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Each template offers complete flexibility—with just a click, add your product photos, offers, articles, links, promotions, coupons, and more. Not sure what to say? Read our article on Email Marketingfor tips and suggestions. Or have XBM create powerful, effective content for your business—making Email Marketing even easier for you! A permission-based one. What is one of the first things you do when you get home at the end of the day? I bet you get the mail! Mail is still one of the easiest ways to reach decision makers.

An email has to get past spam filters and actually get opened to be effective. Direct mail goes right to the mailbox and can start the sales message on the outside of the envelope or on the front of the postcard. Direct mail is also great for driving traffic to your web site and gathering opt-ins for your email campaigns. Studies by the United States Postal Service USPS and other independent groups found that traditional consumers as well as the more internet-savvy still consider mail a very relevant and useful source of information.

People enjoy the physical aspect of viewing mail and many prefer it to email communication and telemarketing. Studies also showed that combining mail with online efforts can have a substantial impact on web site traffic. Using these two tactics together will definitely improve your results. Some ways to accomplish this are:. Why send an envelope with just address information on it? Why not use that valuable real estate to start the sale at first glance?

If you already have a relationship with this prospect make sure to call that out. Even printing a line on the back of the envelope lifts open rates. Dare to be different, it will pay off. People will open an intriguing envelope. Try a 12 envelope, or one with bubble pack, or unconventional sizes and colors.

People have mailed barf bags, anti-static bags, burlap bags, even a life-size cardboard cutout of Elvis. Just be sure to bring a test piece to the post office first to avoid any surprises. Even though people do a lot of their buying online, catalogs are still crucial to selling merchandise.

Alone they are a great vehicle to show your products, but when combined with online efforts their effectiveness only grows. Catalog mailings can be highly targeted with the right mailing list and the ROI is very measurable. Even retailers that started solely as online stores such as Amazon. They know that mailing catalogs helps attract new, profitable customers.

They are also very easy for people to save or pass on to another interested party. Try an oversized postcard or a die-cut shape to stand out. These include zip-pull envelopes, scratch-off cards, sticky notes, stickers, etc. The longer a person interacts with your mail piece the more message retention and response it will generate. This type of campaign can triple response rates and message retention. The cardboard Elvis mailer would be a dimensional piece. Other examples would be sending a premium gift — mailing a sports water bottle with a letter inside, or one walkie talkie with an offer to have the other delivered by your sales rep when the prospect responds.

An important or valuable-looking package is never thrown away like a generic DM piece; it makes its way to your intended recipient. As long as you have a great strategy and message, once your mailer is opened, you should hit your sales goals. Variable Data Printing technology has come a long, long way. Now, you can go far beyond that.

New digital presses can change the text and even the imagery of your piece based on each recipient. Personalization will increases the cost of your campaign, but the increase in response usually more than makes up for the added expense. If your budget is extremely tight target your list more specifically so you can spend more per person.

All prospects are not the same, some will be more profitable than others, so spend accordingly. Segment your prospects and try a concept that can be executed on two different cost levels. Maybe one is an elaborate envelope with variable data printed material inside that is sent to prospects your research shows will be more valuable. Then re-purpose the printed material without VDP for a simpler mailer for prospects that are likely to be less profitable.

Everybody has their preferences so give people multiple ways to respond to your campaign; web site, physical address, response card, toll-free number, etc. Using full-color printing makes your piece much more attractive and pulls higher response rates. The cost of 4-color printing is very affordable these days due to new technology and heavy competition in the industry. If you are mailing to a small list try a printer with a digital press. If you are a small business and only have a few hundred prospects you may feel comfortable handling your own mailing.

But most businesses will need professional fulfillment help. Mailing is a complicated business. Drop dates, postal rates and regulations, conforming to postal automation techniques, personalization software programs, all these issues can best be addressed by using a printer or mailing company that is extremely familiar with the industry and it will save you money in the long run. The internet seems to have changed every aspect of marketing and communications. Even the stale, old press release has been transformed by it. Press releases used to be written to appeal to the editors of the publications you were praying would run the release.

You often had to include third party reviews or independent studies of your product or service in order to get published. The internet has completely changed that scenario. Now marketing departments and business owners can release their information directly to the public on their own web sites. They can also submit them to services that will spread them far and wide over the internet.

Even editors and journalists now look to the web first for new stories that they will publish in print or on content-driven web sites. Your press release can now focus on pleasing the end reader, not just the editors. They may choose to write about it, either for a web site or print publication. Your release should be in a searchable format and keyword-rich. Make sure it has quality content. That way, when people come across your release in a search, they can go directly to your site for more information. This is called Link Popularity. All these press releases floating around in cyberspace will be incoming links.

