3 Martech Tools to Optimize Direct Mail Campaigns

The powerful targeting of direct mail can help you punch through all the marketing noise people are exposed to each day. Martech tools provide ways to make an even greater impact with your campaigns by cross-pollinating between channels.

The powerful targeting of direct mail can help you punch through all the marketing noise people are exposed to each day. Martech tools provide ways to make an even greater impact with your campaigns by cross-pollinating between channels.

Many marketers find this to be cumbersome and expensive, but what if there is a better way? Check out these statistics:

  • Companies that use multichannel marketing experience three-times higher effectiveness rates than those that use non-integrated campaigns (source).
  • 23X higher rates of customer satisfaction are experienced by companies with omni-channel strategies (Aberdeen Group)
  • 89% of customers are retained by companies with omnichannel engagement strategies (Invesp)
  • 45% of marketers feel they lack the necessary talent, technology, and processes to master omnichannel brand marketing (CMO Council)

So how can you harness these stats to improve your direct mail response rates? You know that on average it takes eight to 10 touches with a prospect to convince them to buy from you. So when you create campaigns using multiple channels, you make a bigger impact and provide more opportunities to convert them. You want your marketing to create engagement that leads to sales. Direct mail is a key component in your marketing strategy, but it is not the only one. So how can you easily pull together a multichannel campaign? Here are some options.

3 Platforms to Enhance Your Direct Mail

  • DirectMail.io: They offer an integrated omnichannel marketing program. Their services include data management, direct mail, email, live call center, SMS solutions, social media, and Amazon and Google voice assistant integration. This platform has flexible software that combines data, marketing, communications, and analytics, all in one place. DirectMail.io provides a simple solution that seamlessly integrates over 12 inbound and outbound marketing channels, allowing advertisers to launch, manage, and track all of their marketing efforts in one place.
  • SnailWorks: SnailWorks tracks mail using Informed Visibility from the Postal Service, which allows them to track each individual piece of mail to delivery, and then uses that delivery to trigger other marketing efforts, such as email, telemarketing, web advertising, and more. They take all of these disparate channels and tie them into a single campaign along with a web-based dashboard that shows real-time results and distributes leads for the campaign. Recently, SnailWorks added Direct2Digital ID to its service offerings. Direct2Digital ID provides mailers with an easy way to participate in the new Postal Service Informed Delivery program.
  • DirectMail2.0DirectMail2.0 suite uses seven different technologies, timed in such a way as to result in the best possible lift in a direct mail campaign. These seven technologies seamlessly track, enhance, and prove attribution on any direct mail campaign. It does this through incorporating Mail Tracking, Informed Delivery, Call Tracking, Online Follow-up, Social Media Follow-up, Social Match, and LeadMatch technologies. No need to be an expert in multiple types of digital technology. Just upload a processed mailing list with an ad or two and the platform does the rest.

As you can see, there are great platforms to choose from to enhance the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns. In 2019, your customers and prospects expect to engage with you on multiple channels. Create more powerful direct mail campaigns by integrating them into a multichannel experience. Become one of the statistics above. Marketing experiences really matter and can make the difference between an okay campaign and a fabulous one. Are you ready to be fabulous? Get started on integrating your direct mail with other channels.

How Direct Mail Fits in an Omnichannel Strategy

Many times, marketers look at direct mail as an old-school choice that does not fit well in an omnichannel world. This is just not true. Direct mail helps you integrate online marketing with the physical world. Research shows people like and trust direct mail across all generations.

Many times, marketers look at direct mail as an old-school choice that does not fit well in an omnichannel world. This is just not true. Direct mail helps you integrate online marketing with the physical world. Research shows people like and trust direct mail across all generations. Direct mail is the tangible component of your omnichannel strategy. It is a physical piece that draws attention and then is remembered better than marketing that’s in digital channels.

When customers and prospects get a mail piece that ties to multiple channels, not only is your branding more effective, but your engagement goes up. Why? Attention spans are shorter, people are inundated with ads all day, and they are very busy in this fast-paced world, so reaching them multiple times across channels gives you more opportunity to get them to buy from you.

So exactly where does direct mail fit in an omnichannel strategy?

