Is Direct Mail Dead?

Obviously, most of my articles center around web content and blogging, but NextGear Marketing does marketing and advertising of all types. In fact, my marketing career began at a company that specialized in direct mail campaigns, so it is a subject I am very familiar with.

For some companies, the concept of direct mail has become obsolete thanks to social media, emails, landing pages and blogs, which are all generally cheaper to utilize and offer many powerful benefits in today’s consumer market. However, direct mail is still a very viable strategy for some businesses, and it can be a part of your overall marketing strategy if done right.

Who is Your Target Audience?

First, you have to consider who your target audience is. Will direct mail reach them and pique their interest? If your ideal consumer is in an older age range, then direct mail can be quite powerful. If you are primarily going after millennials, then you may want to keep your focus more on digital avenues.

I am personally in the Generation X age range, which means I fall somewhere in between. I get a lot of direct mail and some of it will catch my eye. I also spend my fair share of time on social media, as well as other online sources to make my consumer decisions. The more research you do, the more you’ll probably discover that most of today’s consumers will respond to all types of marketing. And that’s why you want your marketing strategy to incorporate a decent blend of approaches, possibly including direct mail.

What Are You Selling?

Next, you have to consider the products or services you are trying to sell. What is the best way to communicate their benefits to your target audience? What will generate the most response? Social media advertising and targeted email campaigns are essentially the same idea as a direct mail campaign. You narrow your focus and send messages that you hope will generate a direct response from the people who see/receive them.

When it comes to direct mail, most people will still pay more attention to your message when they are physically holding something in their hands (i.e. your direct mail postcard, flyer, pamphlet or letter). It’s human nature. Emails are easy to ignore or filter out as spam. Social media ads are often overlooked amidst so many other things happening in someone’s feed.

It’s true that 99.9% of all direct mail pieces will end up in the trash or shredder, but you can still make an impression on the way from the mailbox to the garbage can. It could just be furthering your brand message in that consumer’s mind as they see your mailers time after time, or the offer may catch their attention just enough for them to take action. Either way, there is some impact that you may not get through digital channels.

Is Direct Mail Right for You?

If it makes sense for your business and your consumer audience, you can still utilize direct mail (as part of a balanced marketing campaign) for great results. Just look in your own mailbox every week. The shear volume of “junk mail” shows that it is far from dead as an effective marketing strategy.

The one big downside of direct mail is that it is not cheap, especially if you compare the costs of printing and postage against social media marketing, blogging, SEO and other digital strategies. It’s all about finding enough return on investment. If your direct mail campaign isn’t generating enough business to pay for itself, then you need to focus your budget elsewhere or rethink your direct mail approach. The medium may not be the problem. It could be your designs, messages or mailing lists that need to be rethought.

Direct mail is just one medium to consider when developing a comprehensive marketing campaign for your business. For more information and a free marketing consultation, contact NextGear Marketing today.

Blogging Gives You a Lot of Content without it Seeming Like Too Much Content

Have you ever been to a website and were immediately turned off because it just seemed like there was too much going on? Every page you look at has thousands of words of content. The navigation is complicated and confusing with a lot of links or pull-downs. It’s so overwhelming that you don’t even want to look at it any further.

SEO Overcorrection

This is a common problem thanks to SEO philosophy. Web developers went from branding-based websites where the design was most important to content-based sites where the design took a back seat. In other words, they overcorrected their approach by taking a user-friendly site and overloaded it with too much content.

Like a lot of strategies we discuss here on the NextGear Marketing Blog, finding a good balance is the key. You still want your site to look nice and be easy to navigate. It should also be mobile/tablet friendly. At the same time, it should include ample amounts of content on different subjects relating to your business brand message, your products/services and your industry in general. So, how do you find this balance?

One really effective answer is blogging.

More Content, Less Overwhelming

Blogging gives you the opportunity to add a ton of content on a wide variety of different topics without it seem like too much. It doesn’t bog down your navigation or any individual pages because the content is spread out over the different blog posts.

Blogging also allows you to add fresh content to your website on a frequent basis. From a long-term SEO standpoint, it is better to have new, dynamic content added regularly than a bunch of static content all at once (content that then never changes).

Developing Followers

Last but not least, your blog will give site visitors a reason to keep coming back. If they know new content is being posted every week, they will want to stay up-to-date. They may bookmark your blog, subscribe to it or follow you on social media so they see links when new blog articles are posted.

Blogging gives you new content, fresh content, in-depth content and relevant content. When you add it all up, you actually get better SEO over time and more opportunities for customer conversion. So don’t overload your site with too much content when you launch it. Use blogging to add more and more content over the long run and you will see the impact it has.

