Why Outbound Marketing Fails: Part 2

If you tuned in a couple of weeks ago you know that I had a heart-to-heart with my marketers about outbound marketing. I discussed that, while we marketers rely on outbound marketing, it’s not the most cost-effective or ROI producing strategy. As an alien once said, “It’s a trap!” (points for anyone who names that movie!). Don’t fall into the trap of outbound marketing, friends.

While this technique is not efficient on its own, it can be used sparingly in conjunction with another method: inbound marketing. As a recap, outbound marketing can be defined as sending your message (typically company-centric) out, primarily to people who may not be familiar with your company. On the other hand, inbound marketing focuses on getting the right prospects to contact you by outputting engaging, customer-centric information. In fact, the information may have nothing to do with your products or even mention your company. Great inbound marketing should facilitate a learning environment and should be useful information to the reader within the industry.

Take for example the buyers journey. This is recognized throughout the marketing industry as the steps leading up to a purchase. I’m sure this will ring true with how you handle most of your large personal purchases as well.  Buyers spend most of their time in the awareness stage, and are looking for objective, strictly educational content. It is here that you have the initial opportunity to get in front of the prospect. They aren’t ready yet for informational pieces about what YOU do, but want education about things pertaining to your industry or trends.

The techniques that we discussed in part one of this series should not take place in the awareness stage. The awareness stage is where inbound marketing takes place. Most likely, outbound marketing will happen frequently in the consideration and decision stages. So let’s take a look at the outbound techniques we discussed in the first installment and how we can use them in conjunction with inbound marketing.

 

Cold Calling

While cold calling has proved to be an ineffective marketing strategy, a similar technique can be used. For example, as a prospect continues down the buyer’s journey and consumes the content you are producing, they may be open to hear about your product or solution. However, unless they fill out a form asking for contact with their initial download; it probably isn’t appropriate to call them as soon as they view introductory content. When they reach the consideration stage of their journey and are looking at white papers, free trials or other explanatory materials they are ready to hear more about what you offer. This is a sure sign that it is appropriate to “warm call” them.

 

Email Marketing

Email marketing in itself is a very successful marketing technique. Just keep in mind that you want to make sure that everyone has opted in to your email marketing. We discussed in part one that sending emails to a bought or rented list can result in your IP address being flagged. No one likes SPAM, you included. So just don’t do it.

Email is a great way to engage your audience so send exclusive offers and free, educational content. Research your industry and learn the appropriate number of emails to send a week. Maybe you work and retail and its standard to send an email out every day, or it could be that once a week is appropriate. Experiment with subject lines, images and time of the day to send to optimize your results.

 

Direct Mail

Direct mail can be successfully used in conjunction with online marketing. Because direct mail can be costly it is best used on a specific target audience and someone farther down the buyer’s journey. Do research ahead of time on your recipient audience, as different groups will respond differently to direct mail. The most important part of making direct mail work, is to treat it like you do email by only sending it to people who opt in. Blindly reaching out to people will not yield the ROI you are looking for. Use this mail opportunity to direct your recipient to a pURL (personalized URL) or your social media pages so they are continually connected.

Direct mail is also useful because of its longer shelf life than an email. In general, emails are viewed once and aren’t tangible due to its electronic nature. In contrast, direct mail is often left on a table and can be physically picked up and viewed later.

 

 

How do you best use outbound and inbound marketing? Share with us below or tweet us @DMEdelivers #DMEtips

20 Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing a Printing and Fulfillment Partner

Whether your goal is saving time, saving money, automating processes, reducing turnaround time, eliminating waste, improving flexibility or increasing efficiency, partnering with a print and fulfillment service provider can be a smart move for your business.

Here is a list of the 20 most common questions printing and fulfillment service providers are asked. They also happen to play the largest role in helping you narrow down and select the perfect partner for your needs. Let’s dive right in!

