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May 2009

Social media marketing for lead generation

We would define ourselves as casual social media users.  We have a blog, use twitter moderately and only when we have something of commercial interest to share, and we maintain a profile and network on Linkedin.  Today, we made another contact from our twitter account and have scheduled a webinar.  If there was ever any doubt that these social media work as cross media marketing tools, their shouldn’t be.

I found this summary from the Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Michael A. Stelzner to be illuminating. Here's the cheat sheet:

Top three questions marketers want answered:

(1) What are the best tactics to use
(2) how to do I measure the effectiveness of social media and,
(3) where do I start?

Marketers are mostly new to social media:
A significant 88% of marketers surveyed are using social media to market their businesses, BUT 72% have only been doing so for a few months or less.

How much time does this take?
A significant 64% of marketers are using social media for 5 hours or more each week and 39% for 10 or more hours weekly.

The top benefit of social media marketing:
The number-one advantage is generating exposure for the business, indicated 81% of all marketers, followed by increasing traffic and building new business partnerships.

The top social media tools:
Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and Facebook were the top four social media tools used by marketers, in that order. Social media tools marketers most want to learn about: Social bookmarking sites were ranked of highest interest, followed closely by Twitter.

For the complete report, click here.

Not All Personalized URLs are Equal

Is some Johnny come lately, me-too software company the partner you should be relying on for your marketing?  The VDP Complete® family of products is based on a proven technology. Software is only as good as the company that stands behind and services it. JFM Concepts has a well established reputation as industry thought leaders in all things variable. Most personalized URL companies simply customize open source applications and pass them off as their own or resell inferior technologies from other firms.  JFM Concepts builds software from the ground up using the latest applications. This allows us to ensure the highest level of quality and guarantee every aspect of the application.

Not all Personalized URLs are created equal

There are lots of companies out there with little PURL tools that claim to be cross media marketing experts.  Our products and services are different. The VDP Complete suite of programs are better and here are just a few of the reasons why.

Easy to use, but without limitations

To truly get results, you need more than just a postcard with a first name and personalized URL.  Marketers need a complete suite of tools to engage and interact with customers in order to capture leads and document ROI.  The JFM cross media utility is powerful enough to meet your client’s requirements and yet is simple enough to learn quickly and execute fast. VDP Web online is the most powerful and easiest-to-use online PURL tool because our many years of experience defined the development process from the ground up.

Powerful custom designs in minutes

Most cross media software is built around standardized templates and limited workflows. VDP Web® is made for custom design that is a powerful as the web itself. Unparalleled flexibility gives our partners that ability to truly be creative and flexible for their clients.  Our proprietary “Content Wizards” make custom design a snap.  Create complete campaigns, from new client creation to data assignment, in less than 20 minutes.

The features you need, made easy

Our PURL software has all the basics you would expect, but they come in a format that also allows more advanced features like automatically generated surveys and opt-ins, payments, automatic email replies, dynamic photos & graphics, and more.  VDP Web has everything you need without limitations and features that you don't.

The absolute best security and hosting

Our industry leading hosting environment provides multiple redundancies on all critical systems and our backup procedures ensure that your marketing campaigns are always protected.  From simple https security to complex PGP encryption systems, JFM Concepts has the internal expertise to make sure that your clients needs are met.

We invite you to compare JFM Concepts and then contact us.

The Biggest Cross Media & PURL Mistakes Marketers Make

Due to the popularity of this article over time we have reposted it.  If you have any experiences to add, please let us know by clicking here.


After executing a few hundred PURL campaigns in every size and shape, the experts at JFM Concepts have come up with the following list of 11 PURL campaign mistakes.  If you have a few more to share, please let me know about your experiences.


x Going to print before the URL or DNS is pointed. 

Once you’ve printed or emailed a marketing message, you can not change the PURL and if the DNS or URL changes, you have just spent a lot of money for nothing.

x When using a DNS record, not pointing the as well as 

People often add the www, needed or not.

x Relying on having time from mailing to arrival to complete web design. According to Murphy’s Law, the Post Office will always deliver the next day on bulk mail when you do not want them to.

x Not making the PURL the obvious call to action. 

In order to capture the interest of those who take no further action, it is critical to drive prospects to the web.  To succeed, the PURL must be prominently displayed on the piece.

x Relying only the PURL and a name to drive response.

PURLs are a great tool, but they work best when supported by other variable content such as prospect specific art & copy.

x Having a weak call to action. 

