You may be questioning your general approach to your print marketing campaigns in light of the fact that there are so many new ways consumers are being bombarded with information. Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns are proving cross-media is not only successful but measurable meaning you can benefit from print in a traditional way by adding the benefits of personalized marketing in less traditional ways.
Personalized marketing campaigns are seeing solid results compared to standard, flat or static campaigns. Response of cross-media marketing campaigns are successful as they combine online and offline marketing. This allows you to use an initial small response rate to eventually drive a higher response.
By speaking to your audience numerous times in numerous ways allows you to maintain contact and remain top of mind. You are using repetition in a more innocuous way because the consumer is not being hit over the head with the exact same method. Cross-media marketing offers a constant reminder using direct marketing to invite the consumer to visit your website with a personalized URL that leads them to personalized information and messaging tailored directly to them.
This is far more valuable than a general message that may or may not apply to them. A personalized survey can then collect information that is saved in a general customer data base that alerts your sales team via email that a potential client is on the radar screen. They then have a legitimate reason to contact the lead with good background to get things started. At the same time, the information is tracked and stored for future CRM use in your system.
Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns continue to show solid results. An analysis done by MindFireInc of 1,856 cross media campaigns in 30 cross vertical markets showed that an average visit rate of 6.5 percent and an average response rate of 4.5 percent. Results for some markets included:
- Education: 3.3 percent visit rate and a 2.1 percent response rate
- Non-profit: 5.3 percent visit rate and 3.5 percent response rate
- Financial: 4.6 percent visit rate and 3.1 percent response rate
- Insurance: 5.6 percent vist rate and 3.6 percent response rate
- Arts, Media and Entertainment: 7.3 percent visit rate and 5.9 response rate
As you can see despite the varying vertical markets the response rates of cross-marketing media show solid results. The visit rate also demonstrates the opportunity to collect information for future CRM campaigns.
Marketing firm Epsilon Targeting found that 6 out of 10 Americans preferred to get information via direct mail. Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns demonstrate success and direct mail plays a role. The findings of Epsilon detailed that regardless of preference through email or post, the reason people enjoyed either was due to the ability to refer back to the info when convenient. However, of those citing this reason 73 percent were pro postal versus 45 percent for email. This means that direct mail as an initial contact will impact the response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns in a positive manner. Further proof of this was reflected in these findings:
- 62 percent enjoy checking their mail box for mail
- 59 percent enjoy getting mail about new services and products
- 73 percent found they were getting email they never open
- 67 percent said they get too many emails each day
Cross-media marketing campaigns are making marked progress in customer response compared to traditional means. Cross-media marketing also allows you to use the response rates of cross-marketing media as a way of saving money for future print campaigns by allowing you to focus only on those with proven interest.
At 17 Johanna (the daughter of one of our team members) is receiving at least 17 pieces of mail a month. Colleges and universities have her number and want her signature on their enrollment papers.
Postcards, letters, self mailers, and view books are coming in from Ottawa University, Iowa State, Park University, the University of Kansas, Washburn University and even Montana State, all attempting to woo Johanna.
Iowa State Tempts Students and Tracks Results
Iowa University’s mailing may look old-fashioned in its #10 window envelope containing a pre-paid return envelope and information request form. However, look closer and you’ll see great bait – The Essential Guide to Finding Your College! It can be Johanna’s by simply going to URL and typing in her easy to track User Name and ID. If she enters this micro-site, she’ll also gain access to a dashboard that allows her to pick the campus activities she might like. Doing so will further arm Iowa State with personal info to use to push Johanna’s buttons in the next touch point or direct mail piece.
Iowa knows from a Cappex study that the most influential recruitment channel is a campus visit (74% surveyed students) followed by a college’s website (59%). So Iowa is handing out tools that seem altruistic, but are intended to lure the student to their campus for a look/see.
Park University Pushes Benefits
Park University mailed Johanna a series of self mailers boasting its student benefits of being adult-friendly and transfer-friendly. Unlike Iowa University, the direct mail pieces contained QR Codes® that take prospective students to information about its eight-week and 16-week programs that help students complete their studies for less money in less time.
Park’s pieces are professional looking and sized in such a way that they can’t be ignored in Johanna’s mailbox.
Ottawa University Hurls Purls
Of the three schools, Ottawa University had the least professional looking direct mail piece though it utilized several tools well – variable data, a personalized URL, and a strong call to action. Johanna was personally invited to Ottawa’s June’s Sizzlin’ Summer Search Day where she’ll get a tour of the university and a free gift. To get a student to trek out to a small town of 12,000 in Western Kansas to tour or commit two-to-four years of her life might require a bigger carrot or stronger strategy.
