Cross-Channel Marketing Campaigns
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Cross channel marketing, also called integrated marketing, is a form of direct marketing that uses multiple channels (i.e. email, direct mail, personalized URLs, etc) to drive a single campaign with a consistent message. Boelte-Hall can work with you to create a measurable, effective integrated marketing campaign that will strike a chord with your customers. Relevant messaging tailored to your audience helps increase response, reduce cost, and build customer loyalty. You’ll gain trackable results you can use in future communications. Since your messages are built based on what you already know about your audience, recipients will be more receptive to an interactive online conversation with you where you can learn more about their needs and desires.
- Data is utilized to make messaging relevant
- Your audience chooses their preferred communication method
- Multiple touches result in improved response
- Provides more personal, relevant communication than traditional static approaches
Commonly used terms you will encounter while constructing a successful cross-media campaign:
Landing page - In online marketing, a landing page is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on an advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link.
Landing pages are often linked to from social media, search engines, or integrated marketing campaigns in order to enhance the effectiveness of the advertisements. The general goal of a landing page is to convert site visitors into sales leads. By analyzing activity generated by the linked URL, marketers can use click-through rates and conversion metrics to determine the success of an advertisement.
Likewise, in a cross-channel campaign, a landing page is generally a dynamically-rendered web page tailored to the visitor. However, unlike standard web banner ads, a well-planned integrated marketing campaign crosses over the digital boundary by combining both print and online mediums.
A popular method for delivering dynamic content in this manner is through the use of a PURL, or “Personalized Uniform Resource Locator”.
Personalized URL - A personalized URL (PURL) is a special type of URL that can be personalized for each specific user of a website.
In cross-channel marketing, a PURL is often printed on a direct mail piece or included as a link in an email message. A PURL is also frequently embedded within a QR code™, thereby making it much easier (and therefore more likely) for the recipient to scan the code and/or visit the link. Upon arriving at the landing page, the person is encouraged to provide meaningful information in exchange for something of value to him/her.
In short, PURLs provide a way to begin a conversation with your customer and start building a relationship.
Building a successful campaign
As you design your campaign, think about your objective. What is your goal? Who is your audience? What will grab their attention? What response are you looking for? This isn’t the time to push heavy-handed, sales-oriented advertising to your audience. For quality leads with results you can use, cross-channel campaigns work best when used to nurture and educate your audience. When your prospect is ready, you’ll have earned their trust, making you the obvious choice.
Composing a list
This can be a list of your current customers containing all the information you have about them: name, address, contact information, previous purchases, etc. Or a list can be purchased using demographic data and/or other information that can be used to tailor your message. If you don’t have a list, we can work with you to get one that meets your exact specifications.
Ideally, your list would include not only mailing addresses but email addresses, too. Using both will provide better results than only using one channel. Having said that, it’s best not to use a list service for email addresses; while list services are great for postal addresses, email addresses on these lists are historically unreliable. If you don’t have email addresses, a direct mail campaign can help you obtain them.
Whatever your specific needs, Boelte-Hall can work with you to acquire your target audience and help you plan a comprehensive integrated marketing strategy for your campaign.
Direct Mail - Studies show that people are more likely to respond to messages received in multiple channels. If you have both email and mailing addresses, following up a message in one channel with a message from the other greatly increases your chance for response. Content for your mail piece, as with your email message, should be as relevant as possible to your recipient, and should include an enticing offer by way of a PURL.
If your list includes mailing addresses but not email addresses, you might connect with these people by mailing them a variable data piece featuring their name and content relevant to them, as well as a PURL. When the person visits their landing page, they’ll have an opportunity on the Contact Confirmation page to provide their email address, which gives you another method of contact that can be used in future marketing endeavors.
Email - Emailing is an inexpensive way to learn about your customers and gather more information about them. Messages can be designed with type and graphics tailored to your specific audience, based on information you already have about them. If you know their email address and purchase history, your message might include their name and a picture of an item they purchased from you. The message should also contain some kind of offer that makes the person want to visit his/her landing page via a personalized URL (PURL) and continue the conversation.
Some campaigns involve sending an email first, then following up with a mail piece only to non-responders. Other campaigns begin with a mail piece, then use one or more emails to remind non-responders of the offer, which notoriously results in response spikes (that’s a good thing!). Emails can also be used to thank direct mail piece recipients for their participation. Whether you send email or postal mail first is dictated by information available, campaign duration and campaign goals.
Offering an incentive
Now that you have your list, you need to figure out what appeals to your audience. What can you offer that will make them want to share information with you? You can offer information on something they are interested in; for example, a white paper discussing trends in their particular industry. A chance to win an item or a service related to your industry is another great option. Keep in mind that sometimes you have to straddle the line between offering something people want but also generating qualified leads.