People reading your release may put a link to your site on their site as a resource for their readers, giving you more incoming links. This particular aspect of Search Engine Marketing is cheap and very effective in raising your page rank. Anytime something of note happens at your company. When you introduce a new product or service, win an award, hire a key new employee, publish a white paper, conclude a study or survey, launch a new web site, sponsor a workshop or land a big new client with their permission.

Issue a press release anytime you have something to say that your target audience may find interesting. Be sure to archive your older press releases on your site in a searchable format for as long as the content seems relevant. Use a journalistic style when writing your release; avoid seeming too promotional. Use keywords and phrases in the title, headlines, subheads and text that people are likely to use as search terms on Google or Yahoo.

These are some of the most popular services:. PRWeb www. Compare the various services and decide which one will be best for reaching your target audience. Most of these services also offer RSS feeds for your releases. This will make your information available to content-driven sites, blogs and individuals who have interest in your offerings. How can you beat that? Try using a Buzz Monitoring Service — Services that will email a client regarding their status in an industry. Google Alerts google. Alerts alerts. Tell them why your press release will be interesting and relevant to their audience.

Press releases are a low-cost, high-impact way to gain publicity, link popularity, credibility and expert status. You should consider making them a regular part of your Multi-Marketing Strategy. Social Media is the new buzz word in marketing circles, but what does this phrase really encompass. Ask 10 different people and you may very well get 10 different answers that overlap each other in several places.

At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It is transforming monologues one to many into dialogues many to many and the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal and business.

Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few. Examples of social media applications are Google Groups reference, social networking , Wikipedia reference , MySpace social networking , Facebook social networking , MouthShut. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms like Mybloglog and Plaxo.

Consumers are sharing their thoughts and experiences on every brand and product you can think of on forums, blogs and networking sites around the world. They are rating products, writing their own reviews on sites like Amazon. This online word-of-mouth is an ever-increasing factor in what consumers decide to purchase and participate in. Many businesses are harnessing Social Media as a new channel to market to potential customers. Webinars, blogs, customer forums and podcasts are just a few ways to get into the Social Media Marketing mix.

Social media optimization SMO is a set of methods for generating publicity through social media, online communities and community web sites. Social media marketing has two important aspects. The first, SMO, refers to on-page tactics through which a webmaster can improve a web site for the age of social media. Such optimization includes adding links to services such as Digg, Reddit and Del. It is important to maintain the sanctity of conversational economy.. It is tempting to dive right in to Social Media when you start finding relevant sites and blogs.

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But, it is always better to have defined a set of objectives you wish to reach as well as a list of tactics for getting there. These objectives and tactics will probably change and evolve as you go about your plan, but it is important to have a clear starting point at the beginning to work from. This will avoid a lot of wasted time and effort on your part. Are you trying to drive traffic to your site?

A Cost-Effective Way to Reach Your Target Audience

Generate qualified leads for the sales team? Create buzz around a product launch? Become a known expert in your field? There are any number of reasons you may want to launch a social media initiative. Your reasons will determine which tactics you should use. Web Analytics can track your page views over time to see if there are spikes or general increases in traffic when you post to blogs, leave comments or otherwise engage in social media. You can track the amount of RSS subscriptions your blog is getting. You can even track inbound links from others to your site or pages.

Use Google Alerts to tell you when and where you or your company are being mentioned on the web. These sites allow people to sign up and build their own personal profile or webpage with their own content, sometimes including pictures, videos, links to other sites and more.

Users can then connect with friends in the network to share their profile or invite outside friends to join. These tactics represent more than just a regular press release or recent news section of a web site. They are press releases that include rich media such as photos high resolution for print media, low resolution for web sites , audio, video, animation, bookmarks or other social tools.

Posting these to your online newsroom provides readers and journalists with great content to link to, share, or use to write articles about your company easily. These are tools that allow people to find and share events that relate to a specific category or interest. They can be live events at a specific location, or online events such as webinars or video releases. You can monitor social calendars about your industry to see what prospects and competitors are doing or even launch your own to make your site a more valuable resource in the industry.

These web sites are all about collaboration and user input. The best known of these is Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. Videos can be produced and placed on your site and on sites such as YouTube. Be sure to tag your videos with the keywords you believe your target audience will use to search for such content.

Produce them for product demos, training, lectures or any topic you think may be of interest. These are audio and video files made available by subscription on sites such as iTunes. Users can download them and view them at their convenience. Businesses can produce a podcast to mark a company milestone, share case studies, executive interviews and more. Webinars are used to conduct live presentations via the Internet. It is typically one-way, from the speaker to the audience with limited audience interaction. In some cases, the presenter may speak over a standard telephone line, pointing out information being presented on screen and the audience can respond over their own telephones.