Finding the Stealth Student
It is estimated that across the U.S., approximately 30% of all college applicants for the fall 2008 semester applied to their college(s) of choice without ever filling out an inquiry card at a college fair. In the world of admissions, these applicants are commonly referred to as “stealth applicants.”
The national rise in stealth applicants, which is expected to increase to 40% in the next year, means that universities are slowly losing their ability to communicate with prospective students at the inquiry level. As a result, universities must evaluate the ways in which they are communicating with applicants, and they must make sure that these strategies are in alignment with the elusive stealth applicants’ preferred mode of communication.
So which University is Johanna leaning toward in these very early stages? None of the above, at this point. Johanna should be considered part of the stealth student population because she’s considering a two-year community college and then finding a university with a good transfer program. Park University wins the communications award for mentioning this benefit.
QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave.
Quick response codes (QR Codes®) are making their ways onto new mediums and usages every day that increase interest, engagement, and sales.
Take concert ticket sales for instance. A concert merchandiser could run an ad in an entertainment guide, send postcards to patrons who have signed up to follow the band, and in addition they could be creative by posting “bills” on telephone poles like the one shown on the right for Jessica Lea Mayfield.
Using a QR Codes® to take music fans to an audio or video clip is brilliant engagement of the potential customer. Concert bookers can instantly increase pre-concert ticket sales through such a means of promotion. Any avid music lover walking by could scan the code and decide immediately if he or she would attend the event and place it on their smart phone calendar then and there on the spot.
I enjoyed viewing the You Tube video of Jessica Lea Mayfield singing that this QR Code® led me too. Seeing concert flyers is common when walking in any city but actually being able to familiarize yourself with the singer or band is not.
Tell Me More Before I Take a Pour
QR Codes® on the side of wine bottles are becoming both hip and useful. Vineyards can’t possibly get all the information they want to share on the label. So using a QR Codes® to take wine lovers to reviews, wine ratings, varietal information, or even a tour of the vineyard makes good sense.
Sacre Bleu utilized QR Codes® as an additional means of social media marketing. They added QR codes to their bottle labels that when scanned, direct the consumer to a mobile-friendly site filled with promotions, information about the brand, special offers and even tips for matching the wine to food.
Sacre Bleu did not have the budget to run ads in Wine Spectator or Food and Wine magazine. So after studying up on the influence of wine labels and marketing avenues, it learned that its highest buying consumers were millennials who said they didn’t read those magazines anyways. They used social media.
Sacre Bleu uses QR Codes® to direct millennials to its Facebook page for various offers.
“I Do” Plan to Attend Your Wedding Ceremony
Brides and grooms are leveraging QR codes® to keep their wedding invitations clean and show they are socially “hip.” With QR codes®, there’s no need to clutter the invitation with maps and additional details, which can instead be posted at a personalized URL (PURL) for attendees to find and save.
Graphic designers love it because it allows them the flexibility to create a white-space rich invite without trying to cram all the information into an undersized envelope. Brides like it because they can achieve the look and feel they want while giving details about wedding registry locations, wedding service location, and so much more on a landing page instead of the scrapbook worthy wedding invite.
Couples who register their wedding receptions on Foursquare and create Twitter hashtags for the event are using QR codes® for a range of tasks. These include sending guests to an R.S.V.P website and even automatically adding the ceremony to guests’ electronic calendars. Besides having the “cool” factor, it makes a bride’s life easier by not having to spend hours manually counting reply cards.
Weddings, wine bottles, and concert bills make good sense for QR applications. However, before you go too crazy with QR codes®, watch this slide show showing the 10 biggest what-not-to-dos when integrating quick response codes.
QR Codes® are a registered trademark of Denso Wave.
If we’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s to give away information to nurture relationships. E-books, whitepapers, and reports have become a standard carrot on blog and website menus.
Any successful company has a content-rich digital presence with a highly trafficked download area that is quietly capturing and developing relationships with customers who are not yet ready to engage.
To differentiate themselves from the pack, companies in several vertical market segments are getting really personal with their prospects to earn their business by offering more unique incentives to reward the action they want their customers and prospects to take.
A Hole in One
Pinehurst Golf Academy, a golf resort in North Carolina, wanted to drive enrollment to its Golf Academy. In a multichannel marketing campaign, it mailed a postcard that drove recipients to a personalized URL to take them to an online self-assessment of their golf game. Almost 12% went to the PURL and 26% of them completed the survey.
