If you own a small business, it makes sense to find out how you can take advantage of all the free advertising on social media. Why? There are now over 4 billion active social media users—almost twice as many as there were just five years ago. They spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes on social channels every single day.
Build Awareness & Relationship + Add New Customers
So here are some tips how you can take full advantage of this tremendous source of online prospects:
1) Create a social media plan upfront for your specific business goals. Determine which social media channels would be most beneficial for your company. Also check out your competition. You can use different social channels to reach different audiences or business goals. It is a good idea to speak with customers and find out which social channels they frequent.
2) One of the major benefits of social media is the ability to target audiences. For example, Instagram for younger adults, Facebook for older adults, LinkedIn for business contacts and TikTok for the younger generation. After choosing the best social channels, research the best topics to post and the most popular hashtags to include in your posts.
3) Consistently post content on all your social media channels to stay relevant. Your posts should include valuable information related to your niche, special offers & services, etc.
4) Use social media to learn what is being said about your brand, your competitors, and your industry by monitoring searches in each social media channel.
5) In addition to finding conversations, you can utilize social streams as a powerful content curation tool. Use them with appropriate keywords and hashtags to source great third-party content that adds to informative posts created in-house.
6) Offer variety in your content. In other words, do not just post things to sell. Mix it up by also posting valuable information, images of staffers & events happening in your business and videos (not too long – no more than 2 minutes).
7) Always include 2 or 3 high volume hashtags relevant to your post. This will help people find your posts when conducting a search for a specific product or service.
8) Instead of just selling products, tell a story. We all like to connect through stories. It creates an emotional attachment with your audience. Stories also inspire ideas and encourage interaction.
9) Timing is essential for a successful social media strategy. It is important not only to publish high-quality content. Find the ideal posting frequency for integrating a successful marketing strategy. View what your competitors or others in your business category are doing. You may want to do a little bit more as long as the content is valuable and interesting.
10) Treat each social media channel in a unique way. Facebook is a great communication tool to promote specific products & services, special events and ask a lot of questions. Twitter is perfect for real-time news and offers 1-to-1 interactions. YouTube videos are excellent for conveying a lot of information about a topic.
Paid & Organic Social Media Posts – A Powerful Combination
There used to be a time when all your posts were seen by people who followed your social media channel. That’s history. Your “business” posts are seen by about 2 to 5% of your followers. But if your content is popular, your numbers can jump substantially. The other course of action is to purchase paid social media ads, especially on Facebook & Instagram. We have found the combination of organic & paid ads to be quite successful for our clients.
As you can see, there are many benefits when utilizing social media in a proper way. Stay in touch with customers & prospects, promote specific products & services you offer, engage with customers and position yourself as a leading authority in your niche. Almost forgot – social media popularity is now considered even more important by Google when ranking your website. Need I say more?
During challenging economic periods try using adversity to your advantage. Be strong and use these tough times to be more creative. People who play sports call it “being in the zone”. You have worked so hard to sacrifice and build your company, do not stop now. Avoid watching television news that often can be disheartening. Stop paying attention to all that negativity and focus on what needs to be done. Create a to-do list and then prioritize each task. Review it every night before going to sleep and each morning when you awake. It sets the tone for getting things done.
Past failures or hard times should motivate businessowners more to get their company back up and running. Adversity can often make your judgment very sharp. But there are times when you are so close to a problem, you cannot clearly see what needs to be done. This is where a business or marketing consultant can help.
Remember the best ideas in the world are useless until they are carried out. Every downturn creates opportunity. Even with hard times there are other resilient companies doing quite well. Why? Because they acknowledge that consistent marketing & new customer acquisition are essential for any organization. How do you know what is working for other people? That is another added benefit of having a marketing consultant. Eliminate wasteful spending by avoiding trial-and-error.
You are already operating a company wearing a half dozen hats or more. Do you really have the time to devote constant marketing functions that are proven to work? A marketing intern or someone on staff who took a marketing course or two in college does not really solve the problem.
Imagine having a full-service marketing agency provide you with superb ideas plus implementing your daily promotional tasks for the cost of a part-time employee. Give us a call for a free no obligation meeting and let us see if there is a fit working together.
Guidelines for Successful Direct Mail & EDDM Postcard Campaigns
Postcard marketing encompasses a wide variety of materials and areas. With so many options to choose from, the message being sent is often overlooked. More often than not, marketers don’t spend enough time thinking their ideas thoroughly. Just as a designer takes the time to create artwork, a marketer needs to take time to present a message. Thoroughly selecting WHAT you say and HOW you say it, is essential.
