Have You Gone to the Mailbox Today?

Rethink Direct Mail

Mail_Automation_Paw_Print_And_MailThink about the last purchase you made. What did it take to bring you from prospective customer to committed buyer?

Prospects typically need multiple touches before they commit to a purchase—over 7, according to the Online Marketing Institute. While it’s relatively easy to send out lots of emails or post on social media, we’re in an age where many of us are experiencing digital overload. (The average office worker receives 121 emails per day!) In such a crowded digital space, it’s hard to make your voice heard. If you’re not getting the kind of response you’d like from your marketing campaigns, it may be time to add direct mail to the mix.

Direct mail consistently rates as being more trustworthy, more memorable, and read more often than email. It provides a personal touch and the kind of experience digital just can’t deliver.

Direct mail may seem limiting if you have limited experience with it. However, printing has advanced considerably, giving you a wide range of options for texture, color, shape, design, and personalization.

As with any marketing communication, direct mail works best when it is relevant to the recipient and tailored to your audience. Just like digital communications, you can automate your direct mail to make the process more efficient.

What is Marketing Automation?

The basic idea of marketing automation is to use software to replace repetitive manual processes with automated actions. You can find, target, and contact prospects effectively and efficiently. The automation software makes it easy to segment your contact lists and target specific audiences with tailored messages, leading to increased sales for your business. Automation delivers you more qualified leads and makes your marketing more efficient, so that you can focus on high-gain sales activities for your company.

Direct_Mail_Automation_Paw_Print_And_Mail
Business image created by Dashu83 – Freepik.com

Automation often relies on a trigger system, where a prospect completes a certain action, such as opting in to an email list, that triggers your software to send an email to them. Automation is regularly used for digital marketing processes, and the benefit of digital automation is that you can reach prospects instantaneously, increasing the chances of a sale. However, direct mail can be automated too, and it gives recipients something more: a physical and personal experience that stands out from a cluttered email inbox.

Some examples of direct mail automation campaigns include:

  • Seasonal promotions
  • Exclusive offers based on past purchase history
  • Mailings to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or to thank
  • Promotional packages, featuring branded products

Case Study: A Real-Life Campaign

Prospects_Paw_Print_And_Mail
Background vector created by Iconicbestiary – Freepik.com

An essential factor of any automated campaign is to know your audience. Automation software makes it easy to segment your contact lists to find the best audience for your campaign. You can define your best customers and the key demographic and psychographic factors they have in common.

If you’re working in a B2B context, you may find that a certain industry uses your services more frequently than others. If this is so, it makes sense that you’ll want to engage with similar businesses to find more customers that are like your best customers.

A recent mailing campaign we did followed this model. We identified an industry we frequently worked with, and set out to create a campaign to attract more leads from this group. Having worked with this demographic before, we were able to anticipate common pain points, needs, and desires they face, and create content with those factors in mind.

Before contacting anyone, we put together a compelling direct mail marketing package that was personalized to the recipient, showing our knowledge of their industry and reaching them on a personal level—we know your problems and desires, and we can help you to solve and achieve them.

The packets included a letter personalized with the name, address, and institution of the recipient, a functional portfolio folder featuring content customized for the recipient’s business, and a description of our services specific to that audience, all packaged in a custom envelope.

While we were able to create a personal touch with our content, automation allowed us to find and connect with these prospects in a timely, scheduled manner. We purchased data lists that we then compared to our current customer list to exclude our customers from receiving a prospecting packet. Once we identified a qualified list of recipients, we automated the mailing by consistently sending out 10 packets per week and following up with a structured phone and email schedule.

We created a personalized and industry-specific mailing and used automation to identify, mail to, and follow up with qualified recipients. We were able to generate business by creating an impression with our direct mail package, so that it stood out amongst the myriad marketing messages these businesses received on a daily basis.

At Paw Print & Mail, we specialize in direct mail marketing. Let us help you design, print, and automate your next direct mail campaign, so you can generate qualified leads for your business.

Subscribe to our email list so you never miss a post from Paw Print!

The Essentials of Email Marketing Automation

Email_Automation_Paw_Print_And_Mail205 billion. That’s the number of emails sent every day around the world.

Some days it seems like I receive a billion or so myself. If you’re actively using email for work and to receive information from companies that interest you, your inbox is probably pretty full, too.