  1. Is everything done in-house?
  2. What types of equipment do you have?
  3. Which shipping providers do you use?
  4. How are international orders handled?
  5. Where is your business located?
  6. Where are your distribution centers?
  7. What is your turnaround time?
  8. Do you work with any clients who have products and needs similar to ours?
  9. Do you offer variable-data printing and print on-demand?
  10. What type of integration is offered for sending orders and receiving confirmations?
  11. Can we use our own custom packaging and promotional insert pieces in orders?
  12. Is the entire process automated?
  13. What is your accuracy rate?
  14. How long have you been in business, and is your business stable?
  15. What type of reporting do you provide?
  16. Do you pass shipping discounts down to us?
  17. Do you offer logistics for multiple-point shipments?
  18. What will it cost?
  19. Do you charge any additional fees? (Ex. stocking, warehousing, picking, international, etc.)
  20. Why would you be the best choice for our particular business needs?

Depending on your specific business needs, the top 20 questions may change slightly. This list is a good starting point to ask prospective print and fulfillment partners in order to help determine which vendor is the best fit for you and your business requirements.

 

 

If you’re in need of a partner, make sure to check out DME printing and fulfillment services page or contact us for more information.

If you have any experience, additional input, or if you feel questions should be added to / removed from list, let us know in the comments section.

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8 Unique Tactics and Digital Tools to Enhance your Direct Mail Campaigns

At DME, we often get new customers who come to us looking for something more in a direct mail campaign. Many have tried and failed with other direct mail providers, mainly because they were attempting the same old boring campaigns over and over again. That being said, it is incredibly important to identify and understand the various tools that can be integrated into your direct mail campaigns in order to improve response and conversion rates, and ultimately ROI. Here are a few examples of tools and tactics that can put a new face on your traditional direct mail campaigns.

 

At DME, we often get new customers who come to us looking for something more in a direct mail campaign. Many have tried and failed with other direct mail providers, mainly because they were attempting the same old boring campaigns over and over again. That being said, it is incredibly important to identify and understand the various tools that can be integrated into your direct mail campaigns in order to improve response and conversion rates, and ultimately ROI. Here are a few examples of tools and tactics that can put a new face on your traditional direct mail campaigns.

 

1. Tactic – Live Chat Pop Ups and Nudges for Visitors

Tools to use – Qualaroo and Chat Service

Purpose and Overview – Increase conversion rates for targets that visit your PURL and/or website with live chat options and visitor nudging. Nudging is similar to a chat popup, but the messaging can be personalized based on a user’s actions and presented in a way that would push them further along the conversion funnel. You can also collect valuable feedback and actionable insights to understand more about your audience…and use that to your advantage.

 

2. Tactic – Marketing Automation

Tools to use – Net-Results, Marketo, Silverpop or Others

Purpose and Overview –What if you could identify targets in your list – including all name and demographic information – once they visit and return to any of your other sites, at any time (not just the PURL tied to your direct mail piece)? That’s pretty powerful stuff. Lead score your customers based on actions they do or don’t take. You can even have an auto-responder reach out if that visitor takes a certain action that would raise his/her lead score. Create segments and optimize your next mailings with messaging specific to where a customer is within the conversion funnel. Now that’s smart marketing.

 

3. Tactic – Visitor Recording and Heat Mapping

Tools to use – Inspectlet, ClickTale or CrazyEgg

Purpose and Overview – Recording and heat mapping allows you to gain a deeper understanding of why your campaign visitors do or do not convert. These tools will allow you to segment your visitors and watch recorded browsing sessions in order to analyze and optimize the campaign. Remember, it’s always easier to generate twice-as-much revenue by doubling your conversion rate, than it is doubling your traffic.

 

4. Tactic – Integration with Display and Social Retargeting

Tools to use – Adwords Remarketing or Retargeting Vendor and Facebook Exchange

Purpose and Overview – With retargeting you can display ads to your audience all-over the internet – all they have to do is visit your site once. For direct mail campaigns, retargeting code can be placed on a PURL, website or other landing page. It allows marketers to target users who got to a certain step of the conversion funnel, but did not convert. It also allows for upselling to those users who did. And with Facebook exchange you can now target visitors on Facebook, which in turn will allow you to target any of their friends with your offer. Now that’s how you increase conversion rates and extend your campaign’s reach at the same time.

