Maximizing ROI from Email, Social Media AND Snail Mail Marketing


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Marketing is an important part of any business!  Without it, you will struggle to build brand identity, drive traffic to your business and ultimately sell your products/services to your customers.  For this reason, it’s vitally important that you make the most of the marketing that you invest in to get the most out of it.  This is where ROI (Return On Investment) comes in.

We take a look at 3 types of marketing that you can use; email marketing, social media and direct mail (snail mail) and see how you can get the most out of it.

ROI for Email Marketing

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the direct descendant of the old pre-Internet technique of mail order marketing and as a part of the online marketing landscape; it takes up an enormous part of the picture. Here are several tips for email marketing ROI maximization. 

1. Target your Niche as Narrowly as Possible

Without a doubt the single most important step to boosting ROI in your email marketing campaigns lies in narrowing the niche down carefully – this step will also apply to social media and snail mail. In the earlier days of email marketing, many sellers tried to engage in vaguely spam-like practices by buying or collecting enormous lists of random email addresses off the internet and mass mailing their sales offers to them. Not only is this now often illegal, it was also highly ineffective. It works even less now with more sophisticated spam filters in most email clients.

Instead, target your niche as carefully as possible through online promotion to people who actually visit your web page and sign up via email address to receive what you might be sending. This is called email list building, and it will carry the highest possible sales conversion rates, especially if you finely narrow it down to the most likely buyers. 

2. Offer a Valuable Free Bonus

If you’re engaging in email marketing, you need to keep two things in mind:

  1. Your audience is almost certainly being wooed by a competitor with a somewhat similar product.
  2. Your audience is looking for a reason to trust you enough to be interested in buying.

You can solve both problems by offering a high quality free report or bonus product of some kind to anyone who subscribes. Do this before looking for sales; think of it as a “help now, sell later” principle. 

3. Clean your Lists Regularly

Your email lists are valuable and maintaining them costs next to nothing, but sending out messages gets billed per message by most email marketing software systems and sending to a large list of people who never shows interest in your offers according to your email marketing software’s stats is one more expense you don’t really need to have. On a bimonthly basis or even a monthly basis, check your mailing software’s statistics and get rid of any subscribers who haven’t opened one of your messages in several weeks to a couple of months. 

Social Media Marketing ROI

Social Media

Unless you’re using PPC ads offered by social networks like Facebook, the biggest cost of most organic social media marketing is time. It takes lots of time to build a social promotion campaign and it takes lots of time to get it spread amongst enough people to be effective. Unless you get lucky with a sudden viral surge in your efforts, you’ll probably spend hours per day for several months creating something truly strong enough to create a large ROI.

However, time is money for you as an online entrepreneur, so your social media marketing most certainly does have a certain cost and you want to create the maximum impact per hour spent on it. 

1. Market to the Lowest Common Denominator

This means keep it simple! Social media is mostly made up of people who aren’t specifically looking for what you’re offering as is the case with search engine ads, instead they’re just browsing, reading posts, looking around at several random attention grabbers at any given time. Thus, you have to keep your ads as simple and eye catching as possible to latch on to this attention as quickly and effectively as possible. Complex ads or posts on social media might grab the attention of a small number of people but simple eye catching ads will catch everyone’s attention, at least for a moment; this moment is what will increase your ROI by giving you a better click through margin that could later lead to sales. 

2. Define a Measurement Strategy

Since social media marketing isn’t normally measured in dollars spent like search engine and other PPC advertising is, it’s easy to lose track of keeping a comprehensive and precise system of metrics that measure your returns.

Don’t do this. Create an analysis system that keeps careful track of what you get back from social media promotion in relation to what you put into it. An excellent example of a social media metrics system could be measuring, in separate categories, your new monthly followers, linkbacks to your website, sales that came from these, social mentions by third parties and shares of your content. Compare them and the dollar amounts they generate to your number of hours spent working on campaigns on a monthly basis. 

3. Connect to People with Influence

Your entire social media campaign has to be about sharing quality content that people want to click on and share; it can’t just be a standard issue advertising campaign because these don’t work very well in social media platforms. Because of this, you need to focus on creating the kind of shared content and social pages that help and engage those in your niche. If you can do this, connect or offer your materials to others who already have more pull and recognition amongst your target audience inside the social networks. Pulling this off can create an incredible ROI boost for much less work.

For example, if you own a website that sells musical equipment, either create valuable information about the subject and offer to share it on a rock band’s social page, or offer a well-known band a free trial of one of your instruments and ask that they post a review  or opinion to their Twitter or Facebook page. Successfully pulling off even one of these two examples in your industry can bring you more attention and sales than weeks of sharing amongst groups of normal followers. 

Improving Direct Mail ROI


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Direct mail, the predecessor to modern email marketing, is still a very popular means of advertising products and services despite competition from its digital cousin. The reason is simple; for all the internet use that is growing across the world, hundreds of millions of people still pay attention to regular mail.

