Friday, November 13, 2015

Take It Personal(ly): A Deeper Look At Personalization

by Renee Jamerson



The latest direct marketing debate in the headlines is whether e-mail marketing is dead or alive. I think which side you take on this topic depends largely on how well your e-mail campaigns perform. Despite where you stand on this issue it's important to understand the impact that digital marketing has had on the way we do business and to do your best to maximize your impact. Finding ways to form a deep connection with your target audience is so important, especially with the amount of power users/customers have been handed via the internet and social media.

Form A Deep Connection
A top way to form a deep connection is through personalization. I'm not just talking salutations...there are other actions you should also be taking to cultivate your relationship with your audience and give your content the personal touch that it needs.

Target Your Content
By targeting your content you make sure the right information gets in front of the right audience. You target your content by using what you know about your audience based on their interest data, analytics, survey responses, and user-generated content (comments, videos, photos, reviews and social media posts). Although you may have a following not every follower has the same intent. It's important to segment your followers/customers, to group and analyze their purpose for taking interest in your business. This will also let you know the best channel to reach your audience.

Pull The Trigger
Automate e-mails to be sent whenever they complete certain actions. It very comforting after a person makes a purchase to receive an automated e-mail saying "thanks for shopping with us". Another great idea, within these automated e-mails, is to consider the sender? Is a customer service rep, a general e-mail address, or the CEO of the company.  The signer of that e-mail could make all the difference in how close and valued a person feels to your company.

Personal Landing Pages
This one is a personal fav., nothing makes me happier than when I click on a registration e-mail for a webinar and it auto-fills all of my information. This is so convenient, especially at times that I maybe checking my e-mail from my cellphone. Let's face it convenience and ease of use = we care about your experience and want you to come back.

The terrain of personalizing is so vast when you think creatively and personally. What makes you feel valued? what customer/user experiences do you appreciate? The best way to master personalization is think more human!

Keep It Bubblin'!

***


I am the founder of Bubblin' Banter Direct, a blog about Direct Marketing. I have been in the Direct Marketing field almost 10 years. I love everything about it and love sharing advice with others on how to keep their brands Bubblin'!





Thursday, September 24, 2015

You're So Vain...Was That "Like" Even About You?

By Renee Jamerson


The truest statement I've ever heard about digital marketing is not to get swept up in the "Likes". You'd be surprised how many businesses, and believe it or not consultants, fail to do the work of analyzing their digital data.

While income is an obvious sign of product/service being moved or rendered it can't be the only way of measuring your marketing effectiveness. It's great to see the money roll in but you should want to know exactly where it's rolling from. What's the source of that income and why?  Not tracking Key Performance Metrics is like walking outside and having money rain out of the sky onto your doorstep every morning for a year and then one day you walk outside expecting that money storm and it's gone. By then it's too late to wonder "where'd it come from" and "why'd it ever happen in the first place. " It's the same thing with people.

You should want as much information about your customers/prospects as possible, that's why Big Data is such a big hit! Businesses are getting to know their customers on a level like never before. It's a "must-do" if you want to keep and acquire new customers.

Marketers are crunching the numbers everyday to ensure that they attract the right people, at the right time, in the right place. Not every business can afford to have a miracle marketing team but here are some basic metrics that you should be tracking regardless of your company's size:

Email
1. Open rate - How many of your recipients actually open the emails you send?
2. Click rate - How many people are clicking through from that email to your website?
3. Bounce rate - How many of the prospects actually receive the email?
4. Conversions - How many of those email prospects have converted to consumers?

Social Media
1. Likes - How many people like your page not just your posts ?
2. Comments - Are followers engaging with your brand, do they comment or ask questions?
3. Shares - Do they find your content valuable enough to share with their followers?
4. Reach - How many people do your posts actually touch?

These items are key metrics that give a pretty good picture of your engagement with your target audience and adjustments you should make to your marketing approach. A lot of folks love the creative (art) of Marketing but forget or fear, the science (or what I like to call the homework). You have to analyze and gather the results of your campaigns. If all you're doing is creating and posting, your cheating yourself out a great opportunity, an opportunity to really know your audience and to really appreciate the results of all your hard work!

So do the work, all of it and keep your brand Bubblin'!

***


I am the founder of Bubblin' Banter Direct, a blog about Direct Marketing. I have been in the Direct Marketing field almost 10 years. I love everything about it and love sharing advice with others on how to keep their brands Bubblin'!





Monday, August 31, 2015

The Augmented Reality of Direct Mail


Fundraising
Augmented Reality

I had an experience last week that took my love for direct mail to new heights! As companies begin to expand their creativity and usage of technology that allows for mobile and online integration I can't imagine that people will not soon realize their mistake when they count direct mail out of the marketing mix. 

Last week, I opened my mailbox to find a package from the USPS promoting their new designs and integration options. The package included an offer to receive their new beautifully designed hardcover print options catalog for FREE (of course I returned mine immediately). It also included a vibrant postcard displaying an ice cream cone topped with a textured sugar wafer! Next to the image was the copy, with instructions prompting the reader to "download our USPSAR app and scan the ice cream". As I mentioned in my Creative QR codes article, I hate having to download apps and visit sites to see if "I won" or etc. However this occasion was different, the ice cream cone was so vibrant and the book offer was so gorgeous I couldn't put off the curiosity. So, I downloaded the app and scanned the ice cream and...(hold on wiping my mouth) watched as chocolate began to flow onto the ice cream, then whipped cream, with a cherry on top and finally a flood of sprinkles! Can you see it!!! A hot day in August watching the most amazing Sunday I've ever seen be created. It was so appealing I had to share it with my kids, each one watching in amazement and by the end of it craving a sweet treat!  