Based on their answers, responders were sent an eight-page roll-fold brochure with personalized and customized information regarding the weaker part of his/her golf techniques. Imagine the engagement upon receipt to get a tutorial to help their swing vs. a generic image piece or whitepaper.
Best Seat in the House
The Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania executed a direct marketing campaign to sell tickets and solicit donations. Through a direct mail piece that incorporated more than 120 fields from the subscriber database, their campaign was a winner. It resulted in a 2,466% return on investment, 60% renewal rate and more than $661,000 in renewals and donations.
A color-seating chart was included so subscribers could view their seats and decide to upgrade or not. More than 5,000 different combinations were possible in the variable print piece. And though Fulton Theatre didn’t give subscribers a reward, they succeeded by personalizing the solicitation piece to the point each recipient had ownership in the Theatre and took pride in maintaining their stake in that season’s experience.
NewPage, a paper manufacturer, wanted to drive attendees to its trade booth at the HOW Design Conference. Its pre-show mailing offered designers a free t-shirt that they could personalize with one of four phrases and choose male or female tailored styles. The result was 47% of recipients visited the landing page to complete the survey for the shirt. Response was off the charts. NewPage had to take down the landing page temporarily to order more shirts.
NewPage’s one size doesn’t fit all approach was a hit with designers who like any new means to express themselves.
At the same conference another vendor built customer relationships by doing a mailing that directed attendees to a landing page to sign up for a free ride from the airport to the conference. Approximately 214 people requested a ride from the airport via the Personalized URL. An additional 42 people signed up for a ride via other channels.
This demonstrates an incentive doesn’t have to be something tangible or even printable. A free ride is just as desirable as a t-shirt, upgraded seat or golf swing intervention.
Is your brain spinning with great personalization ideas? Use these takeaways from the personalized approaches above to connect with your customers this year.
- Know your customer. Researching your audience and truly knowing what will move them into action is the key to your campaign.
- Move beyond a first-name basis. Make sure you personalize your call-to-action pieces using rich variable elements far beyond a prospect’s first name. Your data field drop ins might be their favorite magazine, trade journal, years in the industry or golf club brand, the more you can speak to them one-on-one the better chance you have to hit a hole in one.
- A good carrot gets eaten every time. While it’s easy to give customers rims of informational pieces on your industry or niche, take the time and spend the money to build an incentive that speaks directly to them such as a golf swing fix. There are hundreds of directions a ball can go upon being struck, but Pinehurst Golf Academy was fully vested in making sure their new member’s hit their ball straight up the middle.
A gymnast who dismounts off the balance beam and sticks her landing—no bobbles, wobbles, or falls—usually earns a perfect score. In the world of marketing, the marketing officer who finishes his campaign effort with a well-constructed landing page that encourages customers to sign up and stick around, usually earns up to 40% more email captures than marketing officers who don’t point prospects to a landing page.
A landing page (also known as a squeeze page, jump page, PURL or a microsite) is relatively simple to build. Most companies should have at least one landing page for every product or service. A landing page should serve a purpose— to gain customer information so you can develop a relationship with him or her over time so they will trust you and buy your products. The cardinal rule is never send ad traffic to your home page where they might get lost and never return.
Building a landing page that gives the prospect clear value increases the likelihood of getting their contact information. But here’s the rub, you only get 56 seconds to persuade them to do this, according to data from Nielson. To optimize your chances of success, here’s a simple checklist to follow:
- Make sure the call to action is clear
- Make sure the headline is strong and matches your advertising promise
- Put the important content at the top, so there is no need to scroll
- Make sure your landing page loads easily and quickly so you don’t lose your prospects
- Don’t ask for too much information in your opt-in form (name and email are standard)
- Give clear details of what they’re getting, when they’re getting it, and what to expect next
- Include the copy, pictures, and when applicable, video, necessary to earn their trust
- Testimonials that reinforce the benefit to opting in work wonders
Building strong landing pages has enough curriculum online to be parlayed into a college degree. However, if you don’t have time to go back to night school, just watch The Art of Crafting Effective Landing Pages by Daniel Johnston.
In case you don’t have time to watch all of Dan Johnston’s presentation, let me point out the four worst things you can try to do with your landing pages.
1. Throw in the Kitchen Sink. Trying to cram as much as possible onto one page puts the burden on the respondent to sift through it. Stay focused on the one action you want them to take and why they should take it.
2. Rush to get their number. Landing pages that immediately ask a visitor to complete a form, fail. Build up to it, then ask for their email or number.
