If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve been hearing about various mobile trends in integrated marketing. And maybe you’ve entertained the idea of how a mobile app could help your business. If you haven’t figured out whether you can afford to build one, or how to go about it, this brief overview will give you a few places to start.
First determine how an app would benefit your customers. For example, the hair-cutting franchise Great Clips launched an app that allows customers to see estimated wait times in their area, and easily make an appointment without calling. Consequently, stylists also save time by not having to interrupt haircuts to answer the phone so often.
Below are a few sites that can easily and cost-effectively help you build your own mobile app. Most of these, plus others, can be found in the book “Go Mobile: Location-Based Marketing, Apps, Mobile Optimized Ad Campaigns, 2D Codes and Other Mobile Strategies to Grow Your Business” by Jeanne Hopkins and Jamie Turner.
This free service focuses on the tech novice who wants an app for a specific event, like a conference or wedding. It includes directions, news, updates, and photo-sharing features. Yapp is limited in its functionality, but requires little-to-no technical know-how.
Authors are turning books into apps. Bands are turning albums into apps. If you’ve got the content, the MyAppBuilder team will create an app for you for $29/month. No tech experience necessary. They’ll also upload it to the app store for you.
This web-based editor is designed to let you quickly create your own iPhone app. The basic tool is free. Advanced features are available for a $79/month fee. AppMakr works on the iOS, Android and Windows operating systems.
The Mippin platform lets you create apps for Android, iOS and Windows, and offers app designs for individuals, small businesses, media owners and products. Native apps can cost as much as $999/year.
A cloud-based mobile Content Management System (mCMS) that helps you create live-content apps with no programming and “zero total cost of ownership.” Apps can include monetization options, such as ads, coupons, and subscriptions. A three-month trial is free. Pricing then depends on app features.
When Facebook claimed the title as the biggest IPO in Internet history, social media officially segued from a consumer fad to a business fact. Although the abundance of Internet cat memes could make anyone wonder if social media has business validity, the emergence of the concept of social business has tangible value for any integrated marketing program.
Research firm Altimeter Group defines social business as the deep integration of social media and social methodologies into an organization to drive business impact. In a recent study, Altimeter pinpointed the two most important criteria for a successful social business strategy. First, you have to align it with the strategic goals of your organization. Second, you have to put the resources in place to execute the strategy.
What Social Business Can Do
Knowing what you want to accomplish with social business can help you make it a viable part of your integrated marketing strategy. Consider these benefits; by using social business effectively, you can:
The Art of Conversation: How to Build a Social Business Strategy
Most experts recommend you think of your social business strategy in seven stages. This process stresses brand alignment and continual feedback.
First: Align Your Efforts.
Before beginning any social business activities, your first step will be to review your company’s integrated marketing activities and assess how these other methods are working. If you haven’t done so yet, define your company’s brand personality, sales channels and target audiences. Also, document how your target audience typically engages with your organization.
Second: Refine Your Listening Skills.
Companies engaged in social business marketing should listen to their online communities more than 50 percent of the time. That means asking questions, responding to their answers and prompting conversation.
Third: Define Community Expectations.
During this stage, try to outline your program by asking your target demographics what they want to experience in a social business program.
Fourth: Determine Assets.
A common misconception is that social media tools are free. Although many do not charge for service, they really aren’t free because they cost a lot of time to maintain as a part of your integrated marketing efforts.
Fifth: Measure Your Methods.
The goals of a social business program should evolve over time. During your initial program, track goals and metrics against your overall integrated marketing and business plans.
Sixth: Select Your Channels.
It’s tempting to try out every social network available, but that isn’t strategic. Go where your customers spend time. A pin on Pinterest might buy you more than a tweet on Twitter, depending on your target audience’s activities.
Seventh: Engage in Conversations.
Online conversations must mirror real-life conversations to be effective for company branding, sales, customer satisfaction and even employee recruitment. Be transparent and authentic. Focus on your industry and always observe any industry standards or regulations. When appropriate, tie your efforts to pop culture or “news of the day.” Thank your community profusely and, most importantly, have fun with it.
