Posts Tagged "permission-based"

We interrupt your life to bring you this

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
Just In From Twitter One Minute Ago…

Twitter. 140 characters. 340 million tweets per day. 500 million followers. Overwhelming. It is the ultimate in, “Get to the Point” communications and the ultimate panacea for short attention spans. It has become THE source of real time data. Even then, although many sign on, many sign off. About 47% of followers are no longer active on Twitter, according to ExactTarget. They leave because there is too much clutter in their world of communications. 52% of Followers stop following brands because the messages are too boring. This is not a good start, but having a Twitter presence can have significant benefits for a brand.

Let’s look at the profile of a frequent follower on Twitter. According to Edison Research: one third is between the ages of 25 – 34; they are more educated and have higher incomes than average; they are early adopters of technology. They are voracious consumers and contributors of online information. They will follow a brand on Twitter for the usual reasons – real time deals, promotions and sales, being the first to know and of course, that exclusive content that “club members” always have. We have seen them before. They are ME, but with a twist. Not only do they say, “What’s in it for ME?” but, they say, “What’s in it for ME Right Now!” For this article, let’s call them Digital ME.

So, while the passive users of Twitter continue to decline, the active users continue to grow. Digital ME are the users that you want. Digital ME wants to know more about the personality of a brand. When it finds out, Digital ME is a very influential distributor of information. In fact, much like Facebook that we discussed earlier, this is your real target in the world of Twitter. Digital ME, the influencers are 79% more likely to recommend brands they follow. ExactTarget has a phrase, “What happens on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter.”

Again, like the Facebook approach, try to link Digital ME to your permission-based email subscriber activity. Offer exclusive content or promotions on the email account for the Twitter followers. Constantly link your multimedia activity for higher returns.

Follow Michael and the Allegra team on Twitter: @allegra_ca

Next week: Marketing The Tangibles… Now, how about something we can really get our hands around?

Social Media: Fans, Friends and Cascading Media

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
Facebook is a party. It is not a trip to the mall. Facebook is a doorway to family and friends. We bring our pictures and all kinds of information about us to the party. We share. We play games there, connect to old friends and make new ones. We review our past and we plan our futures on Facebook. It’s fun. According to a recent ExactTarget study, 30% call it their “guilty pleasure” It has become an alternate life, a place to kill time, an escape. It is a place of serendipitous discoveries where we discover things we were not even looking for. It has been called the “default social community” and most of the community says that marketers are not welcome. Period. Yet…here’s the rub, the ultimate tease, according to a Nielson study in 2009, 90% of the Facebook community trusts product recommendations from Friends. We are not allowed in, but, but, if we can get there, then Oh Boy, Look Out. We are on a rocket ship to marketing nirvana.

So, focusing again on ME. When ME goes to Email, Google and LinkedIn, ME takes their wallets. That’s the trip to the mall. ME is going to shop. ME is looking for deals. If ME met and Liked You at the Facebook party, ME might look you up if you gave ME a deal. 58% of Fans expect this according to ExactTarget. Remember, just because ME Liked you at the party, it doesn’t mean you have permission to call ME. If you start constantly calling (marketing to) ME without permission, then ME will drop you. 44% will Unlike you if you post too frequently. The question remains: How do we get ME, that we met at the Facebook party, to Like our company and visit us at the mall and shop with us?

First, be entertaining when you are at the party and every time you call. Remember it’s a party. ME is there for fun. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not ME it’s you. A recent report, “The Power of Like” a collaboration between comScore and Facebook, talks about how social marketing works. It states that accumulating Fans is only the first step. The next step is accumulating Friends of Fans and thus amplifying the marketing message. They talk about Fan Reach, Engagement and Amplification. Once the brand has been seen on Facebook, presumably for this discussion from “paid media” (an ad), it then attempts to Reach its Fans via the News Feed and their Brand Pages. If it is “entertaining” enough, Fans become Engaged and they talk to their Friends about the brand. This is “earned media” and thus we have Amplification. Yes, it’s all about gossip. One Fan talks about the brand to a Friend and that Friend talks to another Friend etc. etc. So, although an initial brand Engagement rate might be just 1%, it is Amplified to a factor of 10 or more. It cascades.

That’s the theory with some supporting data. The author, Andrew Lipsman was reported in Time Business on August 7, 2012 as stating that there was still not enough data and that the process will play itself out over the next couple of years. Right now, it appears that the stock market has decided not to wait. It’s hard to sell products at a party when people only attend for fun.

