Thursday, June 27, 2013

Developing A Successful Cross-Media Campaign

Where to begin? That can be a difficult question to answer, especially if you've never planned a cross media campaign before.
If you follow a few simple steps, however, you should be able to build a great campaign.

1) The touch.

Every good campaign has to start somewhere. Print is usually the genesis, the launching point, the initial customer contact. Especially if you are looking for new customers or don't have much data on your current customer base. A postcard or a more complex mail piece are the most common approaches to contact, especially if you are looking to do a personalized campaign.

2) The offer.

Also known as the "call to action". This is a critical element to a cross-media campaign. Whether it's a free item, a discount, a contest, or a promise of valuable information - we need the offer in order to get the action.

3) The response.

Typically, the next step in a cross-media campaign is to lead the recipient to an online landing page, where they can find out more, or redeem their offer. A personalized URL (PURL) is ideal because it can be catered directly to their lifestyle, likes or interests.

4) The data.

The landing page is your data goldmine - where you have the opportunity to collect more information about the customer, which can be automatically inputed into your data program. The trick is to ask for the right type and amount of information, not too much or too personal which might make some people uncomfortable. Remember, you are doing this so that you can best serve their individual needs - so be polite!

5) The share.

A cross media campaign is a great opportunity for social sharing. Ex: make it a contest and ..  You can even track your best sharers and reward them.

6) The follow-up.

Don't put Baby in a corner. It's so important to nurture your customers, even after you have made the sale. Most commonly, follow up is in the form of a thank you email or another mailed offer. The basis of cross-media is a back and forth approach, which strengthens the relationship (and information) between the business and customer.

So line-em up, lay-em out and brainstorm your cross media campaign concept! Using these techniques can massively improve your ROI.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Extra! Extra! How to use your Newsletter for Extra business opportunities.

Newsletters can be thought of as a more "homestyle" communications opportunity for your business. Rather than being a selling point, the news letter can be used to keep in touch with your customer base and let them know what is going on in your company. It's a place to mention employees who are making a difference, charitable contributions, company developments or even fun facts. Think about the recipient looking at it the way they would look at a magazine - kicking back and scanning the headlines for articles that interest them. I advise outlining a structure of categories, so that you have a template to start with each time, making the writing and set-up much easier for you.

Today's alternatives to a printed newsletter are the email version. I doubt that a single person reading this right now doesn't feel overwhelmed by the amount of email they receive on a daily basis. I, for one, have a few email subscriptions that I will read every week, and the rest pretty much goes in the trash. People tend to go overboard in email with offers and sales pitches. If I get a printed newsletter from a company that I do business with, however, I will at least scan the headlines to see if anything interests me and read the articles if it does - especially if it is well-designed. I feel like they sent it to me because I was important to them (unlike email, which everyone gets).

Aside from business to business communications, a company newsletter may also be used for inter-company communications.

Using articles that educate readers can actually even reduce labor costs by answering frequently asked questions or introducing and explaining changes.

But what about email? I recently met with a software company. They mentioned that they were getting terrible email open rates even for important updates on their products that the recipients USED. When you send a printed information piece, the recipient is going to have to hold it before getting rid of it, which is more of a connection than the click click of email deletion. Chances are, the person getting the newsletter will feel like a valued customer, partner or employee for having received it.

Tips for a good company newsletter:

Make it personal. In relation to your company, don't make it about marketing. Highlight employees and express the personality of your brand. Build a relationship.

Organization. Make sure the information is well-organized for easy reference and quick reading.

Make a template. For the content areas as well as the design. To avoid re-inventing the wheel, define what categories of topics will fall in each section. ex: "Community Contribution of the Month".

Look and Feel. Think about the vibe of your favorite magazines to get ideas for the look and feel of the design.

Here's an example of how you might set up a newsletter template front page: