Digital, Direct Mail or Both?
Marketers may wonder if their next marketing endeavor should include digital or traditional direct mail? As a millennial emerging into the world of marketing, I’ll have to say that you don’t have to choose one. In fact I would suggest you incorporate the two because both digital and print are effective.
I’m on a computer and on my phone all day and after work, the very first thing I do is check my mailbox. It’s a familiar part of my daily routine and reading my mail is refreshing after being bogged down with digital ads all day. Some mail pieces stand out to me and others, I throw out immediately – but there is always one thing I can’t ignore on a mail piece: a hashtag.
Hashtags are a metadata tag or label that has been used in the IT industry for decades and they are now used to categorize topics on social media. Hashtags are searchable and clickable and enable social media users the ability to engage with brands, view messages, and add to the conversation. When I see a hashtag on a direct mail piece, it tells me that the company wants me to notice them, see what they’re doing and what people are saying about them –but most importantly, they are asking to interact.
Direct Marketing News quoted Kazeem Famuyide, founding editor at STASHED and creator of HennyPalooza.com, in their article “The Power of a Hashtag” – “When you create a hashtag, put your own stamp on it, your own identity on it. You don’t have to be the first; just take it to the next level. There’s a difference between being the first to do something and being the best at it.”
Nothing could be more accurate. Hashtags can be incorporated into a company’s marketing campaigns through many different ways. Here’s a list of ways you can use hashtags in your direct mail pieces:
Generic examples: #BrandConf2015, #BrandWebinar #NameofSeminar2015
Companies can add an event hashtag to their direct mail piece to get people involved. Using a consistent hashtag that is associated with an upcoming conference helps keep all content in one central location. When people click on the hashtag, they can see what has been said about the conference or event by the brand.
Generic Examples: #BrandGiveaway #BrandContest
Hashtags are frequently used as way to submit an entry to a contest through social media. Companies can ask their audience to use a unique brand-centric hashtag to submit a picture or tweet about their product. This also enables the company the ability to monitor the entries through the hashtag on social media. The Social Media Examiner has some great tips on creating a hashtag marketing contest campaign.
Generic examples: #newproduct, #comingsoon #brandnew
When promoting a new product, companies create a relevant hashtag on the direct mail piece so they can monitor who is talking about their product on social media. Companies also post about their product several different times on social media, so using a hashtag will optimize the post, especially if you pair the unique #NewProduct hashtag with a general hashtag such as #ComingSoon or #BrandNew.
Generic examples: #happyfriday, #technology #directmail
It’s good practice to use generic or brand-centric hashtags to optimize engagement. For example, if someone finds the hashtag through a mail piece or happens to click on the hashtag #HappyFriday in a post, they could be introduced to a company’s brand.
Using hashtags is an effective way to not only foster engagement with potential customers, but also drive traffic to your website. All you have to do is add a #hashtag. Want to learn more about hashtags? Check out DM News article “The #Hashtag Pocket Guide”.