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Mobilizing for Marketing

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
There was a time, not too long ago, when a certain credit card company used the following line in their advertising: “Don’t leave home without it.” Of course, they were saying, take us with you because you never know when we might be needed in your life.

Today, as mobile phone users, we need no convincing as to the importance of our phones. We are addicted. Leave home without it? Many of us won’t leave the room without it. For some, might need you in my life has become you are my life. Driving this message home for me was the first time I overheard someone talking on their phone in a public toilet stall. Multitasking – the mantra of smart phone users. I wonder, just how urgent was that call?

Let’s look at some of the numbers. A 60 Second Marketer 2011 report states that 4 billion people use a mobile phone and 3.5 billion use a toothbrush, providing evidence that, for some of us, communication is more important than hygiene. An IPOS Research Canadian survey in May of 2012 identified that 79% won’t leave home without their smart phones. It went on to identify that 25% would give up their TV before they gave up their smart phone. 70% use them for emailing. 60% use them for web searches. 59% use them to search for products and 50% use them to search for Restaurants, Pubs and Bars (maybe tied to that toilet stall issue I mentioned earlier). Just saying…

The studies and the numbers are extensive. They all point to the same thing. We are becoming more mobile in our communications and marketing must adapt to our growing mobilization. Marketing organizations have coined new phrases for this approach such as, One to One Marketing and Location Based Marketing. That’s the obvious. What is not so obvious is how to reach out to the mobile audience. Remember we are talking about ME and ME does not want their personal space (grimace and refer to above) intruded upon with marketing messages. In fact, if you do intrude upon this space without an invitation, you will be locked out of further communication. So, it’s a dicey situation. How do you reach out with promotions without offending your prospects? How do you deepen the relationship? The answer is, seek permission, of course. How do you do that? Let’s review a few options.

One very effective approach in obtaining permission to contact smart phone users is to start with a QR Code (Quick Response Code). A QR Code can be printed on just about anything (see our video) and should be directed to a mobilized site with special content (the promise). It is scanned by a smart phone and linked to a landing page of your choice. This morning, one of our staff came in with a QR Code label on a banana. When scanned it took you to a mobilized menu of options ranging from a movie to product information. This QR technology was developed almost 20 years ago in Japan and has proliferated throughout Asia, Europe and now, North America. As usual, you must offer some reward if the QR Code is scanned and then further potential benefits if they provide permission to be contacted by your company. Remember the ME principle.

Another option is to use a PURL campaign as identified on May 23, 2012. Again, future benefits must be identified and then later, provided. A printed item is sent to the customer with their name in the PURL. When they enter/click on that code a custom landing page appears. Provide a questionnaire asking for permission to send SMS mobile messages or email messages with special content when they are available. Remember email (56%) and SMS text messaging (41%) are two of the methods used to send marketing messages that resulted in a purchase by consumers using their smart phones according to an ExactTarget 2011 report.

Regardless of the method used to engage the mobile customer, you must have a mobilized web site. Never send a mobile phone user to a standard web site that has not been mobilized. On top of that and again, the most critical note, is never send mobile marketing messages without permission. That type of advertising is called “interruption advertising”, popular on TV and radio, but absolutely not in personal communications. A closing quotation:

“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.”

Craig Davis, Chief Creative Officer Worldwide, J. Walter Thompson, the world’s 4th largest advertising agency.

Next time: What’s with Print and Marketing Anyway?

The Best of Both – Cross Channel Marketing

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

In this discussion, our goal is to build and sustain communications with customers/clients through the use of direct mail and email, two very effective marketing channels. For this, we have a two pronged approach. First, you now know that direct mail is the most acceptable initial contact method, but did you also know that when they receive direct mail, 43% of recipients prefer to respond on line? That’s the second prong. So why not give them the chance to do so? Why not obtain their email address with their permission?

Now, why would ME give a company their email address? Well, for self-interest of course. When ME provides a company with an email address it expects to receive something back. Something exclusive. Something unique. Something very few other people will ever get.  They don’t want just some newsletter. They want membership to a special club that’s all about ME. They want to know things before anyone else. They want special pricing. They want the moon, the stars and the platinum card of special treatment. Give them that and they will stay. Ignore them and they will leave. It’s not ME it’s you.

