Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tips on How Mailers Can Optimize QR Code Use

Direct mail QR codes, mobile-device-scannable code storing an online url, have been both touted and declared "dead" by various marketing pundits in the last few years. For mailers pondering QR code inclusion, a recent Target Marketing magazine post by Summer Gould, president of Eye/Comm Inc., provides a useful discussion of the whys and hows of QR code use. Before marketers include a QR code in a mail piece, they need to decide what they hope to achieve with it, Gould points out. QR codes can drive online engagement, facilitate a phone call, provide a coupon, provide access to additional information, or allow order placement. If a QR code isn't doing any of those things, there is no benefit to the recipient (or the mailer), so it's not a useful response device. But once the direct mailer has a clear goal for the QR, the next step is to design the code for maximum results. Gould provides six key design guidelines: include instructions for mail recipients on how and why to scan; keep a 1/16-inch buffer of white space around the code; keep the code between a half inch and 1.5 inches in size for easy placement and scanning; use a url shortener to keep scanning time short; and make sure the user is taken to mobile-friendly online pages. Finally, of course, test the code with different devices and lighting conditions to make sure it works before mailing! For more QR code optimization tips, read http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/post/qr-code-qr-code/

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Prepping Non-Political Ads for Social Election Impact

The 2016 presidential election is already grabbing headlines, ad space and social media attention, and it's only going to get more intense. This election cycle, non-political marketers not only have to be concerned about competition for consumer attention in broadcast media and direct mail, they will need to plan for a political blitz in social media, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Marketers need to start planning now for how to prevent their non-political messages from being drowned out, squeezed out, and priced out of the social media space. A recent Direct Marketing News magazine article by Perry Simpson, digital content coordinator, warns that cost-per-click (CPC) pricing--a popular way to sponsor and boost posts on Facebook and other social sites--is likely to increase significantly as politicians fight for attention. Simpson suggests three ways to prepare now for the social impact of the election frenzy. First, analyze your geographic performance, especially on a state level. Excluding battleground states, which are likely to see larger CPC spikes, is one option if those states are not key to performance. Next, test and hone messaging now to make sure your creative is as compelling as possible, since cost-per-click on networks like Facebook is affected by click-through rate (higher response lowers CPC). Finally, tighten up CPC bids before the election grabs the market. Lowering bids closer to your desired CPC will avoid outstripping target spend when bids start to climb because of political competition. For more detail, read http://www.dmnews.com/social-media/3-tips-for-non-political-marketing-during-the-presidential-elections/article/427133/

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Are Inbox Placement Fails Sapping Your E-mail?

It's an old saying in business that you can only manage what you measure. A recent Target Marketing magazine article by Tom Sather, Return Path's senior director of e-mail research, makes the important point that many marketers are not measuring, and thus not managing, e-mail inbox placement rates. In evaluating e-mail campaign performance, they may focus on improving subject lines, list targeting or brand engagement without realizing that a key part of the target audience never saw the message. They may be comforted by a good deliverability rate, but that rate only measures the percent of e-mail that did not bounce. Inbox placement rates, on the other hand, measure the number of messages actually arriving in subscribers' inboxes, taking into account those undelivered plus those shunted into spam folders. E-mail inbox placement will be affected by bad addresses and ISP filtering for poor reputation, content and engagement. Inbox placement will in turn fundamentally affect the validity of benchmarks and testing results as well as e-mail ROI, Sather points out. To put his remarks in perspective, note 17% of permission-based e-mails fail to reach inboxes globally--6% going to spam folders and 11% blocked--according to Return Path's most recent "Inbox Placement 2014" benchmark report. U.S. marketers did only a little better, with 13% of e-mails failing to reach inboxes on average. But on an industry basis, inbox placement rates have a wide range, with the best inbox placement rate attributed to health and beauty pitches (96%) and software and Internet e-mails at the bottom (43%). For Sather's comments on why inbox placement matters, read http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/inbox-placement-rates-cant-measure-cant-see/

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Clues That Your Media Mix Needs a Tune-up

