Google Hangouts and Direct Mail

Posted by Alex Gorges on March 19, 2020 at 9:00 AM

If you are a company that relies on gathering groups of people into a venue to sell a product or service, then you’ve already felt the blow of Covid-19. A portion of our customers do rely on this type of selling, and many of them have cancelled their direct mail projects, leaving them confused about how to generate revenue. At the time of this writing, the US Senate is voting on a bill to inject billions of dollars into the economy so America does not slide into a recession. And while this will help, you can’t rely on government measures to pull you out of this mire for the long term.

Despite warnings, you might be tempted to proceed with social events. After all, if your gathering falls below the threshold, then what’s the big deal? The big deal is that people, no matter the size of the gathering, are wary of coming together.

Because of this, we encourage you to go online.

Get away from the physical locations and instead create a virtual space where people can watch you on a live stream and add comments and questions.

This is the perfect alternative. No, you won’t be able to do the same things as you might if you had a large room, a stage, and a whiteboard. But at least people will feel safe and may be even more eager to buy.

In addition, there are two primary benefits.

First, it’s free. There is a large number of different software programs you can use to do this. My favorite is Google Hangouts. It’s web-based, so all you need to do is navigate to the URL and sign in with a free Google account. The only expense might be a webcam, but almost all laptops – high and low end – include a webcam with their hardware. But if you DO need a computer, purchase a Google Chromebook. They are cheap and fast and come integrated out of the box with Google Hangouts.

A second reason to go online is that it dispels the fear of contagion. The CDC is pushing everyone to stay home, except for cases when one needs to venture out and acquire groceries and other necessities. Since people are locked in their homes, they have both the time and ease to connect to a Google Hangout.

So, these are the benefits, but you are still faced with the challenge of getting them “there.” This is where direct mail plays an important role. There hasn’t been any evidence of the virus traveling on hard surfaces, so direct mail seems to be safe. We aren’t crystal clear on this, but based on the cousins of the virus, we know it cannot survive long on hard surfaces.

The good news is that the mailer you normally send to corral people doesn’t need to be changed much. The design can be largely the same – you only need to update the new location of the venue. Include a link to the URL too. And, if you can, generate a QR code your customers can scan. Once scanned, the phone will redirect them to the exact website.

In addition, if you’ve never emailed to drive traffic, now might be the time. Do this and direct mail. Start with a direct mail piece and then follow-up with an email. Or vice versa.

If you need help in driving your customers online or want more information on how to set up a Google Hangout, reach out to us at Handy Mailing Service. We’d be happy to help.