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An Intercepted Letter to ... Google

by Pat Friesen February 24, 2011
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Dear Google,

It's me, again. This is a follow-up to the note I posted to you about a year ago on Amy Africa's QLOG.

I have the feeling you didn't see it. Or ignored it.

Either way, I'm writing because I'm still concerned about the mailings you've been sending me. I'm worried they are sullying your reputation as being smart and savvy.

There's no doubt when it comes to doing online research, you're fast, accurate and very professional. But the direct mail you've been sending me the last year misses the mark. It's embarrassingly unprofessional and appears you don't know what you're doing. I'm guessing it's also ineffective.

Google, if you're going to do direct mail, you need to understand what makes it tick. Here are a few pointers in addition to those posted earlier.

Your logo sets an immediate expectation ... especially when it's on an outer envelope. Because you're known for quality, speed, and ease of use, these expectations carry over to your mailings. However, the direct mail pieces I've received from you ignore direct mail best practices for using hot spots, engaging readership and making it easy for me to respond.

Letters are important because in direct mail they replace the salesperson. That's why letters need to be full of benefits and easy to read. The gray type you've using in the body of your letters looks like a bad print job. Even with good lighting, it's hard to read. 0 readers = 0 responses.

I love the peel-off Post-It at the top of your letter with your offer "Smart Codes." It's an involvement and retention device that should help your reader transfer ink-on-paper offer codes to a landing page. The problem is the alpha-numeric codes are 16-20 characters long in teeny-tiny mouse type. Seriously, the type must be ½-pt. or less. Guess what this does to response when your reader is required to enter these online? I repeat, 0 readers = 0 responses.

You get an "A" for effort for having an offer in each of your mailings. But they're often buried. Or so complex, they're difficult to understand. I know you're a very quick study at drawing conclusions, but the rest of us are not. My advice is to K.I.S.S., Google!

 

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Most Recent Comments:
David Vogel - Posted on February 28, 2011
Nice post Pat!

I think Google must be listening to you (although slowly). The last letter I got from them (pushing AdWords) included a glue-dotted "gift card" that reiterated the offer ($100 in free AdWords). While unnecessary (I can't imagine sticking the card in my wallet), the gift card seemed to make the offer value seem more real, and also served as a great indicator that there was a specific action they wanted me to take next.

It's cool to see the leader in online advertising continue to use offline marketing (particularly the letter format). With the level of data analysis they do, you have to know they're seeing a positive ROI from their direct mail campaigns to keep doing them. Their average customer value via direct mail must have increased as well, as their offer values have seemed to double or triple over the last couple years.
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Archived Comments:
David Vogel - Posted on February 28, 2011
Nice post Pat!

I think Google must be listening to you (although slowly). The last letter I got from them (pushing AdWords) included a glue-dotted "gift card" that reiterated the offer ($100 in free AdWords). While unnecessary (I can't imagine sticking the card in my wallet), the gift card seemed to make the offer value seem more real, and also served as a great indicator that there was a specific action they wanted me to take next.

It's cool to see the leader in online advertising continue to use offline marketing (particularly the letter format). With the level of data analysis they do, you have to know they're seeing a positive ROI from their direct mail campaigns to keep doing them. Their average customer value via direct mail must have increased as well, as their offer values have seemed to double or triple over the last couple years.

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