  • Start — Direct mail can be the start of your campaign. Use it to drive customers and prospects to specific online landing pages. Then create triggers for other channels, based on mail delivery date, landing page visits or lack of action.
  • Middle — So after you have sent out emails, display ads or any other marketing channel message, you can then use direct mail as a mid-campaign push to action. Then your follow up will be with other channels, based on either their response or the in-home dates.
  • End — Lack of response does not necessarily equate to lack of interest, so ending with direct mail is a very popular method. Direct mail is a driver of response. You can time it to distribute after a set number of days from other channels or be triggered based on lack of response to other channels. Direct mail as the last touch allows a final push of your campaign that can easily be saved until they have time to respond and can be given to others to increase your exposure.

Because direct mail is a good fit in any phase of your campaign, you should include the channel to help boost your sales. Now, let’s look at a real example of how IKEA uses direct mail in an omnichannel strategy. IKEA is known for its catalogs that come to life when scanned with a cell phone to show you how its furniture will look in your home, but did you also know that it’s using email and social media in conjunction with the catalogs, not to mention TV and radio ads? Each channel feeds into the other and allows them to build up audiences across all channels, which increase sales.

Direct mail doesn’t have to include an AR or VR experience like IKEA, but it does need to tie into your online content and other channels. You want the flow for customers to be the same, no matter what channel they respond to, so create a workflow that accomplishes this. Of course, what they see first is based on where and how they respond; however, the overall flow should be driven by triggers based on what each person is doing along the way. Customer experience is the key to great omnichannel marketing. You can no longer put your money into just one channel, because you will not get enough bang for your buck. Omnichannel marketing allows you to create a complete campaign based on ease of use for your customers. Every customer is different so allowing them to respond in the most convenient way for them increases your ROI. Are you ready to get started?

Your Prospects Are Multichannel. Are You?

in order to engage, we must go to the watering holes where our customers and prospects hang out. We have to be in the channels they frequent, in addition to having relevant content for them to consume and share.

Last month on our Revenue Marketing journey, we discussed content marketing strategy and the steps to developing the best content editorial calendar. This month, let’s talk about channels for multichannel distribution of your content.

If you have a “field of dreams” wherein, if you create great content and put it on your website, somehow, “they will come …” well, good luck with that. The reality is that, in order to engage, we must go to the watering holes where our customers and prospects hang out. We have to be in the channels they frequent in addition to having relevant content for them to consume and share.

Ask Your Customers What Channels They Use

We have many clients who simply don’t believe their customers are on Facebook. So, we upload 5000 of their business email addresses to Facebook and show them the result: Usually a 65 percent match rate for business email addresses. Business people are on Facebook and they “hang out there” every day:

  • 63 percent of Facebook users are age 30 and older
  • Facebook has more than 1 billion visitors per day
  • Facebook has many more video views than YouTube

I only bring this up to highlight that our assumptions about which channels are best for reaching our customers may be wrong. The best thing you can do is ask your customers. The next best thing to do is to experiment with multiple channels and see which ones currently work best for your firm.

No doubt you noticed I didn’t even mention email yet. Yes, it is a channel, perhaps the one you are most accustomed to using. And it is easy and inexpensive. But it should not be the only channel you use. Increasingly there are issues with:

  • Information overload in inboxes so your communication gets lost
  • Automatic “junk” designation and filtering
  • Spam traps (so you decide to do an ABM campaign to 250 contacts at your biggest customer and you email all of them at once…guess what is going to happen.)

My point is that your attempts to engage your audience will be better if you use multiple channels to nurture them. Upload the email addresses in Facebook, LinkedIn and other channels, establish a connection to your contacts through these channels, and start sharing content over them.

Syndicate Your Content

Syndicate and promote are becoming synonymous today because organic social is pretty much defunct. You have to boost or promote your content to your audiences or targeted marketing groups.

For video, it’s simple; YouTube is owned by Google. They have 77 percent of the search market. Since videos are quickly becoming the hottest form of content, it makes sense to place it where it will be found. If you have a podcast, use a podcasting hosting site such as Libsyn to set up your audio RSS feed. This feed can then be used on podcast distribution platforms such as iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher to ensure your audience can access your show regardless of which mobile device they use. Set up a podcast promotion plan for your social media sites as well to drive new listeners to your episodes.