3. Optimize too much. Test which combination of headline, image, and offer button works best, but don’t waste a lot of time on minutia or microscopic tweaks.
4. Not honoring brand. Just because landing pages are quick and cheap to build doesn’t mean they should look cheap. Make sure the image your page presents is professional and matches your brand.
We hope this gives you plenty of ideas to run and execute in the New Year with your landing pages. Build many, attract many, measure always, and remember to stick your landing for the best direct marketing results.
We’ve been talking a lot about QR Codes® It’s because they seem to be the latest and greatest marketing trend. However, few are slow to try it, even when intrigued. So, let’s dive in and explore exactly how they work, especially the personalized capabilities, because the ROI could end up being huge.
Missed some of our previous blog posts? Get caught up:
- QR Codes®: Linking Off-line and On-line Worlds
- Guide to QR Codes® for Direct Marketers
- How to Create Trackable QR Codes
- Inspiring Ideas for Using Personalized QR Codes
- Catapult Your Direct Marketing with Personalized QR Codes
QR Codes® (Quick Response codes) are barcodes used in advertising and marketing to allow smartphone users to get more information on products and services, just by taking a picture. QR Codes usually take the user to a web page that has more information and functions.
The Codes add a new dimension of interaction and are considered to be the least expensive new technology being used today. Why? Because they are the link between print and online communications. It’s how you can take a once generic message and make it incredibly personalized.
The barcodes can be designed with variable or personal data to drive the user to personalized landing pages, shopping cart functions, automated social networking and more.
Personalized QR Codes® offer a highly interactive and personal way to interact with your target audience because they give the recipient the power to decide if they want to engage.
Use personalized QR Codes® to help you reach mobile customers through:
- Personalized urls (PURLs)
- Links to Members of Sales Team
- Video Access
- Contest Entries
- Contact Information
- Online Shopping
- Marketing Promotions
- Mobile Website Access
- Travel Sites
- Way Findings
- Real Estate Listings
- And More …
Using a variable QR Code® is just the beginning. Personalizing your site or landing page is next if you want to drive real direct marketing results. Let’s review some options you can use in your next campaign:
- Pre-populate your landing page forms to improve user experience and completion rate
- Deliver targeted offers, track promo codes and redemption
- Push customized contact information to the mobile device
- Make it easy for recipients to save contact information to their mobile device
- Engage customers on a new level through polls, e-newsletters, blogs and video
- Make purchasing faster and easier by simple routing and personalization
- Go viral by providing links to share on social networks
By applying segmentation, profiling and other targeting tools to your campaign, you can tailor the initial experience and the online event to improve engagement and the connection between you and the recipient. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Editor’s Note: Not everyone has a smartphone or access to a QR Code scanner, and some just prefer to visit websites from a computer. Be sure to include the address of the PURL as well and build it to automatically detect each visitor’s device and route them to the mobile or non-mobile version of their personalized site.
QR Codes are a registered trademark of Denso Wave.
Ever since PURLs (or Personalized URLs) hit the scene, the integration of offline and online media has become a powerful way to improve direct marketing results. Now, direct mail and email can link to a URL that can be customized to the individual and can be tracked at the individual level.
After working with PURLs for many years, I’ve come to some conclusions. My insights may change as technology advances, but for now, here’s some insight into how PURLs can help you be a better marketer:
- Pre-populated forms are the bomb. Less hassle for the user, and completion rates go up. Way up.
- A URL with a person’s name in it is a little freaky to someone who doesn’t know you, your product, or your company. Always test a PURL against a non-personalized URL with an acquisition target audience before rolling it out.
- PURLs are great for collecting communication preference.
- And at the same time you collect preference, you can obtain and update contact information, such as those all too valuable email addresses.
- Current customers + PURL + satisfaction survey = Gain feedback, fix problems, make customers happy, and increase customer lifetime value.
- Web pages that deliver personalized offers are an extraordinary advantage over a static web page.
- Measurability at the individual level can be a powerful tool for testing and improving ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment.)
- Combining QR Codes with PURLs – to create personalized QR Codes that lead to a Personalized landing page – could change the way direct marketers think about delivering content to mobile devices.
So my secrets are out. What questions or secrets about PURLs do you have? Please share them by adding a comment to this post.
I’d also recommend checking out Seven PURL Mistakes You Might Be Making to find a summary of all the nutty mistakes I see people make when using PURLs. You should also check out our free report: Using PURLs to Produce Measurable Marketing Results.
