Shopping cart abandonment is a thing, and BOOST can help

Photo credit Michael Pereckas (@beigephotos on Flickr)
Photo credit Michael Pereckas (@beigephotos on Flickr)

Let’s say someone visits your website, you know, because your SEO strategy is working perfectly. They immediately look at your most profitable product (as planned) and add it to their cart. They look at another product or two, the About page, and guess what… they leave. Wait, what? They left? Yep. Gone. Poof. Just like that.

It happens. In fact, an 70% of all carts online are abandoned–just like yours.

You can relax though, because BOOST gives you the physical addresses of 10% of ALL of your unique visitors automatically. It’s like a super power: the ability to retarget anonymous prospects offline. And best of all? Your competitors aren’t using it. Yet.

Simply drop a hand written note in the mail with a small discount for new customers.

BOOST is free to try, and only takes a minute to install. Get started right now and see results immediately. No credit card required.

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How a Dentist could build a targeted mailing list

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Meet Dr. Terry Klein.

Who is Dr. Klein? He owns his own dental practice.

What does he work on daily? Dr. Klein does general dentistry; he diagnoses and treats dental problems. He also gives advice on how to properly take care of teeth and gums. He might do some administrative work, but most likely he would have hired some staff to take care of this. On top of this, Dr. Klein has to think about how to retain customers and find new clients.

Where does Dr. Klein find leads? Through mailing lists, referrals, contact forms on website, local listings on google and bing, google adwords, and SEO. If he was thinking more out of the box, then he may have looked at social media, blogging, and Google+.

How does he contact leads? Dr. Klein’s dental practice normally sends emails, and direct mail to new leads. This is unless if they directly leave their phone number.

But what if Dr. Klein used BOOST?

If he used BOOST, this is what would happen…

  1. A website visitor lands on Dr. Klein’s dental practice site.
  2. The visitor will be prompted by BOOST to request the user’s physical location.
  3. Once the user allows their location to be shared, BOOST will find the address for that location, and save it.
  4. In a short amount of time, an intent driven mailing list would be built up for his dentist office

What could Dr. Klein do with this list? He could send personalized direct mail offers based on the dental services the online visitor wanted. He could map his potential customers to make informed decisions based on which neighborhood and demographic they come from. He could save time and money by not buying mailing lists with customers that haven’t proven their interest in the first place. In fact, this approach with BOOST is more accurate and has a higher ROI than Google adwords.

BOOST from Epic Playground provides uses patent pending technology to generate the perfect mailing list for your and measures the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns. Get 25 leads free here.

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Common Mistakes of Direct Mail Campaigns

Successful direct mail depends on a variety of factors. It’s not just a hit and miss but rather a process you refine and improve over time. Use these tips to create and implement effective direct mail campaigns by avoiding simple errors.

Untargeted Mailing List

The worst mistake you can make is not spending enough time researching and deciding on a good mailing list. This should be done before designing and writing a mailing piece.

The best list possible would be a “house” mailing list of customers who have purchased from you before. This will likely produce much higher response rates than potential customers would.

More commonly, companies rent out mailing lists based on demographics in hopes that these line up with their target audience.

Terrible Copywriting

Not thinking about your audience’s wants and needs? Or not even doing enough research on it in the first place? Then you have failed in your goal.

Direct mail is meant to generate a response. The best way to do this is to be as specific as you can on what problems you can help them solve.

Also, don’t forget about grammar and typos!

Forgetting to Test

Just because you sent one version of a mailing piece, it does not mean you keep sending that same one over and over.

Direct mail campaigning is a process that is continuously improved over time. After experimenting different combinations of design, copywriting, and offers, there will be one combination that stands out strong. This one you can set as your “control” mailing piece and test different variables against it.

No Call to Action

Don’t forget to put a call to action after spending so much effort into researching and creating the direct mail campaign!

Your offer should be enticing and needs to let the reader know what to do next. Free common offers include: trials, catalogs, consultations, samples, and demonstrations. Other offers might include discounts to services.

In fact, there should be multiple call to actions within a mailing piece. In doing so, it can show where someone is more likely to respond to a call to action.

Bad Design

There’s room for a lot of creativity with direct mail because of its 3-dimensional nature.

Make your design easy to read with a good flow. In the end, it’s not all about aesthetics, but also how you package the information in a way that converts your audience.

No Plan to Follow Up

One mailing piece is not the end all be all.

Experts suggest following up at different times in the next few weeks and few months because it takes time for people to act. The mailing piece counts as a the first touch point. How about following up an email and phone call as well?

Missed Opportunity to Drive Traffic to Web

Think about how you can use tracking codes to drive new visitors to your website. It would be a lost opportunity to not test this out!

