Marketing is a great way to reach out to prospects and invite them to become customers, after all, how will these individuals learn about your company otherwise. Too often sales and marketing folks get stuck in a single method of communications, often only reaching part of your possible customer base.
Individuals have different modes of learning, so seeing your message in multiple ways helps them better remember what you offer.
This means some people want to receive your mailers, others want information from your website, and others want to speak with a sales person. These communications preference depend on the state a prospect is in your sales funnel or purchase process. Do you offer your customers multiple communications channels to receive your message?
This doesn't mean you need different materials for each channel. It just means you need to be more resourceful with the marketing and sales literature you have. Here are some examples of utilizing hybrid marketing methods to improve results:
A postcard lead generation campaign tested against a similar sized space advertisement, each sending the respondent to a web landing page or toll-free number. Use the same copy on both the response channels, test for best conversion.
A web landing page that allows a prospect to request more information, the additional information is mailed to the prospect instead of downloaded or provided by email.
In the footer of an invoice offer customers a special report of topical interest if they send an email message to a coded address. You'll capture their email address and provide them the special report by email.
A sales person answers a request for an information package. The package sent contains an audio cassette sharing the benefits of your offering, a letter containing various charts and figures visually demonstrating specific benefits, and if followed up by a phone call to answer any questions the prospect may have.
After a speaking event you offer "For more on this topic visit" and provide special materials on your website, the landing page has more details and a promotion for another upcoming event. This combines your face-to-face interaction with a follow on mechanism that doesn't cost any additional effort.
After respondents request more information that's delivered by email, you follow on with another email thanking them for requesting the information, then if still no response, you use a postcard or letter to remind them they requested the information (and offer the product for sale.)
Tips for hybrid marketing that builds relationships:
Always test everything with only one variable. This means if you are testing delivery medium, then all copy between the two tests are exactly the same, and the advertisement goes to the same list at the same time. When matches on lists isn't possible, then both lists have the same demographics.
Include two response channels representing two senses. Use web landing page and toll-free phone number, or reply mail and fax back response. Make it easy for respondents to tell you which way they prefer to contact you. However, use the same follow on materials for both channels to reduce costs.
Link follow on sales interactions together across mediums. Try to link sales contacts together, no delivery medium is going to delivery 100% of the time. Follow up email messages with mailed letters, and letters with phone calls. Each message or reference should mention the one before.
Offer at least two ways to purchase your product or service. Make it very easy for customers to purchase what you offer, this means provide at least two means of buying. Let customers order from your website, by phone, or even complete a fax back form. Not all customers want to order the same way.
Test copy across mediums however possible. Use direct mail copy as the script for a television commercial. When you test copy across mediums you'll get a better idea for what works to reach your most ideal customers. If something works in print, try it on your website, even use space advertisements as postcard campaigns.
Give what your customers wants, the way they want it. Always ask about customer preferences and track them in your customer relationship management system. You can differentiate yourself from the competition by providing any delivery preference a customer desires-- don't be afraid to charge for options.
Seek to qualify the prospect before using more expensive interactions. Before your sales people are personally calling on prospects, be sure to use less expensive mediums like print to qualify them. A website is a great tool to qualify prospects because of their flexibility. Concentrate expensive contacts to those most likely to purchase.