What are the best real estate lead generation options today?
Where and how can real estate agents, investors and other related industry professionals generate more leads for buying, selling and renting properties? What are some of the little known benefits, and pitfalls of common real estate lead generation channels today?
Here are 12 ways for real estate investors and Realtors to bring in more leads:
Some popular real estate gurus have said that direct mail is the fastest and easiest way to generate new leads. It can still be very effective. In fact, as others have turned to online marketing, direct mail may have become even more effective and profitable. However, direct mail success does rely on volume and testing to hone messaging and delivery.
Cold calling on a large scale, such as using call centers, might face many challenges with regulations today, but it has still been proven to generate an effective hourly income of hundreds of dollars for Realtors. Simply picking up the phone can be one of the fastest ways to generate real estate business. It is also one of the lowest cost ways to generate leads, and can help professionals stay on top of their sales game.
Many fantastic real estate deals and listings can be uncovered by simply driving neighborhoods and knocking on doors. There are obvious obstacles in doing this, but when it comes to getting the jump on competitors, it can be hard to beat.
Google may have made reaching consumers via their inboxes more challenging, but email can still be one of the best ways to reach both the masses, and highly targeted contacts. Email lists may be rented from data companies versus buying them. Subsequently, real estate investors and agents can take control of their own email real estate and build their own lists.
Buying Internet Leads
Buying internet leads has been popular for a variety of real estate and mortgage companies since before the last housing boom. These individuals experienced somewhat of a bubble, but have now been improved with enhanced data and targeting tools. There are various types of these leads ranging from ‘aged’ leads, to live exclusive leads, and non-exclusive leads. Make sure you do your homework and understand exactly what you are getting, as well as the difference in these types of consumers, in order to maximize ROI.
Buying Lead Lists
Lead lists have been a staple of the real estate industry for many years. An almost endless array of filters can be used to laser target the best prospects with these lists. However, newer individuals and real estate companies need to recognize that they may not legally be allowed to have, or market to some of these lists depending on how the data was generated. Watch for junk, and be sure lists aren’t being fluffed out with bogus names.
Real Estate Blogging
Real estate blogging remains one of the most powerful and profitable forms of lead generation, but also one of the most underestimated. A regular blog can ensure real estate pros and companies are not held ransom by other platforms, and can go on helping to generate leads for years after posts are written. A blog can be used to draw regular internet leads, feed email list building, and fuel social media efforts.
While this medium changes constantly, social media platforms can still be a fantastic way to generate leads in real estate. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and even Pinterest are all great options. There are many debates over calls to action, the amount of engagement which is right, and how much should be invested off-site, versus on a real estate company’s own websites, but with the right funnel strategy, it can be fast, affordable and enjoyable.
Signage & Outdoor Real Estate Advertising
Even the simplest yard and ‘bandit’ signs can be incredibly affordable ways to generate real estate leads. With the right message, these and other outdoor advertising solutions can be used to generate a steady stream of local leads. New technology can make this even better. Call capture, QR codes, interactive augmented reality signs, text messaging options, and even links to virtual tours can be used to boost outdoor advertising performance.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be one of the best methods of predictably and consistently driving in real estate leads on demand. PPC solutions, like Google Adwords, offer the ability to drive in leads on command. This can be tweaked to be hyper local, or reach global buyers, investors and homeowners right where they are now. With a little strategy and education, real estate marketers can significantly drive down PPC costs. With a large enough budget, they can even dominate, and starve out the competition by buying every lead for a given keyword. Aside from the big platforms, more affordable online leads may be gleaned from purchasing image, text and banner ads on other websites directly.
Don’t forget print. Beyond the traditional line up of real estate mags, consider other industry magazines that will reach the same prime prospects, and even leveraging online magazines.
Referrals and Affiliate Marketing
Personal referrals can be both a compliment, and the most valuable form of lead generation. Savvy real estate CEOs are taking this to a whole new level by using technology to scale and organize referrals on a national and global scale.
