In these “interesting times” for retail businesses, your options for reaching customers can appear daunting and confusing. Direct mail, we firmly believe, is the tried and true method of reaching customers for persuasive and pervasive sales communication. But what about social networking? “Many direct mail providers want to steer clear of social networking,” observes Tom Williams of Budget Direct Mail. “On the surface, it looks like ‘the enemy’ to what we do.”
But in a market where every sale is more important than ever, can any retailer ignore the fastest-growing method of marketing communications available? “Absolutely not,” said Tom. “Simply by virtue of its sheer popularity, we can’t ignore the possibilities of social networking. Taking a closer look, it’s clear that social networking and direct mail, properly utilized, work together as a powerful, coordinated one-two punch to greater customer loyalty and sales.”
In his recent blog, Automotive expert Grant Cardone agrees. “Social networking is…more than just making connections but…making sales! Go into this with the idea that you are going to…increase your contacts, get them thinking and talking about you and then convert those contacts into contracts! Unfortunately, …most people are just using this tool to…waste time. [Instead, I look to] connect with those that can either promote my business or directly see and buy my products.”
In making such connections, Grant notes how to make maximum use of the brief communication window in a “Tweet” or a “status update”:
- Make sure your profile has a photo and lists professional credentials
- Assure all posts are professional and to the point
- Provide timely, useful, brief information
- Realize your site is like a living entity that needs frequent attention
Tom Williams notes that effective social networking can help businesses grow their local customer base and communicate a variety of messages, but points out, “Social networking is not the place to discuss the breadth of your selection, or your big weekend sale. The evidence is clear that Direct Mail works, with odds of success growing significantly the longer the piece stays in the potential customer’s hand. Social networking, by the nature of its delivery method, has no staying power. It’s important that while we’re exploring the potential of social networking, not to think it can or should replace other marketing outlets. Just as a hammer can’t replace a screwdriver, the tools in your marketing strategy are not interchangeable.”
Kyle Lacy, CEO of a major Midwest social networking company and author of Twitter Marketing for Dummies, agrees. “There should always be a symbiotic relationship with social media and direct mail marketing. Integration is key in everything we do as marketers…You are always going to have people who need that direct mail piece to encourage the sale. However, if you can actually build out a more robust system with connection points over the course of 6 months instead of one time (in the inbox or mailbox) the marketing system becomes that much stronger.”
Kyle advises approaching social media across a variety of platforms, while being aware of the target markets for each.
- LinkedIn for B2B networking and lead generation
- Twitter is the content portal of choice for the 28-40 year old demographic
- Facebook is ideal for more personal dialog
Kyle adds, “from a business standpoint, all three are important.”
The frequency of contact and the necessity to rapidly post updates might seem an unattractive option to some business owners. On the posting of content, Kyle observes, “You always have different ways to share content. You have employees, you have clients, and you have an industry. Be creative and take content from a ton of different sources.”
Kyle admits that social media, while popular, may not be for everyone. “Listen to the market….Find out if your target market is using social media. If your clients, partners, or competitors are not using social media, there is no reason for you to [use] the tools.”
Budget Direct Mail is studying the trends, taking careful notes and exploring the potential of the social media explosion. We’re creating some new and exciting ways to merge established direct mail methods with your growing social media network, so they’ll work together in ways you never imagined!
Over the next couple months, we’ll dig a little deeper into this topic while creating a little marketing “mad science,” exploring the synergy of direct mail and social networking. Join us over the next couple months for more in-depth discussion and some exciting announcements about how we can help bring busloads of customers to your door.
Want to discuss how Budget Direct Mail can help you utilize social networking and direct mail to build customer loyalty? Contact Tom Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him directly at 317-780-8236 or 866-635-6563.