For more information on blogging for your business, contact NextGear Marketing today for a no-obligation content review.

Is Your Content Too Repetitive?

In the world of web content and SEO strategy, this is a hot debate. Is repetition of keywords and key phrases good or bad for your blog, website and social media?

The answer is not so simple. For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on the body content. Page titles, custom URLs and meta tags/descriptions are really a different story and you can/should go nuts with repetition there. However, the bulk of the content (the body copy, if you will) is a little trickier discussion.

SEO Keywords and Key Phrases

From a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint, repetition is beneficial. There are some SEO experts out there that would have you put the focus keyword in every paragraph of your body content, if not every single sentence. Then, you should also work in variations and other related keywords and phrases throughout the copy.

Yes, this approach may help with SEO, especially if someone happens to be searching for that exact keyword/phrase. However, so much repetition will likely make your content unbearable to read. It may lead them to your site or landing page, but will it work to convert them into a customer? There is definitely a point where too much repetition is just too much for the reader.

Finding the Right Blend

Always remember that you have a lot of back-end elements helping with SEO, such as the tags, description, headers, URLs and other things you do that aren’t really seen or at least noticed by the average consumer. You’ll want to use these in conjunction with a healthy—but not too much—amount of strategic repetition in the body content of any web page or blog post.

There is definitely an art to it, which is why many companies will hire a blog specialist, SEO specialist and hosting company who are all specifically skilled at doing things the right way. Good SEO will be somewhat overt, yet also subtle at the same time. The content needs to be engaging and well-written, with the SEO strategy (keywords, phrases, etc.) peppered in just right to satisfy all the objectives.

Evolving Technology

Also, consider that search engines are getting more and more sophisticated. The quality of the content is becoming more and more of a factor in addition to the overall quantity, the keywords and the SEO tags, so it requires a more comprehensive, blended approach to do it right. When done right, however, you will have strong SEO and better customer conversion numbers. People will find your pages and they will take action.

For more information about SEO, web content and blogging strategies, contact NextGear Marketing and get more out of your online marketing plan.

How to Write Better Product or Service Web Pages

Detailed information about your company’s products and/or services is valuable content for your website. Your most important products or services should have their own featured web pages, and your navigation should be clear and easy to enable visitors to find the information they need about your specific offerings.

Why Have Product and Service Feature Pages?

Ultimately, a product or service page serves two primary purposes. One is providing information to someone who is interested in specific product or service offered by your company. Today’s consumers like to research online before they commit to buying, so you want to have that information readily available on your site.

The second purpose for a detailed product or service page is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Having a lot of details and keywords worked into the page content will be good for organic website traffic. Whether someone is searching without a brand in mind or they are looking for info about your products/services specifically, you stand a better chance of grabbing their attention and converting them into a paying customer if your page content is good.

So, what will an effective product or service page contain? There are several strategies you will want to incorporate:

1. Product/Service Details

This should go without saying, but you want to have plenty of details in there to properly represent what you are trying to sell, and of course, to help with SEO appeal. When it comes to tech specs for certain types of products, though, don’t bog down the page content with too much confusing technical language. Consider a sidebar chart/graphic or a bullet point list at the bottom of the page.

2. Brand Messaging

Always use every opportunity to incorporate your brand message. A site visitor may be there to find out information on a specific product or service, but you still want to sell them on your company as a whole. If they believe in your brand, then they are more likely to purchase your products/services.

3. Keywords

You should emphasize certain keywords and key phrases that are most likely to be searched in relation to the product or service being featured. At the same time, your content should flow and you don’t want to overload it with keywords to a point where it is confusing or awkward. There is a strategic method for naturally working in keywords and key phrases. You can also consider a bullet point list at the end of the page listing out product features or service options. This is a great way to use a lot of keywords and phrases without hindering the flow of the main content. Of course, use your page tags, titles and keywords on the back end of each page for optimal results.

4. Call to Action

Every page should have a clear and compelling call to action. Someone has visited your web page and read all about your great product or service. Now what? Give them a next step to take and tell them how they can purchase the product/service (a link to a purchase page) or who they can contact to get additional information. You can include multiple calls to action and links throughout the page so they always know how to proceed.

Page Length

Some product and service pages may be relatively concise and to the point as long as they convey all the key information and messages. Sometimes quality is better than quantity. Others may be much longer. It might depend on the complexity of the product or service being featured. The important thing is to have separate feature pages on your site for all the primary products and services you want to highlight. You will see a difference in your SEO and in your customer conversion if you do it right.

To learn more about custom product and service web content from NextGear Marketing, contact us today and we’ll help you get the most out of your web pages.