Direct Mail Strategy – Brand Identity Guru

1. Know your purpose: What do you want your direct mailer to accomplish? Do you want to be remembered? Do you want to educate prospects about benefits? Recently, Brand Identity Guru was hired to expand a clients direct mail efforts, so we created a direct mail piece to showcase our clients related capabilities. Now direct mail accounts for nearly 30% of our clients new business.

2. Research your market: Explore the companies on your mailing list so you can refer to their needs. Find out the top two issues and pain points that the company faces.

3. Be relevant: Your direct mailer should resemble something your client might use or buy.

4. Plan a campaign: The best direct mailers complement your PR, Advertising, Marketing Strategy and Sales efforts. Ultimately, each piece should build a cohesive, identifiable whole.

5. Attend to details: Find out the name of that purchasing agent or marketing contact and spell it right, proofread your words and double check visual placement. Even an award winning direct mailer is useless unless you send it to the right person at the right time.

6. Keep em’ coming: Send a series of direct mailers regularly based on your clients needs. To find out what those are, simply ask clients how often they’d like to hear from you. Generally, December is already crowded with mailings, so BIG suggests waiting until February. Bulk mailers are good monthly and targeted mailers quarterly.

7. Follow up: If you don’t follow up, all your efforts could slam to a halt. Initiate a dialogue with clients by making phone calls within a week or two after your mailing, especially if a client requests it. And of course, don’t waste time dialing hundreds of phone numbers, but know that it’s worth the effort for smaller mailings.

Scott White is President of Brand Identity Guru a leading Corporate Branding and Branding Research firm in Boston, MA.

Brand Identity Guru specializes in creating corporate and product brands that increase sales, market share, customer loyalty, and brand valuation.

This Article may be freely copied as long as it is not modified and this resource box accompanies the article, together with working hyperlinks.

Over the course of his 15-year branding career, Scott White has worked in a wide variety of industries: high-tech, manufacturing, computer hardware and software, telecommunications, banking, restaurants, fashion, healthcare, Internet, retail, and service businesses, as well as numerous non-profit organizations.

Podcasting Monetization Strategies for Marketers

With the growing popularity of podcasting, publishers and marketers around the world are asking themselves how to monetize this content channel.

Today we’ll be taking a look at how marketers can monetize podcasting through enhanced marketing activities.

While publishers might find it relatively easy to integrate podcasting in to their business models without really “creating a revolution”, the opportunities for marketers really go beyond traditional marketing tactics.

To understand the opportunity we need to understand what podcasting brings to the marketing table: the power of voice, delivered directly to our prospects, customers, employees and partners.

While text might still be the most “usable” format and the easiest to consume, voice itself has the unique feature of being able to express emotion and bring personality in to marketing communications.

For marketers, monetizing podcasting won’t come through ad sales or content sales, but through opportunities to enhance their marketing communications with the power of emotion, delivered directly to their receipients.

Here are just some possibilities for you to consider:

a] PR: Audio press releases, messages from company executives, expert interviews and other industry related material, all delivered directly to the media.

b] Direct marketing: Sales letters and other ad creative, delivered in audio and directly to your prospects.

c] Customer Relationship Management and User Support: Personal messages and greetings from company executives, persoanlized messages to key clients by key account managers, educational content and industry interviews, seminar or conference recordings, product support information and tutorials, …

e] Promotion: Achieving additional company/brand/product exposure by providing podcasts and promoting them via podcast directories and search engines.

f] E-commerce: Audio product announcements and presentations, delivered to prospects that opt-in to receive latest product information. In the case of audio products, podcasts can also carry short excerpts or previews of new editions, thus enticing prospects to order.

g] Branding and Prospect Conversion: Educational content and industry interviews that help shorten the sales cycle or generate/improve company credibility and enhance its brand.

h] Advertising in third-party podcasts

And so on …

In these examples monetization does not come through directly generated revenues, but indirectly through improved sales.

How to Make Your Next Email Marketing Campaign a Success

Email marketing campaigns still offer one of the best ROIs out there. They’re cost-effective and provide one of the best lead-generation tactics available. The best email marketing programs can pull up to a 30% rate compared to just 2-3% for direct mail. Before you rush out to implement your next campaign though, first employ a little strategy.

The good news is you don’t have to put together a full-blown email marketing plan in order for your next campaign to be effective, but you should define the following before you get started:

Who is your audience, and what do you want them to do? How well do you know your audience? Can it be broken down into subgroups? If so, maybe they aren’t all legitimate prospects for your next campaign. This really comes down to your in-house list keeping. The more information you have on your customers and their interests, the better. Beyond that, what’s your call to action? It can often help to have more than one. For example, “Click here to buy our latest widget” can be your main CTA, but you could also follow it up with “Click here for more information”. Once they’ve clicked through, you’ve established interest, and can follow up on the lead.

What tools other than email do you use? The best marketing campaigns are integrated because they take a holistic approach. They’re more interesting, impactful, and typically have higher response rates, which translates to more leads. In addition to your email campaign, you might try a direct mail postcard with an offer, or purchase pay-per-click advertising and post to your Facebook fan page. The important thing to keep in mind here is that your campaign should have a unifying look, feel, message and offer.

Outline the executional details. What software program will you be using to send your email campaign? What will your subject line, your lead-in and your offer be? How much do you have budgeted? All are good to know, as they can directly effect your results. Another good question to ask is what kind of response you’re anticipating. If it’s a lot you’ll probably want to implement an autoresponder with a form response that promises a more detailed response within 24 hours. Today’s consumers expect this kind of service and without one you could actually do more harm than good.

Establish a goal and tailor your program to meet it. In order to measure a campaign’s success it’s necessary to have a clear goal. If yours is to increase awareness you could measure success by adding, say, 200 new emails to your list in one month. Click-through ratios are another way to measure success.

Establish a time frame for your program. You might want to send out multiple emails. For example, if you’re running a special for the month of April, you could send one out at the end of March alerting your customers and prospects to it, and then follow up with emails every week. It’s a good idea to test the campaign’s success along the way using the metrics you’ve established above. If you’re not getting the click-throughs you would like, for example, try revising your subject line, lead-in, or even improving on your offer.

The most important part of your strategy is having a clear sense of your objectives. Each tool you use is a tactic; your plan should connect how each tactic delivers on each objective.

Also, keep in mind that by far the two most important factors are your offer and the list you use. No matter how good your execution, you won’t be able to sell lipstick to, for example, male basketball players.

Resources: If you have an in-house, opt-in email list that needs some attention, check out LISTSERV email list management software. There’s even a free version for lists under 500 addresses.

Template Zone provides hundreds of customizable HTML email templates you can use to send out through an email service provider like ExactTarget or Constant Contact.

If you don’t have a privacy policy on your site explaining what you’ll do with people who decide to opt-in to your email list, you need one. You can create one at GeneratePrivacyPolicy.com.

Summary Plan your marketing campaign carefully against set objectives. Measure how the actual response compares to your planned response. Test one variable of your email program at a time. Each time you send out an email program tailor it to include all the feedback you have received from prior emails. This cycle will ensure that your program continuously improves.