Your direct mail piece should offer them a special place if they provide their email. So, if you have a promotion, then ask them to sign up for an additional discount and more exclusive information as it comes available. One way to obtain this information is through the use of a PURL (personalized URL) campaign or even a GURL (general). This directs them to a custom landing page where they can sign up for all that special attention you promised.  You could also direct them to your web site, but you had better have a very obvious sign up page for them and the site better look good. Either way, try to obtain information on what they would like and then make sure you pay attention. Remember you have to know all about ME and when you communicate, talk about things ME likes. If you don’t then they will leave. In fact 41% of them will leave if you send irrelevant messages. Content is King. Boring just doesn’t cut it in a relationship. It’s not ME it’s you.

If you are wondering if there is some information to back this up, well here’s something from recent ExactTarget studies of email subscribers:

  • 93% of online consumers are subscribers
  • 81% of these subscribe because of a promotion
  • 88% of online consumers check their emails daily
  • 58% of online consumers check their emails first and then 11% check their Facebook (!?)

The kicker – 66% of respondents have made purchases as a result of email marketing (April 12, 2012)

Here’s another interesting one for all you Facebook fans – Millennials are twice as likely to subscribe to Email (56%) for deals as they are to search for deals on Facebook (28%).

Yes, even that very mobile tip of the iceberg group of society, the Millennials prefer to use emails when searching for deals. It’s not ME it’s you.

By the way, for all you retailers out there, did you know that 77% of consumers would like to receive confirmation, thank you and retail receipts via email? Ever been in an Apple store? Did you get a paper or an email receipt?  Imagine, people want to give you their email address so that you can send them their receipts. For the most part, these are people you do not even know. They are customers. How can we make them clients? Now, also image that you ask them if they want to subscribe to your email communications for future exclusive benefits. One more time, it’s not ME it’s you – well it’s up to you anyway if you want to keep the relationship going.

One more parting thought. Do you know the third most common activity amoung smart phone users? It’s Email. Yes, Email strikes again.  Every day first they talk (87%), then they text (77%), then they email (66%).

So, the link is unbroken. From Mail to Mobile.  Email is the thread.

 

Next week:  Mobilizing for Marketing

 

Cross Channel Marketing

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

How would you like a 143% increase in your marketing response rates? Those of you who say NO are excused from the room. The rest of us will examine this proposition over the next several weeks. We will focus on Cross Channel Marketing or what could be called Cross Channel Confusion, a subject we first mentioned on this blog on May 1.

Now, Cross Channel Marketing sounds so new, so cool, so edgy, but the concept has been around for a long time, just without the range of options available today. In the past, it might have consisted of mail, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, signs and even the telephone – you might remember the ad, “Reach Out and Touch Someone”.  I know that they are still trying to reach our household, usually when we are eating dinner. That is not what we would call “permission based marketing”, but that’s another story.

Today, of course, we have all of that plus Email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS Texts, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube etc. etc. So let’s discuss one very old and very effective marketing tool – Mail. Yes, that’s right – Mail. You remember Mail right? That physical stuff that shows up at your home or business. The stuff you usually didn’t ask for, like bills and flyers and stuff. Yes, we are talking about snail mail, junk mail, you know, the usual derogatory remarks we direct at good old mail.

Now ask yourself, when you get mail, do you handle it?  Do you look at it? If it has your name on it, do you open it up? If it’s a postcard with a great picture, do you look at that? Well, if you are like most of us the answer to the above is YES! According to the US Postal Service, 51% of all postcards are read by at least one member of a household. 66% open envelopes with their name on it. Remember how the 2012 ExactTarget study showed that 66%of respondents have made purchases as a result of email marketing messages? Well, the same study shows that 65% of consumers have made purchases as the result of direct mail. When it comes to motivating consumers into buying something, Email and Direct Mail are neck to neck in the race for results. So, who would have thought that? One of the oldest technologies and one of the newest technologies, both in a dead heat for first place.