Look for Multichannel and Cross-Device Remarketing Opportunities

Multi-channel and cross-device remarketing are really hot right now. I would suggest adding in some reference or weaving in some of that in this section. The following is an example of a multi-channel campaign.

Let’s say you are going to run a webinar next month. What should that campaign design include in terms of channels:

  • One to three emailed invitations and a few variations of follow up emails
  • Up to three impressions per person promotion in Facebook image ads
  • Blog post promoting the webinar on your blog
  • Promoted blog post on LinkedIn, Facebook and a promoted tweet
  • Facebook media ad — video promoting webinar
  • Retargeting campaign to known contacts in Facebook and Twitter
  • Lookalike campaign in Facebook
What a campaign design document could look like.
What a campaign design document could look like.

Hopefully this example makes it clear that your campaign design document has to be very clear on all the channels for a promotion. The graphic and copy (assets) needs vary by channel, and the logistics for lining up all these assets at the same time are much more complex than when you are simply using a single channel such as email. But the results for going multi-channel will be much better of course.

Track Everything

If you have content on your website and you point to it from other online digital content you control, your blog for instance, you can and should be tracking all those clicks by content type and channel. But when creating links to your content from digital properties you cannot fully control, or with embedded links in documents you share, ensure you use UTM codes with the links.

UTM codes were formulated to track channel and content performance. Make sure you use them religiously on all links on ads and promotions and in embedded links in documents. Set up a shared Google doc or spreadsheet to automatically generate UTM codes for your team with an approved picklist of values for Medium and Source. Minify the links to ensure their integrity before using them. Here is an example, a link to a white paper on strategic planning and budgeting for marketing. It goes without saying that you use your Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) form capabilities to grab the UTMs and save them in the contact record.

Use a tag manager, and make sure you “pixel” visitors to your content no matter where they found the link. That way to can add them to your “pixeled” database of unknown but interested parties and do promotions to them through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

By tracking everything you will gradually start to learn which channels and content work best for you to attract visitors to your website and drive revenue.

Next month, we will continue the Revenue Marketing journey conversation, and focus on the marketing technology stack.

Please feel free to share your experiences with content marketing strategy and other insights on the above topics in the comments section below or email me at kevin@pedowitzgroup.com.

The 10 Most Effective Tips for Customer Reactivation

Are you looking for the best ways to reactivate dormant customers and reduce churn? Here’s a roundup of the 10 most effective practices today, in both business and consumer markets. Consider which of these may be the most applicable to your business, your customers and your objectives.

Are you looking for the best ways to reactivate dormant customers and reduce churn? Here’s a roundup of the 10 most effective practices today, in both business and consumer markets. Consider which of these may be the most applicable to your business, your customers and your objectives. And don’t forget to set aside some budget for ongoing retention and reactivation marketing. It’s the best money you can spend.

1. Move Quickly

The longer a customer is inactive, the more likely an eventual defection. Early action is arguably the single most effective technique in reactivation marketing. But, you can take this principal a step further if you examine customer behavior patterns to predict inactivity before it even starts. For example, if purchase frequency slows, or order size shrinks, inactivity is likely to follow. Analyze the characteristics of your purchase cycle.   Anomalies in a particular customer’s behavior may indicate a problem that, with early intervention, can be addressed.

2. Segment Your Dormant Customers, and Treat Them Differently

As marketers well know, different customers have different needs, and represent different levels of value to the firm. Applying segmentation is a key success factor in the reactivation effort, just as it is elsewhere in marketing.   Consider such segmentation variables as:

  • Original acquisition source media, like email, SEM, direct mail, display advertising, event, or telemarketing.
  • Channel usage. This can be communications channels like email or telephone. Or it can be purchase channel preferences, like retail store, tablet, mobile, or desktop computer.
  • Product usage.
  • Customer value, using indicators like RFM, cumulative margins, or intent signals.
  • Inactivity length, typically divided by months or years, depending on the purchase cycle in your business.