For example, lots of companies in a variety of industries are currently offering folks a chance to win popular, maybe even costly items, such as a tablet computer or MP3 player. These campaigns typically get a good response, but how do you know whether or not it's generating qualified leads? How many people entering your drawing are in a position to buy from you, or are even interested in your company’s products or services? If you’re targeting everyone in a certain county or ZIP code, you may be disappointed with the outcome, unless, of course, that’s all the qualification you require. On the other hand, you may be attending a seminar or trade show event where you already know that everyone attending is a qualified candidate.
One recommended strategy you might consider is offering a discount for products or services that your company provides. This way, the winner gets the discount, experiences the service, and hopefully are so happy with you that they’re willing to pay full price next time. Everybody wins!
Getting people to your site
Once you’ve decided on your offer, you’ll need to use one or more channels to make the offer and get people to your site. There are three main ways for your recipient to get to your site: an email link, a printed PURL they can type in, or a QR code they can scan.
Email link: For your recipient, the easiest way is through a link in an email message. They just click on the link and they’re taken to your site. Sometimes, however, companies only have email addresses for a portion of their mailing list.
Printed PURL: A PURL can be printed prominently in several places on a direct mail piece. The recipient’s name right there in 48 point type is very compelling, especially when used in conjunction with an email message. Be sure the PURL is short and easy for your recipient to type in their computer. (i.e. SamClemmens.betterbooks.org is much easier to type than SamClemmens.whizbangbetterbooksgiveawaysweepstakes.org.)
QR Code™: A QR code combines the best of both “mail” worlds. It’s easy for the recipient to use and very non-intrusive. A person with a smart phone and a QR code reader can simply scan the code and be taken to the site. (It’s always a good idea to print the PURL near the code, to make sure you catch anyone who doesn’t have a smart phone, doesn’t have a reader, or doesn’t have a clue what that thing is.)
NOTE: It’s often best to make sure that the site you are sending people to is optimized for (or at least compatible with) mobile browsers, especially when using QR codes!
Developing the conversation
Now that you have people visiting your landing page, it's time to get them engaged. You've piqued their interest, now it's time to convince them to give you something in return. While you could offer up any sort of content you wish at this point, the following demonstrates how this type of campaign can be used to interact with a potential customer and hopefully generate a followup lead.
- The landing page, in this instance, is our “Welcome” page that includes the recipient’s name and usually mimics the look of the email or the direct mail piece to provide continuity throughout the recipient’s experience. This page’s purpose is to confirm to the visitor that he/she is in the right place, and encourages them to stick around.
- The next page might contain some kind of survey. Here we start by asking two or three questions that are relevant, but not too intrusive. The best questions will help you learn more about your visitors while providing value for them; for example, asking them what gift they would prefer, or their preferred method of contact: email or phone.
- Typically, at some point, there should be some kind of Contact Confirmation page, with as many or as few mandatory answers as you choose. Much of this information, such as name and address, can be pre-populated in the fields, since you probably already have it. This makes it very easy and quick for visitors, who can make corrections or add missing information as needed.
- Finally, as the conversation wraps up to a close, there should be some kind of “thank you” page that should again mention the person’s name, thank them, and state what they can expect to have happen next. For example, if the first point of contact (direct mail piece or email message) asked them to visit their PURL, take a short survey and provide their email address in return for a coupon to use on their next order, this page should either present them with the coupon or give them instructions on how to retrieve it. It might simply state that they should watch their inbox for the coupon, or something to that effect.
All data collected is immediately available to you, enabling you to tweak your message on the fly. For example, if you see that a lot of people are getting to the survey page and dropping off, you may want to revise a question or two. This change can be made at any time during the campaign.
After the campaign is over, you’ll not only have more contact information than you had before, but you’ll know exactly who visited their PURL (and who did not), how long each person stayed there, and how they answered your questions.
Answers can help direct future efforts. For example, if one of your questions asked what they like best about your company’s products, their answer can be used in the next campaign to provide even more personalized messaging. Campaigns can also help you discover which messaging vehicles are most effective. A recent Boelte-Hall campaign helped one customer discover which printed messages inspired the most action by trade show attendees: magazine ads, booth signs, or bus head rests. The results provided valuable information for budgeting future marketing efforts.
This is just a brief summary of how integrated marketing can benefit your organization. We’ve published several campaign summaries with details on effective, award winning campaigns we’ve conducted. Also available, is a free Response Rate Report that illustrates proven techniques to increase response and create conversations that result in sales ready leads.
Contact us today to learn even more ways to drive leads using cross-channel marketing!