Two of the largest complaints consumers have about email are that they receive too many emails (44%) and the emails aren’t relevant to them (37%). Even when an email has relevance for a consumer, it’s easy for it to get lost in a crowded inbox.

To market your business effectively, your emails have to offer timely information that resonates with the recipient, and must be compelling enough to be opened over the dozens of other emails in an inbox. So, how can you make email marketing work for you, connecting with clients on a more personal level?

There’s a lot of talk about marketing automation these days, and for good reason…because it works. At its most basic, email marketing automation allows you to create and schedule emails to be sent out when they are relevant, saving you time, making your communication strategy more efficient, and generating more leads or sales for your business.

How Does Automation Work?

Effective automation requires tracking and analyzing data so that your communications reach customers at the right time with the right message. Marketing automation can track prospective customers from their initial visit to your website all the way to post-purchase and beyond. When you track the behavior of leads and customers, it makes it easier to see which of your marketing strategies is most effective, what the typical path from search to sale looks like, and what triggers customers to convert.

You can set up your automation to contact potential customers throughout the sales process. For example, if they’ve spent time searching for a product or service but haven’t yet purchased, automation software could trigger an email that will remind them of their interest and highlight the benefits of what you’re offering. Once they’ve made a purchase, you could send information about how to make the best use of the product. Down the road, your automation could suggest similar products that may interest your customer or upgrades to their current memberships or subscriptions. One name for this kind of triggered marketing campaign is a drip campaign.  Personalized emails generate 6 times more revenue than non-personalized emails, and this can have real benefits for your business.

The core of the effectiveness lies in the trigger. You can craft emails that are specific to what the lead is doing and what you hope them to do in the future. It’s kind of like a “choose your own adventure” book: each action a lead takes brings them further down their own path, and that path may be slightly different than everyone else’s.

In addition to sending emails on a trigger system, you can segment your email lists based on demographic factors like location, age, or sales history. This will help to increase sales and generate leads, as your audience will be receiving more relevant content. You can also use automation to ask your contact list what their content preferences are, to further target them with the right content.

A key point to remember is that automation is aimed at engagement. With automation, you are contacting prospects and customers when it is most relevant to them, with the goal of them completing an action so they will further engage with your company.

Types of Automated Emails

If you want to send automated emails but aren’t sure where to begin, here are some examples:

Welcome: A welcome email is one of the most basic forms of email automation. You may even have come to expect such an email once you’ve signed up for an e-newsletter or opened an account. It’s a great first touch, and you can use it to express gratitude or include a special offer. Craft the email to encourage the recipient to take some further, immediate action, with a “Shop Now” button, or a link to a compelling piece of content on your site.

Enhance the Purchase: While a simple “thanks for your purchase” on its own doesn’t hold much engagement value, you can make this type of email into something more. A key purpose of content marketing is to offer customers information and value. In a thank you email, you can include links to tutorials, guides, blog posts etc., which will help customers to get the most out of their purchase, drive traffic to your site, and position you as an authority in your field.

Customer_Review_Paw_Print_And_Mail
Business vector created by Freepik

Feedback: Another effective way to step up a thank you email is to ask customers for feedback. Encourage recipients to answer one simple question about purchase experience, satisfaction, or what they hope to get from the purchase. An email like this will get recipients to engage and provide you with valuable info.

Complete a Sale: The internet is a prolific resource for shopping, but there is also a lot to distract us. I can think of many times I’ve shopped around or filled a web cart, but not completed a purchase. You probably have, too. Whatever your business, there will be visitors who come to your website and consider a purchase, but don’t follow through. These are very qualified leads, who may need just a little push to commit to a sale. Automation software can easily track these visitors and abandoned carts, and send emails to the individuals to bring them back to your site and continue on.

Renewals & Expirations: Retaining current customers is much easier than searching for new ones, and automation will make this process easier. Automation software can keep track of when renewal payments are required or subscriptions are due to expire, and send your customers an automatic reminder.

Birthdays: People love special attention on their birthdays, and you can use this occasion to offer something extra to your customers. The software will track birthdays and send communications accordingly, giving a fun and personal touch to your emails.

Appointment reminders: If your business schedules recurring appointments on a regular basis, email automation can help you to remind customers when they are due for their next appointment. You won’t have to call each patient or customer individually, and you’ll be encouraging your current customer base to return to your business.