3. Deepen Your Understanding of the Dormant Customer

There are a number of approaches you can take, among them:

  1. Analyze behavioral patterns, looking for insights. For example, you may notice that an unusually large order is followed by a period of inactivity, and hypothesize that the customer is not getting ready to leave—she just has all the product she needs for a while.
  2. Use data append to gather more information about the customer. Your database marketing partner can add data points to your customer record that will suggest effective reactivation strategies. Demographic, lifestyle and attitudinal data are especially revealing.
  3. Consider some research, using an outbound telephone call, or a focus group, to gain additional insights into the reasons for the inactivity.

4. Communicate Through Different Channels

Thanks to marketing automation, email communications have become very easy to deploy, and there’s no question that email is effective for current customer communications. But relying entirely on email may annoy lapsed customers, not to mention leave you exposed to possible spam traps. So don’t forget the other options available—telephone, postal mail, mobile, retargeted display advertising, social media, your website — and add them to the mix to broaden your reach and keep your customers interested in your messaging. If your customer records are incomplete, ask your database marketing partner to append additional elements to allow communications through these other channels.

5. Use Proven Offers

Once you’ve determined that the inactivity is not a customer service problem, then the essential tool for reactivation is a motivational offer. Discounts are widely used by marketers today—because they work. But consider additional offers that have proven to be effective in reactivation marketing, such as:

Total Marketing: 3 Things You Must Understand About Omnichannel Today

Marketing today happens through a lot of different devices and channels, most of which marketers understand pretty well. But as the channels multiply and merge quicker and quicker, understanding the integrated marketing environment is less about putting the channels together than seeing them as one omnichannel whole. To succeed in that omnichannel, total marketing environment, there are three things all marketers must understand.

omnichannel, integrated marketingMarketing today happens through a lot of different devices and channels, most of which marketers understand pretty well. But as the channels multiply and merge quicker and quicker, understanding the integrated marketing environment is less about putting the channels together than seeing them as one omnichannel whole.

To succeed in that omnichannel, total marketing environment, there are three things all marketers must understand.

1. It Defies Channel Boundaries

Most marketers understand that different channels drive different kinds of customers and different sales. What’s different is — thanks to changing device technology and the emerging world of IoT — channels are morphing all the time without warning.

A great example is the emerging world of voice search. Phones have supported voice search for years, but only recently have people started using it in earnest. In fact, adoption only really picked up steam with the rise of keyboardless devices like wearables and smart speakers.

This trend shows no signs of stopping. ComScore estimates that 50 percent of search will be done via voice by 2020. According to Udayan Bose, founder of NetElixir, there are 10 million voice-first devices being developed today.

That means voice is going to continue to reshape how people search, skewing algorithms toward the simpler search strings used in voice search and shifting SEO away from a text-based interfaces to voice-based ones.

That kind of shift is happening all over marketing, and will keep happening at an accelerated rate. Our sister publication Dealerscope covers the consumer electronics industry, and they’ve already begun speculating about a future where augmented reality is the primary platform people use to interface with the digital world.

2. It’s People-Focused, Not Conversion-focused

You’re starting to hear the buzzword people-based marketing — for example, Seth Garske wrote about people-based marketing in yesterday’s blog post — but this really predates that buzzword. In fact, people-based marketing, account-based marketing, personalization and AI are all moving in the same direction: Toward marketing that recognizes, respects and speaks directly to the individuals it is being sent to.

This is easiest to show in account-based marketing, which uses high-quality data and automation to send different marketing content to the right individuals within the target company. Yes, you do that to get to a conversion, but the activity focuses first on identifying with the individual recipients. It recognizes that understanding, even empathy, will lead to conversions.

Tomorrow, you can hear John Miller, one of the thought leaders on this marketing strategy, talk about the secret sauce for doing account-based marketing successfully.

3. It Takes a Total Marketing Team

Finally, as channels are being dissolved and people become the focus, executing omnichannel marketing is becoming very technically hard. It takes a total marketing team with many skills that have been underappreciated until now. 

Building that team takes a focus on marketing management and operations. The people who can make a lot of different things happen without degenerating into chaos become key swing players, like point guards in basketball who make the scoring happen. Having the right players around them is no different than assmebling a great basketball team (or football, if you’ve got that kind of budget).

