consistent, and branded experience. Get to know your customer base even better by developing buyer personas and understanding their needs, wants, behaviors, demographics, preferences, goals, and more. Lastly, do a ton of tracking and research, hire the right guru, or choose the right partners to get going. Here at Strata we have data providers, digital advertising specialists, direct mail experts, and analytics and reporting professionals, all on staff and ready to help you – taking the guess work out of the entire process.
Still not sold? How about these statistics…brands experience a 287% higher purchase rate when using three or more channels, and companies with well-defined omnichannel customer experience strategies in place achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate on average.
How to Get the Attention of New Movers
Before the Competition
To put it simply, the new mover market is huge, and it’s growing. 13.8% of Americans, which calculates to over 40 million people move every year. All of these new residents are looking for the same things – doctors, grocers, handymen, pizza shops, dentists, groomers, dry cleaners…we could go on and on. They’re looking for brands they can trust, but they’re also hoping that, during this busy time, brands will make their way to them. Between unpacking, organizing, and settling in, they have enough on their plates already, so they’re relying on word of mouth, marketing, and advertising to speak to them and tell them where to go and who to trust.
The industry itself is growing at a pace of 3% each year – despite rises and falls in the economy. Basically, no matter what, people are moving, and they’re moving more and more as the years roll on.
Not only are new movers looking for new stores and companies, but they’re also looking to spend. In fact, “new mover annual expenditures exceed $150 billion and they’re five times more likely to become long-term customers if you reach them first,” (V12). Statistically, they spend more in the first six months than the average customer spends in three whole years.
Most new movers are within the younger demographic – couples between the ages of 18 and 34 who have one or two children. These small families have various needs, from childcare, to physicians, to dinner. They’ll be looking for several new businesses to rely on and buy from, and if you treat them well, they’ll return to your business again and again. But…to even get this chance, you’ll need to be the first business to catch their eye.
First impressions are everything when it comes to new movers. Not only are they meeting their new neighbors for the first time and deciding who they’d most likely ask over for dinner or get drinks with, but they’re seeing and judging businesses in their area and deciding which ones they’ll give a chance. With one glance at your website, mailer, or advertisement, they’ll decide whether they want to look further into your company, or not. That’s why it’s so vitally important that you have a solid brand that’s accompanied by excellent marketing, such as mailers, emails, and display ads.
The best part about establishing your brand with new movers is that, if you reach out to them correctly, they’re likely to develop brand loyalty. These new residents are looking to establish a routine wherever possible. After all, humans are creatures of habit.
Once they find that hair salon, Italian restaurant, or grocery store they love, they’re liable to adamantly stick with it. “They don’t need to be convinced or heavily marketed to because they already enjoy your products and prefer them even to competitors with similar offerings,” (SproutSocial). But, in order to acquire brand-loyal customers, your messaging needs to be relevant to them, inspire trust, include special offers, and be delivered where customers will notice it (whether that be in the inbox, mailbox, or social feed).
The Buy Out
Now that you understand the new mover potential, here are some of the best techniques to acquire them:
- Use Omnichannel Campaigns like those that Strata offers – using a combination of direct mail, digital ads, emails, and more, can catch and keep the attention of potential customers.
- Think about what will set you apart from the rest of the competition. Use free gifts, rewards programs, personalized landing pages (PURLS), and free samples/analyses to entice.
- Ensure your messaging is on-point and relevant to the customer. Use personalization wherever possible (ex: Amy, come by and try our delicious pizza!) to catch their attention.
And, while omnichannel marketing may be the best way to reach new movers, it doesn’t have to break the bank. Omnichannel campaigns like our SmartMove and SmartMove Lite products can be completely customized based on your budget. And, even though it takes multiple touches to create a lifelong customer with brand loyalty, a few touches to that potential customer are better than none.
So, are you ready to capitalize on the 40 million people moving each year? We can help you reach your new neighbors first, before the competition, and make a lasting impression. Contact us to see how we can help you get started.
Ready, Set, Go!
The speed of modern technology can’t be stopped, no matter what’s thrown at it (worldwide pandemics included). Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, BAM, a new statistic or technology is released that changes everything. But, keeping up with these changes and staying ahead of the game is what ultimately brings success.
