The best marketing results come from integrated traditional and digital campaigns
When faced with a decision, it's natural — especially business owners who need to make a slew of important decisions every day — to adopt an either/or mindset. When things are black and white, it's easy to be decisive. And while this tendency helps in many ways, it may be seriously hurting your marketing.
Digital marketing technologies, such as websites, Google pay per click (PPC), email and search engine optimization (SEO) grow in popularity every day. In fact, they've rightfully become a necessity for most businesses. That's not an issue. The problem comes when business owners start to make the either/or claim between digital marketing and traditional marketing, such as direct mail.
The people who make that claim are missing some critical data, though. Consider these response rate statistics for different media as published by the Direct Marketing Association in 2012.
- 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 fact is, direct mail is still the premier lead generation option; however, it's crucial to note this is not an either/or situation. The key to maximizing your return on marketing investment is to integrate your campaigns. Use strategies from both the digital and print worlds. Together, these options complement each other and create an even more effective marketing whole.
By integrating your marketing, you gain maximum exposure, which results in marketing campaigns that actually improve over time, as your business slowly becomes more and more known in the community. When you become known as the go-to HVACR professional in the area (for your target audience), you've reached your ultimate marketing goal.
The New Mover Hypothetical
Pay Per Click (and most digital marketing) is excellent at targeting prospects that are already searching for HVACR services. In most situations, it's the act of searching that brings a prospect to your website or triggers your PPC ad. But direct mail is different. You proactively reach out to prospects that fit your customer profile, but may not be actively seeking out your services yet.
Imagine two new homeowners move into your area. One knows the importance of getting their HVACR systems inspected and tuned up, the other does not. The first guy goes online to find a reputable HVACR professional in the area. Your best chance to land him as a client is to have a robust online marketing platform: PPC, great website, etc.
The other guy probably won't do anything until something breaks, at which point he may not do much research and will simply call the first number he finds. That may be yours, but it may be a competitors. Your best chance to get that guy as a client is to proactively market to him through direct mail. You welcome him to the neighborhood and offer a special deal on an inspection.
Two new customers, both reached with different marketing programs.
How To Integrate Campaigns
Here are four concrete steps you can take to integrate your direct mail and online marketing strategies into a cooperative (and mostly automated) system:
1. Use direct mail to generate calls and online leads
Direct mail prospects may or may not be searching for your services at this moment, so their reaction to your ad has a bigger spectrum than PPC. Maybe they're not at all interested. Maybe they're piping hot and ready to call right away. Maybe they simply want a little more information. On your direct mail piece, give them the option to call and schedule an appointment or go online to a landing page for additional information. This way, you can at least try to capture their email address through a form on your website.
Landing pages are a much less intimidating introduction for new prospects. A landing page is a single-purpose webpage that guides prospects through your sales process. You can learn about what generated their interest in the postcard and they can receive a special offer if they fill out a contact form. Using postcards to drive prospects to your online marketing platforms is the first step to integration bliss.
2. Use PPC to generate online leads
If you've never dealt with PPC before, this may be intimidating. There is definitely a little legwork that goes into setting up PPC campaigns, but it's worth the effort. You need PPC because every day people in your area go online to find HVACR services. Unless your website has an incredible ranking in Google's search results, the chances are slim they'll find you.
With PPC, you can pay a small price for the ability to have your business pop up on the first page of Google every time. These are leads you are unlikely to get through direct mail, unless you're literally mailing every day — and nobody does that.
3. Use Google follow-up ads to convert web traffic into sales
Google follow-up ads are different from PPC ads. PPC ads show up in Google's search results. Follow-up ads show up on other websites, encouraging prospects to come back to your site and schedule an interview. Here's how it works: Google tracks all the visitors to your website. Google then notes which of those visitors did not complete the step you desired them to take (i.e. fill out your form). Finally, Google shows targeted follow-up ads to those prospects until they return and take the desired action
This allows you to get repeated exposure to these prospects until they return to your site and become customers. And Google does everything. You don't have to lift a finger once it's set up.
4. Use email to warm up prospects into customers
If you do the above steps, you should have all of this new traffic heading for your website. The truth is, 95 percent of all consumers visit a site solely to get additional information. That's why it's so important to collect email addresses through an online contact form. Once you have an email address, you have a super cheap way to keep your name and brand in front of the prospect.
Email newsletters are an excellent way to build expert credibility and stay in touch with prospects. You can also send a series of emails called a drip campaign, meant to slowly build trust and bring prospects closer to scheduling an appointment.
Integrating your offline and online marketing methods exponentially increases the power of your overall system. Start out by using these four concrete steps, and see the difference for yourself.
Joy Gendusa is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a marketing firm in Clearwater, Fla. specializing in lead generation and direct mail. Using only postcards, Joy grew her business from the ground up, from a one-woman startup with just a phone and a computer, into a company generating more than $21 million in annual revenue and employing more than 200 people. To download a free report with successful HVACR campaigns and designs, visit postcardmania.com/go/hvacsuccess.