Internet Marketing: Make Some Green, Save Some Green
Every week, on average, I get 6 direct mail advertisements in my mail box. I drive past at least 12 billboards. I have to throw away a handful of window flyers and handbills.
Sometimes I imagine a forest of trees. I see them growing up together, as a family. Some of the saplings are swaying around talking about what they are going to be when they grow up. “I’m going to be the mast of a ship and sail to foreign lands!” “Yeah, well I’m going to be the President’s desk and help sign important treaties and bills!” No one in the Arbor family ever thinks they are going to be part of a direct mail blast for a local Hyundai dealership that most people won’t even bother reading. That they will spend the majority of their time in a landfill or lining a hamster cage. Most days, I only ever get spam mail (spamail?). All my bills are electronic and, with the exception of Save the Dates, my friends don’t write. Why would they? Outside of Amazon purchases, my mailbox might as well be a trash can. Which means that the mailman is visiting my house for no other reason than to sell me something.
While the number of email spam I get on a daily basis is exponentially more than the direct mail or print ads I see, at least it didn’t cost a little tree his hopes and dreams. I am not advocating the complete genocide of the print media advertising community. Far from it. I enjoy my pizza coupons and the cologne samples in magazines. I know newspaper editors have to eat and it’s good know what’s on sale at Target. But the part that really hurts me, as a businessperson and a rational thinker, is that it’s not even effective. Have you ever actually bought a car because of a notecard you got in the mail? Probably not. Now think about the last time you needed a plumber. Did you pick up a magazine full of ads and try to choose between the 16 plumbers listed on every other page? Or did you turn on your trusty computer and search on the internet for it? If you’re on this website, I think it’s a good bet that you chose the second one. Why wouldn’t you? You can see what areas they service, what their phone number is, if they have any specials, and (the most important part) what other people thought of them. 46% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. You don’t have that knowledge in an ad. You only have what they give you. Which is why having a strong online presence is vital to a business. SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate*. And before you start to protest that internet marketing costs too much check out these numbers:
Outbound (trade shows, direct mail, print ads, TV/radio ads): $255 cost per lead
Inbound (Search Engine Optimization, blogging, social media, RSS, public relations): $45 per lead**
That’s right, I just dropped a knowledge bomb on your head. Boom.
So not only is search engine optimization more effective and a greater strategy in the long run, it is the most “green” option for advertising. And you wont be depriving a strapping young sapling his future of becoming Dave Grohl’s next guitar.