Postal Blues & Mobile Marketing – An Unexpected Connection
Since its inception, social media marketing has captured the attention of age-old brands seeking to create a new, more modern image; from “Old Spice” to “Coca-Cola” the results have been surprisingly good. However, many people might be surprised to learn one of the oldest entities in the nation is turning to social media to add some sizzle to their campaign this summer. Yes indeed, the United States Post Office is showing a surprisingly progressive attitude in their adoption of a QR code and mobile marketing campaign to be released later this summer. As a social media management firm, mobile marketing is an area many small business owners have been reluctant to test out making this an especially interesting development.
Cross Channel Necessity
Regular readers will forgive our constant reference to Zuckerberg’s succinct statement but it’s worth repeating one more time…mobile is the future of social media marketing. Not only is mobile the future but it is rapidly becoming the present status as millions of social media users now access their favorite site via smartphone, iPad or other mobile device. But it’s not only social media sites that are impacted. Email and other quick messages are increasingly sent via social media sites and social media updates are becoming interchangeable with other messaging systems. A recent survey has found that over 40% of business owners have integrated mobile and email marketing efforts at least to a limited extent usually consisting of a mobile landing page or mobile number capture. Truly integrated cross channel campaigns are still woefully overlooked with only 27% reporting a true mobile messaging, social media and other integrated campaign. On the other hand, consumers have made it clear they want and expect exactly this type of cross channel messaging. In short, cross channel marketing is quickly becoming a necessity as distinctions between different methods of contact merge
Surprisingly, email is now facing extinction in much the same manner the post office did at the initiation of widespread email adoption. In fact, if it were not for the advent of eBay and other online retail sales with associated shipping, many experts believe the United States Postal Service would not have survived this long. The fiscal problems of running the post office are well known with many smaller providers having to shutter up the doors or consolidate with larger towns. In an effort o modernize offerings, the postal service is trying something new…and dare we say…innovative!
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…It’s a QR Code?
Beginning later this summer, the United States Postal Service will present their initial “Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion” (yes, it’s a mouthful but give the postal service a break… government isn’t exactly known for their catchy slogans!) to encourage small business owners, retailers and other commercial clients to use mobile marketing tools like QR codes in all direct mail. To entice business owners to give it a try, the USPS will offer a 2 percent postage discount for all Standard and First Class letters, flats and cards that use a QR or bar code capable of being red by a mobile device and linked to a mobile optimized website. The offer begins in July and runs through August.
Although our focus is on emerging methods of social media marketing, there are valid uses of direct mail. When properly implemented, a properly integrated campaign has been found to generate $12.75 for each dollar spent making this an appealing possibility for business owners that have been thinking about trying out mobile marketing, QR codes and other integrated social media campaigns. Not only is this a tidy little savings for those that utilize print or direct mail services but it demonstrates a solid understanding of what makes QR codes work:
1. Personalized and individualized. Sending out direct mail can be costly so every bit of savings helps. That 2% might not sound like a lot but it certainly adds up when mailing out thousands of flyers, post cards or other print materials. Perhaps more importantly, the Postal Service recognizes the added advantage of integrating a personalized message with an equally personalized follow-up site.
2. Linked to a landing page. To date, there is no specification of the type of landing page (ie, social media or traditional website)…only that it is mobile optimized and enables the recipient to make a purchase or access a personalized message, demonstration video or other multimedia experience. It can be as simple or as exciting as desired; for those that aren’t sure how to get started, this is the perfect time to speak with a professional social media management firm.
3. Must be optimized! It’s worth repeating…to qualify the landing page must be optimized for mobile and use a QR code (preferred) or bar code.
This is a great way to create a splash this summer with a sizzling social media marketing page, QR codes and mobile optimized landing pages…especially for those that still rely upon print or direct mail to get the message out. Give it a try and chase away the doldrums of summer while saving time and money courtesy of good old Uncle Sam!