2020 brought us a variety of different trends that were highly utilized throughout the year (whether we liked it or not). However, what really took the cake in 2020 was the influx of virtual and augmented reality trends. They became massively popular and their popularity is growing even more as we enter 2021. In fact, this virtual world has and is continuing to open many doors (windows) to digital marketing opportunities. For instance, we’re able to host events and conferences from our personal living spaces. It’s basically changing the way we interact and broadening the mediums we communicate on.
So, with that being said, let’s see what’s predicted for the long-awaited 2021.
Covid-19 Did What Now? Created Trends?
Yes, yes it did. A global pandemic actually did cause some marketing trends to arise. To start, video calls sky-rocketed, becoming one of the largest and most “convenient” ways of communication in this new norm. But that’s not the craziest part. What is? That these digital pivots have become permanent. Businesses have started to turn roles into indefinite remote positions, making virtual the new, permanent norm. Who would have thought?
Sure, it can be challenging to adapt to these shifts, but if there’s one good thing that came out of this trend, it’s that it’s made companies stronger. It’s made people step outside their comfort zones and change how they work – facilitating growth and unity.
On top of this, we’re expecting to see an increase in online content creation in 2021. Covid-19 showed us that if we’re not online, we might as well not exist. Online marketing is inevitably growing and businesses are investing and budgeting for it. With more people stuck at home, that means technology is one of their only connections to the world. Google claims that more than 90% of their users utilized devices for help and inspiration while in the middle of the task. So, here’s our suggestion – get your content online!
Personalization is Still King
Personalization is always a top priority – but even more so going into the new year. With the emergence of numerous online product design tools and platforms, customization is projected to be at an all-time high in 2021. More and more people are working remotely and that type of environment closes off the outside world and limits opportunities for connection. As a result, now, more than ever, finding ways to connect in a personalized manner is crucial. It’s an easy way to replace the face-to-face interaction we so dearly miss and let’s be honest, personal connections with potential buyers and current clients makes all the difference. But how do you get started? It’s relatively easy.
Start by figuring out what type of communication you want to use based on their preferences, interests and behavior. Since we can’t exactly use body language and other indicators to communicate, we must depend on tone and language. Then, tap into their behaviors and interactions through ads, social platforms, and other analytical tools. Finally, test and track what’s working and what’s not. At the end of the day, it can’t be a one size fits all approach, especially when you’re dealing with new marketing technology.
Micro-Moments are Macro-Important
Noun: An intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need to know, go, do, or buy.
Micro-moments might be a new concept for you – and that’s OK. To get started, meet your customers where they are in their buying journey, whether that’s in the awareness stage, the consideration stage, or making their final purchasing decision. It’s important to respond quickly and catch them right away, wherever they may be in the process. After all, people lean heavily on instant gratification now that everything is a click away. There’s limited time during these micro-moments, and we don’t want you to miss out. “When we act on our needs in the moment, our expectations are high and our patience is low. This makes the quality, relevance and usefulness of marketing more important than ever.”
Omnichannel Marketing is on the Rise
2020 brought customers even more options to communicate with companies – whether that be by website, app, social media, email, text, etc. But true communication success is turning customer acquisition into customer retention – and that’s done by setting up proper and correct communication channels through omnichannel marketing. First and foremost, it’s about your customers, so focus on them when capitalizing on omnichannel marketing. This could be through above-and-beyond customer service, efficient navigation, specials for loyal customers, or simply creating well-rounded user experience that’s consistent in both visuals and messaging. Behavior, on the other hand, is the key to understanding any customer – and that’s the fundamental to creating your channel – knowing how customers will react. Since many people switched to an online presence in 2020 (43% to be exact), an omnichannel approach has basically become mandatory. And, as a result, we’re expected to see a bigger emphasis on multi-channel attributions, community efforts, and video within marketing.
So, What Trends Should You Focus On?
First things first, make sure you understand your company’s pain points, current marketing strategies, and overall goals to ensure you’re fully grasping what changes need to be made and how to implement them. Make, sure you know your target audience, and keep up with the way they shop and research your products and services. Along with this, it’s important to stay relevant – research, research, research – predict what’s to come, and work on fully understanding these upcoming changes in not only the market but in consumer behaviors. Keep track, listen, observe, and absorb.
2021: Be Prepared
As we said before, changes in 2020 happened at rapid speed, and it wasn’t always easy to prepare and keep up. We hope that we’ve provided you with some insight for 2021 that you may not have had going into 2020, because, as they say, hindsight is in fact…20/20. Ready to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 marketing? Contact us, and we’ll help you brainstorm and execute your next campaign.