BOOST from Epic Playground provides uses patent pending technology to generate the perfect mailing list for your and measures the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns. Get 25 leads free here.

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How Can A Real Estate Agent Use Geolocation?

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Meet Sarah.

Who is Sarah? She is a real estate agent.

What does she work on daily? Sarah is always trying to get high quality leads, and new listings.

Where does Sarah find leads? Typically through referrals, contact forms on website, cold calling, social media, and etc. The fact is that it can take a long time due to lead nurturing.

How does she contact leads? Sarah generally contacts leads through phone calls, emails, and direct mail.

But what if Sarah used BOOST?

If she used BOOST, this is what would happen…

1) A website visitor lands on Sarah’s real estate website

2) The visitor will be prompted by BOOST to cause the browser to request the user’s physical location.

3) Once the user allows their location to be shared, BOOST will find the address for that location, and save it.

4) In a short amount of time, a hyper directed mailing list would be built up

What could Sarah do with this list? She could  send personalized direct mail offers based on the specific houses or services that an online visitor wanted. She could map her potential customers to make informed decisions based on which neighborhood and demographic they come from. She could save time and money by not buying any more mailing lists with customers who have not shown actual intent.

BOOST from Epic Playground provides uses patent pending technology to generate the perfect mailing list for your and measures the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns. Get 25 leads free here.

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10 Brilliant Direct Marketing Pieces

Direct mail is all about establishing a personal connection with a customer. They need to see, feel, and think about your brand in a way they haven’t seen it before. In this day and age, it can be harder to stand out from the sea of traditional direct mail flyers.

But direct mail doesn’t have to be boring. It can be quite creative and fun :-) We have compiled a list of 10 examples that showcase clever uses of direct marketing:

1) WWF Earth Hour: Candle Box

This was simple but fairly effective. To celebrate Earth hour, these candle boxes were sent to the offices of corporate CEOs to encourage them to shut off all lights for one hour.

Visually, the message stands out and the execution was great. In addition, support from corporations increased by 260%.

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2) LavOnline: Tomato Splat

This campaign helped an Italian laundry service reach their niche of young professionals.

Consumers received a box that opened up into a white t-shirt and a squishy tomato to go with it. When you throw the tomato at the box, it gets squished completely before picking itself together to become whole again. As a result, this demonstrates how the laundry service gets out tough stains.

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3) Companhia Athletica: Calendar

This calendar was the brainchild of Companhia Athletica who wanted to keep motivating gym members to work out.

They know that gym members need to keep getting encouraged to work out despite not seeing immediate results. Therefore, this visual is supposed to help members keep on track.

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4) Alessio Maria Centritto: Fortune Favors the Bold

This is a direct marketing piece not from a company, but rather a person who was applying for a job.

Alessio sent her potential employer a Chinese take-away box with a fortune cookie inside.  When the fortune cookie is opened, it has a message with one call to action – her website.

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5.  enoGarage: Wine glass invitation

This wine glass invitation has two parts: a folder shaped as an empty wine glass and a pull out that becomes a full glass of wine.

The goal of this mailer is to get the potential customer to notice the uniqueness of the invitation when playing with it and to show it to others.

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6. Amnesty International: Chopsticks

This is a different angle on a common item. Instead of being chopsticks, these are actually pencils in disguise.

On the packaging, it came with instructions on how to write to end human torture.

 

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7) IKEA Lack Side Table: Pop-up

In IKEA catalogs, there used to be an insert with a 3D popup of the LACK table.

This was a good way to get customers thinking about the size, shape, usefulness and cheapness of these tables. Sure enough, it got people to go get buying.

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8) Shark Project: Fin

This direct mailer piece asks the recipient to cut open the top of the envelope. In doing so, it exposes a bloody shark fin.

It definitely sends a strong message on shark extinction.

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9) Mariner Boating Holidays: Tie a Knot

From the outside, it looks like a plain without much embellishment. But upon opening, you will see that there already a perfect knot made which pre-qualifies you to go sailing.

This type of knot in direct mail pieces is also seen in wedding marketing material.

 

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10) GGRP Sound: Cardboard Record Player

This one is amazing! Surprisingly, the record player is not just a souvenir piece and actually works.

To get the record to play: you open it up, place the record below the needle, and spin using a pencil.

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What we have showed you is a sampling of some of the great direct mail ideas out there. We hope that these examples have got you thinking of some creative approaches!

Have you seen other intriguing direct marketing mail pieces? Please share :-)

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BOOST from Epic Playground provides uses patent pending technology to generate the perfect mailing list for your and measures the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns. Get 25 leads free here.