But wait, there’s more.

Remember when we identified that email marketing must be “permission based” and how I reflected that telephone solicitation is anything but permission based? Well, direct mail is the only channel where permission is not required. The mail arrives and you either look at it or you throw it away and you do this on your own time. It is not intrusive. It’s not in your face or in your space. The ExactTarget survey results showed that consumers did not view unsolicited direct mail as inappropriate. Consumers went on to say that Direct Mail beats Email and all other channels for promotional messages from companies with whom they regularly conduct business but have not asked for ongoing information (permission) or with whom they have never interacted with before. THUS, DIRECT MAIL IS THE MOST ACCEPTABLE INITIAL CONTACT METHOD.

So what? You might say. Well, yes, snail mail is slow, but when it gets there, the probabilities are high that someone will look at it, unlike non permission based emails that arrive in a hurry but are deleted just as fast. The logical next step is to integrate the two channels and take the best of both in the campaign of Cross Channel Marketing.

Next week:  The Best of Both – Cross Channel Marketing.

Email Marketing: Control, Speed and Oh Yes, One Last Thing

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

 
Confusion Says……….

Email Marketing is all about Control, but Control for whom? Well, first and foremost,
control for ME, the recipient, the target, the client, the customer, the entire reason why we are sending
the email in the first place. ME can read and respond at leisure without interruption. Do you know what
ME does first thing in the morning? Well, according to ExactTarget 58% of them go to their email and
49% say they always open emails from their favorite companies. They could be going to you, the email
sender.

Speaking of the sender and Control, naturally, emails provide a vehicle for brands to send messages
according to their schedules and if ME likes it, then the majority will respond within 24 hours, according
to the LYRIS Marketing Guide. So, the sender gets control, fast deployment and fast reaction. It gets
Speed of Response. This is a sender’s dream. Some brands send emails in waves to different MEs within
a demographic, testing responses and adjusting accordingly. The campaign literally interacts with the
market and according to feedback, morphs into what is the best message for acceptance and response.

Oh Yes, One Last Thing. MarketingProfs talks about the power of post scripts. They are powerful in
direct mail marketing and they are powerful in email marketing as well. They list five things you can do
with your post script to generate more clicks in your emails:

  1. Restate your key benefits and call for action.Click here to get……..
  2. Make another promise or introduce a surprise benefit.Act now and you will also get….
  3. Provide more credibility.Company X used this idea and got………
  4. Communicate urgency.Use this when a REAL timeline or limitation exists. This offer expires…
  5. Restate or expand on your guarantee. If not satisfied we will promptly reimburse you…

Here we are, using old methods for new technology. Is it, “the more things change, the more they stay
the same”, or are the changes we see only the tip of the iceberg? Let’s mix it up a bit more with some
other avenues of choice.

Next week: A look at Cross Channel Marketing. Are we confused yet?

Good Email Marketing: It’s All About ME!

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

 

Confusion Says……..

Okay, so last time we looked at some of the technical stuff. So what? I mean we can send out the
technically correct emails, but we’re still not getting the responses we want. How do we improve that?
Well, how about saying something of interest to ME, the recipient.

Studies by ExactTarget show that 67% will provide their email address for discounts and promotions.
55% will do so to get a “freebie”, 50% to get updates on upcoming sales and 45% to get updates on
future products. So, people consider emails as an accepted method to engage with brands.

To talk to ME you must have something compelling to tell. In other words, it’s the content. The subject
must be relevant and focused on what ME wants. It must per personalized to the degree that you
know not just ME’s name, but also who ME is and what ME wants. It should be centered on An Event
- 71% higher open-rates and five times higher ROI than a standard weekly newsletter according to
MarketingProfs. Next, you could try a Cross-channel strategy. These yield a 143% increase in response
rates.

So, the term, “Email Blast” is dead. Long live “Email Marketing”. Long live compelling, targeted
messages composed through data driven insights with relevant information.

