Rev Up Your Direct Marketing Campaigns With QR Codes!

Quick Response Codes or QR Codes consist of a pattern of black squares arranged on a white background.  Pick up any item at your grocery store (or anywhere else for that matter!) and you’re likely to find a QR code. In stores the code brings up price, description, shelf location, etc with one swipe of the code scanner – for a streamlined and accurate checkout process.

For marketing, this super-barcode is used quite effectively to take a prospect from a printed mail piece in their mailbox into the digital domain.

QR Codes offer the all-important element in marketing known as ENGAGEMENT.

By including QR codes on your direct mailer you’re offering an easy, interactive channel to begin a dialog. Once a prospect scans the QR Code with their Smart Phone they are whisked away to the digital side of your company. Maybe it’s to a specific webpage on your site or to your latest online video OR they may land on a page that greets them by name (Howdy Fred!)

And here’s where the fun starts!

Because the QR code can contain UNIQUE information about everyone on your prospect list, not only are they greeted by their name, information they may otherwise need to type in (address, city, state, zip code etc.) is pre-populated – again to streamline the engagement process for the prospect. PLUS (and this is a big plus) you can track results of your campaign TO THE PERSON! This allows for highly effective follow up activities such as triggered emails, special offers etc. that turn interested prospects into customers!

How can you effectively use QR codes in your direct marketing efforts? 

The possibilities are endless – and surprisingly inexpensive to implement.

QR code marketing campaigns provide you, the marketer, precise measurements of a campaign’s effectiveness and an immediate, simple call to action.  QR Codes offer a logical link between your direct mail marketing and your online presence. But most importantly, they Engage The Customer!

Direct Etc. will work with you to develop a direct mail campaign that effectively blends all your marketing efforts.  Contact us today for more information.


Direct Mail PLUS Email Marketing: A Great One-Two Punch for Small Businesses

If you’re a business with a fair amount of foot traffic coming through your door, are you collecting email addresses from your customers?

This is one of the simplest, cheapest marketing strategies to implement, but I am always surprised at how many independent businesses I frequent never bother to ask me for my email address. What’s up with that?

However, when I drop into most any chain store or restaurant for the first time, they want my address, cell number, email address and shoe size (kidding!)

Sometimes I give them what they want, other times I don’t want to be bothered – but kudos for trying! Obviously, by keeping in touch with me, they stand a better chance at future sales – and they just might be right!

Keeping existing customers as customers is a heck of a lot easier than finding new ones, but don’t take your customers for granted.

Sending out monthly email marketing specials, advance notice of events or sales, or just a simple “THANKS” for being a customer, goes a long way in keeping loyal customers.

If your business lacks foot traffic and/or lacks email addresses, a targeted direct mail marketing campaign can be highly effective in improving your situation.

While you’re sending out your direct mail, why not build a database of email addresses at the same time – the old “kill two birds with one stone” strategy.

Every effective direct mail campaign needs a compelling offer – typically a discount of some sort.

As an added incentive, have the recipient head to your website or landing page where they can submit their email address to receive an even better deal.

Now this prospect has moved one step closer to becoming an actual PAYING customer!

By submitting their email address to your site, they have also Opted-In to receive future offers from you via email.

Future Offers = Future Sales!

Sending someone on your email list an email marketing offer is considerably less expensive than mailing them one.

And as your database of email addresses grows in size, you’ll want to consider an email marketing system such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or any one of many such programs to manage your email marketing campaigns. The cost of these programs range from FREE to hundreds of dollars a month, based on your needs.

By the time you’d have to actually pay money to manage your email marketing – it will already be worth the investment! 

Find CUSTOMERS with Good Old Direct Mail

So you’re working on a marketing plan bring in more customers and increase sales for your small business. GREAT!

No doubt your marketing plan includes:

Website & SEO – Right On, Check!

Social Media – Absolutely, Check!

Email Marketing – Hit Send, Check!

Direct Mail? – Little “Old-Fashioned” for me, thanks anyway.

You should consider direct mail. In fact, direct mail is a very solid base on which to build your marketing plan.

Direct Mail is a Proven Winner for finding customers. While the overall volume of mail handled by the Post Office has declined over the years, volume of marketing mail has remained steady and effective.