How to Make the Most Out of Your Direct Mail
Are you a kindle girl, or a paperback jack and hardcover lover? It may be nice to “always have your books with you” with a digital user interface, but you really can’t beat the touch (and even the smell) of a real book. Ain’t nothing like the real thing. Who knows the journey it’s been on – whose hands it’s been held by? It’s exciting, authentic and holds a story, literally and figuratively. These, among many reasons, are why people ultimately prefer physical books. “67 percent of Americans have read a paperback in the past year, and 39 percent of people only opt for print. Contrastingly, 29 percent of readers use both formats, and only 7 percent exclusively consume books digitally,” (Oprah Magazine).
Does this idea transfer over to the physicality of direct mail? You bet. Unless we’re somehow completely avoiding technology (which these days is impossible), we’re constantly bombarded with digital ads and emails. To be specific, Americans receive an average of 605 emails a week, compared to only 16.8 pieces of mail. Basically, for every 36 emails coming in, only 1 piece of physical mail is received. Physical postcards, packages, pamphlets, or whatever else people can get their hands on all work to cut through the digital noise.
Pages…Chapters…No, Books of Stats
Not only does direct mail stand out among digital mail and ads, but its’ impact lasts much longer. “The average lifespan of an email is 17 seconds, compared to direct mail’s average lifespan of 17 days,” (Compu-Mail). What’s more? Direct mail has some serious ROI…
Direct Mail for Dummies
Here are some best practices if you’re new to direct mail or looking to improve:
As humans, we don’t like to read more than is absolutely necessary (unless we’re looking to get lost in a good book). The best direct mail uses clear and concise points. And, when in doubt, ask one simple question: Is this sentence absolutely crucial to the point/pitch? If it’s not, cut it. The best mailers are short and sweet.
The best parts of your favorite childhood book were the enjoyable illustrations and unique pictures. The same goes for eye-catching direct mail. Clean, attractive graphics can convey complex information while cutting down on copy. And, don’t forget to keep your brand standards in mind when picking graphics. It will help to remove the guesswork for your recipients.
Consider the End Product
While you’ll want to focus heavily on images and copy, remember to carefully consider format, envelope, finish, feel, etc. – and don’t be afraid to think outside the box (or in this case, the envelope). Remember, humans are tactile beings, and first impressions are lasting ones. Give them that nostalgic feeling they have when physically turning the page, or opening up an envelope or package.
Recommendations & Specifications
Trying to economize mail expenditures and use the most cost-effective option? If so, it’s best to follow the Post Office’s guidelines for postcard mailers:
- At least 3.5” high x 5” long x 0.007” thick
- No more than 4.25” high x 6” long x 0.016” thick
Want to stand out and attract attention?
Consider opting for:
- Larger postcards (6’’ x 9” or 6” x 11”)
- Bi-folds, Tri-folds, Iron-cross formats, or Extra-large (9’’ x 12”) mailers
- Dimensional mail that use boxes or bubble envelopes
A lot of writing, editing, rewriting, and finalizing goes into a good book. The same goes for direct mail. It’s only as good as the considerations you make before sending it. Here are some questions and considerations to keep in mind when creating your next piece of direct mail.
- Who is my target audience?
- What would resonate most personally with my audience?
- What could I do with direct mail that hasn’t been done already?
- Am I taking full advantage of personalization?
- Can I convey my message faster/more clearly?
- What tangible offering would best capture the attention of my audience?
- How will they respond or access more information?
- What response mechanisms will best serve my organization?
- Creativity counts – think about what will stand out in a crowded mailbox.
- You’re only as good as your data – reliable list compilers make a difference.
- Response is a direct reflection of the offer – make sure it’s enticing and engaging.
- Provide as many options for response as possible – PURLs, QR Codes and BRCs are all great options.
- Tie in a corresponding digital ad component when possible – multiple connections maximize results.
The Paperback & The Kindle
Remember when we mentioned that people saw some serious ROI from combining digital and direct mail? That’s because it’s the best of both worlds – the old nostalgic world, and the new fast-paced world – combined. Marketers have noticed some remarkable returns from the combo, like 40% conversion rates, 68% increased website visits, 63% increased response rates, 60% increased ROI, and more.