There are web conferencing technologies on the market that have incorporated the use of VoIP audio technology, to allow for a truly web-based communication experience. These online broadcast are great for lead generation and brand awareness. People sign-up to view your webinar at a specific time live, or to view a previous one archived on your site. Consider producing a webinar to introduce a new product, solve a common industry-related problem, discuss an important industry issue, any topic that will be relevant to your target audience. It is important to provide informative and useful information to your viewers.

The oldest form of online social media are forums — online discussion sites, often organized around a specific topic or area of interest such as coin collecting, music and software applications. They can be self contained or exist as a feature in a web site. Unlike a blog, forum content comes from its users who post questions and receive answers from other forum members. To find forums in your area of interest try the forum search engine Board Tracker. These communities exist to share a particular type of content such as popular bookmarks, photos or videos.

As in social networking sites, you register and receive a homepage, then you upload the content you want to share. Examples include: Flickr photos , YouTube videos , Digg news and del. Content sites usually allow tags or tagging — users can attach keywords to label content in order to help others organize and search through it. A method for Internet users to store, organize, search, share and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet.

These bookmarks are usually public, but can be saved privately or shared with only specified groups. These bookmarks can usually be viewed chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine. Some social bookmarking services also draw inferences from the relationship of tags to create clusters of related tags or bookmarks. Many social bookmarking services provide web feeds for their lists of bookmarks, including lists organized by tags. This allows subscribers to become aware of new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged by other users.

As these services have matured and grown more popular, they have added extra features such as ratings and comments on bookmarks, the ability to import and export bookmarks from browsers, emailing of bookmarks, web annotation, and groups or other social network features. Allowing users to easily bookmark your web site, forum or blog will help you gain visitors and popularity.

Many blogs allow the posting of comments that give them great interactively with users. Although most blogs are not revenue generators there are a growing number that are. These blogs are actually businesses employing writers to generate content and accepting advertising targeted to their reader demographics. You can use Google Blog Search or Blog Pulse to find blogs covering the topics you are interested in. When you do find a blog that suits you check out its Blogroll — a list of recommended related blogs. Like its name suggests, microblogging involves small posts of content or updates that are distributed online as well as through a mobile network.

These posts are also available through RSS subscriptions. Think of it as a combination of blogging and instant messaging. Example: Twitter, Jaiku, Tumbler. A mashup is a digital media file that contains any or all of the following: text, graphics, audio, video and animation, drawn from pre-existing sources, to create a new derivative work. Digital text mashups, for example, appear by the thousands every day as users of blogs and forums copy and paste text in posts and comments on their topics of interest.

These online tools allow you to create your own mashup by integrating many different types of content into a single, portable format. You can then place your collage or mashup on your web site, blog or social networking page where others can experience them. Examples: Sprout.

Technology and Operations Management

Social Media initiatives require a drastically different approach from that of traditional media. They will respond…negatively that is. They want useful information from their peers or from experts in a particular field. So, give it to them. Ask your current customers what online sources they use. Companies like BuzzLogic allow the tracking of keywords and phrases on blogs and social media sites. You can also take advantage of Google Alerts, alltop.

Spend significant time monitoring these sites to learn the tone and attitude of users before you join in the conversation. Once you do begin start slowly, putting out content and comments that are valuable to your target audience. Everyone involved in the initiative should see themselves as a brand ambassador, so make sure they are all on the same page as far as positioning, goals and attitudes. Remember, in all social media situations you want to be seen as informative, positive, honest and helpful. Ongoing participation by your brand ambassadors is extremely important to your success.

Everyone involved should meet regularly to discuss current activities, results and future opportunities. This kind of initiative will have a positive effect on your search engine ranking as the fresh content, comments, trackbacks and incoming links all count in your favor. Many businesses have shied away from Social Media for fear of negative comments or feedback. Yes, if you start a product forum or blog on your web site you may see some negative content sometimes.

But it is better to know what customers really think of your company and products, and to address it in a positive, helpful way, than to remain ignorant of their opinions and problems. Social Media is an important force that is only growing stronger, much like the internet itself. The technology and applications are ever-changing but the opportunity for marketing your product or service remains the same — opening relevant, honest conversations with existing and potential customers to drive brand awareness and sales.

The story of your company will be told on the internet whether you participate or not. More and more people are turning to the internet to get information on the products and services they need. Web sites are becoming the most important touchpoint you can have with potential customers. Potential clients form their initial opinion of a company based on its web site.