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The Perfect Mailing List

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Photo by TheeErin

Imagine, for a moment, your perfect direct mail list. Does this list include only those potential customers who have expressed some level of interest in your product?  Do you repeatedly spend too much money sending direct mail pieces to addresses that have shown little or no interest in your product?  After each mailing, do you spend your valuable time and resources trying to, and ultimately, guesstimating the effectiveness of your list?

If you’ve answered “Yes” to any of the above, consider the following:

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How do people even end up in mailing lists?

The three most common ways that people get into a mailing list are: (1) purchasing something with a credit card, (2) magazine subscriptions, and (3) filling out a warranty for a new product.  Wow, isn’t that a great mailing list?  You’ve just included almost every person across the country!

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Who are your customers?

Although, there is no such list of customers who will buy your product / service from you 100%, there are ways to bring up the likelihood of a purchase. For this, you can segment profiles of a person through their previous purchases, industry studies, amount of income they make, hobbies, education, number of children, and other collected information.

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Buying or renting a mail list?

When you buy a mailing list, you are buying the rights for it to be used multiple times. This could be for a period of a year or up to a certain amount of uses. Under this agreement, you may do whatever you wish with the data as long as you do not sell the information to others. For these reasons, this type of list is more expensive than a single use rental list.

A single-use mailing list is an agreement for you to use a list only once, and have no rights over the data. In some cases, the client never directly sees the original list, and instead has to go through a third party to obtain the information. Other times, the supplier will trust the client, and directly supply the list.

The biggest benefit of renting an email list is the low cost of single use lists. However, on the downside, you can only use this list for one campaign which means it will not be useful in the long run.

What matters the most regardless of whether you rent or buy lists is that quality is always better than quantity.

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Before buying / renting a mailing list you should ask yourself these questions…

  • When was this list last updated, and how often will it be updated?
  • Which companies / industries have used this list before?
  • Have people on this list ordered products through mail? If so, how often did they do so?
  • When did they last purchase something?
  • What offers worked, and what offers did not work?

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Manually building your own lead list…

Sure, it will take more time to prospect and acquire mailing addresses but it could be a great opportunity for your company. Small and medium-sized businesses can especially benefit from this change in mindset. We will go through a few suggestions on how to get started.

One way is to ask existing customers if they would like to join the mailing list: (1) through signing up at an site location, and (2) attaching a form for them to fill out on a direct mail package.

Another way is to ask clients for referrals of potentially interested new people. In the process, you can add a cash or gift incentive for each person they refer.

A third way is to seek prospective clients through other means such as: (1) online giveaway contests, (2) offline events like trade shows and conferences, (3) run a special offer with a partner site, and (4) convert website traffic into physical mailing addresses.

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It comes down to what you need…

The type of mailing list you choose should be based the amount of times you need to use it for, if it is high quality or not, and relevant to the demographic you are targeting.

Stick with a mailing list technique that works but also experiment with alternative ways to building a mailing list. Over time, you will build a bigger and better lead list which will not be perfect, but close to it.

So tell us, what features would your perfect mailing list have?

BOOST from Epic Playground provides patent pending technology to generate the perfect mailing list and measure the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns. See how geolocation can help BOOST your direct mail sales!

 

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Geolocation Trends for Websites

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When someone mentions geolocation, I bet you automatically think of a mobile app. One such app is Foursquare which was part of the first wave of apps that made geolocation popular. It served the purpose of telling friends where you were, and if you were lucky, maybe you would unlock a discount or two.

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Mobile apps aren’t the only users of geolocation. In fact, many online websites try to get online users to share their location (zip code) so that they can show them more accurate information. Here are 3 very familiar examples of user experience being improved through geolocation:

1) Groupon

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Deal sites like Groupon rely on you giving them your email and zip code so that they can give you the best daily and limited time offers.

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2) Flickr Places

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Flickr has a cool feature where it allows you to voluntarily tag photo locations in real time.

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3) Fandango

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Of the 3 websites, Fandango is the most explicit in wanting to use your computer’s location with a browser bar at the top.

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Mobile apps, and website location opt-in – what’s next?

We want to show you something that could be the next big thing in offline retargeting. BOOST has created a way to convert existing web traffic into direct mail leads.

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Here’s the way it works:

1) A visitor lands on your website.

2) On your site, they will be prompted (only once) by BOOST asking for their location.

3) If they choose to opt-in, their location will be shared with BOOST.

4) By using patent pending technology, BOOST develops a USPS-deliverable physical address.

5) Congratulations! You have a new offline lead.

Instead of only utilizing web traffic for online lead generation, you now have a tool to contact your leads using direct mail. Based on website viewer intent, you can build a hyper-targeted direct mail.

Try out BOOST here

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5 Tips to Get Started with a Direct Mail Campaign

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“Four-fifths (79 per cent) of consumers will act on direct mail immediately compared to only 45 per cent who say they deal with email straightaway.” 

