3 Strategies For Effective Data Collection and Marketing Communications

You have a message you want to get out. That’s great. However, you have a lot of competition for the attention of your audience. Direct mail, TV and radio advertising, newspaper and periodical advertising and of course, internet advertising. And we have not even started talking about social media (for example, Twitter and Facebook). All of this competition for the attention of your audience could be bad news. The good news is that you have so many channels, or tools, to get your message out. With a little knowledge and some well-planned strategy your business can be one of the few that get the right message to the right audience at the right time. Here are three tools to make sure that your message stands out.

If you wanted to pound a nail into a wall, you would not use a pair of pliers. Likewise, if you wanted to tighten a faucet, you would not use a hammer. In other words, you need the right tool for the right job. That means you need to know two critical pieces of information: 1) what is your desired outcome and 2) what is the best tool to get you there. This is true in any endeavor, be it carpentry, plumbing or communicating. Here, of course, we are talking about communication, which is a good thing because I know nothing about either carpentry or plumbing.

On the other hand, I do know about communicating a message. Effective marketing and communications require you to start with the end in mind. What is it you want to accomplish? Ask yourself, at the end of this, what do I want to have happen? Without this critical piece of knowledge, you can never strategically get where you want to go. You could end up there accidentally, but it would take you a lot more time and a lot more money. In this economy, very few of us have extra time or money. I know I sure as heck don’t.

So what is the goal of your marketing campaign? Obtain more leads for your sales staff? Drive visitors to your website? Get people into a local restaurant? Have people buy their next car from your dealership? Create a robust online community? Whatever the answer is, you need a clear picture of your desired outcome before you can strategize how to get there. You then need accurate information in the form of accurate data and business intelligence so you will know what is relevant to your audience. Finally, your offer has to be one that allows a win for you and your audience.

SO LET’S TAKE A LOOK INSIDE OUR STRATEGIC TOOLBOX:

TOOL #1: KNOW YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME BEFORE YOU START
TOOL #2: CURRENT, ACCURATE DATA IS KING
TOOL #3: MAKE INTERACTIONS WIN-WIN
We will look at each of these in more detail in this week’s three part series Three Tools to Build an Outstanding Communication Strategy. So make sure you check back, or even better, subscribe to the feed. Don’t miss out on a tool you could use to build your business.

TOOL ONE: KNOW YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME BEFORE YOU START!

Good communication is never random. Never left to chance. There is a strategy behind the best, most effective communication campaigns. To come up with an effective strategy, you have to start at the end. That’s right, start at the end. By that, I mean you must determine what you are looking to accomplish with the campaign. There are some examples in earlier sections (I assume you have read the earlier parts of the series. If not, shame on you! But because I am a nice guy, here is a link).

Quite simply, you cannot start any journey without knowing the destination. Lewis Carroll summed it up nicely when he said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Even Plato understood this, stating in The Republic that “[t]he beginning is the most important part of the work.” A clear outcome is where you start your work.

What is the difference between a wish and a clearly defined outcome?

A clear outcome is well defined with start dates, end dates and metrics by which you can measure your success. Your outcome should be objective. Instead of “I want more leads,” you should be saying, “I want 5% of the recipients of this message to go to the web-landing page and register for our monthly newsletter.” In the first example, one new lead would meet your goal. If you are selling nuclear submarines, that might actually be your goal, but most of us are not in the business of selling one-offs. The difference in the second example is that you have a measurable, objective way to determine if your communication strategy is successful.

Once you have your outcome clearly defined, you have to strategize how you can reach that outcome. Let’s take the restaurant campaign as our example. You want to reach local customers and increase your customer base and your ability to communicate to your audience. The first thing you need is data. Data can come from many sources, but no matter what, data is king in this information age. You can use a list you have generated on your own or you can buy a list. Either way, it is a first step toward more effective communication.

You can also use a number of methods to reach your audience. Direct mail, email, internet advertising, text messaging, advertising, or combinations of all of them. As we are focusing on data, let’s look at a very basic, targeted customer acquisition campaign. First, you need your list. For this example, let’s say you have no data of your own so you need to buy a list. There are more companies selling lists out there than there are grains of sand on Cape Cod (hey, I’m a Boston guy; if it makes you feel better, you can say the beaches of Long Island – the point is the same). The key here is to make sure you use a reputable, list broker who keeps their list current and accurate. If your list is out of date, your campaign is doomed from the start.

TOOL TWO: CURRENT, ACCURATE DATA IS KING!

Which strategy do you think will yield better results?

1. I will send out mailers to 100,000 people to get more business.
2. I will mail 10,000 personalized postcards every week for ten weeks. Each card will have a personal URL so that the effectiveness of the message can be improved every week.

OK, that was a stupid question. Obviously, answer number 2 will get you better results. My insane pet dog even got that answer right (then he peed on my rug). Yet despite the fact that answer number one obviously results in a less effective communication strategy, I have seen more companies engage in that type of marketing than I have seen engage in the second method. Sometimes the obvious solution is not the easiest solution.

The ability to accurately measure results is critical to success in communication. Who saw the message? Who opened the email? Who read the post card? Who used the QR Code on their mobile phone? When did they read it? Who went to the web landing page and what did they do there? All of this information is easily ascertainable and it is extremely valuable.