Personalized URLs (PURLs) or personalized landing pages are definitely a game changer for direct and database marketing. With PURLs, all that great data you’ve collected about your prospects or customers can be used to construct a truly personalized online marketing experience with customized data, imagery, offers and the all-important pre-populated form.
The key to success with a PURL campaign is creating a great user experience. If there is a poor user experience, it really doesn’t matter if you have a personalized landing page or not. So, here is a short list of things to avoid when creating a campaign with PURLs:
- Don’t use a long web address. Generally people can only remember seven characters at a time. When using a PURL in an offline piece, think about the number of times someone has to go from the offline communication to the keyboard to type in the URL. 14 characters equals 2 times. 35 characters equals 5 times. That gets a little crazy for the recipient.
- Don’t use random numbers for the unique part of the web address. They don’t mean anything to the recipient.
- Don’t creep prospects out with too much blatant personalization. Current customers will most likely understand why you have information about them, and will appreciate your using it to create a personalized experience. Prospects, on the other hand, may not understand why you’re using their information, and react negatively.
- Don’t forget to pay close attention to the quality of your data. Missing or inaccurate data can seriously dampen your response rates; data cleansing and appending is the answer.
- When designing the web page layout, don’t put the form below the visual fold. You want the pre-populated form to be visible as soon as the page is viewed.
- Don’t leave people in la-la land if they mistype the PURL. Display a page that tells them what to do.
- Don’t assume that a PURL will improve response for all audiences and offers. Test. Test. Test.
In conclusion, I’ll add that I am often approached by companies who want to do a PURL for the wrong reasons. Meaning, they forgot to put themselves in the recipient’s shoes. Answering these questions, from the target audiences’ point of view, usually gains the clarity needed:
- Does it make sense that they are sending me a personalized URL?
- Why are they using my personal information?
- Did it improve my user experience?
If you can’t answer these questions, you should reconsider your PURL campaign until you can.
What questions or suggestions do you have about Personalized URLs? Click the comments link to share!
Theoretically, a marketing department should be constantly testing, reviewing their budget, and moving money to the best performing initiatives. Unlike other forms of media, which can prove influence, but are challenged to prove profitability, direct marketing has an advantage in that it can produce exact ROIs.
In my own marketing practice, I find myself continually striving to get more and more from email. I add new campaigns, improve existing ones, add triggers, automation and work flows and I do positively move the needle, but I can’t seem to get a really big impact. Why? A story in numbers proves it out:
- The most recent ROI statistics published by the DMA gave these outstanding numbers: Email returned $43.62 for every $1 invested. (1)
- But of the people on your email list, 30% will not get your email because of ISP blocks. (2)
- 85% of people will stop reading your emails after the third message (2)
It’s pretty easy to see why 65% of marketers indicate they will be spending more on email in 2011. (4) Email marketing produces a phenomenal ROI. The problem is that improvements in targeting and timing don’t solve the problems of “reach” and “engagement.”
How Far Can Email Marketing (Alone) Take Us?
Email investments should be maximized until you run out of reach. How do you know when you have “reach” and “engagement” issues with current customers and prospects?
- You don’t have an email address in the database and have not been successful in appending one
- The email address hard bounced
- There is no engagement after “x” number of email attempts (I leave this as “x” because it varies widely based on the sales cycle and product or service you are selling.)
Now, what do you do? You test a new approach to improve the reach and engagement with your target audience. For large audiences, that can be social media, online advertising, print, television, or radio. For targeted audiences, direct mail is a highly viable option. Although email returns $43 for every dollar invested and direct mail looks small in comparison at just $11 for every dollar invested, I bet most CFO’s will take $11 for every $1 invested all the time. Furthermore, direct mail can be automated to behave in the same way as triggered email, so there is no need to pull lists manually of opt-outs, hard bounces or the unengaged.
Reaching the Non-Re@chable and Diseng@ged
Finally, you may ask, “So why would I send them a direct mail piece?” Allow me to connect the dots:
- Use a Personalized URL (PURL) to get an updated email address
- Determine if the unengaged via email respond to the same offers in direct mail
- Ask for channel preference, so you better know how to communicate (Only 37% of marketers know what channels their customers prefer to use) (3)
- If a high-value customer is unengaged, isn’t it worth trying to engage them through a different medium?
Testing new ways to expand the reach and engagement of email marketing will be the biggest challenge for direct and online marketers in 2011. Want more information? Here’s a great article from B2B Magazine: “Using email to boost customer engagement.”
(1) Direct Marketing Association 2009
(2) Email Experience Council
(3) Forrester/ExactTarget, 2009
(4) StrongMail 2011 Marketing Trends Survey