All About Integrated Marketing

There’s one place you can learn about all of those topics and more, and it’s happening tomorrow: The All About Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference.

The show has sessions speaking about all of these topics and more! If total marketing is where you’re headed, click here to register today.

Marketing Opportunities Look Like This

In marketing, and in business in general, they say you must be able to recognize and seize opportunity. It’s a truism, an aphorism, a cliche: You must seize the day! … So what does a marketing opportunity look like?

In marketing, and in business in general, they say you must be able to recognize and seize opportunity. It’s a truism, an aphorism, a cliche: You must seize the day! … So what do marketing opportunities look like?

I was talking to Dan Burstein yesterday, getting ready for his session at the Integrated marketing Virtual Conference, and he produced a pair of slides that perfectly illustrate what real marketing opportunities look like.

Visualizing Marketing Opportunities

Ready?

Marketing Opportunities: Only 18% of marketers offer free shipping, while 74% of consumers prioritize free shipping.
How important is free shipping to consumers vs. how many marketers provide it.

Where’s the opportunity?

Marketing Opportunities: The Free Shipping Opportunity
Right there.

That’s what marketing opportunities look like: 74 percent of consumers are interested in free shipping, but only 18 percent of marketers offer it.

And don’t misunderstand, the opportunity is not just in free shipping. Check out the same difference in opinion on physical direct mail updates.

Marketing Opportunities: Only 19% of marketers send physical direct mail updates, but 54% of customers desire physical direct mail updates.
Marketing opportunity: Most consumers want physical direct mail updates, but only 1/5 of marketer send them. There’s your gap.

Marketing Opportunities are Gaps, Not Channels

A marketing opportunity does not look like any one specific tactic or channel. The opportunity is the gap between what customers want and what marketers are offering. That’s what you’re looking for.

When more than 50 percent of customers want a benefit like free shipping, but only 20 percent of marketers offer that benefit, that’s an opportunity. Any marketer willing to offer that product with free shipping has a golden opportunity to make a dent int he market.

When I saw these slides, they kind of blew my mind. And Dan has 10 examples of gaps like these, all based on MECLABS research, in his presentation for Thursday.

So now you know what marketing opportunities look like, and I hope you never miss one again.

And don’t miss the opportunity to catch Dan’s session at #IMV16 on Thursday! Click here to register.

Trending: Consumer Review Sites Leverage Content, Social, Search Marketing

If you’re an Internet marketer, you know there are several online channels you can leverage without paying upfront for advertising, such as some banner ads or pay per click. Three online channels that are super-hot and showing no signs of slowing down include content marketing, social marketing and search marketing (organic). Each of these online channels have one thing in common: They all maximize content.

If you’re an Internet marketer, you know there are several online channels you can leverage without paying upfront for advertising, such as some banner ads or pay per click.

Three online channels that are super-hot and showing no signs of slowing down include content marketing, social marketing and search marketing (organic).

Each of these online channels have one thing in common: They all maximize content.

Recent articles in Forbes hailed that “content is the new SEO …” and that “content is king.”

My view has always been that with relevant, useful, valuable and actionable original content, you can’t go wrong. It will always work with the search engines, despite constant algorithm updates.

This is the core philosophy of my “SONAR Content Distribution Model,” but also has become more commercial- and consumer-driven with the use of product review websites.

A recent study shows 47 percent of consumers indicate the Internet is their favorite place to shop, and U.S. e-tails are anticipated to hit around $370 billion by 2017.

With all this Web surfing and shopping, it’s no wonder consumers are becoming more savvy.

An emerging trend in digital marketing is consumer review sites. These sites are populated with pages and pages of unique, relevant content that’s beneficial to the consumer. It’s unbiased. And has the main focus of harnessing the power of its content with the search engines, as well as social marketing outlets.

The website’s pages are crafted with targeted keywords based on the products or services being reviewed—many well-known brands—and honest feedback. Then it’s good ‘ole inbound marketing tactics, such as online press releases, article marketing, content syndication, search marketing and social marketing that drive consumers to the product review website.

The pioneer of this ingenious online marketing tactic was Cnet.com, which was founded in 1994. They have been reviewing electronic and tech products for years.

