Google Direct Marketing

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Google is one of the most idolized companies in the world right now. Funny thing is that most people don’t realize that Google is also one of the largest direct mailers globally. That’s right, high tech Google consistently uses low tech snail mail to attract new clients and generate revenue.

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It’s clear that Google has found a successful formula for incorporating direct mail into its marketing mix. With this in mind, I thought it would be useful to share an example of an actual Google direct mail piece that I received this week.

If you’re curious about which techniques Google is employing in their direct mail marketing, and you think that you may be able to learn from their example, then this short post is for you.

Be environmental: What’s the environmental impact of your printed marketing collateral? More and more people are asking this question.

As a result, Google uses FSC-certified paper for its direct mail marketing pieces including the envelope. See below.

Not only is Google responsible enough to do use FSC-certified paper, but they also display the FSC-certified logo clearly on the outside of the envelope. By doing this, they are educating potential customers regarding their concern for sustainability and the environment. This is a critical step of green marketing. Make sure that your customers and potential customers know if you are taking steps to preserve the environment.

Offer an incentive: While Google is offering a $100 discount, you probably don’t need to be as generous. Discounts are one way to entice prospects, but they can really eat into your profit margin. Limited time offers and limited quantity offers are often superior ways to generate a response, and your cost for the discount is often much lower.

In the AdWords Express campaign that I received, Google actually combined a limited time offer with the discount (referred to as a gift card).

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Integrate: Yes, the goal of the mailing is to drive recipients to a website to redeem a gift card; this is a classic example of marketing integration.

What about you? Can you set up an online discount for prospects that you target via direct mail? Can customers or prospects sign up an educational e-newsletter? Can they become a Facebook Fan or follow you on Twitter? Be sure to leverage your online infrastructure with your direct mail marketing.

Track results: The gift card included in the mailer has a unique ID so Google can instantly tell who has redeemed their gift card. They can also aggregate the data to determine how many recipients responded to this particular marketing program and how much each advertiser spent. Do you have tools in place to track the effectiveness of your marketing?

Keep it relevant: Google recognized that we are a local business, and it tailored its message accordingly by prominently displaying the city where my business is located. If a mail piece isn’t relevant to the target audience then it has almost no chance of succeeding.

Use Precancelled Stamps: Don’t know what a precancelled stamp is? A precancelled stamp is a type of postage that looks just like a regular first-class postage stamp, but allows you to mail at the discounted bulk mail rate. For a more detailed explanation on how precancelled stamps work, take a look at my recent post, “Getting First Class Attention Without Paying For First Class Postage.”

See below for the sample from Google’s envelope.

Successful marketing doesn’t happen by accident. The more that you know about your target audience, whether they are existing customers or prospects, the better that you can do to create a campaign that appeals to their needs.

This Google AdWords Express campaign provides some classic examples of direct mail marketing strategies that you can utilize in your own marketing campaigns. Why not borrow from their example and use some of these techniques in your next campaign?

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What techniques have you found effective with direct mail marketing? Please share your comments below.

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