Prospects need a reason to visit the web.   Something they can not buy or easily acquire, especially information, is very strong.

x Using too many clicks on landing page. 

The K.I.S.S. principle applies to landing pages as well as the print or email design.  Why take four pages to accomplish what can be done in just one?

x Asking too many survey questions. 

Asking more than 5 or 6 questions, or using more than one web page, will cause a dramatic increase in abandonment.  Ask only the questions that are crucially important.

x Not starting a two way conversation. 

The web landing page is ideal mechanism to gain insight into your client by having the visitor tell you what they want, not just what you want to know.  We don not know what we do not know.

x Not planning for follow up.

Make a plan now to assure that there is a system ready to go to contact the leads generated.

x Forcing prospects to enter an email or phone.

Unless the offer is very strong, mandating that visitors provide an email and/or phone will dramatically increase the abandonment rate.  Is this information really critical and how do I know.  If you have no immediate plans to utilize the phopen and email, its not critical.


i  Let us know your experiences at

Making Every Communication a 2-Way Conversation

The true power of cross media marketing is to create opportunities for two way conversation with our potential and current clients.  By driving visitors to the web and personalized landing pages we can create a cost effective and automatic mechanism for collecting data.  PURLs (Personalized URLs) can be used to identify visitors and serve variable content.  For more on PURLs and their use, click here.


Active Data Collection:  By asking specific and direct questions of identified web visitors we can gather data and save that information for use later.


Passive Data Collection:  By tracking what links a web visitor selects we have a good indicator of their areas of interest and can use that information to tailor future touches.


The Bottom Line:  By collecting data on visitors we can make touch points more relevant to the recipient and the more relevant we make the communication the better the results.

Cross Media for Online Companies

When marketers think of cross media, they generally start with a traditional business and consider how to incorporate email, landing pages, and PURLs into the traditional marketing mix.  The need to get into cross media marketing is as important for web businesses as is it is for everyone else.  After making an online purchase several months ago, I recently received a direct mail catalog from  I had not responded to any of their electronic offers and the mail piece must have been triggered by my lack of action.  According to the United States Postal Service, consumers are far more likely to make online purchases if they have received a catalog or online solicitation. Similarly,, the darling of the e-tailing world can be seen advertising in print magazines.

The bottom line:  the more exposure your product or service has across more marketing channels, the better off you’ll be.

VDP Web Online Cross Media Press Release

JFM Concepts is proud to announce the availability of VDP Web® Online in a press release from PR Web.

The VDP Web Online platform is specifically designed to lower the cost of cross media marketing and variable data PURL campaigns for commercial printers, agencies, and marketing departments.  This powerful platform can also be used as the hub for telemarketing, paid search, landing page, SMS-text, and CRM marketing efforts.

View the release here.

Mass Media, Landing Pages & Cross Media Made Easy

Savvy web marketers have long used landing pages as the entry point of their paid search marketing efforts to facilitate tracking of particular campaigns.  This process assures that the prospects receive the correct content and do not need to surf through your website to find content.

Why not use this same process for radio, TV, newspaper and magazine advertising to create a truly cross media marketing campaign?  The expense of the advertisement is a sunk cost and most ads include a web address already.  By using a landing page rather than your home page you can serve the most relevant content and improve both the ease and quantity of opt-ins.

A typical landing page is presented as  The problem with this format is that a large percentage of visitors will truncate the /offer and therefore end up on your home page and not see the content you just paid to present.  A better format is Also, you need to alter your company web site in order to accommodate the new page – this may be difficult to execute with your IT department or the outside contractor or agency that manages the site.

VDP Web provides all the tools to simply execute a landing page campaign that includes built in opt-in forms, surveys, and automatic email responses to responders.  Visit us at to learn more.

NYC Tea Party uses VDP Web Online

As part of the marketing and operations for the New York City Tea Party on April 15th, organizers used VDP Web Online to generate a useable database of grass roots supporters and volunteers in addition to providing an effortless registration platform.  A custom designed landing page (click here to view) provided information and links via a static URL.  The web address was broadcast for three days prior to the event on one AM radio news station, Apple 970 AM. 

The most powerful part of the program is that the radio spots generated hundreds of opt-ins for both the event and email, phone & SMS-text alerts regarding this event and upcoming efforts.  The data was immediately available to organizers for additional action, including fundraising and community action.