Other well-known consumer review sites that have popped up recently include Epinions.com and ConsumerSearch.com, which reviews products. CitySearch.com and Yelp.com review hotels, restaurants, entertainment and more. And of course, AngiesList.com, which is a membership site that reviews local service providers.

But recently, there have been some new players in niche and specialty industries that are creating a buzz. One such new kid on the block is BuyerReview.com.

BuyerReview.com focuses on the health and beauty sectors. This includes cosmetics and cosmeceuticals, such as skincare products, vitamins and supplements—a most robust marketplace, to say the least …

… The U.S. cosmeceutical industry alone represents $6.5 billion with a growth forecast of 5.8 percent annually through 2015. And nutritional supplements generated $32 billion in 2012 and are projected to hit $60 billion by 2021.

I had the pleasure of interviewing one of BuyerReview.com’s editors, Peter Stockwell.

I asked him how he would describe the site, what makes it unique and to describe the overall business model.

According to Stockwell, “Buyerreview.com is more targeted than many of the behemoth product review sites on the Web today. Sometimes when you’re too big and review too many things, consumers get lost on your website. Our team of editors reviews specific products in the vertical of health and beauty. We give honest reviews, as well as health and beauty advice.”

Stockwell continues, “Content is the cornerstone of the website. It helps the consumers. And it works with the search engines. With social marketing, it increases our reach and visibility. It’s really a blueprint for online marketing success.”

Stockwell adds, “There are several things that make us stand out: One is our BuyerReview Seal of Approval, which means our experts have reviewed a product personally and found it acceptable. Two, our editors (which, in addition to reviews) provide expert advice on health and beauty, which is an added bonus to consumers. Three, our Top 10 lists, which takes the best of the best we review and rolls it up into an easy-to-read product grid. Four, we offer consumers the option of getting product reviews delivered directly to them wherever they are, via email. And lastly, we offer free, weekly giveaways of the products we review. We like to think of our website as a one-stop shop for consumer health and beauty product interest.”

Stockwell concludes, “Once you have traffic coming to your site based on superior content, the opportunities are endless. Similar product or service review websites have went the advertising model and sell banner ads on their site for revenue potential. Others charge monthly membership fees. There’s many ways to monetize the traffic.”

Bottom line: There’s a way smart online marketers have turned leveraging quality content into a win-win situation that benefits its target audience, as well as generating revenue.

And the vast space on the Web is wide-open for more to jump on the bandwagon and carve out their own slice.

Marketers in most any industry can take something away from this online strategy and see how the fundamental principle can be incorporated it into their online marketing mix … because content will always be king, and consumers will always be curious.

Email Marketing to Acquire High Quality Facebook Fans

How much are Facebook fans worth? The answer depends on the quality of the relationship between fan and brand. There is a low entry threshold to become a fan—all it takes is a click or two. When Facebook is the only connection, financial support is unlikely. The best and most valuable Facebook fans are the ones who actively support your business or organization across channels. They are the ones that will respond to promotions and share real experiences with their friends.

How much are Facebook fans worth? The answer depends on the quality of the relationship between fan and brand. There is a low entry threshold to become a fan—all it takes is a click or two. When Facebook is the only connection, financial support is unlikely. The best and most valuable Facebook fans are the ones who actively support your business or organization across channels. They are the ones that will respond to promotions and share real experiences with their friends.

Encouraging people who subscribe to your emails to join your social networks is a best practice because it significantly improves the quality of your fan base. The process is more challenging than it used to be because Facebook eliminated the option for custom landing pages. It can still be done, but there are a few issues with the experience. The email from Belk Department Stores (the first picture in the media player at right) provides a good example.

There are several components that make this a good email for motivating people to cross channels. They are the same items that make all emails more successful at generating a response.

  • The email includes a specific call to action with a reward for connecting via Facebook.
  • There are multiple opportunities to click and connect via Facebook and other channels.
  • The primary promotion is the focus while secondary options are available.
  • The offer is time sensitive.
  • There are clickable links for shopping categories.
  • A web link is available if the email images aren’t available.
  • Unsubscribe, preferences, and privacy links offer control to the recipient.
  • Alternate text for images to encourage people to download images or visit webpage

Three days after sending this email, 16,708 new fans have joined Belk’s network and 34,465 coupons were claimed. How could this be if “liking” the brand is required to claim the coupon? Remember the issues mentioned earlier?