Of course, the next step in cascading Fans and Friends of Fans into customers is to seek permission for one to one marketing via ME’s favourite digital marketing channel – Email. You, know, the shopping channel. One more step in cascading media.

Next week: We Interrupt Your Life To Bring You This… Just In From Twitter One Minute Ago!

Direct Mail: Testing, Testing, Testing can you hear ME now?

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
To continue with our dance theme from the last entry, let’s look at the start of the dance. We need to be heard. We need a microphone. One that works. We need to test that mic. Direct Mail needs to be tested. Tap, tap, tap. Do you hear ME? We are fine tuning here. Not everything will work. Some tunes bring everyone onto the floor. Some do not. Ever been to a dance where no one is getting up? Conversations are low. People are looking around checking out the ceiling, the floor, the shape of their paper cup, their watches. Looking for the exits. When do we get to leave? Have we spent enough time here? Shouldn’t I be somewhere exciting right now? Then, suddenly, a tune breaks out. It’s alive. You love the beat. Maybe you’ve heard it before. Your feet are moving. Everyone crowds onto the dance floor. They are coming to the party. Moving to the sound. In Direct Mail, you want to be that sound. Over and over. They never want you to go away. They keep coming back. You have found the magic. The right tune. Testing, testing, testing is your route to finding that song and becoming what everyone longs for. With that objective, let’s focus on ME.

Is the Direct Mail message getting through to ME? We won’t know until ME communicates with us loud and clear. Although we send the message, it is ME who determines if the message is ever received. It is ME who decides to contact us. They control the channel. Think of the intro to “The Outer Limits”, a 1963 Sci Fi television show. That’s us on the couch in front of the TV. How do we get that remote to work?

As we know, marketing is a continuous process constantly evolving to meet the needs of ME and like all marketing, testing is critical to the success of Direct Mail. Marketing is not a one hit wonder. It is not a home run. It is a series of improvements until we load the bases and the runs start to come in. It takes time. Marketing is like the movie, “Moneyball” for those of you who like Brad Pitt and sports. It is a focus on the stats, on the numbers, on the results. Some of the methods we use to separate and measure the results of our campaigns are things like: numbered coupons, gift cards and reply cards, various offers, different toll free #s and email response addresses for each campaign, specific QR Code and PURL landing pages tied to each campaign.

We send Direct Mail to segments of our markets to gauge the response to our offers. These segments might consist of geography, gender, age, customers, prospects, income and previous purchases etc. It is important that we send a sample size that will yield “statistical significance”, but not one that uses up a large portion of our list. We might send out 5-10% of our list to a minimum of 500-1000 per campaign. We will need to measure the results of each modified campaign so that we can focus our efforts on what has provided the highest responses and alter the offers accordingly. Remember that our success depends upon the list accuracy (50%), the offer (30%) and the creative (20%).

There are Power Locations on every Direct Mail piece. These are locations that will be noticed first by ME. They are: the outer envelope, the opening or heading of the letter, the closing of the letter, a PS section in the letter, a burst in the letter or card, the lower left portion of a postcard and an insert in a letter. Straightforward offers or calls to action should be at these locations. In other words, it answers the question, what’s in it for ME?

Next week: Social Media…The Twilight Zone of Marketing

Direct Mail: The Dance Continues

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
So, let me get this straight. Are we saying that Direct Mail is like dancing? Well, yes, it sort of is. But like everything in life, there is more than one way to perform this dance. One form is a physical expression of individualism with or without a partner and with or without the flow of the music. It is spontaneous and eclectic. Touching is usually not allowed. Another form is the movement of two people in synchronization with the music. Think of Dancing with the Stars.

Direct Mail is Dancing with the Stars. It is planned and rehearsed over and over. It is not random. It is not spontaneous. It is you engaging your partner with a series of choreographed moves. In Direct Mail your partner is the customer/client/prospect. You guessed it, it’s ME, the object of your attention.

In Direct Mail we don’t just show up at the dance and jump out onto the floor, well, not unless a lot of substance abuse is involved, but that usually doesn’t turn out so well. Planning is crucial to the success of Direct Mail just like any marketing campaign. The first thing we need to do is to decide with whom we would like to dance before we even get to the floor. We need to target an audience. What does ME look like? This is a focus on your products and services and the markets that could use them. Why should ME dance with you? List the benefits because you will need them in your direct mail marketing. We are only going to use a few of these benefits at a time in Direct Mail because we want to provide a simple, easy to explain benefit that can be grasped quickly and acted upon urgently. Again, it’s all about ME.