Here are some things to consider when creating an effective direct mail message:
Less is More: The easiest way to get your mail piece thrown in the trash is to put an excess of words on it. Think of ways to convey your message without losing the reader’s attention. Bullets, text color, bolding and italics can all help to highlight the most important words. This is referred to as “The KISS” (keep it simple stupid) method, which is virtually fool-proof.
Repeat Your Message: The more times a recipient sees the same message, the more it will be recalled. As a result, readers are then more likely to respond. Also, the repetition of a message creates the feeling of trust.
Focused Theme: In direct mail, it is important to coordinate your message, artwork, design and audience together to form the theme. When any of these are out of alignment, it detracts from the message, confuses the recipient and the mail piece ends up in the trash.
Rhyme: People enjoy rhyme. It’s easy to remember and fun to read. When your message rhymes, it resonates more with recipients. Have some fun with your messaging.
Brand: Your brand is how people identify you. If your message conflicts with your brand, people will not believe it. Take the time to tailor your message to your brand.
Think about the last direct mail piece you received and really looked at. What intrigued you? Usually, a person can recall a few key words that stuck out. Using that information, how can you modify your message to do the same? What words will grab attention and stand out?
All the words you use in the postcard piece need to work together towards the main goal: Is the goal for them to visit your website? Come to your store? Call you? Or something else? When you have a clearly defined goal, it makes it easier to create your message.
Remember that using a message from previous campaigns is good for recognition, so it may be useful for your next postcard. However, make sure to integrate aspects of your new mail campaign as well. Crafting your messaging can be really fun, so take some time, get inspired and be creative!
Postcards or Email…Which Delivers More Prospects for Your Business?
In our opinion direct mail postcards are more effective than email marketing due to the inherent benefits highlighted in this article. Of course direct mail has one major weakness – cost. Email is significantly cheaper. However, while it has a higher front-end, on the back-end direct mail is cheaper when calculating cost per sale.
BETTER RESPONSE: When searching for “new” customers, study after study proves mail postcards will generate more new customers than email. A study by the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) shows direct mail being 10 to 30 times more effective than email.
CONSUMERS PREFER DIRECT MAIL OVER EMAIL : An Epsilon study found that over 50% of consumers prefer mail over email. And 67% feel postcards are more personal than the Internet. 70% preferred mail messages for receiving unsolicited information from unfamiliar companies.
OFFERS THAT ARE MORE TRUSTWORTHY: The Epsilon study also found that 25% of consumers found mail offers more trustworthy than email offers.
MORE PROSPECTS: Accurate – quality email addresses are very difficult to acquire – mainly because most people do not opt-in for third party offers. For this reason, all email lists are missing the majority of the target. Typically a mail list offers 80% more prospects.
EMAIL OVERLOAD: Sending and receiving emails is easy, possibly too easy. Most people receive dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of emails in a single day. That’s simply too many to give each one adequate attention. This means that your email is likely to be glanced at and quickly tossed aside, if it’s even opened at all. Regular mail will get tossed aside too, but the fact that there’s actually less of it going out these days increases the odds that someone may actually open what you’ve sent. When there’s currently less competition with postcards why waste your time fighting to stand out among all the email?
LESS COMPETITION: More than ever consumers are bombarded with digital offers that they don’t want. Email is now the cluttered option, while direct mail represents the uncluttered option. With postcards your offer will not get loss in avalanche of competitive offers.
SPECIAL – UNIQUE: Unlike the old days when every marketer was using direct mail, these days a mail piece is special and unique. These days it’s not often when someone receives a personalized envelope with a catchy teaser – open me – line. This uniqueness will inherently stimulate more interest from the reader … thus response.
Your chance to wow a customer with an email goes about as far as the subject line. Take too many chances with a creative subject line and it will likely get deleted for fear there is some sort of virus or phishing scam involved. Stick a boring subject line in, and, yes, it will also likely get passed over and deleted. While there are ways to spice up emails, they just don’t seem to have the same potential as direct mail.
LONGER SHELF LIFE: The shelf-life of an email offer is measured in seconds, while a direct mail postcard piece can linger on a coffee table for days.
MORE SELECTIVITY: Most email lists do not offer the extensive array of selectivity factors available with a mail list. With a list you can pinpoint your best prospects … cream of the crop prospects, while email often forces marketers to take the old-fashion shot-gun approach.
HIGHER DELIVERY RATE. A mail list is typically 95% deliverable. On the other hand, the great majority of email lists being advertised have a delivery below 50%. Also, due to the constant onslaught by spammers, the ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc) are beginning to block unsolicited emails … and for this reason some are predicting the demise of email “prospecting.” Fantastic offer, fantastic creative, fantastic list … all this is irrelevant if the ISPs don’t deliver. With direct mail – your offer gets delivered!