Events: Automation works great for event reminders. Once someone signs up to attend an event you’re hosting, you can periodically send them emails with date reminders, additional info they’ll want to know, and other events they may be interested in based on the one they’ve registered for.

Tips for Email Marketing Automation

Write Enticing Subject Lines: It’s as simple as this: if you don’t have a compelling subject line, your email will not be opened. Take the time to hit just the right note.

Have a Clear Call to Action: Automated emails are specific to the customer, and you need to be specific in what you’re asking them to do. Have one clear goal for each automated email, and make sure it is obvious what response you are looking for from the recipient.

Write Compelling & Concise Copy: Connect with your readers using persuasive and engaging copy, and keep it short. Most readers will scan for relevant info, so make use of bullets and bold text to get your message across.

Analyze_Data_Paw_Print_And_Mail
Infographic vector created by Photoroyalty – Freepik.com

Measure, Measure, Measure: Like any marketing strategy, automation can and should be tested. You can split test your email message content to see what is more effective. And it’s essential to analyze your data (like open and response rates). Though marketing automation is meant to operate on its own, it will still require adjustments on your end to ensure your content is performing the way you want it to and is aligned with the marketing goals you have for your business.

Let Subscribers Manage Preferences: The worst thing you can do is offend or annoy your audience. Give them the opportunity to tell you what they want to see from you and how often they want to see it. Having them engage less is better than an unsubscribe. But this being said, make sure every email includes a visible opt-out link.

Start Simple: As you can see, there are many different ways to implement marketing automation, and a lot of opportunities you can make use of. But if you’re just starting out, don’t try to do it all at once; rather, focus on only one or two automation campaigns in a comprehensive fashion.

Don’t Forget Your Purpose: Always remember you are looking to engage and nurture relationships, and ensure your emails are consistently doing so.

According to The Direct Marketing Association, segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue, which is huge! While this is a great reason to use marketing automation, we recognize that it can be hard to get things started. Paw Print & Mail is fully equipped to help you develop an automated and multi-channel marketing strategy. Contact us to get started on your marketing campaign.

Subscribe to our email list so you never miss a post from Paw Print!

 

5 Ways Marketing Automation Delivers Qualified Leads

Generate Qualified Leads with Marketing Automation

Lead_Generation_Paw_Print_and_Mail

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to marketing your business? According to HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound Report, 63% of marketers say their top marketing challenge is generating traffic and leads. Even if your company is doing a robust business now, it’s important to think ahead and always have strategies in mind for how you will generate future leads and sales.

But not all leads or lead generation strategies are created equal. It may seem like the best way to increase business for your company is to send your message through the most channels, so it will be seen by the largest number of people possible. However, this method will spread your efforts too thin, and will likely end up costing you money rather than increasing sales.

The secret is to direct your digital and direct mail marketing so that you are specifically targeting fewer, more qualified leads. When you are able to more personally connect with potential customers that you know are or have been interested in your services (based on things like past purchase history, or tracking visitor activity on your website), you enhance the effectiveness of your communications.

Targeting qualified leads in a personal and timely manner is essential, but it can be hard to keep up a consistent strategy when you’re working on a case-by-case basis. Marketing automation allows you to generate qualified leads in an efficient and effective manner.

What is Marketing Automation?

At its most basic, marketing automation is the use of a software platform that replaces repetitive manual processes with automated solutions. It can be used across channels, including direct mail, email, and social media, to help to provide information to and maintain contact with leads and customers for a variety of marketing purposes.

When someone completes a certain action, such as opting in to an email list or searching your website, they will trigger the automation system, which will automatically send a message to them. Think of the last email newsletter you signed up for, or the last web purchase you made. You probably got a welcome or thank you email pretty fast, right? That was thanks to marketing automation. You can learn more about the specifics of marketing automation in this post.

Since you aren’t personally sending out these kinds of communications yourself, you create greater efficiency in your communications and have more time to focus on high-gain activities. Another major benefit is that you will be generating qualified leads to enhance your sales process.

Why Use Marketing Automation for Lead Generation?

Generate_Leads_Paw-Print-and-mail
Background vector created by Dooder – Freepik.com

Say you’re in the apparel business, selling inexpensive, fun clothing designed for teenage girls and young women. You likely have a list of current and past customers, and maybe an email list. You want to send out a mailing advertising a sale and providing an exclusive coupon or sales offer to get customers in the door.

