Guest Post By Rob Lons of RivalHost.com.
Print advertising and direct mail has been around for ages. Its been around that long because it works – provided you do it right. In a world where we are bombarded by emails, commercials, and text messages, print can be a great weapon for your marketing arsenal. So, if you are ready to wield your new battle axe like a maniac bent on profit, I’ll explain how you can combine print and digital into a cozy little marriage, the perfect duo some would say. You ready? Sure you are.
First things first. You need a message, an incentive, a plan. I won’t go too much into detail here, but it stands to reason you want to look at what you are offering from your customers’ perspective. Would it move you to action? If the answer is “no”, it may be time to re-evaluate what you are doing. Simply put, when you are planning a campaign there is no time to waste. Determine your budget, come up with an incentive, tie it into a product, establish campaign tracking – and get the presses rolling.
Pro tip: Do not try to say it all at once. Hone your offer down to one simple call-to-action. Less is more.
Deciding on what type of print advertising to use comes down to budget. It also depends on your customers. It never hurts to get creative. In fact, I have a real life example for you. Google Engage is a platform for ad agencies who sell advertising in Google. Well, even internet juggernauts know the power of print. They just bought pizza for their ad partners!
Creativity is key in print advertising, but don’t fret. I don’t expect you to simply make it rain like Google. The point with mentioning this is threefold:
- Print is relevant.
- Get creative.
- Track your response.
In Google’s case, they sent out $40 Visa gift cards to their partners. Once these gift cards are activated, Google gets filled in. In this sense, Google used print advertising and direct mail to reward agencies participating in their ad program. They also managed to generate some buzz, and goodwill with the people pushing their ad program. This goes back to being creative. Print advertising can be used for more than advertising to customers. Use it to solidify relationships with vendors, employees, and local businesses.
This is where you really get creative. Deciding on what you want to track, and what metrics are important, should be the first thing on your list. Here’s the good news: you can track more than clicks. You can track calls, too! Plus, you can do it on the cheap.
How to track calls
I’m going to give you two ways to track calls, one cheap, the other free. You may be asking, how am I going to know where they got my number? That’s easy. The number you printed in your mailing.
When sending out a direct mail campaign, most small businesses tend to use their regular business number. This is by far not an ideal choice. You’ll never know how they found out about you (beyond asking). It’s much easier to leave out the guesswork.
- Method #1 – Use Callfire to track calls. Get a local number for $1/mo. and .05 cents a minute. Use that number for your print campaign. Callfire has many features that will allow you to track metrics. Easily get unique numbers for each one of your print campaigns and track the success of each.
Pro tip – You can use this same strategy for advertising in the local newspaper and classified ads.
- Method #2 – If you don’t need all of the fancy metrics and reports, Google Voice allows you to turn your phone into two separate lines. Pick a local number, use it for your print campaign, and automatically forward calls to your business phone.
Pro tip – Forward your Google Voice number to your caller ID, so you can immediately see where the call is coming from.
How to track online
If you want clicks, not calls, check out the ideas below. There are plenty of options to choose for your business.
- Use a custom domain. Instead of sending people to your homepage, send them to a custom landing page with its own url. For example, you can register an entirely new domain, or simply create a landing page in a subfolder or static page through your CMS. Ex: http://www.yourbiz.com/SuperOffer
- Use a QR code. Target mobile by using a QR code for your campaign. Just be sure that your landing page is mobile-friendly!
- Use online-only coupon codes. Using a coupon code for your ecommerce store will allow you to easily track which customers found your print offer.
Hopefully, you’re walking away with the motivation to be the master of your next print campaign. The most important factor in success for direct mail campaigns is always “the list”. In any print campaign, you want to reach an audience receptive to your business. Here’s to your success!
About the Author
Rob Lons is the social media strategist and inbound marketer at Rivalhost, a DDoS protection and web hosting provider. Rob creates and innovates within the social space to boost and cultivate client reach, relationships, reputation and resonance.