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The Elite Edge

"I have years of leading project development teams, and Elite's staff has been among the most "can do" I've ever worked with.

Steve Taylor

Bloomington Hospital

Print Plus Web: The Future of Direct Mail

Marketers certainly have options. Blogging, Twitter, email, search-engine advertising and other forms of web marketing are certainly all the rage right now, joining traditional advertising initiatives at the big-media table as truly effective ways to reach prospects and customers in todayís crowded marketplace. But while these emerging web-marketing strategies have certainly paid-off big time for the businesses savvy enough to embrace them, their widespread adoption has provided a pretty significant opportunity too. How so? Simple: when one door closes, another typical opens.

The Problem: An All-Eggs-in-One-Basket Approach
Many marketers have made a zero-sum decision to go whole-hog into an online strategy (or at least push a majority of marketing spend in that direction), abandoning traditional means of direct response and mass-media marketing to focus on the rewards that they can reap online. But the more potential advertisers that flood into a marketing channel, the more consumers are saturated with competing appeals, offers and advertising (i.e. noise).

That means more sophisticated spam blockers and CAN-SPAM regulations, more vigilantly guarded email inboxes, more ridiculously expensive search engine terms, and myriad cookie-cutter corporate blogs. Which, in turn, means it becomes infinitely more difficult to efficiently reach consumers online. Think higher Cost-Per-Acquisition, lower ROI, more marketing spend, a smaller communications footprint. Stuff like that.

The Solution: When Mail Meets Web, Results Follow
So for cost (and results) conscious marketers, it makes pretty solid sense to take a little time to re-investigate traditional direct response marketing techniques. And if itís been a while since you invested in direct mail, you just might not recognize what you find. Thatís because best-of-breed direct mail has gotten a web-enabled makeover. What exactly are we talking about here? Integrated direct response marketing (or iMarketing for short) is the marriage of impeccably targeted direct mail with personalized, online marketing techniques designed to boost the effectiveness of traditional direct mail.

And oh does it ever. According to a 2006 study from the Direct Marketers Association, more than one in three mail respondents (43% to be exact) already uses the web to follow up on offers they receive in the mail, whether to investigate a product in more depth, contact a company directly or follow-through on an offer. Given this trend towards online investigation, itís no surprise that mail that incorporates a personal online presence significantly outperforms traditional mail in terms of response rates. Just what we talking here? Try up to five times over non-personalized mail.

It works like this: a Personal URL (or PURL) is created for each recipient on a mail list. The PURL is a consumer-specific URL (say JohnSample.BigOffer.com) linked to a highly personalized, campaign-appropriate website designed solely for the use of the piece recipient. The result is like inviting each consumer to his or her very own, VIP screening of a featured product or special offer. Once at the site, each recipient is presented with a uniquely customized landing page that can be versioned to present text and images relevant to the individual customer preferences already archived within your client database. And additional surveying and profile update tools allow businesses to create a robust consumer profile that can be ridiculously useful in future sales and marketing efforts.

All of which is enough to get marketers a little bit excited. After all, youíve got all the bases covered here: super-sleek tools, forward-thinking technology, buzz-worthy direct response marketing strategy. But what kind of impact can implementing an iMarketing program really have on your bottom line? Well, plenty actually. Try ROI-friendly stuff like:

1). Better Lead Qualification 
For marketers, knowledge is power. Having a firm grip on a prospectís preferences, hot buttons and buying timeline makes tailoring a targeted, business-generating sales pitch a whole heck of a lot simpler. Thatís where iMarketing can help. With a powerful-yet-intuitive surveying tool built into each PURL landing page, you can drill-down deep to get a rich picture of who youíre selling to and just what makes them tick in a matter of minutes.

2). Tighter Campaign Tracking
You canít manage what you donít measure. Getting a true handle on campaign success means having the right tools to get an accurate, big-picture view of campaign response, conversion and ROI. PURLs come equipped with a sleek tracking toolset that gives you the inside scoop on exactly who visited your site and just what they did when they got there.

3). Lower Cost Per Acquisition
Start with affordable website setup. Then add efficient mail processing, cost-effective campaign management tools and results that seriously lap traditional direct response and mass media marketing tactics. What do you get? More qualified leads and a ridiculously low cost-per-acquisition.

4). Improved Campaign ROI
Despite smarter targeting and better mailstream technolgy, direct mail response rates continue to consistently under-whelm: hovering just below 2% on average. The situation is equally dire for web advertising, where only a paltry 2% of users exposed to ads actually click through (and far fewer actually complete a transaction). But what happens when you combine the best of both worlds and sprinkle in a little 1:1 personalization? Higher response rates, more pre-qualified leads, and campaigns that pay you back in a hurry.

The Wrap Up: Elite's Here to Help
The best marketing strategies, like the best financial portfolios, are the ones that are diversified. And although the temptation to go all-in with your marketing budget on a web-marketing strategy can be fairly significant, hedging your bets with a smart, targeted, trackable direct mail program is a pretty smart play. If youíd like to learn more about how our innovative PURL technology can help provide a boost to your direct response marketing efforts, delivering more and better-qualified leads, insight-rich, industrial strength campaign tracking, and exceptional project ROI in the process, simply visit the iMarketing section of our website at eliteps.com/mail. Or call toll free 1.800.276.6456 or email info@eliteps.com to set up a consultation with an Elite consultant today.

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