Wait for it…

So all is right in the world again.  The Phightins’ demolished the Diamondbacks in game 2 of their 3 game tilt 9-2 behind a strong effort by my #2 man Cliff Lee.  For all of you wagering types out there, not saying there’s any such thing as a ‘sure-thing’, but take a look at what the Phillies do to teams after losing either game 1 or 2 of a series… go look, I’ll wait…  OK, long enough (I’m very impatient):  The Phillies have lost back-to-back games just once since June 5, and when they don’t lose back to back, they beat the other team by like an average of 100 runs!  So I realize that Vegas is likely on to this trend and whatever odds you get are horrific, but seems like an ez way to pocket a few bucks to me.

So after enjoying that beat-down, it was time for some brainless TV… cue up the replay of this week’s ‘True Blood’ episode.  For the both of you that have never seen this show, it’s basically ‘Vampires as excuse’for people getting naked’.  Honestly, there are SO many story lines in play that I  have the ability to follow just one; and then enjoy the Vampires fighting Witches fighting Werewolves fighting Fairies fighting ‘Shapeshifters‘ (whatever the hell that is!) all in an effort to lose clothing!  I figured I was about the same as most in my understanding of just what was going down until my wife blurts out “you know that old woman eating with the real estate guy is really Sam’s brother who took on her form because he needs money and is trying to sell her house without her knowing, right?”  Now I wish I could say I fell off my chair but since I was laying down in perhaps the most comfortable position possible, that wouldn’t be entirely accurate.  So now the shapeshifters can look like other humans and not just animals?  I guess I missed that when I was viewing the naked Vampire laying with the naked Fairie and hoping that the Shapeshifter who is now an old woman wasn’t going to get naked!  I am truly in middle school when it comes to understanding True Blood while my wife is a Nobel Laureate

And this got me to thinking about emerging direct marketing resources for traditional mailers who are still trying to break through the clutter.  We all know that online advertising has taken a huge chunk from traditional direct mail budgets… and with good reason as campaigns can now be optimized mid-stream, assets are getting less expensive by the day, the costs of direct mail are sometimes prohibitive to fully test and glean learnings to be applied to future campaigns, etc.  Most dip their toe into email first, only to learn that conversions are horrific.  Those with more than an 8th grade education are smart enough to lower expectations given the reduction in cost to deploy such campaigns.  Our experience shows that most prospect emails can expect to be ‘read’ (really ‘opened’, but there’s a lot more to that metric that we can discuss) by roughly 15%-25% of the addresses to which the email is deployed.  And from there, perhaps anywhere from .5%-3% of the people reading will click into a link.  After that, it’s your baby… better have a compelling product and an EZ conversion process because there’s a lot of noise online taking your prospect away from what you want them to see!  <Shameful plug for direct mail here:  Nearly 85% of the recipients open the snail mail they receive, and generally give the piece a good 1-2 minutes of undivided consideration!>

To review, we have the following:

  • Traditional marketers, trying email as their foray into ‘digital’
  • Cost is largely a driver of this decision, but so is their need to have an ‘online presence’
  • Front end results look pretty darn good… comparable ‘response rates’ to direct mail of .5%-3%
  • Horrible conversions

So what went wrong?  Expectations.

For starters, most marketers make the mistake of simply turning their offline program, online.  BIG MISTAKE (like Charlie keeping Halladay in to pitch the 9th inning yesterday, but I digress), totally different audiences with totally different mindsets.  When we engage online, we’re looking at quick hitting creative that requires a very easy action – like signing up for more information, entering an email address to download a whitepaper, provide an email/zip code to see deals from the ‘Toyota dealer near you’, etc.  Expecting a prospect to provide anything further is foolish.  I once had a client who demanded that any interested prospect provide complete postal info, including phone number, a wealth of demographics and even requested a credit card – this being the very first time touching these people!  All that was missing was the requirement of given prospect’s first born to be sacrificed at Mount Moriah.

 So I have learned to be very consultative in the creative arena before we agree to deploy email.  But I suggest an even easier first step into this market:  Sponsoring e-newsletters.  We’re talking creative as simple as a banner ad on an email that goes out to a very engaged readership, that may also include an ‘advertorial’ in the middle of the content.  Why this you ask?  See below:

  • eNewsletter readers are engaged in the content for which they signed up… not your (perceived) spam
  • Most eNewsletters are offered by very reputable personalities/organizations – by linking your ad to that content, advertisers receive a tacit endorsment by the person/company the readership already trusts.
  • No deliveraiblity issues.  Depending on the contsruct of your HTML email, it may very well be gobbled up by the spam filters, never to be seen again!
  • Costs are a fraction of stand-alone email… granted, you typically are held to higher minimums, but I can share with you eNewsletter properties that will produce as good a click-through rate as standalone email… and that’s what matters most!

I have gone this route several times with very good results as it basically forces you to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!).  Use hard-hitting creative, drive to a navigation-friendly landing page with a simple response mechanism, and start adding prospectst to your CRM engine.  And that my friends is a winning formula for acquisition direct marketing.

And those of you who made it all the way to the bottom, I told you to ‘Wait for it’!!!!  Now sign up for my blog so I can start spamming you… KIDDING!!!!!!!!

  1. Nice TC… Posting for my friends!

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