So, are you ready to get the most ROI out of your direct mail and cut through the digital noise? Contact us to start brainstorming your next campaign today.
How to Tackle Display Ads, Correctly
Simply leading a handful of players to the football field and saying “give it your best!” isn’t enough to win the game. Quality players in the right places – and a strategic game plan to back them – both go a long way.
The same idea can be applied to your display ads. You might have a few ads displayed in various places online, but if these ads are poorly placed, lack information, and are missing cohesive call to actions, visuals, and strategy, they won’t have the impact you’re hoping for. In other words, they’ll likely go unnoticed, and you won’t win over prospective customers. Whether they’re on a computer, tablet or mobile device, when set up and designed correctly, display ads can get your brand front and center quickly, with minimal effort and spend.
Game Play Stats
Generally, if display ads aren’t in your playbook, you may want to do a bit of re-strategizing. Over $500 billion is spent globally on advertising each year, and, not surprisingly, a large portion of that spend is used on the tried-and- true display ad – because it works. Currently, 84% of marketers are investing in display ads because they’re almost always within budget and can accurately target your specified audience (if you’re utilizing “good data”). According to SEMRush, Google’s Display Ad Network reaches 90% of global internet users and mobile advertising spend (which consists primarily of display ads) is now higher than TV advertising spend. Additionally, if you’re looking for lead conversions, retargeting ads are your best bet, with 53% more views than general display ads and 70% more likelihood of conversion.
So, now that your eyes are on the end-zone, here are the key players to you should consider when creating your high-scoring display ads:
The Path to Touchdown – Include Eye-catching CTAs
The single most important thing on your ad is a relevant CTA that ties in directly with the creative. It can do wonders for your CTRs and provide a better sense of the info users can expect to see once they click on the ad. Most importantly, don’t overthink it. A simple button can get the job done.
Remember the Offensive Line – Design with a Mobile First Perspective
Did you know 70% of all ads are shown on mobile devices? That’s why we recommend designing your mobile ads first, then you can scale up into other sizes for desktops & laptops. Keep in mind that no matter what size you’re working with, brand logos and colors should be prevalent, each asset should have its own space, and you should avoid overlapping whenever possible.
Don’t Overcomplicate the Play – Keep Content Short & Sweet
While there are no strict limits, a general rule of thumb is that less is more when it comes to copy. Wordier ads can be harder to digest, especially if they’re viewed on smaller screens. And when in doubt, mirror your favorite billboard (or sideline) ad – short headlines that can be absorbed in just 1-2 seconds.
Recs & Specs
Although you may be tempted to utilize a trick play, it’s usually best to stick to the playbook. Here are the most common display ad sizes, with “leaderboard” size being the most popular (and we’re not surprised!).
And of course, along with leaderboard ad size, there are a few more MVPs. As a general rule, you should include the following sizes within any campaign:
Other Things to Consider Before Kickoff
While we’re not telling you to call an audible at the last second, there are still a few things to consider before kickoff. To eliminate the chance of a fumble, keep these practices in mind when finalizing your ads:
- Acceptable file types include JPG, GIF or HTML5
- Your max file size should be 150KB
- Ads should be static or animated, non-expanding, non-rich media
- JPG or GIF back-ups are required but shouldn’t be larger than 120KB
- JPG or GIF back-ups must be submitted as files vs. embedded tags
- 1 pt. borders are required and must be a color that’s different from the creative
- Stay away from transparent backgrounds and anything that blends into screen content
- GIF ads with partially black or white backgrounds need a border that’s different from the background
- Strobing, flashing, or other distracting backgrounds are discouraged
- Animation length should be 30 seconds or shorter
- Animated GIF ads must have a frame rate of 5 frames per second or slower
Additional Draft Picks
Just like a good trade adds to an already prosperous team, display ads are even more effective when combined with omnichannel tactics like direct mail and/or email. In a study conducted by USPS, research showed that when combining direct mail and digital ads, 68% of industry professionals saw increased website visits, 63% noticed increased response rates, and 60% observed increased ROI.
The Hail Mary
In case you still need some visual representation, here are a few examples that follow the rulebook to a tee.
Ready to see your digital ad strategies cause a real spike in sales? Contact us to see how we can help with everything display ads, from creation to implementation.
Oh, and P.S…Go Eagles.