Tag Archive for Email

Understanding Marketing History

One of our favorite quotes is “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

In a discussion with the members of LinkedIn’s Direct Mail Group, author Dave Lewis, reviewed the history of broadcast faxes as an advertising medium and made some interesting comparisons with e-mail. He concluded that e-mail works great for people who really know each other. As a marketing medium, it seems to be losing effectiveness because of its greatest advantage – low cost. The low cost is leading to more and more volume which is leading to increased filtering and blocked messages.

E-mail as an Advertising Medium

He concluded his thoughts by saying, “meanwhile your six or seven pieces of direct mail will be waiting patiently for you at home, like the family dog. You can take your shoes off, flip through the mail, and see if there are any intriguing offers from one of the folks smart enough to invest some money in getting your attention.”

More WOW! Numbers

55 Percent of Survey Respondents Cannot Effectively Measure Marketing ROI of Mobile, Social Media and Video,” this is the recent context of press release from Omniture. Omniture perceives this as an opportunity.

We reported on the results from a different study from R2integrated that found that 65% of companies had not increased revenue or profited using social media.

Is this really opportunity, or this an opportunity to reevaluate the great hope that new media would be the key to increased revenue?

Let us help you explore if a direct mailing campaign will help you grow your revenue.

E-Mail Open Rates, Inboxes Cluttered

The Direct Marketing News reported that consumer e-mail open rates are holding steady, but inbox clutter is taking its toll as marketers increase e-mail volume. Open rates held at 22.1% during the second quarter of 2010. This number compares with 22% in the 4th Quarter of 2009.

The click through rate for e-mail messages was 5.3%, down from the same period of last year. We reported a click through rate of 5.9% for the 4th Quarter of 2009. Email volume increased 10.5%. More than six in 10 e-mails sent were marketing messages.

If email is your only way to stay in touch with your customers or attract new customers, we hope you consider this information and think about other ways to engage and connect with your customers. Direct mail is a great way to stay in touch and begin a desired conversation with your next customer.

Wow Numbers Mean Direct Mail Success

As a follow up to our post about “WOW” numbers:

According to the USPS Household Diary Study, 79% of all households read or scan the advertising mail sent to their home.

ATG’s Cross-Channel Commerce: The Consumer View report found that 78% of consumers are using multiple channels to research, shop, and ultimately complete purchases. Consumers browse and research online, then make the purchase in the store–39% went to the store to touch/feel the products; 36% visited the store to compare brands; 22% visited the store because they needed the product immediately

76% of Internet users said they were directly influenced by direct mail; 67% were influenced by TV; and 58% of email users were influenced according to Exact Target’s Channel Preference Study. Additionally, 75% of 25-34 year-olds have made a purchase as a result of direct mail and 62% of 18-24 year olds purchased due to direct mail.

R2integrated, an integrated marketing and technology company found that 65% of companies had not increased revenue or profited using social media.

Public Television stations have reversed their decline in acquiring new donors through direct mail campaigns. DMW Direct analyzed 700 campaigns representing 34 million pieces mailed and found that $295.32 was raised per thousand pieces mailed in 2009, up 16.3% from 2008 and the average gift was $42.10 up from $41.64.

Too Much Contact to Businesses Can Hurt

The Harvard Business Review featured some results from a McKinsey & Company study that found that the “most destructive” failures of business-to-business sales reps are too much contact with customers (35%). Customers want to be contacted, not bombarded. The upside of getting things right is significant: A primary supplier perceived as having a high-performing sales force can boost its share of a customer’s business by 8 to 15 percentage points.

Chart of Ways Customers Are Turned Off

The methods of “bombardment” are in person, by phone or via email. Postal mail is not listed. Use direct mail to stay in touch with business customers without making them feel inundated.

Study: Most e-mail recipients delete message within seconds

Wow what a headline! The article was posted by BtoB. The study found that more than 50% of e-mail recipients delete messages within two seconds of opening them, according to Salted Services.

Do you want to reach a majority of the people on your list or do you just want to your message to be seen by a small percentage because the delivery method is so cheap?

We have seen some studies that found that using direct mail that leads to relevant information posted on the Internet has increased response rates dramatically. We can help you put together an integrated campaign.

Spray and Pray??

BNET posted an article titled “Spray and Pray: Why Does Anyone Still Buy Advertising?”

This stirs many controversial thoughts. While we agree with the line of thinking about the problems with many traditional forms of advertising that offer no accountability. We don’t want direct mail to get lumped into being called “spray and pray”, spraying money around and praying it works. Direct mail and direct marketing offer targeting and accountability.

We profoundly disagree with the author’s total, complete faith in online advertising. The author also stated “Advertisers love to claim that the decline in advertising is due to the recession.” What about the thought that the recovery is taking longer than it should because we are relying on new media to generate new business? Which came first the recession or the absolute dependence on a media that can so easily be deleted, ignored or closed with a click? There is a lot of science that supports the effectiveness of things that can be touched and felt.

We agree that much of the investment made in email and some other forms of electronic and Internet marketing feel so affordable. The costs are so negligible. Can you build or rebuild your business with such a small receptive audience to your offer?

The Power of Mail

In a column for Deliver Magazine titled “Power in the Mailbox” author Steve Cuno, told about a friend who received a personal note from the president of her bank, just to check up and make sure the bank was treating her well. Thanks (perhaps ironically) to e-mail and the Internet, direct mail may now be much more powerful than ever.

