The development and evolution of the Internet has opened up huge possibilities to small businesses. Marketing options such as websites, pay per click (PPC), email and search engine optimization (SEO) are growing in popularity with each new day. They've become a necessity for most business models today. As critical it's become to build a strong online presence, it's just as important to not abandon traditional print marketing that works alongside digital initiatives.
Consider these response rate statistics for different media as published by the Direct Marketing Association in 2012. (Click through rate was used for online options.)-
- Direct Mail: 4.26% response to house list; 1.44% to prospects
- Email: 0.12% to house; 0.03% to prospects
- Display ads: 0.00% to house; 0.04% to prospects
- PPC: 0.00% to house; 0.22% to prospects
The key to maximizing each one of the above options is to integrate your media. Together, each of these options will complement the other to create an even more effective marketing whole.
When you integrate your marketing, you streamline your efforts and produce a higher return on investment, because you improve your results on both fronts.
So, how does marketing integration improve your results so drastically?
The Benefits of Marketing Integration
Here are two benefits you get from an integrated approach that you don't get by picking sides...
1. Targeting your ideal customer
Pay per click is great for targeting prospects that are already searching for what you offer. The prospects who become your clients from this type of advertising can offer some eye-opening information. Let's say, for example, that you thought your ideal client was a 40 to 50-year-old male. But through PPC advertising, you found the majority of people closing were actually 25 to 35-year-old men. This is extremely useful information that can help you shape and maximize future marketing campaigns. You can turn around and use this data to purchase a highly targeted direct mail list and put your product in front of your ideal client who doesn't even know they're interested yet. Suddenly, you've got prospects coming in from two avenues, each of which is helping the other.
2. More Exposure (and Repetition) to Quality Prospects
The more marketing you send out, the more exposure you gain -hopefully the same goes for prospects and clients. And by mixing your media, you'll be able to achieve the right balance of legitimate and affordable, without missing a single ideal prospect. You can target the leads your PPC ads generate with direct mail, which will certainly help with credibility, as consumers like tangible experiences. In turn, you can also use your postcards to drive traffic to your website, which allows you to use tools like PPC display ads to follow up with those online prospects until they become customers. Much more affordable than following up via another direct mail piece.
How to Integrate Your Offline and Online Marketing:
Let's look at three concrete examples of how you can integrate both approaches...
1. Use Postcards and Print Media to Generate Online Leads
A great way to integrate your print media and online marketing is to use your print ads or direct mail postcards to generate Web traffic. This doesn't always mean you need to send prospects to your homepage though. Landing pages are a much less intimidating introduction for new prospects. A landing page is a single-purpose Web page, which can guide your prospects through their sales process. They learn more about what generated their interest in the print ad (versus wandering around a website) and receive a special offer if they fill out a contact form, which turns them into a full lead for your company. Using either a landing page or your website, using postcards to drive prospects to your online marketing platforms is a great way to give your company more marketing face-time with your prospects.
2. Use Google Follow-Up Ads to Convert More of the Web Traffic Your Print Ads Generate
In the Age of the Internet, 95 percent of consumers visit a company's website before they call their office. So how do you follow up with the prospects that visit your website but don't turn into customers right away? Well you can't, unless you use Google follow-up ads. These ads track all the visitors of your website and show targeted follow-up ads to the ones who don't make a purchase or fill out a contact form. This way you can continue to get repeated exposure to these prospects until they return to your site and become customers.
3. Use Email to Follow Up with Prospects Who Came Back to Your Site & Filled Out a Form
If you do both of the above steps, you should have all of this new traffic heading for your website. As I mentioned earlier, about 95 percent of all consumers in today's world will visit a site before calling an office. That's why it's also important to collect email addresses through an online contact form. You can use these email addresses to send out a regular email newsletter that gives you consistent communication with prospects weekly, monthly or whatever other schedule you choose. You can also send a series of emails called a "drip campaign" meant to slowly build trust and bring prospects closer to making a purchase.
Both of these email-marketing tools are great, cost-effective options that yield a fantastic return on investment for small businesses. Make sure your website has ample contact forms for those website visitors to fill out, so you can continue to build your email database and connect with online prospects.
Integrating your offline and online marketing tools makes each of them stronger by taking advantage of the strengths of both. Start out by using these three concrete steps and start improving your prospect conversion results immediately.
Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a fully-integrated marketing firm specializing in direct mail. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from just a phone and computer to a $22million enterprise in less than a decade. Connect with Joy on Google+.