A sales letter is one of the most common forms of direct marketing. Writing an effective marketing sales letter isn’t easy, yet you know the results could mean increased sales, impassioned customers and higher visibility. Many companies hire direct-marketing professionals to create their mailings, but you can write your own by following these tips.
Headlines: Write for the Heart, Not the Head
Most recipients will scan your letter rather than read it word for word. Cater to this reading style by using bold headlines throughout the copy. These statements should have an emotional impact that addresses the prospects’ near-term goals, fears or questions. For more inspiration, borrow some of the time-tested tips revealed in “Steal These Headlines.”
Copywriting: Write to Combat ADHD
You have about 2.5 seconds to make your reader want to read your promotion. Capture their attention by addressing a problem, issue or trend they may be facing.
An effective sales letter often begins with a question or statement that addresses their needs directly. Once you have their attention, you can tell them how your company can solve their problems with your products or services.
Call to Action: Write to Get a Response
Once you have their attention, you need to prompt them to take action. A good direct-mail letter has multiple calls to action and ways to contact your company. Although you can wait until the end of your letter in a printed promotion, you should pepper an online promotion with calls to action early and often. Your goal is to qualify leads and generate interest.
One effective strategy is to implement the “law of reciprocity.” Give them something of value, such as discounts in the form of a price offer or knowledge in the form of a white paper, in return for their response. Learn to write white papers that sell.
The next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store, try this experiment. Scan the cover of every magazine displayed. You’ll notice a style of headline writing that not only grabs your attention but also seduces you into wanting to know more.
You might scoff at the idea that such sensationalized writing lures you, but editors follow a formula because it’s effective. If you read, “Three Surprising Benefits of Calling In Sick” or “Don’t Get Caught: How to Dodge an IRS Audit,” you might quickly add that magazine to your shopping cart.
These same principles apply to email marketing. Before writing your next email newsletter or promotion, consider trying one of these two time-tested headline-writing techniques.
1. Make It Count
Readers want to anticipate what they’ll learn by reading your email. Pique their curiosity by following a simple formula: number + adjective + noun + subject pertinent to your business. For a technology-consulting firm, the formula might generate this headline: “Four Ingenious Uses for Your Tablet Computer.” An accountant might tease, “25 Under-the-Radar Tax Deductions for Small Businesses.”
2. Read like a Tabloid
Although you owe it to your audience to be credible, that doesn’t mean your email headlines can’t sensationalize information a bit. When trying this strategy, involve every sense of the reader to create an experience without promising something you can’t deliver. This might prompt a personal stylist to proclaim, “From Bed to Door in 30 Minutes: How to Dress for Time-Crunched Mornings.” Or an employment law attorney to suggest, “Never Get Sued Again: Practical Stress-Relieving Tips for Employers.
Is direct mail a part of your integrated marketing strategy? If so, do you maintain your own mailing lists and mail your direct mail pieces yourself thinking you’re saving your company big money?
Well, think again.
According to the USPS, over 40 million Americans change their addresses annually, which makes maintaining a high-quality mailing list a near impossibility. In fact, the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) reports that Undeliverable-as-Addressed (UAA) mail costs the United States Postal Service approximately $2 billion each year.
Too many small businesses shy away from data management practices, usually because they don’t think they’re big enough and/or they don’t know how to get started. The truth is, small companies can benefit greatly from keeping their customer data clean. Implementing some simple controls¾like checking addresses against the National Change of Address database (NCOA) and making sure there are no errors in content or address formatting¾can ensure ongoing data quality.
If these activities sound daunting to you, consider outsourcing this task to a mailing services provider to maintain your lists. Oftentimes, mailing services can actually save you more money than if you tried to do it all yourself. Not only can a mailing provider ensure the data you are working with is as clean as possible, they can save you money by improving deliverability and maximizing postal discounts to help you mail at the lowest possible rates with the fewest possible UAA mail pieces. This not only saves you money, it protects the environment by reducing paper waste.
So the next time you’re getting ready for a big mailing, give outsourcing a try. You might just be pleasantly surprised.
As email spammers become more and more creative in their approach, spam filters become more and more sophisticated in their approach. If you engage in email marketing, you’re already aware of how hard it can be to get your message past your audiences’ junk mail filters and into their in-boxes. The following tips, courtesy of ePly Online Event Registration, can help keep your emails from being flagged as spam:
Free Spam Testing Tool
There are a number of free tools online, such as http://spamscore.me/, that will take a sample email, process it, and assess its likelihood of getting caught in a junk mail folder. A 100% delivery rate for your email campaign might be pie-in-the-sky, but with a few easy steps, avoiding getting flagged as spam can be as easy as cake and ice cream!
Video in email — including the embedding of streaming content inside email body text — has transcended previous technical obstacles, and is now ready for marketing prime time, according to video experts at ReelSEO.com.
Our previous post covers the benefits and business case for small-business video marketing, so we won’t rehash it here. But we will summarize why ReelSEO believes now — more than ever — video email deserves closer consideration:
Video email creates the same sense of engagement and excitement as on a website or landing page, while requiring just one click to deliver a brief but highly engaging presentation of:
Remember that video email is a branded communication medium. So messaging and presentation must be appropriate and relevant to your audience. The email should also: add value to the viewing experience; help achieve campaign goals; align with brand voice and image; and follow best practices for production and deliverability.
First Sip the Soup
Before diving into video email, invest a little time in learning about different formats, so that when you and your marketing services provider or team convene, you won’t glaze over when alphabet-soup terms like HTML5, .GIF, .PNG come up.
Video email is here to stay, and it may just be the difference needed to push your marketing to a whole new level.
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Persistence often pays, especially when it comes to lead generation and sales. So it’s not unusual to want to send a second email to a prospect, especially if the first email and follow-up phone calls haven’t worked.
According to Jenny Vance, President of Leadjen, a B2B lead-generation company, the key is to make sure the second email is sent soon after your telephone attempts. If you wait too long to follow up after leaving a voicemail message, she says, the perception will be that you’re only emailing the prospect.
When developing content for a second email, Vance recommends the following six practices for delivering better results. All of this should be accomplished in just three to four sentences and no more than two short paragraphs.
If your marketing has lost its luster and response rates have fallen flat, try wooing audiences back with a targeted pURL campaign.
Online Street Address
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, which is most easily thought of as the “street address” for information on the internet for websites and links. For example, http://www.tconpoint.com/transaction-coordinator is the URL for this integrated real estate marketing blog.
“P” is for Personal
A pURL is a web page or site that has been personalized to a singular individual, using demographic or other “variable” data you’ve collected (or purchased) about them. Variable data can include age, education level, income, family size, or similar information.
pURL marketing combines data-driven direct mail with targeted electronic mail. Messages drive recipients to a personalized “landing” page that’s been painstakingly designed to “convert” visitors by eliciting a specific action, such as clicking, buying or downloading something, or filling out a form.
Why pURLs Shine
Marketers who use pURLs often swear by them, because of benefits that can include:
The Wisdom of pURLs
Follow these time-tested guidelines for ensuring pURL marketing success:
With the aid of an experienced list management and personalization partner, pURLs can provide meaningful, long-lasting, one-to-one connections.
Maybe you’re a doubter. You don’t see the value in “tweeting” miscellaneous marketing messages out into the “Twittershpere,” never mind sharing random thoughts and what you had for lunch. Don’t worry; you’re not alone.
Scott Stratten was once like you. Today, he’s considered kind of a big deal on Twitter. But a few years ago, he was about to give up on Twitter as a networking and integrated marketing tool. He just wasn’t getting it. But before he gave up on it completely, he decided to give it one last effort. That’s when Stratten came up with his “30-Day Twitter Challenge.”
At that time, the “UnMarketing” author had about 2,000 followers. So for the next month, he ate, slept, and virtually lived on Twitter. That was enough to do the trick. By the end of it, he was “hooked.” Scott Stratten had become a true Twitter believer.
After his 30-day challenge, Stratten had built up a 10,000-strong following (now 186,042 as of this writing). As he attests, “I had made better and stronger relationships in that time span than on all the other social networking sites combined. I had built a loyal following, booked speaking engagements, and gained consulting clients, without ever pitching a thing.”
