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It’s the new conventional wisdom — your direct mail pieces should point customers to your branded website and social media account. But Debra Ellis of Wilson & Ellis Consulting (wilsonellisconsulting.com) advises direct marketers to flip the script. She recommends using social sites like Facebook and Twitter to drum up anticipation for your direct mail campaigns.
An integration specialist and author of the e-book “Social Media 4 Direct Marketers,” Ellis views online and offline messaging as different sides of the same coin. Scoffing at the notion that modern marketing is “all about the conversation,” Ellis advises clients to build social media communities with the goal of selling — not simply trying to be the customer’s pal.
“Social media (allows) a wonderful opportunity to talk to customers one-on-one,” Ellis says, “but if we’re only chatting about the weather, how do we move them into the sales cycle? The only thing that motivates the customer is a need or perceived need.”
Instead of squandering those valuable social conversations, Ellis advises businesses to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare and FriendFeed to push their direct mail campaigns.
“At least once a day, throw in a comment about your direct mail pieces,” Ellis says. “Instruct the people in your community to sign up to receive your mailer, then count down the days until that piece is in the mail. You could even go to the point of creating a YouTube video of the products presented in your direct mail piece so people get an interest.”
Ellis says scenarios like this represent the future of marketing: “Instead of pure-play mail, or pure-play e-commerce, marketers are starting to realize that multichannel messaging is infinitely more valuable.”
Included in the purchase of “Social Media 4 Direct Marketers” is membership to a special LinkedIn group devoted to integrated marketing. Members receive updates on strategy, tools and tactics from Ellis’ own tests and marketing experiences.