- CMO Council, October 2013

The number above may come as a surprise because it illustrates the effectiveness of direct mail marketing versus using email. Although many industries use email as a primary way to communicate with potential and current customers, it isn’t the only way to build customer rapport. Small businesses such as dentist offices, home cleaning services, and real estate brokerages still find a lot of value in sending letters and offers to interested residents.

They understand that not everyone will take the time to read their email. Whereas, people usually do take time to check their physical mailbox.

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As a small business owner, here’s the basics on what you need to do to get started with a successful direct mail campaign:

Acquire a targeted mailing list

The first step is to get a targeted mailing list to acquire new customers. Some people prefer to rent mailing lists from companies such as www.directmail.com and choose from a selection of consumer, business, and real estate related mailing lists. In addition, there is the option to customize the list to certain demographics like age, income, magazine subscribers, and etc. But, the huge con of list rentals are that they cannot be “bought out” completely.

An alternative to the traditional mail list rentals is BOOST’s feature of building your list from individuals who have already found your site and are already interested in your products and services. This type of lead list is based on customer intent, and will not cost you additional fees other than the monthly subscription fee.

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Getting inside your Customer’s shoes

After you have obtained your rolodex of names and addresses, you should think about:

  • What it is that you can provide them?
  • What do they need?
  • What can you offer them that they would value?

Most of all, write in  away that connects with your audience. Not necessarily ad copy, but perhaps a softer sell with editorial style writing containing elements of stories and testimonials.

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Enlist the help of a Print company

Even if the content of the direct mail piece is perfect, the presentation of it has to be just as visually appealing. Think of how you can make things easy to read, understand, and enjoyable for the customer. It could be little things from the pictures chosen to the font to the line spacing that have an impact.

In this case, if you have the budget, go ahead with a company who can help you design the perfect collateral for your campaign.

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Experiment with multiple offers

It makes sense to not just make one offer on the direct mailer piece but rather a couple different offers. These come in the form of coupons, special codes, and alternate placements in the direct mailer. For example, the ADT mailer below placed an offer at the top, and made sure to include two extra coupons along the right hand side. This gives the consumer the power to choose whichever promotion that would be most relevant to them.

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You want to make it easy to say yes. So along with putting offers in multiple places in the direct mailer, make sure you throw in a testimonial or two.

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Keep Testing

Even when you complete your first direct mail campaign, the work is never done. Goals should be measured to see if they were achieved or not. Some ways to track response rates could be through: 1) the number of coupons / codes used, 2) surveying people on the phone or online, 3) profit from conversions compared to cost of campaign, and 4) if they continued to become repeat customers.

If your mail campaign did not work the first time, it would be time to reassess: 1) if you approached the right demographic for your services, 2) type of offer you provided, and 3) marketing collateral you used. These things can be tweaked with some effort, and it is better to do so than to keep running an ineffective campaign.

In the end, it comes down to positive ROI in your campaign.

We would like to know what worked for your business and what didn’t work for your businesses when you got started with direct mail campaigning?

BOOST from Epic Playground provides patent pending technology to generate the perfect mailing list and measure the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns. See how geolocation can help BOOST your direct mail sales!

 

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Boost Blog Intro

Welcome to the Epic Playground (BOOST) Blog!

The BOOST story:

BOOST was born from the desire to improve lead generation for direct mail. For decades, industries have done things the old fashioned way – buying or renting mailing lists. How do you know if the people on the list will actually be interested in purchasing the product/service you are offering? Enter BOOST. BOOST methodically builds a mailing list from your existing web traffic. It’s about time to revolutionize direct mail!

Our background:

Epic Playground was born in Boulder, Colorado and is a Techstars Cloud 2012 alum. Today, our home is in the burgeoning tech scene in Dallas, Texas. Michael Sitarzewski, our CEO, is a passionate Dallas Startup Evangelist—you will find him hosting #BigDOCC, Dallas New Tech, and participating in House of Genius Dallas.

Bob Main leads operations from Fort Collins, Colorado. He brings nearly two decades of sales and operational experience to the team.

What you can expect from us:

We will cover topics on direct mail, lead generation, offline retargeting, and geolocation. Once a week, information will be presented in the form of tips, advice, and use cases. As we learn more about these sales and marketing strategies, we will share what we’ve learned. There are plenty of valuable new tools, techniques, and trends. Our goal is to help you understand how to use these new tools and techniques to bring more value to you and your customers.

Your role:

We’d love to hear your feedback through comments, email, phone, and social media. Feel free to suggest to us what you would like discussed (and showcased) in upcoming articles. In the meantime, keep us bookmarked or add our RSS feed, and share our blog with a friend or two. The more the merrier.

 

Until next time…

The Epic Playground Team

 

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