Where do we find ME? The best targets are your house list. That is a list you have compiled from your database. This list is 5 to 10 times more likely to respond than a purchased compiled list. After all, they have danced with you before. Hopefully it was a good experience for ME. Another good target is a response list. This is a list you have purchased and it consists of targets that have purchased from other’s direct mail in the past. In other words, they have danced before. This list is 3 to 5 times more likely to respond than a purchased compiled list. They like to dance. The next target list you can use is a compiled list. Again, it is something that you have purchased and it is random, but relevant to your product or services. It looks a lot like ME.

Next week: Direct Mail…Testing, Testing, Testing can you hear ME now?

How will Direct Mail get to ME?

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

Direct Mail! You mean Junk Mail, don’t you? I mean, who wants that? The answer, it seems, is quite a few of us not only want Direct Mail, but we respond to it quite well.

First, let’s establish the definition of Direct Mail, what it is and what it is not. Direct Mail is a subsection of Direct Marketing. It is a mailed item addressed to a specific individual usually based upon a prior business relationship or upon research. It offers specific benefits for that individual. It’s not unaddressed circulars and flyers that arrive in the mail or with a newspaper. That’s the stuff we call Junk Mail (believe it or not, the response rates for these are pretty good too). So once again, it is marketing directed at ME. You could consider it to be like an email or SMS text message, but without the digital component, or, as more and more are saying, the annoyance factor.

Now, like a lot of digital messages, you may not have asked for it. You may not want it. You may not even look at it. BUT…it’s not in your face. It’s not in your space. It’s not using resources that you are paying for. It has not demanded your time and used your money to get to you. Like digital media, it does not have your permission to be there, but you know what? That’s okay. You can look at it when you want to. ME is in control and ME likes control. It is personal and ME likes personal.

One more time, Direct Mail is the only media that can be used to contact ME without permission. Good news! Right? Well, yes, but it’s only the first step to get to ME. You caught my eye, but there has to be more than that in the relationship. Like remembering my name would be good for starters. What about what ME wants? Have you thought of that?

Rule #1 in Direct Mail is to address ME by name. If you don’t know ME, why should ME communicate with you? If you are mailing to existing or former clients/customers, then presumably you have their names (just a guess here). By the way, according to a 2012 report from The Ballantine Corporation, after receiving direct mail, 70% of consumers have renewed relationships with business they had previously ceased using (you really called!). Now, if you are prospecting, then rent a list based upon the known attributes of your clients/customers. That same Ballantine report states that 40% of consumers say that they have tried a new business after receiving Direct Mail (you really know ME). According to the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of people will open an envelope with their name on it (ME likes ME). In addition, according to Target Marketing, 69% of marketers will use Direct Mail for new account acquisitions. The right names on the right list will provide 50% of the campaign’s success rate and remove the stigma of old school push, mass-marketing.

Rule #2 is to send a message that ME is interested in. 30% of your success will be based upon your offer. It’s all about ME. You know your product and you know your audience. Targeting is the very established process of creating an offer of specific interest to a specific group. It is relevant marketing. With Direct Mail you can deploy a PURL campaign that is focused on the wants and needs of ME. It will begin an interactive conversation with ME using content that ME controls and that you provide. Using Direct Mail as a bridge to Email marketing and thus, cross channel marketing is very effective. Remember that 143% increase in response we reviewed on May 14, 2012?

Rule #3 is to get ME’s attention right away. You have their name (50%). You have their offer (30%). Now you need their attention. Creativity and design will provide the remaining 20% of your success. Just to make it clear, creativity is not only art. It is a point of differentiation. Examples would be: images that support the message, the size of envelope, the colour of envelope, the message on the envelope, the headline. ME is busy and has lots of things to do. Drab and bland just doesn’t cut it when you want to get to ME.

Rule #4 is to create a sense of urgency. Present ME with an offer that expires in a relatively short time line of say, one to two weeks, maybe a month dependent upon the business. The point here is that there must be a final date for the offer and that date cannot be too far away. If this is something that ME wants, then ME must act right away.

Rule #5 is to have a call to action. Define what must be done, when and how. If you know ME’s name, have something that ME is interested in, have caught ME’s attention, have something that is about to slip away, then you must let ME know what to do. Now that you have taken it this far, it’s the only decent thing to do.

Next week: Direct Mail…The Dance Continues

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.