Better Channel Integration with Short URLs and QR Codes

Posted by on 29 Nov 2010 | Category: Industry Trends

Source: http://directmag.com/online/news/1110-channel-integration-short-URLs/

With Americans spending nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs (a 43% increase from just a year ago, according to a recent study by Nielsen), there is no reason marketers should not be taking advantage of these new communication platforms. People see, hear, and touch more marketing messages than ever before. To stay top of mind with your audience, it is important to be where they are at all times and embrace these new avenues of communication.

Many companies have created Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles as another way to connect with customers and prospects. Social media provide customers one more way to interact with you and provide prospects a non-invasive way to learn more about your company.

That’s just a first step, however. From there you need to incorporate them into your email and direct mail marketing campaigns so that you can better grow your network and increase brand exposure.

In email communications, you can add “follow us” and “connect with us” icons that are easily clicked on or a one-liner that says, for example, “follow us at ….” for each social media platform you use. Adding similar one-liners to your complementary printed marketing pieces will also drive traffic to your social media sites and increase exposure. The ability to incorporate social media platforms into both your email and direct mail campaigns can help unify your marketing efforts and enable you to better reach both customers and prospects.

When placing social media links—or any URLs, really—on direct mail pieces, keeping them short and easy to remember is a must. Long URLs are more likely to be misspelled when people retype them into a Web browser.

Social media platforms present an entirely different reason for using short URLs. On Twitter a tweet, or post, can be no longer than 140 characters. So if your link is 125 characters long, you’d have no room left to tell your followers about the link and why they should click on it.  

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Because they make printed materials interactive, quick-response, or QR, codes are another way to integrate media. No matter where someone is, he can simply pull out his phone, scan a QR code, and instantly be directed to a Website, a video, a landing page, or any other piece of targeted information. The technology can be taken one step further to incorporate email: The QR code can direct customers or prospects to a landing page that will request their contact information, including email address, before sending them to a designated Website. Armed with that information, you can send a follow-up email with additional information, links to your social media profiles, and the like.

Taking a multichannel approach when it comes to your marketing strategy soon will become a requirement. If you have a variety of age groups and demographics within your audience, the chances are strong that each group spends the majority of time on different marketing media. Some groups might best be reached via a print ad in a magazine or a direct mail piece; others might respond more favourably to an email. 

Social media now accounts for 23% of America’s online time. Integrating them into your current marketing strategies is simple—so why not take advantage of the opportunity and communicate with your customers where they are most interested?

John Foley, Jr., is the founder/CEO of marketing solutions provider interlinkONE.

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