With this list you send out a direct mail piece with a compelling call to action to visit a web landing page. In our restaurant hypothetical, you might offer a coupon for a free appetizer when you visit the web landing page and complete a brief survey and sign up for the restaurant’s newsletter. By doing this, your customer is opting into future communications. The survey might ask which pizza topping is the customer’s favorite. This accomplishes a number of things. One, you now have a list of warm leads who you know are interested in your product. Two, you know their preferences from the survey. Three, you have their permission to send them subsequent, targeted communications with specials and offers (this includes sending text messages…but SMS texting is the subject of another post). The point is that for the cost of a postcard and appetizer, you now have even more customers and even more accurate data. And as customers come in, you keep track of their orders, likes, dislikes and other relevant patterns. You build a great database.

TOOL 3: MAKE INTERACTIONS WIN-WIN!

Now that our pizza shop owner has all of this data, what can be done with it to help generate revenue? After all, generating revenue is the point here. SO let’s continue with our example. With the data collected data, our restaurant owner can send personalized email offers that match not only the customer’s needs and desires, but the restaurant’s as well. If you know you have a boatload of excess pepperoni, you might offer a free pepperoni topping with the purchase of a large pizza. You can target that message in an email or text message to customers you know buy pepperoni pizza (remember – you have been tracking customer buying patterns).

So now you have a win-win outcome. You, the restaurant owner, sells more pepperoni pizza when you need to, and your customers that love pepperoni get a price break on what they love. It is good for all, and that is marketing at its best. How can you leverage you company’s data to create win-win situations for customers and prospects? Do you need to start collecting data? Leave some feedback and share your experiences.

Direct Mail For Fundraising

In order to use direct mail for fund-raising purposes, you need to understand the concept of both fund-raising and mail. In simple terms fund-raising means raising money for a particular cause or project. For many non profit organizations in existence today, fund-raising is a substantial way of raising money for their cause. This cause can be varied and can range from helping religious groups to assisting political organizations. Some non profits groups also organize events to raise money in order to support various humanitarian causes and social issues.

Now that we have the basic understanding of fund-raising, let us see what direct mail is all about. It is the most common means of direct marketing. It helps in reaching out to a large number of people quickly. The concept of using this technique for fund raising is many centuries old. Example of such work can be found as early as the 12th century in countries like Great Britain and Japan. In countries like the United States, the practice of mail for fund-raising started after the Second World War. This was the time when charitable organizations throughout the US were looking for options to increase their fund-raising supporters.

Once computers came into being, the use of direct mail for fund-raising took immense proportions in the United States. Prior to the advent of computers, the fund-raising groups had to maintain the details of their members and donors manually. This made the entire task very tedious and time consuming. The computer came as a boon to these organizations since they could now maintain all the records on the computer. It also became easy to update and add new details which before computers, was a Herculean task.

The growth of non profit groups in the United States led to the growth in the concept of direct mail for fund-raising. Today, through this technique of fund-raising, any American can learn about the charities of his/her choice. The task of contributing towards their favorite charity group, today, is a piece of cake.

In today’s world, using direct mail for fund-raising is a concept that many non profit organizations throughout the world follow. It is the easiest and most convenient way to convey information to all their participants. This technique helps all types of organizations to reach out to people and gain new customers or members. It helps the organizations inform its existing customers about the up-coming fund-raising events. It also makes the task of reaching out to its members and asking them to upgrade their contributions easy. Although it costs little higher than other forms of communication, but Direct mail has become quite an effective and result-oriented technique which is widely used for fund-raising throughout the globe.

Beyond Yours Marketing Opportunity Review

Beyond Yours Marketing is a new direct sales company that is so new in fact, that it is still in pre-launch. The company is based in the health and wellness industry with its focus on water. Beyond Yours has done extensive research with water sources around the world as well as creating a longer shelf life of the water itself through a unique treatment process to create a truly refreshing experience they believe. So how does the business opportunity match up to the product they have created for you to market?

The goal of Beyond Yours is to “impact world health and help people both physically and financially while in the process creating the largest health and wellness Company in the world.” So how good are the products? Water is the basis for life on our little planet and bottled water has been a growing trend for some time now. The biggest issue with the bottled water industry was the shelf life of the water itself, and with the unique process that Beyond has created, this issue they believe is now taken care of and a plus for those who want to market these products. This company also comes with a detoxification product that could enhance the sales of the main product. The compensation plan is based on a binary team.

This particular plan comes with several bonuses on productivity in retail sales of both legs and is endless as far as building you team on both sides. The difference between the wholesale price and mark up will be the commission for direct sales of any products. Binary plans can be both good and bad depending on the marketing skills of those above you. Building in this type of plan will need balance in both legs which will take careful consideration when taking on new business owners and which leg that you should place them in for balance in your teams, unbalanced legs are the same no matter if they are your own literal two legs or that of a binary compensation plan.

Overall Beyond Your Marketing Inc. seems to have a good product although expensive. Learning to market the product online with only replicated sites could be a challenge in the heavily saturated health and wellness industry. Branding yourself, and marketing online comes with a learning curve. Learning how to effectively market this business online and glean from that marketing a good team will be a step in the right direction with this business opportunity.