The Role of “Lumpy Mail” in B2B Digital Direct Marketing

February 27, 2014

How a Direct Mail technique can get a digital response

Lumpy-Mail

Every successful Direct Mail Marketer knows that “lumpy mail” doubles the response of “flat mail”. Lumpy mail is anything with more volume, larger dimensions, weight, texture or bumps than normal mail. It might even make noise when shaken.

Successful B2B Direct Mail Campaign for WYANDOT Inc.

Lumpy mail gets better results because it peaks curiosity. What could be inside? Is it a gift? Most recipients will open lumpy mail, because they just have to know.

I would argue that this technique could be just as useful in the digital arena. To me there is no difference between offering a small gift or surprise in an envelope or offering it by Email. The trick is to be creative about how you package and deliver your content.

Here are the 3 things you should do to get results from Lumpy Emails:

Offer a Surprise

In Digital Direct Marketing, Email is the closest thing to mailing a letter to someone’s house, and your subject line is the envelope. Don’t waste those few precious words telling the reader about your brand. Instead, entice your customers with the promise of a gift or the ability to do something fun. Remember the “Elf Yourself” campaign OfficeMax launched in 2006? Imagine emailing a customer to invite them to elf themselves. That’s pretty lumpy Email, if you ask me. Try to think of something similar that reflects your brand or current campaign.

Keep it Light

You’ve gotten your customer to open your lumpy Email. Now what? You don’t want to lose them by switching into sales mode. Keep it light and give them what you promised. Whether it’s a silly online game, the ability to create an avatar or a link to a funny YouTube video, make sure what’s inside is as funny or interesting as they expect. Ideally, tie it back into your brand. The idea is to sponsor a little bit of fun in exchange for their attention. Once you’ve delivered that fun, they will be more open to your call to action.

Ask for What You Want

Like any marketing campaign, decide what you want the customer to do and deliver that message last. If you want them to call your office, take your call, visit a website, or provide personal information, make it crystal clear. You gave them something, so they will be more likely to return the favor.

Have you ever sent something you considered to be Lumpy Email? Was it successful? Share your comments and stories with me by emailing frank@claycreativeresults.com. I’ll share your responses in a future post.


Digital Direct Marketing Uses Social Media to Reach Niche Customers

February 13, 2014

5 ways social know-how makes niche marketing easier

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Unlike general target markets, niche markets are not defined simply by location or demographics, but by shared experiences, interests or ideas.

Niche markets are difficult to influence unless you understand the values of those in them. For instance, a realty company might want to target men who earn above $500,00 a year and prefer to live in golf course communities. To do this, the marketer will have to learn as much as possible about these men: What motivates them? What do they read? What do they look for in a golf course?

Today, marketers don’t have to guess the answers to questions like this based solely on past purchasing information and shallow observation. Now, brands can get involved and participate in the Social Media Network of their niche market to learn firsthand about its not-so-obvious quirks.Here are 5 ways to more effectively use Social Media for niche marketing:

Choose the Right Social Media Networks

Did you know some Wall Street Employees are banned from using Facebook, Twitter and Google at work? Since they are at the office nearly 80 hours a week, a social media campaign targeting them through these channels would fail miserably. Rather than making assumptions about which Social Media channels appeal to your niche, do a little upfront research. As you can see from this example, it can make or break your campaign.

Get Involved and Participate

Once you know how your niche connects, it’s time to join the conversation. Visit chat rooms and blogs that appeal to them, and listen in. If you market beer, join a chat room for craft brew fanatics. You’ll learn what motivates your target audience and what language and activities they respond to. Feel free to participate and represent your brand, but be careful not to kill the conversation with a blatant plug for your company.

See How Your Niche Responds to Other Brands

Whether they are Tweeting about a brand or liking it on Facebook, you should know what your niche thinks about your competition. This will help you fine tune your position in the market and respond to your own brand weaknesses before your customer calls you out on them.

Create Relevant Content

To stay involved, you’ll want to create content to spread across relevant Social Media networks. If you sell bamboo fly fishing rods, host a YouTube video highlighting the top 10 fly-fishing rivers in the U.S., or write a blog that discusses which flies are most effective in different areas of the country. The more valuable your content is to your niche market, the more likely they are to find it and share it.

