Which PR Marketing Strategy is best– eMail or Direct Mail?

If you guessed eMail, you’re wrong, well, almost wrong. Email has become very popular because it is easy to create, and costs a lot less than traditional direct mail. But are you sacrificing cost for conversions? Are you willing to listen, or be open minded to the fact that your pr marketing strategy should now include direct mail?

Let me explain what has been happening between these two pr marketing strategies that has direct mail the winner at this time.

You need to realize the average person receives thousands of junk email a month, and some may get that much a week. Then consider how many hundreds of email you get from vendors you know, clients, newsletters you subscribe to, etc. Although once anemail marketing pr marketing strategy important pr marketing strategy, email is now getting numb to the receiver. Our inbox has become so full with emails that we are now trashing things that are not directly needed at the time.  A well-known professor, Andrew Razeghi wrote a book called “The Riddle…” and explains it is time to be creative with your marketing strategies. In his words, Mr. Razeghi said, “direct mail is more physical, less disposable and more sensory than digital media (email).” This alone should tell you why direct mail is clearly becoming the winner.

I am not saying to abort all email campaigns, but to re-consider the safe and true value that direct mail has, and it has a higher return rate. That’s because customers are often skeptical and more so when the economy is in a recession like now. By keeping a tangible image with something for the customer to touch, gives a positive perception of a company. With email, it is difficult for the person to get that feeling, especially if they can easily “click” your message into the trash without opening it. Another point, we hate getting bills in the mail. So it has been known that consumers will open a direct mailer because it is not a bill, or something that could be negative. Basically, we want to be entertained and junk mail can help relieve the fear of another bill.

Want to know some of the secrets to a successful direct mail program? Give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400.

Understanding Web 2.0

The “social media” network is neither a trend nor a fad. It is real and it is changing how businesses think their pr marketing strategies.

Businesses have changed their approach on marketing as new technologies emerge. Look at radio and television. It made marketers, pr clients; all change how to reach their audience from traditional print media. Then came direct mail, telemarketers, and catalogs. This again forced marketers to re-think their approach. If you do not change your pr marketing strategy or your overall advertising plan, then you will be left in the dust as your competitors move forward.

I have written several articles on this web 2.0 subject for the past 8 months. Warning pr clients, ad agencies, and publicitysocial media web 2.0 firms to “open their marketing eyes” and look what the Internet is doing. For example, no longer is the marketer in charge of telling the consumer about their great product or service. This doesn’t make the cut anymore. It is the consumer who is in control. They tell you what they want, when they want it, and how they will buy it. If your pr marketing strategies are not including this process of the consumer, then you need to re-think about changing to another marketing company that is sensitive to the Web 2.0 and how it affects pr clients.

I read a great article in Brandweek that made me realize marketers, and pr clients alike are not addressing this new social media correctly. It’s called “The 12 Steps to the Interactive Future”. It mainly highlights the 12 steps written by Larry Weber who is an expert on social media. His book titled: “How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business”. I will give you a few of the steps now, then a few more in another blog.

1- Change your marketing mindset. Marketers still define target markets by communicating with prospective customers, building loyalty. These old techniques are not going to work today. Your pr marketing strategy, or ad plan needs to re-think, get out of that old box mindset. You need to be more transparent to the customer. Don’t try to brag about whom you are and your product. It is about nurturing relationships and dialog with customers, prospects and all those active in the community.

2- Make your brand come alive. To make a branding program successful today you need to recognize that brand equity is shifting away from brand essence and brand recall. Mr. Weber points out that branding is a living thing. Something that marketers cannot accept, at least not yet. A good example of this new dialogue is GoogleTalk, Google Groups and Blogger. Oh, did you notice these are blog type-sites. Something I have been pushing for two years! Google keeps asking customers what they want and then responds. That’s making your brand come alive!

3- Out with the old Segmentation. It doesn’t surprise me that marketers for the most part, still segment their pr marketing strategy by demographics such as age or gender. Ok, some products and services need to do this. If you are promoting an assisted living complex, yes, then some of the traditional methods work. But today, you need to segment by behavior, attitudes and interests. Forget the age and gender. These groups are what are important, not age, or gender.

These three points of the 12 should make you realize that the Web 2.0, or social media, or Business Web (all are the same, just different tags) shows how you, as a pr client, or marketing professional needs to re-think your mindset. If not, then read my next three steps. Happy marketing!

Create A Direct Mail Campaign That People Will Notice

Direct mail is a very competitive. And if you are selling a service, a direct mail campaign needs to stand out and be compelling. You can do traditional mailings using a fancy postcard, or a letter. That is one way, but it will get lost with all the other mailers. If you hire a publicity agency in Orange County, or find a national publicity agency, you might get some very creative shop that wants to develop a mail campaign with a gimmick. For example if you are a financial advisor the public relations agency might mail a small baseball bat in a box with a clever headline that reads “We Hit Home Runs For Our Clients”, or “How NOT to strike out in Retirement”. Although these concepts might win awards at a banquet for publicity Orange County agencies, it isn’t going to bring customers to the client.

You might even try some publicity techniques. Get articles or press releases written about the unique direct mail campaign. But are these really going to get you customers? Maybe, but it isn’t going to make you stand out. So what will? And how do you create a campaign that gets results?

email videosThere are several things you can do. One for example is to send prospects and current customers an email video. Yes, a video. This is just one example of being creative in a different and less costly venture than mailing the baseball bat.

I am not against direct mail campaigns. They should be part of your overall campaign. When you include a video with your mail campaign, you now have set your company apart from the masses. Plus, you will have a different perspective by the viewer. No longer do you need to rely on that single sheet to tell your story, but you can tell it on video.

Just remember to keep it short. These are sales tools, not feature films. Your potential customer will watch the video, if short, and will listen if the information is both entertaining and factual. Here are some sites to learn more about sending email videos: Image Mind, if you use Outlook 2003 try this link, Google has a list of many email video companies to consider.

If all else fails, give us a call. We’re here to make great things happen for your company.

Press Releases

There is always more to know

It seems we keep learning something new about press rleases and how we should write them, send them, etc.

I came across another PR pro that I think mimics my feelings about doing releases. His name is John Jantsch.

One thing I believe was good advice is he feels that you need to be consistent sending at least one release per month.

The neat thing he said, is to print a few hundred of the releases then send these to your clients and hottest prospects. Why? Because after awhile, these clients and prospects start recalling that they saw your releases somewhere, and typically people believe they read it in a publication.

It can also help you get media attention.

John commented that this may sound silly, but I personally think it is "smart marketing"!

It’s good to see other PR pros giving tips to help companies know that pr is not all smoke and mirrors, but consists of strategy and planning.

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