 

5. Tactic – Deep Segments and Multi-Channel Funnels

Tools to use – Google Analytics, Omniture or Others

Purpose and Overview – Identify all the steps a visitor took to convert, including where the largest leaks in the conversion funnel are. These tools will also help identify common devices, browsers, and other attributes that helped or hurt your conversion rate. All of this leads to actionable insights that lead to highly optimized marketing campaigns.

 

6. Tactic – Calculate ROI in Real Time

Tools to use – Mixpanel, Kissmetrics or Others

Purpose and Overview – These analytics tools will give you the power to assign a dollar amount to every visitor, in every segment, with every conversion. It even enables you to calculate average lifetime value down to the user or segment level. We all know a deep understanding of ROI is key to any optimized marketing campaign, and these tools can take you one step closer.

 

7. Tactic – Variable Sharing on your PURL

Tools to use – DME or other service provider

Purpose and Overview – There aren’t many things cooler than the ability to share specific and personalized imagery, offers or anything else unique with friends/family/colleagues. It isn’t hard to understand why your audience is more likely to share something that is customized and unique to them, than something generic. Something as simple as allowing a visitor to share something personalized will extend the reach of your campaign and lead to a greater number of referrals and conversions.  Plus it’s pretty darn cool!

 

8. Tactic – QR Codes and NFC Chips

Tools to use – DME or other service provider

Purpose and Overview – There are a number of purposes and tactics for incorporating QR and NFC technology into your direct mail campaigns. Examples include: QR Code list sign-up on direct mail pieces to help grow email database, NFC stickers or QR mailings that will allow immediate mobile conversions, QR codes that trigger app download and location-based maps/navigation to your business’ physical location. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and the possibilities are endless.

 

These are just a few tactics and tools you can use to breathe some fresh air into your direct mail marketing, and help bridge the gap between physical and digital channels. Have questions, suggestions or comments? Share them in the comment section or feel free to reach out to us directly through our contact form.

 

Until next time…happy marketing!

6 Direct Mail Marketing Nightmares

As a marketing firm who offers direct mail marketing as one of our services, DME has heard it all. A recurring fear of marketing professionals is investing valuable time and money into a direct mail campaign just to see it tank. And we aren’t talking lack of relevance or interest, we are talking mistakes. Some direct mail pieces that fail can feature spelling errors and some offensive campaigns that are the result of poor timing. We’ve compiled a list of some of the unfortunate stories from a company’s prospective as well as from the customers. Be prepared, these may make you cringe or be the fodder for your nightmares.

“Right after the cruise ship wrecked off the coast of Italy (while it was still being replayed all over the news!), I received an exclusive offer to ‘immerse’ myself in European culture on that cruise ship. The campaign was in conjunction with my travel credit card and I was a “lucky” few selected to take a trip on that ship. Um no thanks.”

“We sent out a mailing list without double checking the information. Seemingly, the sales reps had been nicknaming the customers in the information fields so we sent out to Mr. Fred Annoyingvoice and Mrs. Gina Thewitch.”

“I received an ‘exclusive’ offer from a local carpet cleaning company that featured name personalization in the body of the text. Unfortunately for them, they had grossly misspelled my name. Apparently, even though I was important enough to receive the offer, I was not important enough to do any research on.”

“We once accidently sent out a direct mail piece that featured our fax line instead of our business line. Anyone who called just received the fax tone. Not a great first impression.”

“My name and information got caught up in a mail campaign for a men’s magazine featuring pictures of women. So I started receiving free copies of said magazine and other direct mail. Apparently, it wasn’t a targeted list. I’m a woman and was not amused.”

“Our company once sent out a promotional mailer that featured the wrong date of a concert. It had the correct date itself, but was listed as a Friday instead of Saturday. It added some confusion to the situation.”

All of these stories can be easily avoided by double and triple checking your mail pieces, emails, etc. before releasing them. Once a mistake is out there it is not easily erased and can make an impression on customers and prospects that is not easily erased.