Applying Conversation Marketing to EDDM Mailing

EDDM Mailing

Conversation Marketing Applied to Direct Mail (EDDM)

Conversation Marketing is abut targeting more than anything else and that targeting can be applied to EDDM direct mail as well.

It’s about talking to the right people at the right time. Clearly, I’m promoting social media, and especially Facebook as a great way to do this, but is it the only way?

Well no, it’s not. In fact, Conversation Marketing techniques can be applied in a lot of ways both online and offline. Let’s look at just one way of doing that, shall we? In this case, let’s talk about direct mail. That’s right, the original spam. The one kind of mail everybody complains about, but frankly, makes too damn much money for the post office to ever really be curtailed. Does the USPS actually deliver anything else these days?

At any rate, the USPS has a great product called Every Door Direct Mail. I’m a huge fan, and by applying Conversation Marketing methodology, I’ve gotten as high as a 10% return rate using this product. To put that in perspective, most direct mail campaigns will generate something more on the order of 1%, on a good day. 10% isn’t just extraordinary, it’s stratospheric.

Here’s the key, you have to remember two of the most important underlying principles of Conversation Marketing:

  1. It’s better to talk to 100 people who care, than 100,000 who don’t;
  2. People tend to cluster with people like them. My neighbors tend to be demographically similar to me. Our houses are worth about the same, we have the same kind of jobs, and we buy the same kinds of goods and services.

I have a client who is an automotive retail, specifically he’s a Buy Here Pay Here dealership with six rooftops in southwest Michigan. So the first thing we did was take his customer list from the last 10-years and chart it using Google Maps. This gave us what I call a penetration Index. How many sales were clustered within a given zip code and then drilled down further to find the carrier route using the USPS supplied tools. From there we cross-referenced the data with census information to determine income levels, ethnic makeup, and other determining demographics. The resulting list of carrier routes gave us more than 50,000 households that were likely customers. That is, they resembled the company’s customers demographically.

As a result of applying conversation marketing techniques offline, we generate about an 8% response rate on that mailing across all stores. The most well established (oldest) stores did better than the newer stores, but we averaged increased walk in traffic (x2), and increased applications (x3). In fact, applications achieved record levels at several of the stores.

So what made the difference? EDDM is certainly a good product, very affordable and with a high rate of return on investment. I believe that the real difference is in the targeted approach, however. Applying Conversation Marketing methods to off-line advertising opportunities enhances the result many times over.



Building An Effective Landing Page

Landing pages are extremely important to your online advertising strategy. At least they should be.

If your ads are driving traffic to your home page, or an inventory, or even a product page, you’re missing the boat. A well-constructed landing page encourages people who are earlier int their buyer’s journey to give you their contact information. Not ready to buy yet? Here’s some additional information on you can download for just the cost of your name, phone number, and email.

Understanding your buyer and their journey to the final buying decision is an undeniably important element in constructing your landing pages. You have to look at getting what I call, the incremental yes. No, I’m not ready to buy. Yes, I am willing to give you my contact information in exchange for something of value to me at this stage of my decision-making process.

Here’s a little infographic that lays out some of the elements of a great landing page. Originally produced by Bowlerhat.

landing page layout

Five Habits of Toxic Bosses

Toxic bosses are the ones that limit your ability to properly do your job, then blame you for failing to meet their unrealistic standards.cartoon

If you have been in the workforce for any length of time, you’ve probably encountered a toxic boss. I’ve had my fair share. Oh, I don’t mean demanding. I don’t mind a demanding boss, it keeps me on my toes and I like the recognition I get from a job well done under challenging circumstances. I’m not looking for a participation trophy, I want real recognition for real achievements.

Here are some of the traits I’ve found to be common in toxic bosses.

  1. They are bullies. Sometimes this can manifest itself forcefully, as in screaming obscenities at people for relatively minor mistakes. Other times it’s more passive-aggressive. Bullies are weak people who can only feel important when they make others seem less so.
  2. They undervalue your contributions. Again, I’m not looking for the participation trophy, but when I do good work for someone I expect it to be acknowledged. This can be a deliberate attempt to ensure you don’t ask for more money, or a better office, or a company car — whatever it is they don’t want you to think you deserve.
  3. They deliberately misinterpret your words or actions. Somewhere the unwritten policy is to shoot the messenger, because they think it’s easier than actually fixing the problems. So no matter what you say, it’ll be twisted to fit their narrative. Usually to your detriment.
  4. The try to undermine your credibility. Things like taking shots at you during a meeting in front of your co-workers or talking behind your back. Because they need to bring you down in the eyes of your peers or other bosses.
  5. They are unrealistic in their expectations. “A 20% increase in sales year over year, why wasn’t it 30?” This is how toxic bosses react to positive news. Nothing is ever quite good enough, no matter how high you achieve. There’s a difference between setting lofty goals and in belittling exceptional achievements when they are made.

So, what do you do about it? Quickly and quietly move toward the exit. Do not pass go, but do collect your last paycheck. You can’t fix a toxic boss or the culture that let’s them flourish. Frankly, it isn’t your job to do so. Get out. Don’t look back.

Facebook Advertising vs. Google Advertising

Facebook-AdvertisingThe key to understanding the difference between Facebook Advertising and Google’s ad platform, is understanding what each platform delivers. Think of it like this — If I have a company that sells high-end bicycles am I in competition with the used car lot down the street? After all, we both sell transportation and given that my potential audience has limited resources, every dollar they spend there is one dollar less that they have to spend on my product.

Looking at it more closely, however, you’d quickly realize that my bicycles simply aren’t in competition with that car lot. We server two different audiences and two entirely different purposes.

The same is true for Google and Facebook. Google is about demand fulfillment.  People search, then they buy. Facebook is about demand discovery. While that has a longer path to purchase and generally speaking a lower conversion rate, it offers a bigger opportunity especially for the inbound marketer.

Let’s say I’m a company that manufacturers clothes dryers; Cliff’s Clothes Dryers. Dryer is an established search term. People looking to buy a washer or a dryer will search for my product by name and if I have an established reputation as a manufacturer they might even search by company name. If, on the other hand, I’ve invented a new Microwave Dryer that uses 50% less energy and dries your clothes in 1/3 the time, I begin my marketing campaign with zero demand. How man searches do you think there are for microwave clothes dryer? How can there be demand for a product no one knows about?

This is where Facebook comes in, because with Facebook’s audience targeting I can push my ads to a very specific demographic, such as female home owners ages 25-45 everywhere in the US. I can even target homes of a certain value or early technology adopters, those  most likely willing to try a new clothes drying technology.

Demand generation vs. demand fulfillment. You see?

Another way I can use the power of demand generation with location-based targeting. If you have a brick and mortar location versus an online store, you can use Facebook as a tool to educate potential customers to your real-world presence.


So you see, it’s not about one being inherently better in all cases than the other. It’s about using the right tool for the job. You could certainly build a house with nothing buy packing crates, a hammer and a saw. Why would you? Combining the right tool for your intent and for your customer profile will make building you business as easy as using power tools makes building that house.