This my friends is the magic of augmented reality and a very successful direct mail package. The outer packaging with its textured print and vibrant colors tickled my senses. The offer of a beautifully bound hardcover book with the promise of more energizing material excited me and the use of augmented reality delivered and lived up to the hype the piece already created. There were no low points in the package and coming from the USPS was very innovative and unexpected. 

There is nothing worse than having to go the extra step to download an app to be disappointed at the end. So before you dash off to brainstorm some sophisticated and "outside the box" 3D experience remember to consider whether:
  1. AR is a good fit for your target audience
  2. How your graphic ties into your message, does AR help or hurt the package
  3. Test it out first to see if you get the desired reaction
If you've considered these factors and are ready to roll out your idea, here is a list I found of the best AR apps for IOS and Android.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/android/best-augmented-reality-apps/

Thank you for reading and as always "Keep It Bubblin'!"

***



I am the founder of Bubblin' Banter Direct, a blog about Direct Marketing. I have been in the Direct Marketing field almost 10 years. I love everything about it and love sharing advice with others on how to keep their brands Bubblin'!




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cut Costs with Creative QR Codes

By Renee Jamerson

Before I scare you away let me just say, you are not the only one to shutter when you hear the term or see a QR Code. I, myself, used to have this same reaction. Every time I saw one of those signs in a window or on a print piece I would think "ugggghh here we go again, I don't want to figure out how to scan anything on this phone...forget it." I know it can seem a bit cumbersome and like more hassle than it's worth but I guarantee you by the end of this article you will feel differently.  After I learned some of the cool things you can do with QR Codes I had a new outlook (hence the dude with the creepy look overhead).

Add a Voice to Your Invites

One of the most intriguing uses of a QR Code that I've witnessed, and I am 100% sure I am going to copy this idea, was to put it into an invitation. One non-profit sent out invitations for their Annual Gala and instead of the usual "We cordially invite you..." verbiage they listed the committee and stuck a QR Code in there. When scanned the code uploaded a video onto the recipient's phone that featured a video invite from the Event Chair set to upbeat music.

Save A Tree

A second great idea was as a receipt. Businesses are always looking for efficient ways to go paperless and QR Codes are definitely inexpensive compared to the amount paper you use printing receipts.

Network With A Pop

The final creative idea I came across, which is one I'm sure we can all benefit from immensely, was a QR Code on the back of a business card. I received a business card this month with a QR Code on the back to which the distributor explained that if I scanned the code it would upload the contact information from the card straight into my phone! How many of you are now staring at the blank space on the back of your business card going "I gotta contact vistaprint Asap"? Yeah, I know me too!

QR Codes can be a great and efficient tool when used creatively and combined with the right material. While, it may still take a little extra time to whip out that phone and scan the code if you make the end result worth those extra steps you'd be surprised how many people will give it a whirl.

Thank you for reading and as always "Keep It Bubblin'!"

***

I am the founder of Bubblin' Banter Direct, a blog about Direct Marketing. I have been in the Direct Marketing field almost 10 years! I love everything about it and love sharing advice with others on how to keep their brands Bubblin'!





Wednesday, May 27, 2015

iLove Letters - A Millennial's Love for Direct Mail

by Renee Jamerson



I read an article this week on the longevity of Direct Mail as marketing technique, a notion we often hear disputed by digital marketing pros who assure us that "snail mail" is a thing of the past. For those outside the professional realm this may seem like the logical assumption with the recent postage hikes and all. However, there are many factors to consider. The article hypothesized that most millennials likely enjoy receiving mail because it's a change from their usual digital information platforms which according to research has been proven to be ineffective in the terms of long-term memory processing. First hand as a millennial I would say this hypothesis is accurate!

I remember my start in direct mail...my first big assignment was to assist my supervisor at the time, in conducting an info-session entitled The Magic of Direct Mail .  I have to admit after her presentation I didn't find direct mail to be all that magical (she was a bit nervous, so I'm sure that's where the issue lied). I didn't get to actually see that "magic" until I became involved in the production process. The idea of analyzing a target audience to construct an appeal that peeks their interest at sight, pulls on their ego at touch; developing copy that grabs at their hearts or minds and pictures that tug at their emotions and getting to see the fruits of your labor; now that's magical!

As a millennial, I have to admit that receiving mail in my mailbox is as exciting as when I was a kid looking for a birthday invite. I miss holding the envelope and admiring the texture, the feeling of anticipation while reading the teaser on the outside. I feel special when I get a beautiful appeal on high-quality stock and don't let it be personalized, fugghetaboutit! The truth is, I am constantly inundated with e-mails, some I subscribe to and some I don't. I don't know about you but opening the inbox on a smartphone can be quite overwhelming. Confession: sometimes I refuse to check my inbox and on occasion have missed important e-mails due to them being mixed in with other stuff that lacked urgency. The ease of being able to overlook things is my biggest issue with digital marketing. Meanwhile, I can't miss those pesky bills that show up in the mailbox every month...no matter how hard I try. So until I can get Mr. Spacely popping up halogram-style, I prefer to get my important and special messages via good ole "snail mail"!

Thank you for reading and as always "Keep It Bubblin'!"

***

I am the founder of Bubblin' Banter Direct, a blog about Direct Marketing. I have been in the Direct Marketing field almost 10 years! I love everything about it and love sharing advice with others on how to keep their brands Bubblin'!