Since the per mail cost of a direct mail campaign is far more expensive than email marketing messages ever could be, improving ROI and getting the most from your mail advertising is absolutely important to making your efforts profitable. Some of the same rules that work for email apply here. 

1. Carefully Target your Audience

Since the cost of each letter mailed out can be dozens of times higher than the cost of an email campaign message, direct mail absolutely requires you to manage the tightest possible campaign that’s aimed straight at the people most likely to buy from you. Many of the niche searching tools that exist on the internet can’t be used with direct mail but you can still do research and buy lists from third party sellers to help you mail out to your most likely buyers for the highest possible conversion rates. 

2. Clean your List Periodically

Again we see an email marketing ROI improvement tactic that can be applied to direct mail. In this case, it’s even more important that you keep careful track of your mailing response statistics and periodically strip addresses from your list if they belong to people who haven’t so much as once replied to a single letter in months. Every definitively non-responding name you remove from your mailing list increases the profit per sale slightly. 

3. Make your Letters as Personal as Possible

Mail marketing can often seem impersonal and pushy. Counteract this impression by writing and formatting your letters so that readers get the clear impression of being spoken to one on one. They know it’s a mass mailing campaign, but the attentive feeling unconsciously persists if they read a sales letter that seems to be written just for them. This will make them considerably more likely to reply with a follow-up or a possible sale. 

4. Include Enticing Offers

Your direct mail campaign should also include special offers that either offer discounts or free bonuses to potential buyers if they hurry to make that purchase.  Emphasize the value of your bonus offerings, emphasize the customer savings that your leads will receive and put particular emphasis on the fact that what they will receive is either free or being given away briefly at a deep discount; the idea being to create a sense of hurry.

Thank you to my Guest Post Author: Robert Woodford

Robert has been covering topics like Reachmail’s email plans online for over a decade. When he isn’t covering email topics, you can find him at home with his family or practising his guitar skills.

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  • The Secret Insider

    Direct mail isn’t for the faint-hearted! Something I know, a simple test mailing to a few thousand people can cost up to £10,000. The product normally has to be a high ticket offer to make money or at least the cheaper offer is part of a funnel consisting of 3 products, the final one selling for several thousand pounds.

    Big money can be made by direct mail but the cost is well out of the reach of the general public, the best sales letters are usually 16 pages long and a hell of a lot of time is spent by professional copywriters crafting them so that they motivate (or dupe depending on your opinion) the reader into making a purchase.

    Internet and email marketing can be started virtually today for pennies, some internet marketers have built businesses and then ventured into direct mail with many giving up and sticking with email marketing because the costs and work involved is a lot easier and less risky.

    Also, direct marketing is made easier if you have a name and reputation in that field. It isn’t the easiest business to get into. Anyone wanting to learn any marketing would be best advised to follow your teachings Matt and do blogging based email marketing. It’s cheaper, easier and you can sell worldwide from anywhere in the world.

    Great article though, thanks Robert and Matt.

    • Hi SI,

      Totally agree with what you say here. I’ve had some experience with direct marketing, but on the whole it is quite expensive. That said, depending on your business (e.g. local business) direct mail can be beneficial as you can reach your target market more easily.

      If you are just starting out or have a limited budget, email marketing and social media are the way to go. Not only is it more cost effective, but you can potentially reach A LOT more people! That’s why many big businesses are ditching direct mail for these kinds of promotion.

      Cheers for the comment 🙂

  • Andi the Minion

    A very useful post, very informative. Snail Mail marketing is indeed very costly, social media is free but nowhere as good as email marketing, Email marketing still has a far greater conversion rate than social media. It is very important to get people on your email lists!

    Social media can get a few sales but it is best to use social media to drive traffic to your email list opt in. Giving away free products that are better than some of the things people sell will most certainly get you the reputation and respect you want from your list ready to turn them into a buying list.

    As you say, narrow down that niche as much as possible. Your blogging course is aimed perfectly for people wanting to make money online without spending a lot of money. If you can give a free report or course that informs, solves a problem or can generate money for the reader then you are onto a winner.

    I must admit, I know people say you should track and measure but sometimes I believe if you start right and deliver outstanding value, then the reputation you get can override the need for a lot of analysis. I may be wrong but I sometimes think that.

    • Hi Andi,

      I’d probably agree that email marketing is more effective that social media, but I also think that you can’t have one without the other. Like you say, social media is great at driving traffic to a site or sales page, so you can use it to encourage people to sign up to an email list. Email marketing is only as effective as the size of the email list, so you need people signing up for it to work.

      I know what you mean about growing your reputation by delivering quality content, but I’d still say that tracking and analysis is important. For example, I get people subscribing to my email list everyday, but I also get a small percentage who unsubscribe for whatever reason. Now that isn’t too bad because I can see by looking at my statistics that it is only a very small percentage. By knowing your unsubscribe rate, you can measure how well your email marketing strategy is doing. Should it go up for some reason, then you know that you are doing something wrong.