Next week: Email Marketing: Control, Speed and Oh Yes, One Last Thing

Email marketing: Becoming better at it

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

 
So, why write about, “Becoming Better at Email Marketing”? Isn’t email marketing dying the proverbial slow death? Isn’t it falling under the wheels of those racing chariots called Facebook, Twitter, SMS Texts, LinkedIn, Pinterest or whatever other communications channel that will be launched next month and worth a billion dollars two years from now? Well not really.

Current surveys of consumers’ communications preferences by companies such as ExactTarget illustrate that every day

  • 91% use email
  • 57% use Facebook
  • 57% use SMS Text

Since 2008, personal communications via email has declined from 66% to 45%. It has been moving to social media channels. However, permission based email marketing communications has increased from 72% to 77%. In other words, 77% of people prefer to receive product information via permission based email marketing instead of social media channels. This cuts across all age groups from 15 years to 65 years of age. The preference for permission based email marketing is so far ahead of other methods of marketing that it is almost a one horse race.

More good news – 66% of respondents have made purchases as a result of email marketing messages and 63% use email to share content with their friends and family. Sharing of content on Facebook was 33%. That’s 30% less than email marketing.

Here’s some suggestions from MarketingProfs, Silverpop and Target Marketing that will improve your email marketing:

  1. Ask for permission to send information via emails (permission based email subscribers) and make it easy to opt out with one click.
  2. Make the content relevant to the recipient. In 50 characters or less tell what’s in it for them and what they should do.
  3. Deliver the emails to arrive at the times in my previous article.
  4. Do not send email “blasts” or the internet service providers (ISPs) will start to block your messages. Narrow your focus to the right people.
  5. Send a loyalty offer to subscribers who most often open your emails.
  6. Avoid spam trigger words like “Free”, “risk-free”, “guaranteed” and “!!!”
  7. Keep the offer text above the “fold” area (top 200 to 259 pixels). This is prime real estate area for the 3 to 5 seconds they focus on your message.
  8. Use one-line pre-header text to outline the offer. These are ideal for mobile devices.
  9. Use a clear call-to-action button and clickable URL link above the “fold”.
  10. Aim for 450 to 500 pixel width for both desktop and mobile users.

 

Next week: More Email Marketing Tips

Email marketing: Confusion says…

Allegra Michael Grant

Every generation has been able to lay claim to having fallen under the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” The flux of social, political and economic changes over the ages have made life on this planet “interesting”. The wheel, the printing press, the combustion engine, the automobile, the airplane, the personal computer and the internet to name a few have all been disruptors, creators of “interesting times”.

Today, in the world of marketing and communications we live with more opportunities and yet more confusion than ever before. Opportunities because, as never before in the history of mankind, marketing can reach out to anyone anywhere and at any time. Confusion because no one single method of communication has proven to be the most effective and no one knows what method to use to obtain their objectives. So let’s explore the confusion…

Let’s pick one for today. How about Email Marketing? Email open rates are highest on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. They are typically opened during the morning between 7:00 and 10:00 AM. 75% of daily social media users said email is the best way for companies to communicate with them. Yet, in the last half of 2011, overall email delivery rates were down 4.5% while B2B email delivery rates were up 6%. In summary, B2C delivery rates are dropping. Why? Well, better blockers, marketers’ sender reputations are deteriorating and consumer email overload. The answer? Become better at email marketing.

 

Next week: Becoming Better at Email Marketing

Todd Grant wins ‘Best Performer’ of 2011

Todd Grant wins ‘Best Performer’ of 2011

Todd Grant, our Sales Manager, brought home the grand prize. Winning ‘Best Performer’ in the entire Allegra Network for his outstanding sales achievements in 2011.

Tom Lewis wins Allegra Award

Tom Lewis wins Allegra Award

Our Sr. Account Executive Tom Lewis won the Allegra Network “Honors Silver Award” for outstanding sales in 2011. Well done Tom!

Consumer’s Choice Award 2011

Consumer’s Choice Award 2011

For two consecutive years the Allegra False Creek team is taking home the top prize in the category for Best Printer in Vancouver. Looks like we’re doing something right.

Michael and Jeanne Grant will gladly accept the prize at the big award show on December 1st.