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A professional look, relevant content and ease of use are essential. Is the site up-to-date with the latest news and info? Is the company attentive to detail? Poor grammar, typos and broken links give a bad impression that is hard to overcome. Is the company up to my standards? This is where your branding, strategy, design and USP reel them in. All of your print ads, direct mail pieces and promotions should be driving prospects to your site. They should contain a compelling Call-to-Action directing them to your site for more details, etc.

You should go a step further by using a unique web address or landing page for each marketing campaign. It helps you measure the effectiveness of each effort and actually raises success rates for campaigns. Techniques like this will help you refine your marketing efforts, making them more profitable. Now that your offline marketing is driving qualified prospects to your site, your core message and content must be seen, found relevant and remembered! Determine who the primary visitor to your web site is and make sure they can quickly and easily get what they want.

When a consumer goes to your site you want them to take action. This may include signing up for a free newsletter, a consultation, registering for an event, requesting a brochure or inquiring about a purchase itself. A well written and designed web site will help elicit these actions and is a necessary step to convert someone from a web site visitor into an actual customer. Talk to your sales force. Your site should address these up front to help pre-qualify leads and convert visitors into buyers. Raising your conversion rate from just 1 to 2 percent is the same as doubling your web site traffic, and it is usually much easier and cheaper to do.

Visitors will expect a greater benefit if they take the time to check out your web site. A good web site uses compelling and succinct text, interactively, intuitive navigation systems, etc. Everything on a landing page must be designed and written to entice a visitor to click. Keep copy short and use descriptive links to pages that have more information. Remember, you just want to engage them so they make that first click and start exploring what you have to offer. People read text on web sites very differently than they do text on a page.

In fact they rarely read at all, they scan. Studies have shown that people pay the most attention to headlines and subheads when viewing a web site. So make sure these two important pieces of your copy engage visitors. Bullet points and photo captions are also popular with scanners so pay special attention to them as well. Include keywords your prospects are likely to use in internet searches right in the headline and page title and put the keyword as close to the beginning of the headline as you can.

By doing this you assure visitors that they are on a relevant site. Try not to sound like an ad. Highlight benefits rather than features. Talk about how your product solves problems and make an emotional connection with the prospect. Make your headlines easy to read. Although on an initial visit people will just scan headlines and subheads, when they find a site they like, informative text will assure them of your competence and provides excellent content for search engines to evaluate when ranking a site see Search Engine Marketing.

You want your graphics to capture their interest, then your copy must satisfy their need to know. If you anticipate and answer the questions and concerns they have you will earn their trust and loyalty. Thinking this way will change the way you write and organize your content. The Scotts Company improved their web site by changing the entire way it was organized. The previous version was organized around Scotts corporate structure and various divisions within it. Not very user friendly for someone looking for a product to help them grow better tomatoes.

The new site is designed with the customer in mind. There are other good ways to add relevant, reassuring content to your site. To highlight the benefits of your product or service, consider adding case studies to your site describing how a customer was able to solve a problem or overcome challenges by using your company. These FAQ pages can be a great marketing tool. Use them to address the questions you think customers might or should ask about your industry.

Writing articles and white papers related to your business and publishing them on your site can put you in the enviable situation of being perceived as an authority. Consider asking visitors for their email address in return for access to these articles. These are great ways to grow your email list. Using these content-heavy techniques will help differentiate you from other competing sites. As visitors go about their research, they will look for information on issues, benefits, and features that they first learned about on your site.

Security experts say using your credit card online poses no greater risk of fraud than using it at a store or restaurant. This gives prospects the confidence to make a purchase.

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Testimonials from previous buyers also help to alleviate these fears of fraud. You should also be sure to keep any registration forms short. Keep your visitors coming back by offering an email newsletter or special promotion sign-up on your landing page. If customers like your site or products enough to opt-in to these regular communications they are telling you they are a good prospect. A newsletter is a great vehicle for staying connected and continuing customer interest. Some suggestions for making newsletters engaging include:. Blogs have begun to reshape the internet by enabling millions of people to have a voice and share their ideas and opinions with others.

Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news…A typical blog combines text, images and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic.

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Hosting a blog on your site is a great way to add fresh content, position yourself as an industry expert and keep in touch with prospects. Think of a blog as an online, interactive newsletter for your company. RSS syndication allows visitors to subscribe to your blog and receive updates immediately after you post a new article. Blog hosting services make it easy to create a blog right from your browser window.

Companies can post their latest articles, press releases, announcements, and have them instantly available to interested parties. They also allow users to post comments about your content. You can choose whether or not you want to allow these comments and you can delete any you find objectionable. If you address negative feedback in a positive, problem-solving manner, you can gain the trust and loyalty of readers.