Position Your Brand as The Expert

In addition to sharing content, you’ll want to make sure that your brand is welcomed as an integral part of your niche market. Being an expert puts you in that position. Create studies, write a blog or host a series of teaching videos, and those interested in your expert opinion will seek more information from your business website.

For more information about using Social Media Networks to reach your niche market, contact Jessica@claycreativeresults.com.


Creative Ways to Integrate Direct Mail and Digital Marketing for B2B

January 15, 2014

3 proven tactics for achieving measurable results

Clay-Direct-MarketingMention Direct Mail to a room full of advertising professionals these days, and you will probably see some eye-rolling. Snail mail is considered passé, and digital solutions are all anyone wants to discuss. But let’s not forget that traditional direct mail tactics are the bedrock on which some of today’s greatest Digital Marketing strategies are built.

Interactive channels might be more dynamic, but they can’t do it all. Direct mailing lists are often more targeted, reliable, and more difficult to opt out of than emails. Customers are also more likely to open Direct Mail and more likely to actually read it. That’s why smart marketers still leverage Direct Mail to drive their Direct Digital Marketing efforts. Here are three examples of how you can do it, too:

Invite Customers to Opt into Email

Email blasts are easily filtered into the spam folder, and, even if they are opened, they are just as simple to opt out of. Try “priming” your customers with a Direct Mail so they are actually looking forward to your Emails. Use your direct mailer to announce a sweepstakes or offer a coupon, and then require customers to provide an email address and respond to your emails in order to receive the prize or discount. This is a more civilized way of ushering customers onto your email list of their own free will, which makes it more likely that they will stay there.

Use personalized URLs (PURLs)

It’s a no-brainer to use Direct Mail to drive customers to your website, but you can get greater measurability and interactivity by driving them to personalized micro-sites or PURLs. You’ll know how successful your mailing was by how many users access your PURL, plus you can provide an extremely targeted user experience once they get there. More and more, companies are using PURLs alongside their corporate websites to cater to specific customer types by providing completely different products and other features. These micro-sites can be used as informational social media hubs or they can offer customized product lines that make more sense when separated from the main website. PURLs offer unlimited possibilities, but without direct mail to drive them there, your customer might not find them.

Add QR Codes

Quick response codes (QR) are small icons made up of dots that translate into binary code. Smartphone users scan the icon with their phone to access online websites and videos that provide more information about a product. Although they are still used mainly by early adopter’s of technology, QR codes are becoming more and more popular with advertisers. In fact, about 10% of magazine ads now contain QR codes. Not surprisingly, codes that offer a discount, coupon or chance to enter a sweepstakes have a higher response rate. Direct Mail is the ideal traffic driver for websites and mobile platforms that use QR codes because you can easily target specific demographics within your existing customer base. Adding a QR code to direct mail ensures that your offer is as instantaneous as everything in the digital world.

Many companies are shelving direct mailing lists they have spent years building because they are so focused on digital solutions. I hope this post gives you a sense of how to incorporate Direct Mail to enhance your Direct Digital Marketing efforts rather than wasting those valuable assets. If you have questions or comments, contact frank@claycreativeresults.com


Direct and Digital Marketing for B2B Success

January 10, 2014

B2B-Success-

4 ways to optimize your strategy

Digital has changed B2B marketing in ways no one could have predicted, and it can also make the process easier and more interesting. But, if you think digital creates more confusion than opportunity, here are some tips to help get you on track with your B2B marketing efforts:

Create Quality Digital Content

When a business decides whether or not to work with you, it first must build a business case to justify the expense or purchase. The greater their investment of time and money will be, the greater amount of content you should provide to help them make that decision. You should be providing that content in a variety of digital channels beyond your business website. For instance, you could distribute whitepapers by Email, create webinars or videos, or write a series of informative posts for your blog. Keep in mind that not all content has to be sales content. Often, providing industry news and information on your home page can help bring those in your industry back to your website again and again. Eventually, they will take an interest in what you are selling.