Every budget cycle, marketers question whether they have the right media mix to optimize sales, whether they need to shift dollars between channels, especially in the rapidly changing digital landscape. In a recent Marketing Land article, Scott Rayden, chief revenue officer for 3Q Digital, offers seven clues that a change in your digital mix may be in order. Here are a few of his tips, starting with a no-brainer: If your brand, and non-brand, search numbers are declining, it's time to consider new ways to boost online brand awareness. He advises taking a look at options such as Twitter, display ads, video, Facebook, Pinterest, and Gmail sponsored promotions. Next, now that mobile traffic has topped desktop traffic, you are clearly behind the curve if most of your traffic, whether B2C or B2B, is desktop-driven, so invest in mobile. Rayden also notes that even with great CRM and well-segmented e-mail campaigns, you may not be mining all the gold in your first-party data. Consider using customer knowledge to prospect for lookalikes with new targeting programs offered by Facebook Lookalike Audiences, Google Similar Audiences and Twitter Tailored Audiences, he suggests. And if you are generating lots of leads but not enough paying customers, he advises rethinking targeting and linking CRM first-party data to marketing campaigns to weed out junk lead sources and boost channels delivering conversions. And, of course, pay attention to competitors; if they use many more channels to target the same demographics or firmographics, an expanded media mix may be in order. For more tips, read http://marketingland.com/7-signs-cmos-need-examine-media-mix-133456

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Best and Worst Subject Lines for E-mail Opens

The goal of an e-mail subject line is straightforward: Get the recipient to notice and open your communication. But crafting a good subject line is trickier. With the wrong subject line, your e-mail gets ignored, deleted or, worse, declared spam. A recent Target Marketing magazine article by Jeff Molander, a digital sales trainer and author, provides helpful guidelines for effective subject lines. Basically, to get recipients to open an e-mail from someone they don't know, the subject line needs to do one of three things--indicate an anticipated message, scare/worry, or spark curiosity. But there are definitely right and wrong ways to achieve those goals. So Molander starts with subject line copy to avoid: a yes/no question (since half are likely to say no and delete); overly specific (why open when you know what's inside); too vague (interest disconnects lead to deletes); asks for a meeting or time (people don't waste limited time on a stranger); sounds like a newsletter (unsolicited newsletters get dumped); sounds unbelievable (spammy claims get trashed); sounds too familiar (familiarity breeds deletes, too). So much for subject line don'ts; what are the subject line dos? The best subject lines are appealing and relevant, useful and goal-oriented, specific yet not too specific, believable, provocative yet credible, and, most of all, short, per Molander. Translating that into actual copy, he shares the three most effective subject lines based on his years of consulting with sales reps: "Know this about X?" (and make X something the prospect wants to know); "Advantages of X" (where X is not your product but something unexpected or negative that your product addresses); and "Is this a fit for X?" (where X can be personalized to "you, John" to spark curiosity). For more tips, read http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/post/death-subject-line/

Thursday, July 9, 2015

B2B Needs to Tap Growing Native Ad Trend

Native advertising may be a hot digital marketing tactic, with spending expected to hit $10.7 billion in 2015, but many marketers, especially business-to-business marketers, still haven't embraced its opportunities. Our thanks to Ash Nashed, founder and CEO of digital tech company Adiant, for his educational b2bmarketing.net post on native ads. Nashed especially speaks to B2B strategists, where only 34% of marketers have put native ads in the mix, he notes. Native ads, which are specifically created to organically fit within content, include search ads appearing alongside organic search results; social media ads resembling organic feed posts; promoted listings on e-commerce sites like Amazon, which appear next to algorithm-generated recommendations; video ads that entertain to promote brands; ads that appear within news articles targeted to specific interests; and advertorials offering educational editorial content. Per Nashed, the keys to success are what we'll call the four "T's": targeting (using data to select hypertargeted segments by demographics, intent, location and/or platform), testing and results tracking (marketing givens), and trust (qualified leads don't come through trickery; the audience must know they are clicking on an ad). For inspiration, Nashed holds up GE's award-winning efforts, including a blog on global innovation for The Economist magazine, a segment on "The Tonight Show," and in-stream ads on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest. For more: http://www.b2bmarketing.net/blog/posts/2015/06/24/win-over-decision-makers-smart-native-advertising

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Brain Science Finds Mail Bests Digital With Buyers

The latest brain science explains why direct mail maintains its role as a multichannel marketing linchpin. In fact, direct mail beats or ties digital advertising in almost all the ways marketers seek to woo buyers, per a recent Temple University neuromarketing study sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General's office. As reported by Direct Marketing News, the study, which showed a mix of 40 e-mail ads and postcards to laboratory subjects, found that a digital approach bested snail mail in only one area: grabbing customer attention. However, postcards outperformed e-mail in five other areas: holding customer engagement longer, generating a greater emotional reaction, generating speedier recall, and creating subconscious desire and perceived value for a product or service. And the two methods tied in three categories: engagement in terms of the amount of information absorbed, memory accuracy, and willingness to purchase and pay. The Inspector General's office is hoping the findings will inspire marketers to make better use of mail's power to win customers. Among its suggestions are increased marketer testing of mail creative, sequencing, and digital print technology, such as augmented reality and QR codes. For more details, read http://www.dmnews.com/postal/direct-mail-has-a-greater-effect-on-purchase-than-digital-ads/article/423292/