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This kind of service can differentiate you from your competitors and potential customers may see it as a real plus. Staying in touch with current customers and prospects with various offers, news, articles and discounts will help you build a relationship with them that will lead to more sales. SEM is the practice of setting up and running a successful online presence while gaining maximum search engine visibility, i.

Everything depends on how deep you are listed in these results. By changing the content, HTML code and structure of your site SEO experts make your pages more compatible with the robots spiders search engines will send to read and rank them. The content of your web site and the way keywords are used in it determine whether or not the search robots will consider your content relevant and not just spam. Paid Inclusion is different. You pay the search engine and it guarantees the inclusion of your site in the index.

A very important part of any SEM program is Web Analytics — tracking and analyzing visitor behavior on your site. You can find out the bounce rate for your landing pages — people who arrive at your landing page but leave almost immediately. Use this information to make improvements and raise traffic and conversion rates so that your site becomes a money maker, not just a business expense.

Most web site hosting companies offer these analytics programs as an upgrade to your hosting plan; take advantage of them. Contacting them when your site is still fresh in their mind, with content specific to their area of interest, may convert them into customers. When people are coming to your site you want them to immediately see what is relevant to their needs. Creating specific landing pages for every ad, paid search term, direct mailer or email campaign you conduct will lead to more sales.

Although unique to your campaign, your landing pages should include some branding elements and helpful navigation to explore the rest of your site so visitors will still understand who you are and what else you have to offer. You can start with auto-respond emails to any inquiries letting prospects know that you received their inquiry and will be following up appropriately. There are lead capture programs than can import information gathered from forms on your web site and add them to your database.

Assign someone to either follow up on these new leads in a timely fashion or distribute them to your sales force. You not only need to be online but you also need to be doing the right things online for the right reasons; in other words — strategy. A well planned site with relevant content can outperform its deep-pocketed rivals who are less focused and savvy with their online presence. They can be used for a single purpose, such as a leave-behind piece for sales calls, or for multiple uses. They can be mailed to prospects to spark interest, handed out at events and trade shows, mailed to fill information requests and more.

A really good brochure can do a lot of heavy lifting for marketing and sales, the operative word being GOOD. It can establish your credibility and professionalism, or destroy it. It can make the big sale, or break it. A quality brochure will use a combination of design, visuals, text and layout to create a look and feel that emphasizes your marketing objectives — introducing a new product, selling a service, creating brand awareness or soliciting donations.

The objectives can vary as widely as the designs, what matters is that your brochure communicates effectively to your target audience. Often, having an outside firm write and design your brochure will help you avoid the trap of using industry jargon and acronyms. When starting your brochure project begin by identifying your target audience.

Who is this brochure aimed at? CEOs, housewives, human resources managers, affluent males over 50? Know your audience and speak to it, specifically. You may find that you have more than one distinct target audience you need to engage, such as a CEO and an IT manager. These two individuals would have very different concerns and levels of technical expertise. In that case think seriously about creating more than one brochure to appeal to each audience and address their specific questions and concerns.

They simply need a succinct plan to be eliminated once and for all. A common concern is that if the process goes faster, then quality will be sacrificed. However, Miller shows examples where the opposite is true. At its core, if a person is given a greater view of the overall product, and is given more time away from blame avoidance activities, then they can spend more time to verify the quality of their portion of work.

Additionally, if there are more inspectors, each only feels a fraction of the responsibility for the results.

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  6. The techniques such as checklists that seek to error-proof processes are proposed as helpful in increasing the quality of process outputs. Moving faster and producing higher-quality products will lead to cost-savings. Miller next introduces how the bottom line can be impacted through more specific principles.

    Time, transactions, mistakes, specialist touches, and management intervention are all cost drivers. All of these aspects formerly cost time and money on the part of the customer and the agency. Miller next makes a few distinctions regarding the overall structure of pipes and technology use.

    These pipes are the most important because they actually serve the end role of government. Thus, improvement efforts should start here. All other processes should be ordered such that they can best support these mission pipes, often rightfully forsaking priority for other service pipes. Many examples are given in this regard. Miller then makes the distinction that technology for its own sake will not lead to a better process.

    However, if technology allows for truly faster, better, and cheaper processes, then it can be considered a useful tool. Also important is for managers to avoid using a perpetually pending new technology system from keeping them from making process improvements. If a broken process is automated, it simply makes it harder to correct. Miller finally lays out a grand implementation plan involving identifying and straightening the right pipes while eliminating the toxic practices of blame avoidance. This section reiterates much that has been described in prior chapters, but it gives some helpful connections and suggestions given inevitable resistance.