If your goal is to increase brand awareness and find new leads, you need to expand your mailing list. But how will you decide who to mail to? If you have the ability to mail to every household within a 5-mile radius of your store, it’s easier to do that than to manually sort through a gigantic mailing list looking for leads.

But it doesn’t make sense to send a campaign targeted at young women to every person in town, as it isn’t relevant to many people and will be disregarded. Marketing automation software will solve this problem for you. It makes it easier to sort through a mailing list, to, say, only send your mailing to female recipients, and to provide you with information so you can further pare it down by age. And if you’re selling products for multiple demographics, it’s easy to segment mailing lists, providing two selective, targeted campaigns rather than one large generic one.

And what’s the purpose of targeting a more specific audience? Qualified leads increase sales.

Benefits of Marketing Automation for Qualified Lead Generation
1) Automate Your Marketing on Schedule

Time is truly of the essence in marketing. When a lead is looking for information or considering making a purchase, you must connect with them in a timely manner to retain their interest. You need to be able to contact your leads with information when it is most relevant to them, and this is hard to do if you are personally sending out every communication.

With automation, you can schedule out communications so that when a lead completes a specific action, such as signing up to your email list or creating an account, they will automatically be sent an email. Even with a scheduled system, you can make your communications personal, so that leads won’t feel they are being contacted by a robot.

2) Know Your Prospects

Before you begin any kind of marketing campaign, you need to know your prospects. It’s helpful for you to dig deep and understand the demographics, needs, and wants of your prospective customers so that you can make your marketing message most effective at connecting and driving action.

However, this is just a first step. Once you know your message, you need specific individuals to communicate with.  Marketing automation brings it all together by helping you to identify these individuals. The software provides you with comprehensive information about prospects, like location, purchase history, and when they last purchased from you, that will make targeting much easier.

3) Segment Communications for Relevance

Targeting_Leads_Paw_Print_And_Mail
Background vector created by Makyzz – Freepik.com

Because automation can give you such in-depth information about leads, you can specifically identify where leads are in the sales process. Your leads will be at all different stages, so sending them all the same message doesn’t make sense.

When you send more personalized and relevant information, you increase the chance that your lead will respond. Automation software makes it easy to segment communications so that smaller groups of leads are receiving content tailored to them. You can easily craft a more compelling and specific message or call to action for each of the segmented groups you’re reaching out to.

More comprehensive automation software helps you generate leads through website visitors, traffic from pay-per-click advertising, email responses, and any other inbound marketing that you’re using. This will help increase your number of qualified leads while providing you with specific information, such as what pages they visited, to help personalize your messages to them. You’ll always be finding new leads who were interested specifically in a product or service provided by your company.

4) Deepen Relationships with Leads and Customers

When you have business coming in, you need to focus on fulfilling those commitments and working with those specific customers. But once a sale has been fulfilled for a customer, they don’t disappear from the sales cycle, and they shouldn’t vanish from your radar. Your best customers are going to be those that frequent your business, so you need to nurture your customer base just as you would any other group of leads.

Marketing automation takes some of the stress out of this process by identifying when past leads and customers should be contacted again, and offering them content to enhance their experience with you. For instance, once a lead has made a purchase, automation can be used to send them information on how to get the most from the product they purchased, and, down the road, to reach out with similar products they may be interested in. This helps to deepen the customer’s relationship with you, especially as personalization is the preferred way for leads to receive communications from brands.

5) Save Money While Targeting Better Leads

Automation processes make sales more efficient. Rather than spending money across channels on a wide reaching but low target message, you’re spending less and sending out fewer communications. Because these marketing messages are highly targeted and sent to a specific audience, you are reaching out to leads that are better qualified to make a purchase, and are sure to see results.

At Paw Print & Mail, our marketing automation services are capable of effectively using cross-channel touches, like email and direct mail, together in harmony to put your message in front of your customers and prospects in an orchestrated fashion. To learn more about the specifics of marketing automation and how it can generate leads for your company or organization, contact Paw Print today.

Subscribe to our email list so you never miss a post from Paw Print!

Enhance Your Sales With Marketing Automation

Marketing_Automation_Paw_Print_And_Mail
Be more effective with your marketing. Image created by Freepik.

As a business owner, staying in touch with your customers is the key to solidifying those vital relationships and growing your business. You want to be able to have a conversation and convey your brand so they’ll return to you for their needs, rather than go to your competitors. But penning a personal message to a customer (and being able to anticipate when you might need to) can consume a lot of time.

