“Don’t follow trends, start trends.” These wise words from award-winning film director Frank Capra don’t only apply to the movie industry – it’s also a powerful message for marketers today.
You want to find the right way to stand out, so it’s easy to be enticed by the articles out there telling you what the “top 10” marketing trends are right now. These channels and tactics are tempting and when executed well some are very effective in continuing an engaging conversation with your audience – but trendsetters are remembered and regarded more than trend followers.
Diversify your channels to boost engagement
With everyone feeling like a victim of digital saturation through email and ad-fatigue, you need to find creative ways to get in front of your audience. Direct mail, once thought to be archaic, is making a comeback, and for good reason – it gets results and it’s fun! Direct mail has an average ROI of 29% and averages a 5-9% engagement rate, compared to the email marketing average of 2.5%.
This rate is even higher when campaigns are tied to digital means of measurement and engagement – at Outgage, we have seen our customers hit over 35% engagement consistently when pairing tactful email marketing and actionable landing pages with campaigns.
What you shouldn’t do
Don’t be the umpteenth brand sending out <insert-generic-gift-here>
Do you even remember the last brand that gave you a shirt or what they do? Probably not. While everyone loves a good t-shirt, it’s not enticing enough to make your brand stand out when everyone in your industry is doing the same thing. Think about what your audience needs and relate that to a gift that is fun and unique. For example, if your audience is an outdoorsy group, they probably don’t need common outdoor gear like a water bottle (another thing everyone hands out). How cool would it be to instead gift them something higher-end and less common at a conference, like a GoProⓇ or a hydration pack? Put more thought into coming up with a gift and message that will really blow your contacts away.
Don’t rely on social media alone
Some industries thrive on social media naturally, but if you’re in a B2B market that doesn’t have a large audience on popular channels, it’s not fruitful to just keep posting and praying. That doesn’t mean don’t use social media, it just means that you have to use other channels in partnership with it, such as email and direct mail. The enticement can happen on TikTok, but the engagement is sparked beyond that.
Don’t make them snore with your messaging
Marketoonist, Tom Fishburne, said that “the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” Your campaigns should be fun for you and your contacts. Get as creative and personal as you can with your campaigns, especially if you’re sending a branded gift package, and tie in thoughtful messaging. Adding puns or quirky one-liners to postcards and landing pages can make your brand and CTA enticing to your audience. Using an outdoorsy group again, fun puns like “it’s about to get in-tents” or “it’s all uphill from here” can make your gift that much more engaging.
We put together a holiday campaign where we sent hot cocoa spoons and tumblers to contacts to entice them to set up a meeting. The messaging included fun phrases and puns like “warm up your holiday at home” and “ready to ‘mallow out with us?” This campaign saw an engagement rate of 40% – during the holiday season when things tend to slow down, that’s something we’re proud of.
Don’t be a downer
Negative messaging just doesn’t work. With all the creative methods of standing out against the competition, bashing and speaking negatively about other brands is never the way to go. Instead, highlight the things about your services that make you stand out, why customers will benefit from working with you, and be results-oriented when you can.
How to start thinking outside of the box
There are ways for you to develop a marketing plan that is unique and captivating. Here are some tips to consider on your way to creating an initiative (disclosure: you might find yourself falling in love with direct mail, but don’t worry – we’ll catch you when you swoon).
Know your audience
You should already have this down, but in order to create a campaign that is fruitful, you must know your audience. Get to know their pain points and values, then keep their buyers journey in mind as you craft your next marketing campaign.
Know your competitors
Take a look at what the competition is putting out there to get an idea of what not to do. You don’t want to copycat your competitors, but it’s a good idea to know what they’re doing so you can create something unique and highlight why customers should choose your brand over others.
Testing, testing, 1,2,3…
Creativity is the real key when crafting successful marketing campaigns, and that doesn’t mean only getting creative with messaging; you have to get creative with your overall marketing strategy, and that means testing things out. Try new channels to understand what type of campaigns are most performant for your target audience. Once you have a good idea of what works for your audience, build on that. Continue optimizing what works to increase the performance – continue testing new methods.
Ideas to get the creative juices flowing
There are so many marketing strategies out there, not all of them are going to work for you just because they work for others. Here are some ideas outside of a standard top 10 list to get your creative juices flowing.
Send direct mail packages – not just mailers and postcards
Direct mail is making a comeback, and for good reason – it gets results and it’s fun! Direct mail has an average ROI of 29% and averages a 5-9% engagement rate, compared to the email marketing average of 2.5%. Now more than ever clients, prospects, and employees alike need a reason to smile. Personalized gift packages are a great way to get in front of your audience and spark engagement.
Elevate virtual and hybrid events with experiences
If you’re already hosting webinars and virtual events but aren’t getting the engagement rates or conversions that you want, try switching things up a bit with hybrid events. These types of events enhance the experiences of virtual events by adding in-person components.
For example, Outgage hosted a virtual Happy Hour event where we invited top B2B marketers to network and chat about the industry today in intimate Zoom rooms. To make it more like an in-person event, attendees were sent an address-collection landing page where they filled out their information to receive a set of two wine tumblers. With their gift, they received a postcard with a link where they could RSVP to the event. They were then able to choose a drink to have for the Happy Hour – and we had a great time!
Digital gifting and subscriptions
Food delivery eGift cards aren’t the only way to gift digitally – while those are great gifts, you can get more creative with digital virtual gifting too. We’ve seen engagement rates reach as high as 62% for these types of campaigns when paired with well-executed email marketing and custom-branded landing pages.
However you decide to execute your direct mail campaigns, the focus of your campaign should be your audience. You might have a great message, but if it doesn’t resonate, it won’t last.
Why trust us to make you look good?
Outgage is the Direct Mail and gifting solution built by marketers for marketers. We empower and guide B2B marketers on a creative journey to create meaningful customer engagement through memorable, actionable, and measurable gifting experiences. Learn more on our website or reach out at [email protected].