What is Direct Marketing?
If you’re not familiar with the terminology, direct marketing is simply the act of making direct contact with existing and potential customers. Unlike advertising which targets a large general audience, not all of whom will be receptive to your products or services, direct marketing targets specific customers with a personalised message.
The clear call to action included in direct marketing campaigns can be very effective at generating sales, making this method especially popular with small and medium-sized businesses.
Direct marketing can take many different forms including mobile and text message marketing, leafleting and running a direct mail campaign. Each one has its own list of benefits, but in this post we’re going to take a look at how you can integrate direct mail with your social media activity to boost brand awareness, engagement and conversions.
Direct Mail and Social Media: Two Sides of the Same Coin?
Whilst some may think that social media and direct marketing couldn’t be more different, the truth is that social media is a form of direct marketing. It offers the same level of personalisation and direct contact that physical direct mail is popular for, and can provide valuable instant feedback on campaigns, offers and promotions. This instantaneous response, and the ability to track, monitor and analyse online reactions to your marketing efforts allows businesses to respond to changes in market trends quickly and efficiently.
By combining your direct mail campaigns and social media marketing, you have a much more accurate understanding of your audience; what they like, what they respond well to and what delivers you the biggest return on investment.
Ideas for Combining Direct Mail and Social Media and How to Measure Success
As with any marketing campaign, tracking success is vital for ensuring that you’re spending your time and money in the best possible place. How you track your success will depend on what kind of campaign you are conducting.
Below, we offer three suggestions for combining your direct mail and social media efforts, and how best to track their success.
Use Direct Mail to Start a Conversation on Social Media
If you’ve been watching TV lately, you may have noticed that at the start of many prime-time shows a hashtag appears in the corner of the screen during the opening scenes. Created by the network executives, it’s a way for them to collate viewer opinions under a single tag; allowing them to monitor viewer opinions and reactions in real time. This is a strategy which can also be applied to your direct mail efforts.
Actively providing your audience with the tools to begin a dialogue about your products and services can sometimes be all the encouragement that’s needed. Include your Twitter and Instagram handles and Facebook URL on all of direct mail communication. Simply seeing those familiar logos will help your audience become aware that your company is sharing information and interacting with consumers via those channels.
How to Track Success
If you’ve encouraged the use of a hashtag, use a tool like Hootsuite to monitor its use as well as mentions of your brand and company name. Use your previous months or years statistics as a base line to track any increase in engagement, followers, likes and content sharing after the delivery of your direct mail.
Add a Quick Response (QR) Code to Your Next Direct Mail Campaign
A simple way to integrate direct mail with social media is by adding a QR code to your printed media. These mobile-readable barcodes are easy to create and you can link them to websites, phone numbers, videos and more.
If your direct mail contains information about special offers or saving money on your services or products, you could encourage your recipients to engage with your social media channels by linking the QR code to a Facebook landing page.
Landing pages are a great way to encourage more conversions as there are less distractions on page compared to your business profile. Rather than being presented with plenty of buttons, images and messages, the user is taken to a simple page with a straightforward call to action to complete. You could offer them the opportunity to receive exclusive discounts for liking your page, or receive money-off vouchers direct to their inbox by inputting their email address.
With over 1.65 billion monthly active users* the likelihood of your target market having a presence on Facebook is high. But how many of your customers and potential customers know your business is on there too? By integrating your published media with your Facebook page you could boost your social media followers, encourage word of mouth and generate more conversions to help you achieve your business goals. Setting up a Facebook landing page is relatively straightforward and this guide by Instapage has everything you need to get started.
How to Track Success
Facebook’s own insights tab tracks a number of metrics from page views and page likes to people, reach and on-page actions. If you’re combining your direct mail with your Facebook page, then this is the place to analyse your success. You’ll need to look at different metrics depending on what your landing page CTA was; likes, email addresses, shares, on-page interactions. Seeing a spike in these figures in the weeks following your direct mail campaign will help you to measure the success of the campaign overall.
Run a Cross-Channel Competition
Whilst we all like to think that everyone knows about our business, sadly they don’t and it’s often friends and family sharing their awareness that bring them to our attention. Running a competition is a simple way to boost brand awareness, incentivise people to follow you, increase subscribers, increase sales and increase engagement.
The concept is a straight forward one: promote your competition via traditional direct mail methods such as postcards, leaflets or emails, but run the competition through social media.
In your direct mail you need to ensure that you’ve specified the venue where the competition will take place; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram? If this is your first time running a competition, we’d recommend sticking to a single venue to avoid confusion and make tracking the ROI simpler.
You’ll then need to specify what it is they need to do to enter; tag one of their pictures on Instagram with your unique hashtag and use the caption to explain why they should win? Like and share a particular piece of content on Facebook? Retweet a specific message to be entered in to a sweepstake on twitter? Jay Baer wrote a fantastic article on the 13 ingredients needed for a perfect social media contest which we highly recommend reading prior to the launch of your competition.
Remember to always keep your goals in mind when running a competition. It’s all well and good asking for hashtag entries, but if it’s more followers you want then that’s what you should be asking your entrants to do.
How to Track Success
Before launching your contest, make sure that you have your goals written down. Whether you want to increase engagement on Instagram by 10%, generate 300 @ mentions on twitter or get 200 more likes on Facebook, your goal needs to be specific and clear. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, you won’t know if you’ve been successful or not. Tools such as Hootsuite will help you keep a track of interactions and brand mentions.
After the contest ends and you’ve notified your winner, don’t let your newly acquired followers go to waste. Share the details of the winning entry, acknowledge the unlucky entrants who didn’t win and give them a reason to keep following you. Perhaps another competition?
Have you run any direct mail campaigns with social media? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with our latest news and promotions.
*Figures were correct at time of publishing