With the advanced capabilities and highly penetrated use of emailand other online channels like video and social media, you may ask... Is Direct Mail still effective? You may even be wondering if the cost is worth it?
Well...according to me, when strategically integrated with these same online channels it certainly is! And, here are 5 reasons why it’s still a very effective and relevant tool for Demand Generation and Lead Nurture.
1. It's Personal
With Direct Mail you can add that personal touch and address your customers by name. I personally look forward to seeing what I get in the mail (besides bills of course!). And, I’m more likely to respond to a special offer that is addressed to my personal needs.
2. It’s Targeted
You choose who you want mail to be sent to and when it will be sent. Direct Mail is more focused and targeted to individuals who will most likely respond to your offer.
3. It’s Accountable
Direct Mail gives you the ability to track the success of your campaign. Whether it’s counting the number of coupons redeemed, visits to custom landing pages, or inquiries generated. By tracking and analyzing results, you can see what is working and if any changes need to be made.
4. It's Integrated
Direct Mail can easily be integrated with Web, Media (TV/Radio) and Social to create a winning combination. Integrating Direct Mail with these online channels enables measurement and accountability.
5. It’s Tangible
Finally, Direct mail comes in all shapes and sizes! You can choose from postcards, brochures, letters, coupons, and so much more. As the name suggests, it’s the only media channel that physically allows you to place your message in your customers’ hands. With the use of coupons, QR Codes, etc. you get your customers actively involved. And, combining your Direct Mail, say with an emerging channel like "mobile" using QR Codes you can really make a memorable impression!
Let's also take a look at some of the numbers that explain the reach, impact, and trustworthiness of mail as referenced in Deliver Magazine (Volume 7, Issue 3, June 2011)
"A whopping 98% of consumers bring in their mail the day it is delivered, and 77% sort through it immediately."
"According to a survey of 6,400 online shoppers, households receiving print catalogs shop online more often and spend more meaningful time at retail websites. The results held regardless of age, income, region or education of the survey respondent."
"The United States Postal Service delivers to more than 149 million residences, businesses and PO Boxes in every state and territory. That’s more mail to more addresses in a larger geographic area than any other post in the world."
"The global direct mail advertising services market is forecast to reach $25 billion in 2015. Market growth will be spurred by locally targeted advertisements and micro-targeted advertisements, a move away from mass advertising to direct advertising."
"Businesses in the U.S. spent $45.2 Billion on Direct Mail Advertising in 2010, marking a 3.1% increase from 2009 levels."
"The United States Postal Service processes 391,000 pieces of mail a minute and processed 41.5 millions address changes in 2010. It has been named the Most Trusted Federal Agency six consecutive times."
"The 18-34 preference for direct mail and newspaper is 2-3 times greater for info about household products, health products, insurance and financial services than sources such as social media."
Bottom-line, consumers are still feeling the love for Direct Mail and this love is expected to grow 5.4% for B2B Direct Sales and 5.2% for lead generation.
Time and over again we are reminded of the importance of creating strong passwords. But, with everything from your money to your music being online, we tend to create passwords that are easy to remember. Yes, we’re all guilty of this. The average person has to create and recall an estimated 60+ accounts that include email, credit card accounts, bank accounts, social media, file sharing, link shortening etc. If you’re like us, this list includes approximately 30 odd passwords for databases and various ISP accounts (Rackspace, GoDaddy, ESPs, etc).
This Microsoft study on Web Password Habits found that the average user has 6.5 passwords, each of which is shared across 3.9 different sites. Each user has about 25 accounts that require passwords, and types an average of 8 passwords per day. So, it’s no secret that users choose easy to remember passwords. And, the reason we share passwords is to make it easy and convenient to enter when prompted.
Generating passwords is an ongoing battle between convenience and security. If you want to go more secure (e.g. w99hRQTnhRWuukDFuAX3) you’re not going to recall it easily. On the other hand if you go less secure (e.g. Password!), you’ll be able to remember it easily but others will be able to guess it easily! So, how does one strike a balance between the two.
Well, not long ago, I started using a utility called KeePass (on Windows). It allows you to generate atypical, alphanumeric, non-guessable passwords. You do have an option to create your own but I recommend using this "random" feature to create passwords for your bank accounts and other sites that store sensitive information.
So, here are some fundamental tips if you must create your own password:
- Don't use any variation of your name (first or last)
- Don't match your username
- Don't use your DOB as your password
- Don't use your pet’s name
- Use at least 8 alpha-numeric characters
- Include at least 1 UPPERCASE letter
- Include at least 1 special character (!, $, %, etc.)
Too often marketers use "brochure ware" as content for their marketing automation efforts. Strong product offers, sales pitches, non-relevant articles, etc. are some examples of overly used but highly ineffective content. For example, a lot of companies start sending newsletters but, over time, the initiative loses steam and producing useful and valuable content becomes a challenge. They are now faced with 3 choices i.e.
- Keep producing newsletter content that is increasingly stale, irrelevant and ineffective
- Change the frequency of the newsletter which impacts the positioning e.g. weekly, monthly, etc.
- Discontinue the newsletter completely (ooh, scary option!)
Choices #2 and #3 are quite dramatic so, too often, companies choose Option #1 only to realize that customers are turning “off” and are increasingly opting-out.
For your lead nurture efforts to work effectively, create content that’s:
People prefer to read content that provides educational value. The level of that educational value may vary depending on the your audience, someone in their mid-career may derive more value vs. a CEO of a company. They should derive some value nonetheless.
Case in point: Khan Academy
Create content that’s engaging. This could mean creating or curating content that’s personalized to your audience to maintain a high-level of engagement with each communication. Now, you might be able to create content that has a broad sense of appeal from copywriters to marketing managers. But, a lot of times you may have to segment that content based on discipline, title, industry vertical, preferences etc.
Case in point: Marketing Experiments, MarketingProfs
Last, but not the least, create content that’s entertaining. Create and share content that is fun and sharable, not sanitized. This doesn’t mean you open your kimono to everyone, but at least face the other way if you do!
Case in point: Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (YouTube: 34m views)
So, educate, engage & entertain to Enchant your customers!