HIGHER OPEN RATE: With the great majority of email “prospecting” campaigns, 95+ percent of all emails are not even opened. The email recipient will either delete or transfer to the SPAM box … without even peeking at the email … your brand name. On the other hand, direct mail is a tangible item that typically captures a glance. The receiver may not read every word, but your company name/brand will gain much more awareness with mail than email.
SAFE: With the growing threat of identity theft, viruses, and SPAM, people are becoming more and more hesitating in responding to on-line offers … even legitimate interesting offers. Mailing postcards is safe … the user can visit website on own time schedule and without having to click potentially dangerous links.
IMPROVES EMAIL RESPONSE RATE: One sure way to boost email OPEN and CLICK-THROUGH rates is with postcards. One week before the email blast, send the email recipient a postcard informing that a special “email” offer will soon arrive. This one-two punch will increase the odds that the email recipient will OPEN the email … instead of deleting before even blinking at the email.
MORE CONTROL: The majority of quality email list suppliers will not release their email addresses. With mail you can receive the direct list. Having a prospecting database in-house … offers innumerable marketing applications / opportunities; for example, data append, market analysis, market penetration reports, SalesForce Prospecting Management, Telemarketing Follow-Up Campaigns.
TELEMARKETING. A direct mail list can also include phone numbers. A telemarketing list is not the ideal tool for generating sales, BUT telemarketing is very effective for gathering information on potential customers … relationship formation.
INCREASE WEB TRAFFIC & ONLINE SALES: Direct mail has a tremendous influence on generating online sales. Per USPS study, over 60% of direct mail recipients were influenced to visit promoted website – with the greatest influence on first-time shoppers. Direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more money than non direct mail recipients. The study also noted a revenue lift of 163% for websites supported by direct mail as opposed to those that were not.
SOURCE: USPS survey of 5,000 visitors to retail websites
The US Postal Service did a third-party study that revealed these direct mail facts:
… 46% direct mail recipients read their direct mail and nearly everyone at least glances at it for a few seconds (that’s an impression)
… 23% visited the sender’s store location
… 21% visited the sender’s website
… 12% called an 800# listed on the mailer
… 9% replied via email
VERIFICATION: With an email campaign there is no way to verify the accuracy / quality of the email list since in most cases the email supplier will not provide the email contact data to the marketer. With a direct mail list the marketer has a physical address … that you can cross reference with other databases for verifying demographics / quality.
HISPANICS AND DIRECT MAIL: Due to cultural and other issues, direct mail is an excellent way for reaching Hispanics. According to a USPS survey, Hispanics are six times less likely than non-Hispanics to discard their direct mail without reviewing. And even though Hispanics look forward to direct mail, Hispanics receive 20% fewer direct mail pieces than the average non-Hispanic household. Also note that studies have shown Hispanics spend more shopping each year compared to non-Hispanics.
CONSUMERS LIKE THE TACTILE NATURE OF DIRECT MAIL: In focus groups consumers said the interactive part of direct mail helped them connect to the brand and left a lasting impression.
EMAIL IS NOT AS TRUSTWORTHY: Spam, identity theft, and a multitude of viruses that can crash your entire system are just a few of the fears people have when opening their email. Unless the person already knows you, attachments almost never get opened. Images may not even make it through spam filters. Even if someone is intrigued with your tag line, the fear of a virus is often enough to keep them from opening it. An attractive envelope, however, does not hold the same sort of fear.
There’s something much more personal about holding a letter or a brochure in your hand than clicking and gazing into a screen. Direct mail can connect to another individual in a way that a standard email can’t. The feeling of holding something in your hand creates a psychological connection that just doesn’t exist with an email. Once someone has actually opened your envelope they’re more likely to spend some time looking over the physical materials they’re holding than they would an email. In the time it takes a person to walk to the trash can, you have a chance to actually capture their attention.
DISCOUNTS: Consumers believe more valuable discounts/coupons come through the mail than email. For example, over 50% prefer receiving credit card offers via mailbox than Inbox.
IN SUMMARY: For “prospecting” … direct mail is more effective than email! Email “prospecting” is still effective in varying degrees and direct mail is regaining strength. Many marketers choose email marketing because it is cheaper when prospecting for new business. Mail is the overwhelming winner especially in the densely populated New Jersey market because it is difficult for many companies to advertise on New York TV and radio at a cost-efficient price. Have you noticed that you are not receiving a lot of postcards in your mailbox at home? This is a big opportunity for you to stand out from competitors with less competition. Marketers that use direct mail gain a competitive edge on those that skip direct mail.
Keep in mind, we recommend using both direct mail and email marketing because both deliver a powerful punch to obtain new customers.