Use CD-ROMs in mail campaigns

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A direct mail campaign using a CD-ROM can play a key role in the overall suc­cess of a digital campaign. To maximize the value of this type of promotion, marketers must ensure that the message on the disc is clear, persuasive and completely user-friendly before it arrives in a target's mailbox.

Many of the requirements for mailing a CD-ROM are the same as with paper mailings. The package design is important because it provides the framework that drives the recipient to open the package and insert the disc into the computer.

As your presentation unfolds, the content and pathways on the disc are critical. Ask yourself: Is the message compelling? Is the call to action repeated in several different ways? Is the path to ordering made painless? One key difference is how these action items interrelate in the digital world of a disc vs. a paper-only mailing.

Do not frustrate the user. The disc should run “zero footprint,” meaning that it should contain all the programs that are needed to run videos, open PDF files and play mp3s. The program on the disc should detect what programs are needed, if any, to use the disc, and install them with user permission, such as Adobe Reader. You want to make sure the recipient has a satisfying experience. Do not require that users download an essential program or upgrade from the Web. That's a hurdle that could stop the user from con­sidering your message.

Finally, it's important to offer the recipient an incentive — whether that is a discount, some valuable information or any other unique offer. From the packaging message through to the reward, whether it's a vehicle test drive or recreational video, it's essential to integrate your print message, disc experi­ence and Web-based information. Make it seamless and compelling enough to drive the recipient to place an order or sign up for your company's services.

A well-designed disc can have an impact on the success of a digital campaign. The richer environment of a CD-ROM mailing is more costly than a paper-only mailing, so make sure the digital advantages of this effort are realized. You want to make a positive impression that leads recipients to say, “I need to share this with my friends.”

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