With less clutter in a customer’s mailbox, your direct mail marketing will stand out. But how does direct mail stack up against the internet, search engine optimization, social media, email marketing?

Read on.

Website & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Most businesses these days have a website. Some of these websites are good, some great, some downright horrible!

Many never get found or seen by customers due to a nonexistent or ineffective SEO strategy. There are many factors that go into being found on sites like Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc., including blogging, back linking and pay-per-click advertising. If you are not prepared to make a commitment of both time and money for a strong SEO strategy, it is unlikely your website will generate sales.

A well-targeted direct mail piece will absolutely be seen by the customer who receives it, guaranteed! Resulting sales generated by an effective direct mail advertising campaign are immediate.

Social Media

Social Media marketing through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In and the next, NEXT BIG THING are always hot topics around the marketing water cooler, and for good reason.  Millions of people are visiting social media websites every day. They’re “liking”‘, “pinning”, “linking in”, watching videos, searching for long-lost old flames, etc. But are they buying? Maybe.

Social Media is a great way to spread the word about someone or something. Getting people talking, creating a BUZZ. However, when given the choice between BUZZ & BUCKS most business owners choose the latter!

As with SEO, there are strategies – both free and paid – that will affect the impact of your social media marketing efforts. And of course there is the investment of your time.

No doubt as a small business owner, time is the one thing you do NOT have enough of!

The creation and implementation of a direct mail campaign is pretty straightforward. A targeted audience of potential customers, a compelling, irresistible offer and a little help from a direct mail marketing professional , you do not need to spend very much of your own precious time.

What about Email Marketing?

Sure, you can (and should) use email marketing. It is a great way to communicate offer and events to people you already do business with. But keep in mind, customers who do not know you react very differently to an email message than they do a piece of direct mail. Unlike an image flickering on a computer screen, a direct mail piece is engaging and memorable. An envelope or self-mailer brochure needs to be opened, a catalog flipped through and a postcard flipped over. The customer is in direct, actual physical contact with your advertising campaign.

Another big factor to consider – email marketing is relatively inexpensive so everybody and their brother is filling Inboxes with of all types of offers – some relevant, some not-so-relevant and some unfit to view in mixed company! Legitimate, Opt-in email lists are hard to come by and not inexpensive. However illegitimate, spam lists are cheap and plentiful, so buyers beware!

Do You Still Think Direct Mail Marketing is Old-Fashioned? It is! (But in a good way!)

Customer LIKE receiving relevant mail in their mailbox. Even some younger customers you’d assume might not!  According to a recent study conducted by InnoMedia, NuStats, and Vertis, 87% of Gen Y and 86% of Gen X bring in the mail the day it’s delivered.  73% of Gen Y and 68% of Gen X retail direct mail readers have used coupons received in the mail. Gen X and Y consumers rate 75% of the mail they receive as valuable.

The act of reaching customers directly at their mailbox allows for a more thoughtful, memorable introduction to your business. Once they start to read through your mailer they begin the knowing, liking and trusting you and your business.

This inevitably leads prospective customers to become paying customers. So if Old-Fashioned marketing means marketing that leads to finding new customers and increased sales – call me old-fashioned!

To be clear, I am a big fan of digital marketing channels. Heck, the tag line of my company is Blended Marketing Solutions – my term for integrated marketing .

Due to the relative ease of implementation, the target-ability and effectiveness of direct mail, business owners should put direct mail marketing at the top of their marketing TO-DO List.

Direct Mail Still Alive & Kicking!

Being in the direct mail marketing business is sorta like being a Toyota Corrolla – been around awhile, very dependable – but lacking a little in the glamour department!

Compared to the newer kids on the block like social media, mobile marketing etc., direct mail often gets the short shrift in discussions of exciting marketing efforts. Well I couldn’t agree less!

Direct mail, when done correctly, can pull very respectable response numbers, have strong R.O.I. and leave a lasting impression on the recipient. Far longer lasting than a text message on the old smartphone!

So if getting from Point A to Point B dependably is more important than just looking good while broken down on the side of the road, consider direct mail to increase sales and bring new customers to your business.