The ability to gate the coupon disappeared when Facebook eliminated custom landing pages. It is technically impossible to require someone to like the page before receiving the coupon. This means that the coupon is available to anyone who visits the page and explains why more coupons were claimed than fans acquired.

If an email increases fans and sales, it is successful even when the two aren’t codependent. The loss of the custom landing page requires good communication on how to access the coupon. Clicking the link in the email takes the recipient to Belk’s Facebook timeline. Scrolling down is required to see the offer. Obviously people are finding it because thousands have claimed the coupon. The unanswered question is how many more would have been claimed if the offer were more obvious?

What if the Belk Rewards tab was temporarily replaced with a 20 percent off offer so it appeared above the fold?

The functionality of the Belk coupon promotion is provided by Facebook. When someone clicks “Get Offer” an email is sent with the offer code. Whether you choose to use Facebook’s advertising products or do it yourself, here are some tips for making it successful:

  • Follow the best practices used in the example email.
  • Tell people how to claim to coupon in the email.
  • Put information about the promotion above the fold so people see it when they land on the page.
  • Include the expiration date on the Facebook post to increase the sense of urgency.
  • Test different strategies and measure everything.

Measuring the results for fan acquisition is a challenge because there is limited data available. Email metrics are much easier to acquire. If you have good benchmarks you can gather enough information to gain insight to the results from fans and Facebook activity.

There is a tendency in social media to acquire quantity over quality. When the focus is the number of fans instead of the relationship, the return is minimal. The best strategy is to encourage top customers to cross channels and join your networks. They will share your information with friends and family. This introduces your company to the people most likely to support your business.

How Moms Shop Online

In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, I thought I’d take a look at what moms are doing online today.

To do this, I turned to Digital Mom, a two-part report published earlier this year by Razorfish  and CafeMom.

In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, I thought I’d take a look at what moms are doing online today.

To do this, I turned to Digital Mom, a two-part report published earlier this year by Razorfish and CafeMom.

Razorfish surveyed 1,500 digital moms — or moms who used at least two Web 2.0 technologies and actively researched or purchased online in the three months before the survey was conducted in October 2008.

Razorfish and CafeMom’s goal was to learn more about the digital mom. How does she use digital technology? Do her habits differ by age? What are her motivations for engaging in social media and other emerging channels? How should marketers engage her?

The report was chock-full of interesting and surprising information.

One key finding from the report is that more digital moms today interact with social networks (65 percent) and SMS (56 percent) than with news sites (51 percent). And just as many can be found gaming online or via a gaming console (52 percent).

Which technologies digital moms use, however, depends on factors such as the mom’s age, the age of her children and motivation.

Moms less than 35, for example, are more likely to use newer communication platforms like social networks, SMS and mobile browsing. Moms 45 and older are more likely to use online news, consumer reviews and podcasting.

What’s more, online video consumption is highest among moms with children 12 and older — the group that’s also more likely to be online monitoring their children.

Online purchasing habits
Compared to nondigital media such as magazines, newspaper and radio, digital channels continue to influence digital moms in their purchasing decisions, according to the survey.

Answers to questions for digital moms who researched or purchased products online in the three months prior to being surveyed revealed the following information:

• the gap between TV and digital channels in creating initial awareness of a product is closing;
• Web sites, search engines and friends/family, along with social influence channels and magazines, are more used and trusted for research and learning than any other sources;
• social activities play an important role in influencing digital moms; and
• emerging channels like mobile and podcasting also influence different stages in the purchase funnel, although it varies by vertical, and penetration is still relatively low.

What does this all mean? If you’re an online marketer targeting moms, understand that this group is pretty Web-savvy. In many cases, digital moms are using some of the newest Web 2.0 technologies to communicate with friends and family and help make purchasing decisions. So go ahead, test a variety of these Web 2.0 tools when marketing products or services to moms. You may be surprised by the results.