It’s a fact. As a small business owner I have received many different postcard and direct mail promotions from both Google, Google affiliates and Yahoo! to advertise with them. Why are these large online advertising channels using offline direct mail? At first glance this appears to be a strange conflict of interests.
But this is not an article about direct mail. I will elaborate in a moment.
So why does Google, the single largest online advertising channel in the world, use an offline advertising channel like direct mail? The answer is simple really. And it ties back to some very basic marketing fundamentals.
In an earlier article on Market Research, KNOW BEFORE YOU GO TO SAVE THOUSANDS IN MARKETING $$$, I gave a definition of marketing from About.com “…the process of interesting potential customers and clients in your products and/or services. The key word in this marketing definition is “process”; marketing involves researching, promoting, selling, and distributing your products or services.”
Further, Merriam-Webster defines a campaign as, “a connected series of operations designed to bring about a particular result
So when we look at what a marketing campaign is, it becomes clear that it is series of connected, planned steps designed to get a specific marketing message out to the world or, at least, to a specific target audience.
By definition, using only one channel would NOT achieve the desired result. To campaign effectively, one must use a number of channels. Hence Google and Yahoo!, being very large online advertising channels, use direct mail as one of the channels to reach their target audiences. In this case, small business owners and marketers like me… or you.
So let us take a look at marketing campaigns, why you want to build marketing campaigns (rather than just individual promotion channels) and some simple steps to create a unified campaign that beats the sales drum for your business.
Haphazard, Unplanned Promotion
Doing random, disconnected promotion results in a situation wherein promotion efforts appear to have no or little effect obtaining new business or increasing sales. Engaging in unplanned, uncoordinated practices might even result in despair or disinterest in marketing. The truth is marketing can be a very exciting subject but only when one actually engages in marketing and not merely haphazard promotion.
If we compared haphazard promotion to a group of people milling around trying to buy tickets to a blockbuster movie, without a line to the window, one could predict that many of them would get upset. Some people would never get to the counter. Others may break into fights about who is next. Someone who is more timid than the rest may land up not even getting tickets before they sell out despite being one of the first to arrive.
Haphazard promotion can often be an effort to avoid spending too much time but in the long run it eats more time, wastes more money and has very little ROI (Return on Investment).
Planned Marketing Campaigns
So let us take the same blockbuster movie and line people up in the sequence they arrived. They purchases their tickets one or two at a time and everybody is quite satisfied with the arrangement. When the tickets run out, there are a few disappointed fans who kick themselves for arriving too late and then pay to enter an alternate movie. And the staff of the movie theater survive the evening to come back and sell tickets another day.
Planned marketing campaigns consist of creating a basic plan which includes the channels one will use to reach the target audience and then pursuing this plan over a period of weeks, months or even years. It includes increasing the Return On Investment through refining based on the results and getting better and better at zeroing in on the target. Some parts of the campaign will be found to be more successful than others and so you would increase the attention or budget for the more effective channels or messages of the campaign.
And if you do this you will see an orderly and much more predictable outcome measured in increased new leads and sales.
Building a campaign starts with doing some basic market research to figure out what role you are going to play within your industry. Are you the little guy who tries harder? The maverick who does it differently? The established company that has been servicing the local community for decades, the elite level service provider for discerning customers?
Once you know WHO you are, you can proceed to work out the keys benefits of the offer you are going to make based on past successful sales and marketing. I have covered this topic more fully in MARKET RESEARCH: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO TO SAVE THOUSANDS IN MARKETING $$$, but some examples are:
- an attractive kitchen where it is a joy to cook and the family will want to eat
- a more active, pain-free life
- personal, one on one attention from teachers that results in better grades and college entrance
Building A Simple But Effective Campaign
Using the above information I will now give you an example of simple monthly campaign you can run that can be executed in a few hours every month.
Make Sure Your Website Sells Who You Are and What You Do
Having a website, especially if you are not a brick-and-mortar retail store, is key to the success of your campaign. When people start receiving your marketing they will visit your website. They will want to check out who you are and see what options are offered. Having a tacky, out-of-date, hard to navigate website with little content or information that encourages visitors to contact you is marketing suicide. It is key to any campaign that the website is there and that any products or services you are promoting are also promoted on the website and that it is a reflection of the business identity that you decided on through your market research and internal income analysis.
Use Direct Mail To Target Specific Audiences And Let Them Know You Are There
You most certainly have key demographics of people who are most likely to buy from you. Using a postcard or direct mail campaign can be highly effective in zeroing in on a specific audience and hitting them with very planned message intended to interest them specifically. You will want to promote to an audience that is highly likely to buy based on past experience and also with a key benefit that is highly likely to motivate them to call you and become a real, live lead. Direct them to your website for more information and make sure there is more information when they get there.
Hit The Target Audience on Other Channels
You could use newspaper ads, radio ads or flyers to repeat your message and offer. Some businesses use posters in local stores and some leave business cards in coffee shops with the same message and offers.
Hit Your Leads And Existing Customers With Regular Promotion Like A Newsletter
Once a month take the time to write an informative and interesting article or articles. The articles should not be heavy on self-promotion but rather be educational or anecdotal so that the recipient has a reason to read it (the article should benefit the reader in some way). Send this article(s) out as a newsletter with advertising around the article(s) but not within it.
Reuse The Articles Or Articles On Your Blog
Your newsletter is great material to use in updating your website. Use it on your blog to attract search engine traffic and keep the website current.
Send Out An Email Newsletter Using The Same Article
Repeat the article in an e-newsletter. Provide links to related pages in your website to strengthen interest.
Syndicate Your Blog to Social Media
Repeat your useful content on your social media sites with snippets of the articles linking back to full article back at your website.
Useful Articles Can Even Be Submitted To The Press
If your articles really is informative and helpful you can edit it and send it in to local press. They need useful content and they may edit it to fit, but they’ll give you credit. They probably publish online, too, which will help with your search engine visibility.
Give Talks On Your Educational Article
Repeat your article and message as content for talks at local libraries, groups, community centers, networking meetings or stores. There are places actively looking for people to give talks and if your content is useful it can be rewritten as a workshop. You could even to go back and talk every month based on your monthly article generation.
Don’t Forget To Ask For Referrals
The surest method to get more referrals is to simply ask for them. Include ads for them in your newsletter, emails, website and by handing out extra business cards.
As a side note when you purchase any design, copywriting or printing from RESPONSE! we always compare and tie it in with your other promotion as a matter of course. This also helps you build your campaign by having repeating style, colors, messages and design woven throughout your postcards, newsletters, website, business cards and promotion making you and your company more memorable and unique — a full, consistent marketing campaign in itself.