What’s So Special About Twitter?
One of the main reasons Stratten believes in the power of Twitter is the lack of any barrier to engagement. Twitter doesn’t require permission or approval for you to follow and engage with anyone you like. So if want to use it effectively, take some advice from someone who’s learned to master it.
Scott Stratten’s Twitter Ninja Tricks
Perform your own “30-Day Twitter Challenge.” See if you become a true Twitter believer like Stratten!
You may have a physical address, but is your business really on the map?
For old-school, brick-and-mortar businesses, it used to be that a quality sign, a Yellow Pages listing, and a targeted direct mail campaign was all it took to bring in traffic. Nowadays you need a well-planned integrated marketing program that includes a presence on a variety of location based services to ensure your business is found.
Here’s an overview of the five most popular location-based sites and apps that will help you get discovered by customers, all at no charge.
Five Ways to Get Your Business on The Map
Ensure your customers can find you when they’re in the vicinity. Fill out your free listings completely (with photos as appropriate), and take advantage of tools that allow you to offer customer incentives to grow your business.
What’s your favorite location based service? Share it and tell us how you’ve discovered new places.
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Pitney Bowes recently commissioned a study to identify factors that could influence when and whether recipients would open their direct mail marketing piece and read it. The survey of 1,500 U.S. adults, conducted by Leflein Associates, examined preferences, attitudes, and behaviors about mail as received at home.
Overall, the consumers surveyed showed a strong preference for physical direct mail, with 66% of respondents saying they prefer to receive catalogs by physical mail, 61% preferring to receive bills and invoices by physical mail, and 59% preferring to receive financial/bank statements by physical mail.
To determine what might influence open rates, participants examined an average of 16 screens, each containing four randomized envelope images, to test for variables including the presence of text, graphics, and color on envelope fronts and backs.
Color Reigns Supreme
What’s printed on the front of the envelope strongly influences when and whether it gets opened.
And, recipients are 69% more likely to open a mail piece with color text and graphics on the front, before opening pieces with no headline or graphic. Given a choice of color graphics or black-and-white text, mail recipients are 2.5 times more likely to open envelopes with color graphics first.
What’s printed on the back of the envelope is less influential. Six out of 10 (57%) hardly ever notice what is printed on the back of an envelope when sorting through or opening their mail. However, as with the front of the envelope, the study indicates the presence of color text and graphics on the envelope’s back is significantly more likely to influence the decision to open, rather than black-and-white only.
The bottom line is 1) based on consumers’ preference you should absolutely invest in printed mail communication; 2) you should absolutely NOT leave the envelope blank; and 3) text and graphics should DEFINITELY be in color.
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In an age of e-this and social-that, it’s easy to forget that many businesses still rely on traditional printed materials to market their products and services.
True, websites have become today’s de-facto marketing medium. And flashy new pad-style computers can invigorate even the most pedestrian sales presentation.
But in the trenches, today’s sales pros still use brochures, sell sheets, direct mail and other key marketing and sales support materials to land, close and nurture new accounts.
Of course, those who routinely use printed materials continually seek ways to create and produce them better, faster and more efficiently—which may explain why companies large and small are leveraging the benefits of online storefronts.
Web to Print
An online storefront (aka Web to Print) is a browser-based Web application that links digital, print-ready versions of company marketing collateral to a pre-determined print-production and delivery environment. Typically, your team (or your printer’s) will design and upload material templates, which can then be accessed, edited and output on-demand by authorized users to a nearby printing facility. The technology even allows for personalized variable output.
Coming into its Own…Again
When online storefronts came onto the scene a few years ago, print buyers and marketers were all atwitter, knowing that it was the all-in-one printing-marketing-personalization solution they’d been waiting for. And, more recently enthusiasm has spiked, largely because more and more vendors and businesses are clearer on the technology’s considerable upside, which includes:
An experienced print-service provider can help you tailor a customized, cost-effective online storefront for a range of printed/integrated marketing materials, such as:
Have you ever used an online storefront for your business?