Get the Right Message to the Right Audience

Digital Direct Marketing makes it easier than ever to tailor your message to the audience you want to reach. Segment your B2B audiences and formulate a separate strategy for each group. This may mean several versions of your eBlasts, or building multiple microsites that focus on different parts of your offering. Digital lets you deliver these messages at the right time in the business cycle for each audience, so don’t feel you have to make the same offer to every lead at the same time. Be selective and strategic.

Know When to Use Social Media

YouTube.com is a great tool for reaching B2B prospects. In fact, it’s reported that YouTube reaches 36% of all business decision makers—more than 10 times that of Forbes.com. But, Social Media is not the right choice for all of your B2B efforts. Sometimes businesses, like those in the engineering, technical, and industrial space, are less likely to seek information from social sites. Be sure to choose a digital channel that will complement your prospects level of use. You may find that your B2B clients are more likely to respond to general websites, online catalogs, industry-specific eTools, Emails and eNewsletters.

Replace Lead Generation with Lead Management

Thanks to the Internet, lead generation is now less about cold calling and more about maintaining your online presence and managing inquiries. According to Mischa Stephens, senior optimization specialist at Google, business professionals regularly rely on search and social to make their buying decisions. She says that 84% of C-level executives find search very valuable in making business decisions, and 83% of B2B buyers research online before their next purchase. When a prospective buyer searches you out, be sure your digital presence is on message and that you can follow up with a fully integrated marketing and sales process.

If you think you need help streamlining your B2B Direct and Digital Marketing strategy, email Frank@claycreativeresults.com or go to www.claycreativeresults.com


Use Video for Integrating Your Digital Advertising and Marketing Communications

January 31, 2013

HOW TO MARKET YOUR BRAND WITH ONLINE VIDEOS

Remember story time? The late night bed time reading that kept you alert before sleep or the engaging class room story with picture books and sound effects made by your teacher. The years have faded away since then but the stories live on. That’s our goal at Clay Creative…to tell the story of your brand to make an ever lasting impression on your audience.

film_countdown_postcard-p239939635109173100envli_400The great part of this business is that story time never ends and it’s our job to keep your audience turning the pages inside the book we call your brand.

Chapter 1: Why use video to tell the story of your brand?

Integrating video into your online marketing efforts is vital for your growing business. Todays generation is driven by an urge to express their interests, hobbies and point of view and social media is the vehicle for most of this expression. Words are the ultimate force behind conversation but photos and videos are taking their place and are becoming much more search engine friendly.

  • Video helps your customers relate to you on a more personal level
  • Video connects with people on a deeper level: The audio and visual representation of your products and services will make stronger connections than wordy descriptions or pictures.
  • It is more common for search engines to pick up on key words in your video and this results in higher SEO rankings.

Chapter 2: Tell stories with videos to make life easier for your audience.

Prospective customers tend to know very little about you and have come to your site to learn how you can help them. They are strapped for time so you must make their navigation experience as easy as possible. Videos can accomplish what paragraphs of text can in 2 minutes or less.

  • Your video must provide value to the viewer and the best way to do this is to teach them something new. 
  • Create FAQ videos to answer the most commonly asked question about your products and services. For example, if you are a bakery, you may record an answer on “The best cakes to bake for catering to large parties or events”.
  • Record a video on how to best use your product or service or to highlight product benefits. Apple consistently uses video to tell the story for every new product release and it works by engaging the viewer and alluring them to the bells and whistles of their latest technology.
  • Pick a focus for your video and do not try to explain 15 things in 60 seconds.

Chapter 3: How to differentiate content for B2B and B2C

The content and strategy of your video must be tailored to your audience and this depends on whether you’re targeting businesses or consumers. The key point to acknowledge is that businesses are people too. Remember businesses that market to other businesses are relationship driver and businesses that market to consumers are product driven. Here is a list to understand the video content you should use depending on your audience.

  • B2B videos should outline your company objectives, mission statement and history.
  • Focus on product attributes and services for your B2C videos.
  • B2C marketing is usually more products driven so focus on appealing to the emotional side of the consumer.
  • B2B sales are usually longer cycle sales so it’s important to be in-depth in describing your company’s core attributes and success stories.

