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Direct Mail Performance Improvement- Dear Ginny, WTH?

dear ginny series

Dear Ginny WTH:

How can technology be leveraged to improve the performance of traditional marketing campaigns, like direct mail for instance?

Trying to be integrated

Dear Trying,

I use the term 360-degree marketing, which is an integrated marketing campaign. What does that mean? All marketing elements working together and support each other in media and message.

These days there are lots of ways to integrate your online with your offline campaign. And the online tools will help you monitor the successfulness and add value back to your direct mail piece. Done correctly, one can be a “channel bridge” (and you thought you would make it through another day without a new industry term) to the other that can exponentially increase the value of the effort as a whole, both near and long term. That’s the benefit of 360-degree marketing done right.

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A lot of people say that recipients of direct mail will rarely go online due to a direct mail piece prompting. But if there is a low expectation that a person will go online, why is there any expectation that that person will go offline to a store to redeem an offer?

It really is the quality of the offer that dictates the interest, and our filters as consumers are getting stricter. No amount of coordination will surmount this challenge. Make sure your message is getting across (link to last week’s post).

In your direct mail piece you can make offers to your customers that link to a custom page online or links to special reports or neighborhood and community information. You assign a specific URL to that page (called a PURL, for personal URL) and instantly you can measure your effort. It’s not like the old days when you’d just send the card and hope someone saw it. You can actually customize and measure effectiveness of your direct mail. Novel, no?

The PURL attracts attention with the promise of relevant content. The PURL also provides an identifier to trigger content appropriate to the visitor when they visit the website.

Tools for monitoring direct mail performance are available, and more are being added every day. Check out www.sendpepper.com. There’s some smart marketing integration. PURLs, custom landing pages and direct mail all tied together with reporting. www.postclick.com is a little headier, but you obviously have options out there that didn’t exist a few years ago.

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With true coordination between online and offline elements, you are able to open new universes of potential customers with greater efficiencies.

Specifically, future programs should integrate technologies such as PURLs, postal optimization, personalization, and enhanced trackablity. The channel that is hungriest for a revolution is now starting to find the new path it so desperately needs. Give it up for direct mail y’all.

Ginny is a 360 degree marketing specialist with over a decade of experience in real estate-related fields. She’s held senior level marketing positions at Alain Pinel Realtors and Prudential California, Nevada and Texas Realty. She left the corporate world in 2007 to start her own marketing communications company, Cain Communications. She markets to segments that matter using media that matters. Follow her on Twitter @ginnycain.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Austin Smith - Goomzee.com

    July 1, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    “With true coordination between online and offline elements, you are able to open new universes of potential customers with greater efficiencies.”

    You’re 100% right Ginny. What’s marketing without a call to action, and why not make that call to action a pathway to your online office? A PURL is a very great idea for converting offline traffic to online traffic and also serves to show off your tech savviness; a move that is sure to entice both Generation X and Baby Boomer buyers.

    “Trying”, you may also want to incorporate text message marketing into your direct mail. I assume you feature at least one or two listings on your mailers..? If that’s the case, you could showcase two or three of the best listing pictures and perhaps a few lines of listing information, then provide a text code so that interested consumers can receive the rest of the info/photos on their cell phone. This technique is extremely effective when applied to other traditional marketing mediums such as newspapers, print advertising, and property flyers.

    Great response Ginny!

  2. Doug Buenz

    July 2, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Ginny –

    You are spot on as usual. It is the integration of online and offline marketing that makes the difference. I run ads in my local paper, but instead of advertising just properties, I put snippets from my latest blog post and invite the reader to go to my web site to read the rest of the post.

    Doug

  3. Mark Jacobs

    July 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Ginny

    I have been sending direct mail for over 5 years now. All my direct mail has a call to action and drives them to my online marketing. I then capture their information and monitor my direct mail performance. Now I can track what works and what does not work. knowing your numbers is the key to winning in the market.

  4. Mark Jacobs

    July 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Ginny

    I have been sending direct mail for over 5 years now. All my direct mail has a call to action and drives them to my online marketing. I then capture their information and monitor my direct mail performance. Now I can track what works and what does not work. knowing your numbers is the key to winning in the market.

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