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Whether you use direct mail, email or both, testing and refinement can help to improve the effectiveness of your marketing. Most direct marketing managers are compulsive about testing, and for good reason: Testing yields customer insights that can help you boost response rates and increase profits.
Generally speaking, there are three direct mail testing and refinement processes:
Be sure to test only one of the following elements at a time to ensure measurable results:
Response mechanism. Some customers prefer to call, some prefer to reply via the mail, some prefer to reply online. Test what works best with your audience.
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CONTENT MARKETING, DIRECT MARKETING, WEBSITES
Imagine hiring a stunningly attractive spokesperson to talk about your company—one whose appearance and delivery are so alluring, so riveting, that no one—clients, prospects, media, competitors—can tear their eyes away from the story that’s being told. And when ‘The End’ comes, the audience’s perception of you is totally transformed.
That’s what infographics can do.
An infographic (sometimes called a “visualization”) is a customized composition of—you guessed it—information (stats, data, knowledge, a timeline) and graphics, such as photos, illustrations and creative type treatment. Traditionally a mainstay of science and academia, infographics have emerged as a favored marketing tactic among brands and companies of all types and sizes.
Quintessential marketing tool
From a marketer’s perspective, there’s much to love about infographics. They’re attention grabbing and easily understood. Infographics enable you to present data- or stat-heavy content such as chronology, hierarchy, process and technology in an aesthetically pleasing way that gives word-weary readers a visual change of pace. They’re also versatile enough to enhance any print or online channel, from ads and direct mail to blog posts and social media. Done well, infographics can help your company:
There are no hard and fast rules for creating infographics, and no limits, except your imagination and, of course, your budget.
Outsourced infographics can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on size, quality, complexity and how you promote them. More channels or desired impressions equal a higher investment. If your graphic goes viral or is cited by trade or mainstream media, congratulations! You’ve attained infographic nirvana and will soon be the envy of your competitors.
A well-executed infographic can bring almost any data-intensive story to life in a fresh and compelling way. And unlike a stunningly attractive, flesh-and-blood spokesperson, they’ll never pout, sulk or ask for a raise.
Want some examples and ideas to get started? Feast your eyes on Pinterest’s extensive collection of infographics.
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DIRECT MARKETING, EMAIL MARKETING, MARKETING STRATEGY
Even in our digital age, direct mail and email play important roles in an integrated marketing campaign. Direct mail is a perfect partner to email communications; it conveys a quick message that either prepares a recipient for an email to come, or reminds them of an email they’ve recently received.
Using both can be more effective than using one alone, because emails are easily ignored— and just as easily deleted. Use them together and watch your responses soar! Here are eight tips for making the most of your direct mail:
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Email marketing continues to be one of today’s most economical and cost-effective marketing tactics. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reports that the ROI on email marketing remains far above that of search or other marketing channels.
But before readers dive into any email message, they must deem it time-worthy, typically with a cursory (and highly critical) glance at the email subject line.
The subject line has one job and one job only: to get your email opened. If it fails, your cleverly crafted content is off to the glue factory. If it works, you’re in the run for the roses, perhaps on the fast track to higher open rates, more sales and increased retention.
Use these tips get out of the gate quickly and increase your odds of finishing strong:
Regardless of campaign size or complexity, email subject lines have the same job: to convince readers they need the information contained therein. Use the tips above (and others posted here) to make your emails the favorite to win customer attention, not the long shot.
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Visual Marketing, what is it and how do i use it?
As attention spans become shorter, so too does the amount of time people are willing to spend reading long-copy marketing messages. To effectively grab and hold the attention of consumers, photos and graphic images are becoming more important in integrated marketing efforts.
Anita Campbell, CEO and founder of the online community Small Business Trends, published a book called Visual Marketing: 99 Proven Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Images and Design. She was quoted in Forbes about the importance of this new marketing medium: “Harnessing the power of images and visuals will make your marketing more powerful and more memorable. Images—when done deftly—can turn concepts and intangible things into something concrete. That helps people envision your brand and your message in their mind’s eye—and remember you when it comes times to buy.