Use video to tell the story of your brand and highlight your products and services but remember to use the visual medium with a mixture of all types of media. Pictures and shared content can be used to support your video. Our brains are hardwired to make a story out of all of the information we consume so give your audience a reason to connect with you on an emotional level. With content sharing at its highest peak companies must embrace visual story telling through media. Recent research from ROI shows that 44% percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures and videos.

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3 Tips On How To Grow Your Business With LinkedIn

January 3, 2013

USING LinkedIn TO EXPAND YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT ON A PROFESSIONAL PLATFORM

The rapid emergence of social media networks and tools in the last five years signifies the need to enhance the sharing of information for both personal use and branding. There have been many social apps that have failed to impact the social media world and we can argue that it’s a result of not carving out a major niche.

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Look no further than Instagram for quick mobile photo editing and sharing (aka combining the digital camera with the smart phone to bring out the professional photographer in all of us), Twitter for allowing us to communicate with short phrases during an era of information overload and Facebook for becoming our online social diaries and connecting us to our friends and family.

The major theme carried throughout every social media tool is ‘sharing’ but each tool/network emphasizes a particular niche to separate itself from the rest. Before LinkedIn, an online social network for professional use did not exist. Founded a year before Facebook in 2003, LinkedIn has become the most popular social media distribution channel and more marketers are using this media channel for content distribution, according to recent findings from the Social Media Examiner.

Here are 3 ways your business can use LinkedIn to turn connections into leads:

1. Create a clean, concise and easy to navigate profile

Your LinkedIn URL should be customized to strengthen branding and make more searchable. With your name in the URL, it is more likely for your profile to rank for searches for your name because search engines look for relevant keywords in the URL. To convert your random digitized URL into a personal link of your company name:

  • Go to the “Settings” link at the very top right of your LinkedIn homepage and select the “Public Profile” link under the “Profile Settings” heading. Once selected you can now enter your new custom link.

Before developing your network and creating connections, be sure to optimize your profile to 100% completeness and link your business website to your LinkedIn profile and blog. Encourage every employee of your company to include a link on his/her LinkedIn profile to your business website.

Include your company’s most popular keyword phrases in your company’s personal profile. For example, if you are doing an online ad campaign, match the phrase of your ads to your company description profile to present a consistent image to any potential customers.

2. It’s All About The Groups: Join Them, Create Them and Promote Them

  1. Join groups comprising of likely suspects who can later be turned into prospects. Some groups may be closed off to the public; most will be open to all LinkedIn users.
  2. Create a group for your industry, not your company. People are more likely to join a group when it’s not simply for fans of your company. A group is no good without members so use these tips to promote your group within your LinkedIn network:
  • Invite coworkers, past colleagues, and customers to join and start discussions.
    Use your existing network to get your group started.
  • Promote your group on Facebook, Twitter and your company blog.
  • Include LinkedIn and your personal URL in all of your marketing efforts. The next time your company attends a conference, a good idea is to display a QR code to send spectators directly to your LinkedIn group page.

3. How To Make All Of Your Connections Count!

When your profile is complete and your connections are fastened its time to share your areas of expertise to generate queries from prospective clients. LinkedIn has become a major player among the content sharing social sites and you must use the share feature to educate and inform your connections. Share links to interesting articles, best practices and case studies that demonstrate your company expertise.

LinkedIn has increased the amount of channels to share information through and connect with thought leaders. The content shared on LinkedIn is more valuable than a “status update” and members are encouraged to keep content more professionally focused.

As a group leader for your company, take advantage of LinkedIn’s questions and answers. Ask good questions, ask for the opinions of others, provide your unique insight and feedback on as many discussions as you can and contribute content that creates conversations.

Forming connections on LinkedIn and expanding your professional network will help you navigate through job related roadblocks throughout your career and is the major benefit of Linked in for individual use but businesses are starting to see the value it provides for increasing brand awareness and generating new leads.


