How integrating your marketing will lift response to your acquisition campaigns
Depending on which blog posts or industry experts you listen to, it seems one marketing channel is always being heralded over another in terms of driving direct response and ROI.
When email came along, many signalled it would be the death of direct mail, and it wasn’t long before the same was said about email when social networking (Facebook, Twitter and Youtube) became global phenomena.
So where should you be spending your marketing budget?
Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a strong advocate of the benefits for organisations having a presence on social networking sites – to listen, engage and create a true dialogue with our supporters and customers. It helps supplement and aid your other marketing activity.
But do social networks drive direct response? Do you get donations; new members; new sales directly from ‘asks’ you put out on Twitter and Facebook? Are people in a ‘buying’ or ‘transactional’ frame of mind when they visit social networking sites, or are they just in the space to catch up with friends and their network?
A few months ago at the last NFPtweetup I listened to an interesting presentation from the British Red Cross and MerlinUk, around their use of (mainly) Twitter in response to the Haiti earthquake. From regular tweeting British Red Cross managed to keep their supporters up to date with what was happening on the ground in real-time, as well as managing to gain a large number of followers in the process.
But in terms of getting their followers (and others) to donate via their ‘asks’ on twitter the response British Red Cross got (on one of the most high profile appeal campaigns since the tsunami ) was very low – around the £200 mark.
I’m sure when compared to the donations received from email and direct mail pieces to their regular donors and press/billboard posters to cold prospects, who were looking to donate to Haiti, this figure was tiny in comparison. What their presence on twitter would have helped with though was the halo effect.
Media channel integration is key
So you should look to implement an integrated approach, and depending on your budget, resources and target market use a mixture of offline (eg press, posters, direct mail) and online channels (eg email, social media, search marketing, online display ads, affiliate marketing) to reach and engage with your customers and supporters – and actually test channels to see which works best for you.
Even the smallest of charities can set up a small database or spreadsheet of all your supporters and send them regular email updates – keeping you top of mind for when you do your annual fundraising ask.
If you work in the B2B arena then you may want to think about re-testing some direct mail campaigns other than just relying on email. I seem to get very little in the way of direct mail (but a deluge of email marketing) and normally only from the Institute of Direct Marketing and the Chartered Institute of Marketing – and I'm sure they know a thing or two about response trends.
Indeed a study by i-prospect showed that 40% of online sales were driven by offline marketing. This may be more expensive in terms of acquisition but if your target market respond well to this type of marketing then you shouldn’t drop it in favour of moving all your marketing online, or into social media.
The important thing is to test and see what works for you. A direct mail ask, with an email follow up a week later will lift response by as much 5% if the contact list and offer is relevant. Then use social networks to enable and empower your customers to engage with you - to quickly ask for further details, and to get an all round picture of what you are doing, aiding your conversion and retention strategies.
And remember - twitter is being used more and more for 'search' and indeed since Google started including tweets in their search rankings, tweeting regularly will help optimise your natural search ranking (more on this another time as this is a whole different story.) A great example of how one activity will help your responses in another media channel - integration!
I’ll be interested to hear what you think, especially from people and organisations who have seen significant direct response from their twitter or Facebook fan/group pages – as case studies (except Dell of course) of these do seem very few and far between.
Find me on twitter http://twitter.com/ClaireRollo
Other related blog posts
- Twitter: The Halo effect of your marketing strategy
- Twitter and social media - Marketing or customer service?
- Discover how earning trust and building your reputation is the new 'online' currency.
- Is participating in social media of value to organisations?
- How to get the most out of online communities and social networks
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Claire Rollinson, former Enterprise Manager, discusses all things marketing.