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Social Media & Digital Marketing – Get on board!

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Social media has revolutionized our personal and business relationships. Leaving messages on landlines, dialing through a list of business cards, and writing hand written letters are things of the past; tweeting, poking, emailing, and reminding ourselves to follow up (with alerts on our smartphones) are the present reality, and will continue to evolve.

The biggest brands in the world are shifting their media buys from traditional marketing to digital and social campaigns, and we all must take notice (See: Pepsi and the 2010 Super Bowl). Are you spending thousands of dollars a month on print, TV, and direct mail advertising? What kind of return are you seeing? I would wager a bet that your money is not being wisely spent.

In addition to lower returns on traditional marketing initiatives, brands are learning that the real-time, live tracking and reporting that is possible with social and digital marketing is simply not with old media. Let’s dive into two examples:

Option A:  Direct Mail Postcard

These used to be great initiatives for marketers; you put together some beautiful creative to go with engaging copy and a killer offer, and send out two versions of the card (A/B test) to 20,000 qualified prospects. On the card you offer two dynamic URLs for tracking (if you’re slick), two different phone numbers with associated “whisper messages“, or you rely on the business reply cards to come in. Then you wait. Days, weeks, and months go by while you wait for people to visit your URLs, call your numbers, and (gasp) mail back in the business reply cards.

Thousands of dollars are spent on this campaign and there are several issues from the onset:

  • A large chunk of the recipients will throw the postcard out before reading it
  • Marketers love reporting and seeing a campaign’s return, and we are very impatient for this information
  • The return on this type of campaign is simply not worth the expense (time and cost)

Option B:  Email Blast with Social Media Offer

The digital alternative! A web-savvy marketer can put together an awesome email blast in a few hours. Prebuilt template designs that are easy to customize, instant CSV file list uploads, and cost-effective email marketing software, make this type of initiative a no brainer for digital marketing. Also, A/B testing; an email marketing program worth its salt lets you randomly split your list in two with a click of a button.

Also, rather than driving people to a landing page or asking them to call a phone number, your offer can be social-focused; “Like our Facebook page today and receive a special coupon code for 25% off!“. This is where things get interesting. If you send your email blast out at 9AM you can start monitoring results of the campaign at 9:01AM; that is not a typo. Powerful social media software exists that allows digital marketers to track their campaigns in real time; some of the perks?

  • Live reporting on which prospects are clicking your offer, who’s “Liking” the Facebook page, and who’s ignoring the email
  • Watch as your Facebook “Likes” rise and declare a winner for the A/B test in hours and days (not weeks and months)
  • Save money! The same list of 20,000 prospects can be emailed at (literally) a fraction of the cost

The best part is that cloud-based software normally comes with a free trial period. Test out the software, try some different campaigns, and if you don’t like it then you don’t have to spend a penny. If you have any questions about how to pull something like this off, let us know!

Social media has changed the way we all manage relationships and it’s time for it to change your marketing strategy too.

VM Associates is a New York City cloud computing consulting firm. We help companies transition into newer, better, smarter software. Contact us to talk about your business, the cloud, and how we might help.

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Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.

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