A Guide To Engage Your Audience With Facebook Advertising

December 19, 2012

3 TIPS ON HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA SIDEBAR

There are now over 1 billion people using Facebook and it costs over 1 billion dollars annually to keep this world connecting social media giant afloat. If my math is accurate, Facebook could charge its users just one dollar a year to access the site to keep things running smooth but this plan would oppose their original idea of keeping Facebook free, so they turned to advertising.

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If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. This massive reach is a great benefit for marketers and advertisers to expose their brands to the masses but advertisers are attracted to Facebook’s ingenious way of collecting rich detailed information from it’s users to develop precise and accurate advertising messages that provide a high ROI.

Facebook Ads are gaining popularity among local businesses and research shows that the top reasons they continue to use them include ease of use and the ability to start and stop campaigns.

To develop a social media strategy that raises brand awareness and engages your audience you must dig deeper into the Facebook platform and create more than just a brand page. I’ve compiled a list of the Facebook advertising tools and methods to help guide your marketing efforts on the most popular social network.

1. Your first objective is to decide what your Facebook advertising should accomplish.

Do you want to gain more likes, drive traffic to a website, highlight a special offer or advertise an upcoming event? Once you’ve checked this off your list you need to know how the advertising works. Here is some background into Facebook’s approach.

2. Advertising on Facebook may seem like a tedious task but it’s easier than you think.

Facebook users share a lot of information that makes it simple to target a narrow audience. Where they live, their hobbies, political views, their favorite restaurants, birthdays and what they “like” is rich data that you will use to create your ads. Facebook also targets their ads based off information they get from other people. For example, a bicycle store might show an ad about a bike sale to the people who visited the bike stores website.

Targeting with Facebook Ads allows you to advertise to the right people based on their real interests. You can even target people who are friends with people who already “like” your Page. This social context will show up around the ad,” says Grady Burnett, VP of global marketing solutions at Facebook. “A study from Nielsen shows that on average, people are 68% more likely to remember seeing an ad with social context than without, twice as likely to remember the ad’s message and four times as likely to purchase.”

QUICK TIP: A cost-effective way to generate new likes for your page is through the Facebook email list tool.

3. The image is your main hook

When you create your Facebook ad, approach it like a print execution and include informative graphics and clever copy. The design and content of your Facebook ad needs to appeal to a specific group of people and fulfill a certain need. Be sure to create various ads to run at the same time to test which ad recipe receives the highest click-through rate.

Do your research on your competitors to find out which images in your market receive the highest click rate. You need to figure out what image best represents your brand, product and service. The image is what grabs the attention of the Facebook user and is what influences the most clicks. Here are the technical specs for the image of your Facebook ad:

  • The image can’t be larger than 110 x 80 pixels
  • The image must have a 4:3 (or 16:9) ratio
  • The image can’t be larger than 5 kilobytes

Enforce your call to action with the title text

Facebook pages are cluttered with distractions but the ad placement on the page is in your favor. Fixed on the right side of the screen and as a result of our reading style from left to right, these ads are hard to miss. The important part of your message should be in bold placed on top of the image and the body text should introduce your brand and describe the offer.

You can say a lot within the 135-character limit but don’t feel obligated to use all the space. Engage your viewer with a bold remark about your brand or ask a question. There is enough rambling on Facebook so make your ad bold and make it pop.

Develop multiple ad combinations to find out what works

Think of your ads being displayed to a focus group the size of a billion people. One benefit of advertising on Facebook is the ease of testing your ads with your audience so take advantage of swapping your ads and try new designs.

Create at least 4 ads for each campaign and run them for a couple of days then review your Facebook ad statistics to see which performed the best. It’s recommended to then create a new ad similar to your best performing ad and apply a few adjustment. Facebook’s ads are social ads and have a very short shelf life because they target specific people whom are repeatedly exposed to the same messages. The best way to prevent “ad blindness” is to refresh, re-try and deliver new ads on a set routine.

Use Facebook ads to kick-start your new Facebook page and grow your fans or to drive traffic to your website. What ever your ad does, remember to think of each click as the beginning to your campaign. Give your audience more to keep them coming back. The click is a doorway to your social media world and your brand/product/service so invite your audience in and treat them to your social snacks.