A number of unique factors work in direct mail’s favor. One is called “willing suspension of disbelief,” our ability to set aside reality and lose ourselves in a story. When a direct mail letter shows up in a personally addressed, stamped envelope, part of us wants to believe that someone took a moment to compose, print, address and post it, just for us. All the better if the letter calls us by name and bears a signature in fountain pen–evoking blue. A good writer can make an e-mail blast sound personal, but there is no electronic substitute for the look and feel of a signed letter in a stamped, addressed envelope.

Willing suspension of disbelief knows no demographic limitations. Had the friend mentioned above paused to analyze, she would easily have seen that the letter in her hand was direct mail. But — and this is the point — she chose not to pause and analyze.

Whether or not your direct mail includes an envelope or sales letter, it appears that the public would rather receive advertising mail in a mailbox than on a computer. Higher response rates provide one indicator. The near-overnight appearance of spam laws and filters provides another. No sooner had e-mail blasts arrived than the public demanded laws restricting them, servers blocking them, and junk filters dispatching them.

By contrast, laws governing physical mail are far less restrictive, despite more than 200 years of opportunity to enact them — and for good reason. While it remains disturbingly fashionable for legislators to tilt against direct mail windmills, Congress was quick to recognize spam as a problem and take immediate action.

Besides indicating a market preference, the absence of such controls offers a practical advantage. Everyone must look through their physical mail in order to decide what to read and what to chuck. Not so with e-mail. There, one click and your beautiful offer is gone forever.

People have always looked forward to getting their mail, and still do. Most people can tell you what time their mail arrives. Most bring it in daily and eagerly dig through it. They’re not looking for bills. They’re looking for letters — and, increasingly, relevant advertising mail.

This is why we and others find that intelligent, well-targeted direct mail continues to perform as well as, and often better than, ever. Your offer can be the one that people willingly open, read — and act upon.

E-mail and other online media are useful and powerful in their own right. We appreciate that you are reading this post online. But when planning a direct response media mix, it’s important to remember that there are some things that a mailbox can deliver that a monitor just can’t.

Tips to Make Direct Mail Work Smarter

Direct mail remains a vital component of marketers’ programs. Direct mail is becoming more sophisticated and is capable of delivering higher results. Late last year Randy Spurrier shared his thoughts about ways to improve mail’s results in a post on IMedia Connection. Some direct marketers are transitioning away from “blast” campaigns and are moving toward highly integrated, direct mail-meets-online formats that combine relevant mailers, personal URLs (PURLs), triggered and targeted follow up communication, variable content, and more.

Creating a relevant dialogue with customers is becoming crucial today. Response rates for relevant mailers, are typically 2-4 times higher than non-relevant ones. When customized direct mail is combined with interactive elements such as PURLs, triggered follow-up, and additional relevant communications timed at just the right intervals, response rates can climb up to 10 times.

It’s fairly easy to transition from an un-targeted direct mail program to a next-generation, relevance-based one. Most marketers have all the data they need to create fully automated, relevant direct mail-meets-online programs today. The way to leverage this data painlessly is to implement technology. Solutions allow marketers to set up, run, and optimize marketing programs automatically.

Here are a few strategies to get you started.

Automate from the get-go. One-to-one marketing programs, of course, would be out of reach from a cost and time perspective if you had to manually change messaging and set delivery parameters for each individual person. To get started with there are ways to harness technology to send customized print mailers (each with a link to a PURL with relevant offers and recommendations), and then, depending on the customer’s actions, automatically send timely follow-ups all throughout the purchase process.

Get the message right. The segmentation modeling used to determine whom to mail to does not determine what to say to those people. How do you know what they want to hear? Implement rules and technology to leverage your data to guide a relevant message and individualized offer for each prospect. Use propensity-to-buy modeling and purchase analysis to identify topics of interest that will form the basis of your relevant messaging. This will be used to deliver relevant and personalized messages.

Maintain the dialogue. Guiding your customer through the purchase process at every step is key to boosting conversions, especially when it comes to considered purchases. Communicate at timed intervals with automated touches, PURLs with engaging advice and recommendations, and even outbound sales calls. Keep your marketing engine rule-based, allowing you to deliver data-driven messages and automatically “trigger” new touches based on customers’ interactive feedback.

For example, your marketing technology and rules should be able to trigger timely touches based on customer responses, inquiries, or purchases. Say you send a customized mailer with a link to a PURL to a prospect. If they don’t visit the PURL after one week, you could send a follow-up mailing. If they visit the PURL or phone the call-center but don’t close within five days, the engine would send a second follow-up print touch offering an alternative video recommendation or a more compelling promotion. The PURL could be updated to reflect the new offer or product recommendation communicated in each follow-up touch.

If you send your prospects relevant and fully-customized mailers — integrating technology — they’ll not only keep your mailer out of the recycling bin, they’ll reward your efforts by making more purchases.

E-Mail Open Rates

This subject line, “Study: E-mail open and click-through rates up in Q4” from BtoB Magazine has us wondering, is this irrational exuberance? They seem to be ecstatic about open rates of emails being up in the fourth-quarter of last year to 22%, up from 20.9% in the fourth quarter of 2008. The study also found click-through rates were up marginally, from 5.8% to 5.9%.

Can we step back and think about this? This means that 78% of the people on your treasured, valued, opt in list do not even open your message. So that means that 94.1% of those same loved customers or prospects are not going to your landing page, they are not engaging with you, they are not seeing your appealing message. For some reason we hear many people wanting to compare these metrics with response rates for direct mail. What is a positive response for mail? A sale! That would be revenue generated as a result of your customer or prospect receiving information from you.

E-Mail has its place as a part of a larger strategy, but if it is your only method for reaching new customers or reactivating dormant customers, you may miss your potential.