99 old-fangled tips to goose your direct mail

old fangled mailWhen I talk to clients about direct mail, I sometimes feel like an old fart. And a bit of a nerd.

I think it’s because if you list the top 10 hottest topics in direct marketing, none of them have anything to do with direct mail. All the cool people are talking about online and social media these days. Or texting about it.

And yeah, online stuff is cool. I’m on Twitter. I Digg and Stumble and bookmark sites that are Delicious. I run a Facebook page for a nonprofit and write web copy.

I’ve been a computer geek since before most of today’s marketing geniuses were born, gol’ darnit. I go way back to the VIC-20 when computing meant writing basic code line-by-line.

And there I go feeling old again.

But even if direct mail might seem old-fashioned to some people, the truth is, it still works. In fact, even though it’s not the hot topic, direct mail continues to generate sales and leads and donations day-after-day for those smart enough to use it.

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Free shipping: Does it actually boost sales?

Offers are an essential part of direct marketing and are at the heart of direct response advertising.

And few offers these days are as popular as free shipping.

Free shipping is often recommended by direct marketing gurus as a way to boost orders, but does this offer really work? It depends on who you ask. It seems to work for some and not for others.

A client recently ask me about free shipping, saying that it was getting harder to make it profitable. I didn’t have the answer and had a hard time finding any good data on this, but Marketing wizard Ted Grigg came through and directed me to an article about informal research on free offers from F. Curtis Barry & Company.

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How to set up a Facebook fan page that works

facebook fan pageI’ve been talking to several people recently about setting up a Facebook fan page, how to get more fans, and how to use Facebook effectively.

Full disclosure: Yes, I have a Facebook page, but it’s private. I use Twitter and LinkedIn for business, but I haven’t set up a page for my copywriting business.

However, I DO run a Facebook page for the same nonprofit that I mentioned in a recent post on email marketing. It’s performing well, averaging 50 new fans a day.

The first thing people ask me is what type of account is best? A group or a fan page? For me, that’s simple. A fan page. Why? A post on Mashable about the difference between Facebook pages and groups lays out the differences nicely. Here’s a summary:

Groups are great for organizing on a personal level and for smaller scale interaction around a cause. Pages are better for brands, businesses, bands, movies, or celebrities who want to interact with their fans or customers without having them connected to a personal account, and have a need to exceed Facebook’s 5,000 friend cap.

A fan page lets you grow as big as you want, send updates to an unlimited number of people, and keep the focus on the organization without revealing the administrator (unless you want to).

Okay, so once you’ve set up your account as a fan page, then what? Here are some tips:

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Email Marketing Best Practices 101

http://www.directcreative.com/blog/

Email has been around a while, so you’d think marketing people would understand best practices by now. But recent experience proves otherwise.

A company started sending me emails I did not subscribe to. When I tried to unsubscribe, the form said I would be removed from “list 1.” The next day, I continued to receive emails from the company and when I again tried to unsubscribe, the form said I would be removed from “list 2.” This went on for some time. When it ended, I began getting emails from a dozen other sources.

I purchased a product from a consultant and opted in to the newsletter. This consultant began sending me a relentless stream of emails, often multiple times a day, which is not what I signed up for. Fortunately, I had used a utility Yahoo address rather than one of my primary addresses, so I just abandoned the address.

Around Christmas, I purchased a book of hockey game tickets for a family member from a well-known ticket vendor. You know who I mean. They began sending me emails and when I tried to opt out, discovered that they called these “administrative” emails and that I could not not opt out. That’s right. They refused to allow me to opt out. I had to block the address to make the emails stop.

These are just three examples of bad email marketing. They display deep ignorance about how email works, what consumers want, and the best practices that can make it successful.

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