There is a lively discussion going on over at MSPmentor regarding the effectiveness of using Direct Mail in general marketing efforts. In his post, Joe talks about Nine Lives Media Inc.'s (MSPmentor's parent) Google Adwords account and how they utilize it, and then writes "But when I walked down my driveway and reached into my physical mailbox today, I pulled out a catchy direct mail piece from Google. It was a four-page overview that offered me more tips on using Google Adwords. I’m keeping the mailer and plan to give it a closer read tonight."
Joe goes on to inquire in his post "What type of return on investment can direct mail offer?". You can read his entire post by clicking the link above, along with the excellent feedback from his respondents. I also posted the following feedback:
Joe, great post – and all respondents, excellent feedback.
Just to recap the feedback and add a few thoughts, it’s all about the number of marketing touches delivered – not only to prospects, but also to existing clients that fills the pipeline. And utilizing a variety of vehicles to conduct the marketing touches is key, along with delivering a compelling message that piques interest and generates curiosity, as well as the timing of the message.
The IT Solution or Managed Services Provider marketer needs to deliver their marketing messages in the way that the recipient prefers to receive them – hence direct mail letters, postcards and telemarketing efforts should be included in a marketing strategy along with email marketing, newsletter marketing, pay per click advertising (or organic SEO to improve search results), and newsletters, case studies and business-win messaging.
All messaging should be created to generate interest, pique curiosity and recommend a call to action – and always lead the recipient back to the marketer’s website. The website is hands-down the most effective and cost-effective marketing tool at the marketer’s disposal – when designed, positioned and utilized correctly.
The website should have specific landing pages for each individual marketing campaign – if the Provider is marketing VoiP, then the landing page their messages direct visitors to should be a specific VoiP landing page designed to continue the marketing message and facilitate the conversion process from prospect to qualified prospect – not the home page, and the landing page has to continue to influence visitors to a call to action – pick up the phone, fill out a contact form in exchange for a return call, case study or white paper, sign up for a newsletter, webinar, event, etc.
All of these activities are designed to capture contact information to be used in follow up efforts. And video is the next frontier – all appropriate pages should have a short video that can be tagged and indexed by search engines, helping in SEO efforts and providing a more compelling way to deliver a marketing message to visitors and prospects.
Live Chat is definitely an effective, highly recommended addition to the website as well, as it allows the ability to immediately interact with a visitor and collect information about what they are doing on the site, in order to offer assistance or qualify them for the product or service they are currently browsing.
For existing clients, the marketer should also create and execute a continual retention campaign, messaging not only the products and services they offer that they may not have had the opportunity to share with their clients, but also business wins (good for both prospects and clients), reflecting their success, growth and capability to deliver these additional services, along with case studies and newsletters.
An important element to include in a retention campaign are holiday, birthday and special anniversary messages for their clients – this shows the Provider cares about the client and is keeping track of meaningful events in their business.
One more thought – appointment setting and thank you cards and emails also provide additional marketing touches for prospects and clients, and continue to reflect the image and professionalism of the Provider – this is especially beneficial during the pre-sales and sales process for new prospects.
Whichever marketing vehicles and messaging the marketer settles on for a new campaign, they then must schedule each event that comprises their marketing campaign in a logical manner that continues to generate interest, pique curiosity and prepares the prospect for the sales process that is to come – we don’t want to execute all of our marketing tasks on the same day, but rather create a long-term campaign to continue to touch our prospects and clients numerous times.
So a representative campaign may look like this:
- Day 1 – Send Postcards/DM (we prefer oversize postcards that stick out of a pile of mail)
- Day 3 – Send Email
- Day 4 – Telemarketing Call-Down
- Day 7 – Send Newsletter
- Day 9 – Send Postcard/DM 2 (vary the message, same solution/service)
- Day 12 – Send Email 2 (vary the message, same solution/service)
- Day 13 – Telemarketing Call-Down 2
During this campaign, it is expected that the prospect will visit the marketer’s Website. This is an opportunity for them to exchange their contact information for a white paper or case study, review the information about the solution or service that drove them there, watch a short video and potentially engage with the Provider during a Live Chat session.
Now count all of those marketing touches – the fact is that the more we touch our prospects and clients, the better chance we have that they will do business with us. This is why we should never stop marketing, and include direct mail as well as all other types of marketing vehicles we can muster to help us touch our prospects and clients in as many ways as possible through our marketing campaigns.
This is an extremely important topic, Joe – thanks for covering it. Let’s face it – without an effective lead generation strategy, sales suffer. That’s why MSP University delivers a full 3 days of Marketing education and training covering these topics in depth at our free Managed Services Boot Camps, with the next one in Nashville on April 6th-8th. Visit www.mspu.us to register today!
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