Using channels to grow channels (say what?)

internet-remoteChannel marketing is vital to any business looking to extend its reach but can mean a lot of different things depending upon how it’s being used. In the digital marketing industry, a channel is a form of communication such as email, sms, voice, fax, rss etc.. Since mobileStorm offers more than one mode of communication, we are considered a multi-modal(channel) service provider. However, to keep things simple, we simply refer to ourselves as “the digital marketing company” because all of those message types involve at least some digital aspect. With that said, let’s now talk about how to use multiple channels to grow your database. I will also cover not just growing additional channels but additional data so you can become a better marketer.

So, let’s say for instance you only collect an email address on your website. What happens when you want to start voice marketing or text messaging, or even want to send a post card via direct mail? What happens if you want to personalize your campaign to receive a better response rate? Well for starters, you need a person’s contact info so you can market to them via these new channels as well as a first name to personalize the subject line. But how do you get this other data? There are two things you need 1.) at least one existing communication channel and 2) a bag of incentives.

Below is a chart which will show you how to collect new channel using existing ones.

Existing Channel

Method

Email

1.

Edit profile form that can be inserted as a link into email. With a web form you can ask for anything from contact info to personal info, interests and geographic data.

SMS

1.

With the right mobile system you can send a message to your database asking them to text back any info such as email address or first name and this data should append to their subscriber record in your database which is currently only a cell number.

Voice

1.

You can create a press 2 feature that transfer the call to a call center where you can have an agent standing bye to collect further information.

2.

If you have the right IVR system you can ask them to punch in their cell phone number to receive text messages.

Direct Mail

1.

Sending out a post card with a URL pushing someone back to a personalized microsite is great to not only track response rates but once they land on this page you can ask them anything you want. Read more about this in my article on
The Future of Digital Marketing.

2.

Adding a short code that someone could text in is becoming very popular these days on print such as direct mail, billboards, magazines and newspapers.

Fax

1.

Ok so faxing isn’t a very popular channel anymore but a lot of people have fax numbers, over 112 million to be exact. You could pretty much add a URL, short code, or phone number to call to get more data.

Instant Message

1.

You can IM someone a URL where they can fill out a form.

2.

It’s possible with certain IM technologies to read and database a response. This would work very similar to building data via wireless text messages.

Social Network

1.

Sending a “friend” a message through the network, or posting a bulletin is a great way to reach a lot of people quickly even if you don’t have any other point of contact. However make sure to read the social network’s terms and conditions, for instance myspace.com has resitrictions on data collection in section 5
Non-commercial Use by Members

*Note: Adding a short code that someone can text from their cell phone is the one channel that can be added to any other channel very easily. It’s a great way to get someone’s cell phone number quickly.

The one thing you must understand however is that no matter what channel you use to try and build another channel or to receive additional data, you need to provide someone with an incentive. Life is all about incentives. I would say fans (of bands, sports teams etc..) are one of the only groups of people willing to give up their information without a big incentive. Yet, even in this case, they are still receiving an type of incentive in that they are getting information about something they really like. So, as a marketer, your incentives need to be strong. Here is a list of some incentives that will always work but keep in mind these can vary greatly per industry.

1. Contest/Sweepstakes: The grander the prize; the more data you are going to get. If you plan doing a larger contest make sure to work with a sweepstakes company who can help you figure out state by state what is allowed and what is not.
2. Swag: Just make sure it is something that you can fulfill easily and without a lot of costs.
3. Polling: Asking someone to participate in a poll is fine as long as you give them a compelling incentive for providing you with polling details.
4. 2 for 1, half off, discount, or free entry: This is probably the most popular incentive out there for retail, food & beverage, events and entertainment verticals.

If you can think of any channels I am missing or incentives please leave your feedback. Thanks!

Jared Reitzin
Small Business Blog
CEO
mobileStorm Inc.

 

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