Ever since the thing we call the World Wide Web became commercialized in the mid-1990s, marketers have been making an effort to attract the attention of potential customers in a way that’s more direct. However, anybody who’s actually experienced direct marketing in the Digital Age in the form of unwanted emails knows it can sometimes be an unwelcome distraction.
But a direct approach to marketing can also be an effective way to inspire brand engagement and encourage conversions. The key to achieving this goal is amazing content that’s relevant and properly dispersed to the right audience.
And you can’t get more direct than social media. In fact, the growing social nature of marketing that cuts out the middleman is a big part of the reason why direct marketing is exploding these days. Here are some more reasons for this trend.
Social Media Makes Direct Marketing Less Intrusive
The most common form of online direct marketing is email direct marketing. This is when offers are sent to a targeted list of recipients via email.
The problem with this approach to marketing is the hit-and-miss results you sometimes get, especially if you use purchased email lists. Social media is a less intrusive way to reach out to consumers with offers.
If you’re sending out coupon or promo codes or other direct offers via social media, people viewing those offers are more likely to be interested. You can even reverse the direct email marketing process and use social media content to create email lists that can then be used for DM efforts.
Access to Lots of Customer Data
Marketing directly to specific consumers means you’ll need a lot of data to minimize expenses and maximize your ROI. For instance, direct mail campaigns are usually broken down by specific geographic areas and key demographics.
This is the exact same type of data that’s available from all social media interactions. Direct marketers can simply tap into these stats to develop a better understanding of which customers to target to find a better source of leads and potential conversions.
Personalized DM materials can be crafted based on a number of factors such as what type of content is getting the most shares and generating the most click-backs to websites, and what specific products or services people are commenting on the most. All of this data can be conveniently incorporated into Google Analytics reports to make it easier to see patterns and trends.
Demographics and Motivations Align Closely
While social media users generally skew younger, you may be surprised to learn that direct forms of marketing are equally appealing to millennials. In fact, 90 percent of millennials report making purchases based on direct mail alone. Nearly 80 percent do the same thing with emails.
Another study suggests 80 percent of Gen Z purchases are influenced by social media. Clearly, there are a lot of purchase decisions being made by millennials with both DM and social media. This is just one example of how direct marketing campaigns can target the same consumers who are active on social media.
Another commonality between DM and social is what motivates responses to content. The majority of direct marketing recipients consider it to be a more emotional form of marketing. Most people also view social media interactions as more emotional in nature.
Social Proof Inspires Conversions
Let’s say you’re running a massive direct email campaign. Even if you carefully select your recipients, potential customers may still be hesitant to take advantage of personalized offers.
Why? Because most consumers today also consider things like what other customers are saying and how actively engaged a business is with its customers. An easy way to give recipients this type of proof is with social sharing buttons or links to specific social media pages in emails.
According to one estimate, including social sharing buttons in email messages may increase click-through rates by more than 150 percent. Directing DM recipients to various social pages can provide social proof in the form of:
- Positive customer feedback or testimonials
- Responses to comments
- Engaging and useful content shared socially
There was a time when email was thought to be on its last legs. But thanks to mobile technology, it’s hotter than ever. Social media has provided a similar breath of new life for direct marketing. Other than with in-person marketing, you can’t get more direct than real-time interactions via platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Geo-specific data from social platforms is also being used to get even more direct with messages sent directly to consumers who are within the vicinity of a business. There are even tech-savvy businesses that use direct forms of messaging to target customers while they’re in their store. Others directly target customers by offering incentives for shoppers who socially check in when physically going to their store, shop, or restaurant.
As with any type of marketing strategy, it’s the impactful, relevant content that drives marketing that directly targets consumers. When coupled with the right approach to social media engagement and promotion, DM can be an effective way to boost brand interactions and inspire customer loyalty.