Author Archives: Lynsey Hadfield

Illustration of an arm holding an envelope in the middle of clock with text overlay

Direct Mail – is this your time (again)?

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The chances are that your bank has gone paperless with statements, you receive reminders for your car insurance via email, and rather than catching up via hand-written letters, you Facebook message your friend that’s working abroad.

So what are you receiving through your letter box? My guess – not much! A few cheaply made, poorly designed takeaway vouchers that go straight to the bin at the most. And it’s the same for the majority of the public as consumers become more tech-savvy and businesses strive to be digital.

If you are thinking about using Direct Mail as part of your marketing strategy, now may be the best time to use it. Both businesses and consumers are receiving less and less mail, as companies favour the cost effective option of email marketing. Whilst this is both instantaneous and cost effective it doesn’t come without its disadvantages. In this day and age, we’re overloaded with generic web ads and our inboxes are inundated with both solicited and unsolicited emails; it can become almost an automatic act to ignore web ads and to delete emails without even opening them.

On the other hand if you have something physical and aesthetically pleasing in your hands with a relevant personalised message, you’re far more likely to interact with it. Direct Mail is an opportunity to connect with your customers on a more personal level and provides a tangible, enjoyable and therefore memorable experience.

Here are some top tips for your Direct Mail:

  • Make it targeted – Review your data and make your audience specific. For best results, use Direct Mail to warm leads. Then make sure your mailer is relevant and will peak the interest of your audience. If you have the data, such as previous purchases or enquiries, why not even personalise the mailer to make the most of your efforts?
  • Think quality and creativity – This is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Direct Mail allows a level of creativity that email doesn’t. Use techniques such as pop-ups, punch-outs or folds. Use a premium paper so it not only looks but feels premium and different to the receiver.
  • A clear call-to-action – Make the message easy to digest, with short snippets of text, using subheadings and bullet points if necessary, but most of all – make sure the reader knows what you want them to do.
  • Integrate with digital – Lead your customers or prospects on a journey with your brand. Communicate via different channels, such as your website, personalised email and social media during their purchase journey. Give your audience a reason to visit your site, subscribe to your mailing list, and purchase from your store whatever your objective is. This will also make your campaign’s success more measurable.
  • Offer something free or exclusive – it’s not always possible or relevant, but envelopes with lumps in attract attention! Freebies or simply the word ‘free’ attract attention. Give your audience a little something to build their trust, or appreciation, building on a relationship towards a purchase.

Now is the time for your marketing team to put their heads together and come up with a truly creative eye-catching campaign giving you the chance to beat your competitors, who are busy getting caught in spam filters!

If you are looking for innovative ways to target your customers, get in touch with Zircom today, to see how we can help maximise your marketing success.

The Importance of Brand Reputation

The Importance of Brand Reputation

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When it comes to making a purchase, some of us take into account cost, whilst others focus on quality. However, for the majority of us, it always comes down to who we know, who we trust and who we feel a sense of loyalty to – those brands that have built a reputation and a relationship with us. This type of marketing supports brands in standing out from the competition in the long run and it’s for that reason that building and maintaining your business’ reputation is increasingly important.

In the past businesses have focused purely on the bottom line, but in this day and age that would be a very short-sighted strategy. A holistic approach, taking into account the fact that revenue and reputation work hand-in-hand, is vital. Examples of brands that have got it right include Google, Disney and Apple.

It’s important to note, that in this day and age there’s no faking it. Brands are forced to be increasingly honest with their audience and their employees as the internet has opened up a new level of transparency, with endless amounts of information available regarding every company.

2015 saw several scandals which damaged brands’ reputations and inevitably their revenues. For example, the Volkswagen scandal of cheating emissions tests, causing consumers to lose trust in the brand, taking a huge hit to their profitability, with over $4.8 billion having to be set aside for an internal enquiry to attempt to regain trust. The manufacturer’s shares have expectedly also taken a turn for the worse, falling by a third. And it’s not just your business that you to evaluate. By partnering or being associated with businesses with questionable values, you could leave yourself at risk. Simply look at how Fifa’s scandal has affected Nike.

But don’t stress! One of the best things about the current emphasis on brand reputation is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot. It’s simply about your values as a company and demonstrating them internally and externally in everything you do. It may mean more time or money spent to ensure quality, but in the end it will multiply your marketing and sales efforts, as your customers and employees become advocates for your business. A great example of this is the employee perks Google is renowned for, including unique offices, free food, sports facilities etc. which make us think of the company as not only a great place to work, but a brand to trust.

Want proof of how much brand reputation means these days? Facebook. YouTube. These brands became renowned and used by millions across the world but had little income. Because of the brand reputation, these businesses were considered to be worth millions despite their revenue.

Tips for improving your brand reputation:

  • Be proactive – rather than waiting for customer complaints and reacting to them, continually analyse every aspect of your business, including its values, services, products so that you can proactively develop and adapt to exceed expectations and build a lasting relationship with your customers.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility – Implementing a CSR programme, providing ongoing support to charities, not only enhances your reputation, but also improves team morale. Real Business offer great advice on implementing a CSR programme for your business.
  • Social media – show the people and culture behind your brand. Demonstrate authenticity and build trust. Engage with the community. Give people a reason to trust you by sharing solutions or answers that are useful to your audience. Find out how you can give your brand a personality.