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Posts Tagged ‘digital catalogs’

Can Direct Mail Survive For Green Marketers?

February 10th, 2012 No comments

Five Ideas to Consider to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint While Doing Direct Mail

Austin, Texas: As a marketing person who promotes environmental causes and education and is also aware of our role in corporate social responsibility, can we utilize direct mail in our marketing mix?

I was doing a self-promotion piece for our company when this quandary came up.

We are totally against “junk mail” — which in our definition is any unsolicited mail that has a high probability of ending up in the trash/landfill.

Therefore, we reduced our print catalog to a digital catalog with page-flip technology several years ago, as I had mentioned in a previous blog post.  This has saved thousands of trees from being destroyed and prevented countless thousand of catalogs from ending up in a landfill.

Sure, we give out bamboo USB drives to our better clients with this digital catalog burned onto it. But this is too expensive for direct mail.

In the end, after much deliberation, we decided to send out a series of three 4″ x 6.25″ postcards made from recycled paper to our top 2,500 clients, one every three weeks, the first one shown to promote a new website.

ideas to reduce direct mail's impactWe looked at FSC-certified postcards, but decided to use recycled materials, as no new trees had to be destroyed for this marketing effort.

In addition, we are giving away 1,000 live tree seedlings to a non–profit organization for Earth Day, to help offset the carbon footprint of this campaign.

As a green marketer, it is important to consider your entire carbon footprint  – but also to understand that we must continue to build our businesses in order to succeed and grow.

Growth and profits should not be dirty words in the green community.

Good stewardship is crucial– and there is a fine balancing act that must be done to on a continuous basis in order to be true to your core values.

Before doing your next marketing campaign, consider its impact on the environment.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1) Can you reduce the size of your print catalog?

2) Are you using recycled or FSC-certified paper?

3) Are you mailing only to a select group of pre-screened customers and prospects — or are you using the shotgun method, where a majority of your pieces will end up unread in the trash?

4) Can you use a postcard mailer instead of a full print catalog?   You might even be able to use this postcard to have recipients scan a QR code or go online to request your full catalog.

5) Are you using lumpy mail?  Lumpy mail is a direct mail piece that is packaged with a promotional product or sample that makes the package feel like there is something inside of it, which often increases open rates.  If so, is the promotional item made from recycled materials and is the packaging recycled and/or easily recyclable?

Don’t stop promoting your business.  But do consider all alternatives before embarking on your next campaign.

Otherwise, your direct mail pieces will be viewed as poorly as the unused phone books that are tossed on your front door step each year.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow, today.

PS Please share with me how you have reduced your direct mail and the impact it has made on your bottom line.

Ask Us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.
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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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Go Green: Put Your Catalog Online

April 18th, 2011 No comments

Green marketers should avoid print catalogsAs a green marketer, I have talked about the need to shift away from printed catalogs–at least in the quantities that you have been printing.

Think about the number of catalogs that you throw out at the end of each year — or still have stuck in the corner of your office or warehouse (in case it becomes an eBay classic).

There are a few simple ways to cut your catalog printing and I suggest using a variety of the following steps, as they are not mutually exclusive:

1) Put your catalog on line.  We have just uploaded our new catalog with page-flipping technology, so it reads as easily as a print catalog.

Click here to take a look at how we have jumped on this new technology,which is now offered by dozens of companies.  A page-flip online catalog is much easier than a PDF file to read.   Most will have zoom capabilities and an index, so it resembles the experience of print catalogs.

2) Put your catalog on CD or recycled or bamboo USB Flash Drives:   CD catalogs are antiquated (remember those from AOL for 30 day trials)..so I’d make the leap to USB flash drives, if you have the budget.  These can have your logo on them, and the drives can be in the form of a pen, key fob, custom shape, recycled materials, etc.   These will be keep your logo in front of your client–while having your catalog at your prospect’s or client’s fingers–literally.

3) Have your catalog accessed through the use of QR codes.  Use these scan-ready codes on your business cards, flyers, postcards, promotional products –everywhere. Some people even use their QR codes as their image on LinkedIn and Twitter for maximum reach.

4) Switch from catalogs to sell sheets, flyers, postcards,etc.  If you are exhibiting at a trade show, a simple flyer or two can be more effective–and prevent the great dumping of catalogs at the airport or at night when attendees are just too tired to carry their briefcase any longer.  For those that are more qualified, a full-print catalog may be acceptable at that time, or the USB flash drive would be best.

Remember, not everybody that stops by your booth is a qualified prospect.  Use your catalogs more wisely.

If you use direct mail, a series of postcard mailings can be more effective than one bulk catalog mailing. Those that still need a full print catalog will let you know…but will be few and far between

If your company is going green, show your prospects and your clients that you are doing your best to reduce your carbon footprint.  Switch to digital catalogs is a good first step.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow, today.

PS Let me know how your reduction in print catalogs has affected your sales and costs..and if the switch was worth it to your company.  I’d be interested to hear from you.
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Robert Piller, experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products, has worked to help plant over 25 million trees through his live tree seedling gift program over the past dozen years. His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.


Follow ecomarketing on Twitter