Marketing is a core function of any business or nonprofit organization and it should be high on the list of your resource investments. But that doesn’t mean it has to consume all of your work time. An effective way to keep communication open while consuming less time is through the use of marketing automation.

What Is Marketing Automation?

Wikipedia defines it as the use of an automation platform to streamline sales and marketing efforts by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions. Essentially marketers can do more in less time, with greater efficiency, allowing them to focus on high gain activities while the technology delivers effective marketing results. Most marketing automation solutions today are cloud-based applications that enable marketing professionals to seamlessly integrate off and online media, such as Direct Mail, Email, Web, SMS (text messaging), Social Media, and Mobile, to create highly personalized and unified experiences across multiple channels.

With an automation campaign, you develop content that the application sends to your customers when it is most effective to do so. The technology allows you to give your messages a human touch and make them as personal as you’d like them to be, so your customers will feel connected to your brand.

The components inherently built into a typical automated marketing campaign include:

  • A trigger, most often an email, direct mail piece, or both.
  • A campaign-branded landing page, with one to a few qualifying questions, either with or without a download deliverable like an eBook, white paper, or other offer of value.
  • Thank You or follow up touch(es) to continue the conversation or close the loop. Throughout the entire process, personalization is employed to greet and engage.

This process gives marketers keen insight into the level of interest and/or stage in the buying cycle the customer or prospect is at. The qualifying information gathered forms a higher level lead for your sales team to evaluate and act on. This saves companies and nonprofits time and money by focusing on leads that have a higher probability of advancing in the sales or donor cycle. Whatever goals you have for your business, marketing automation can help you meet them through the development of targeted campaigns that will get you results.

Marketing automation is also a means of scaling your marketing outreach by being able to reach all or segmented parts of your contact list at once in a highly personalized fashion. This allows you to accomplish your objectives of building brand awareness, educating your customers, prospecting for leads, asking for referrals, and client nurturing.

Marketing automation is an effective tool that you can use as part of your marketing mix to not only generate leads, but generate QUALIFIED leads… and this is an important distinction to understand. Since the number one goal of most marketers is demand generation for their sales organization, one of the key opportunities of investing in marketing automation is to be able to develop well-executed lead nurturing programs. The added capability to create rule-based multi-touch drip marketing campaigns, leading to improved results, is one of the reasons why marketers embrace the solution.

Employing this strategy, the marketer is able to deliver “Sales Ready” leads to sales for immediate follow-up, while the remaining prospects are nurtured until they move to the “Sales Ready” category. This approach leads to significantly improved revenue results and marketing ROI. In fact, Forrester Research reports that companies leveraging this approach generate 50% more sales-ready leads (key revenue producing opportunities), at 33% less marketing cost.

4 Essential Benefits of Marketing Automation

While automation is a complex and layered process, here are four main reasons to invest in it.

  1. Do More in Less Time: While setting up your automation software takes time upfront, once you have developed your content, you’re saving time in the long run. Rather than crafting emails individually, the software contacts customers and leads for you, leaving you with more time to focus on high-gain activities and develop new areas to market and grow your business. You’ll be able to generate more revenue, from increasing the number of leads who convert to customers as well as the extra time you’ll have to enhance your marketing strategy. 
  1. Target Leads More Specifically: Customers and prospects will receive content in a timely manner that is targeted to their needs, interests, and content preferences. You can reduce the quantity of cold calls by generating a supply of qualified leads. 
  1. Increase Action: Since content is specific to where each customer is in the sales process, it increases the likelihood of that person taking the intended action. 
  1. Enhance Communication: Being in contact with your customers more often and more specifically increases your connection with them and can help to create more of a dialogue, as you learn customer preferences, needs, and behaviors.

Marketing automation is essentially using applications software to automate your marketing efforts. It is a digital tool that executes a predefined marketing campaign that, once the launch button is pressed, so to speak, delivers your marketing message in a systematic, consistent, and timely fashion.

While not all automated marketing campaign applications are created equal, the more robust applications, like those employed as a service here at Paw Print & Mail, are capable of effectively using cross-channel touches, like email and direct mail, working in harmony to put your message in front of your customers and prospects in an orchestrated fashion. Contact us to get started on marketing automation for your business.

 

Subscribe to our email list so you never miss a post from Paw Print!