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If your website collects data on enquiries and customers, then what measures do you have in place to check and maintain accuracy?

Web forms have an inbuilt potential for user error or misuse which can lead to inaccurate data in your database. Then when you come to mail your website database, you run the risk of costly gone aways or low responses due to inaccurate addresses.

Implementing an online address verification process in your website to resolve this issue can be costly, complex without technical skills or support, and prove more time consuming for your website users to use.

The simplest method is to collect your data online, export your names and addresses into a file and check it on your PC desktop using the Easycheck data cleansing application before you mail anyone.

Easycheck can check your data for address accuracy, gone away addresses, bereavements, and screen data against the Mailing Preference Service.

Most websites contain a mechanism for collecting data on your visitors or customers, but are you then following up on this valuable information with a mailing?

Sending a mailing to enquiries received through your website or your online customers can be a great way to get their attention….

  • A well produced mailing piece is more tangible than an email and more likely to get through increasingly cluttered inboxes.
  • A mailing is a more secure way to send out exclusive offers or promotions, without them being forwarded by email to numerous non-customers.
  • A mailing say’s more about your business than an email; it say’s you have more of as physical presence and can help you stand out from your purely online competitors.
  • Customers will see you actually value their business and have taken the time to mail them.
The technique works equally well for B2B or B2C websites, and can be used to target both enquiries and existing customers.  Plus with the advent of the new generation of hybrid mail providers, mailing smaller quantities is even easier than ever.

A number of major brands have been using direct mail to push web traffic as part of a CRM campaign.

The latest is Nissan, which is looking to improve it's reputation for service amongst existing customers. This month sees the launch of a new CRM campaign which uses direct mail and email marketing targeted to it's database of customers to encourage traffic to a new website built on the theme of 'You + Nissan care'. The mailing creative features customer testimonials, and a series of pledges around customer service.

Another brand to use direct mail as part of an integrated CRM strategy is Quiksilver, the European fashion retailer. In this case mailings are being used with mobile marketing, websites and social media as a multi channel campaign to drive more targeted offers to customers, and build closer relationships with them.

So using digital and direct marketing can be a two way process to acheive better CRM, driving customers to online experiences and using mailings to follow up website visitors offline.

In either case data accuracy is key. A CRM campaign which addresses it's recipients with a misspelt name or address is not going to get off to a good start, and data collected on the web often needs checking for accuracy. Both needs can be met through use of a simple tool like the Easycheck desktop data cleansing application.

Are PPC programs like Google Adwords and Facebook Ads just another form of direct marketing, along with direct mail and telemarketing?

On first sight PPC advertising may appear to have little in common with sending a mailing. But look a little deeper and you’ll see more similarities than you may have imagined.

First off, let’s accept a definition of direct marketing as sending a tailored marketing message or communication to an individual, as opposed to above the line communications such as press ads which can be seen by many.

Then consider how Google Adwords works – a user enters a search term, and if we have chosen to target that phrase our tailored message appears to that person on an individual basis. Sounds a lot like direct marketing.

Look at Facebook Ads and you can refine your marketing by the user’s location, gender, age, lifestage and interests. Now PPC really is becoming direct marketing.

Of course you could argue that a key difference between PPC and direct mail is that you don’t work from a database for online and so don’t have individual data on each recipient. But of course if users click your ad you can track their online behaviour using IP address and cookies, building a database.

So, if the similarities exist, the next question is what can direct marketing and PPC learn from other?

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