“For small businesses, that’s particularly important. We don’t have a lot of money, time or staff to spend on marketing. So everything we do has to pack a punch.”
Images Get Shared
The popularity of visually based social media has exploded with sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and the mobile Instagram app (acquired by Facebook) for iPhone and Android users. According to a study by ROI Research, when people interact on social media sites, pictures get the most responses and “likes.” In addition, as many as 44 percent of users are more likely to engage with brands when photos or images are posted.
Photography on the Go
Another reason for the rise of visual media is the improvement in mobile phone photography. It’s now much easier for mobile users to quickly share photos than to laboriously type out text on a tiny keypad.
As more people do their social sharing using mobile camera apps and photo-editing tools, traditional cameras have nearly become obsolete. Books on iPhone photography, such as “The Best Camera Is the One You Have With You,” tout the advantages taking and sharing pictures on the run with a high-resolution phone camera.
There are also SEO (search engine optimization) benefits for marketers who use images effectively. Social conversations and content sharing are major factors into search engine rankings. Smart marketers can use product images on social sites like Pinterest and Instagram to drive traffic back to their websites, increasing the likelihood of customer engagement and viral sharing.
Sure, anyone can use email to reach out to prospects and customers. But that’s the problem: These days it seems like everybody’s using email as a marketing tool. Worse still, most of these emails represent generic marketing offers. Fact is, the more emails your prospects are receiving, the less likely it is that they will open yours.
Email marketing is most effective when used in an integrated campaign along with other media, and when email communications engage customers and prospects in a personal way, something AT&T can attest to. The company recently determined that its previous segmentation effort had fallen off and, as a result, email messages were becoming less tailored to its customers’ interests. Resolving the issue meant AT&T needed to better understand its customers’ preferences.
Working with Acxiom, a global leader in technology and marketing services, AT&T sought to drive 500,000 current customers to update their preferences regarding the email communications that they received from the company. A playful and highly personalized email script was developed to encourage customers to click through to their preferences page and update their information.
Each email mentioned the customer’s name 11 times with some silly variations, such as Bobby-licious and Betty-tastic, while encouraging Bobby and Betty to update their preferences so AT&T could send them more Bobby-esque and Betty-like offers in the future.
The campaign was a huge success. Click-through rates on these emails were 140 percent higher than previous email click-through rates, including messages promoting new devices. Open rates increased 32 percent over previous email open rates. Best of all, the approach created a virtual cycle: AT&T’s future communications can be even more tailored based on customers’ stated preferences.
Improved customer engagement will make customers and prospects more receptive to future marketing communications, and more likely to become higher-value customers.
People get a ton of direct mail each day. Why? Because direct sales letters are a really cost-effective way to reach clients and prospects. The thing is, envelopes that are either smaller or larger can often grab your prospect’s attention AND greatly improve response rates.
Size matters: For your next direct mail campaign, you might consider trying a #9 envelope, which is slightly smaller. Or you might try a #11 envelope, which is slightly larger. You can even try a jumbo-size, 10″ x 13″ size. Whatever size you use, just be sure to test every so often to see how other sizes might affect your response rates.
Shape matters, too: While different envelope sizes can impact response rates, NOTHING has a better open rate than a high-impact dimensional mail campaign. Dimensional mail, also known as lumpy mail, is a type of direct mail that is any shape other than flat. It could be an oblong box containing sales literature and product samples, a large, lumpy envelope that clearly has some premium item in it, or a small box with a big teaser message on it.
So does cost: Obviously, a dimensional mail campaign will cost more to create and send as compared to a standard letter or postcard. However, according to the DMA Response Rate Report, dimensional mail campaigns average response rates of 5.49%, the highest of any direct response medium. So while your upfront investment is often higher, your return is much higher and should more than justify the cost of the campaign.
That being said, you’ll want to carefully choose “A-list” prospects that offer a good chance of generating a lot of revenue for you/your company. Additionally, your campaign will need to have the complete buy-in of the sales department. If these are not prospects they are after, they might not be willing to follow up with phone calls, which can be a key part of a dimensional mail campaign.