Making Direct Mail Work for Small Businesses

If you own a small business, then you know the value of affordable and effective marketing. Unfortunately, many traditional and online advertising methods are becoming quite expensive. This article will explain direct mail guidelines and methods.

Direct mail is an often over-looked method that can be very effective if executed properly. There are three guidelines to follow when conducting an effective direct mail campaign:

1. Catch the reader’s attention immediately. You only have a few seconds to do this before your mail ad is thrown away as junk mail. Therefore, opt for postcard mailings instead of sending your offers in an envelope. If your business is relatively small and unheard-of, the reader will never open it unless your company’s name is familiar to the reader. Envelope advertising is cheaper than postcard advertising, but is only effective if you have already built up name recognition.

When using the postcard method, you will need to be able to print images on the card. I highly, highly recommend investing in a quality home photographic printer. You will end up saving money in the long-term, and your printer will be right where you need it whenever you need it. Whenever you have materials printed professionaly, you pay for labour, expensive inks, and expensive equipment.

When searching for images to print on your postcards, remember the the point of this first guideline: catch your reader’s attention. Of course you don’t want an offensive image for your cards, but you do want one that is slighly “controversial”. When choosing images for your cards, ask yourself these questions:

Does it stand out among the rest?

Does it contain bold colors (but isn’t an eye-sore)?

Does the image relate to my business or current offers in some way?

Does the image request user interaction? (ex. a face staring directly at the reader, someone pointing at the reader, etc.)

Does the image have enough white-space for some large text?

2. Offer the reader an incentive for responding. Unless the reader is and has been genuinely interested in your services/productsfor a period of time before receiving your postcard ad, they will never repspond unless you offer some sort of incentive. For instance, you postcard could also serve as a coupon; tell you reader to bring in that post card for a discount. Also, you could use the postcard ad as an announcment for a storewide sale. Be creative when offering incentives to your readers.

Be sure to make your incentive very visible on the postcard. Let’s say, for example, your postcard is also serving as a coupon for 20% on your products/services. Print that “20% off” in large text with the image, along with your product type, such as “20% all dog beds”. Then, on the other side of the card, usually with the recipient’s address, print the discount again with any terms that may apply.

3. Target your readers. The best way to waste advertising money is by sending your direct mail to random people, paying no attention to whether they would actually buy something from you. This is much easier when dealing with business-to-business advertising. When it comes to consumers, find out their interests is a little difficult.

Test out the waters first. A good place to try first is InfoUSA. They sell mailing lists of consumers and businesses and may provide targeted consumer lists. You may be able to create interest in someone who has never heard of your products before, but when you are starting a new direct mail campaign and you have a very small budget, keep your list targeted. You don’t want to try to sell a web site to a business that already has one, or try to sell a dog bed to someone who only keeps cats.

I hope this article has given you some ideas on making your next direct mail advertising campaign more successful.

How to Make a Big, Nasty Pile of Cash Using Direct Marketing and Information Products

If you are looking for a way out of the rat race, and you want to be able to work from anywhere in the world, then this is the article for you. Using a powerful one-two punch of direct marketing and information products, you can build a large, international business that can make you more money than your day job ever did. Read on to find out more.

Information products are basically just answers, or a solution to a burning problem that the customer is having. The closer you come to an effortless, affordable solution, the more likely you will close the sale. Information products come in many forms. You can have actual printed books, DVDs, CDs, downloadable audio, or downloaded text and video. You can also develop packages of materials, create courses and coaching programs. Anything you can do to create a program that will hold the customer’s hand and show them exactly what to do, will bring you a ton of money.

Use your direct marketing skills to bring in the customers. Use sales letters, classified advertising, email campaigns, and referral marketing. It’s critical that you pre-qualify your customers first in order to make sure that they are part of the niche that you are marketing towards. You don’t want to have any wasted effort when spending a lot of time on a marketing campaign. The hungry crowd is the key.

Once you have begun to develop a list on your own, it’s much smoother sailing. You will already know what your customers want, and you can develop products and services to fill their needs. Keep feeding your hungry market with periodic direct marketing campaigns and you will have a winner.

Not every product you create will bring in a lot of money. Out of ten products you make, four may be failures, two may be total successes, and the middle four will just bring in a little money. That is why the information product game is also a numbers game. In order to create an information product empire, you need to branch out into a lot of different niches. You need to create many products and hen have your customers vote. Drop your losers and heavily market the winners. When you find a product that is a super success, then you should keep expounding on that theme. Create other products and workbooks that are supplemental material that you can sell along with your flagship product.

5 Keys To Direct Mail Success

I am going back to some good old fashioned marketing… Namely direct mail and I suggest you should too. In recent years with the rise of the internet, email, and social media many small business owners have turned their back on direct mail which has been a proven marketing methodology for a hundred plus years.

So while all of your competitors are busy sending their tenth Twitter update for the day letting all their friends know they are about to walk the dog, or they are busy inviting all of their Facebook friends to their Fan Page, there is a huge opportunity to BE DIFFERENT!

One of the most challenging things in marketing your business today is gaining and holding the ATTENTION of your target market. The key is to differentiate yourself from the rest. In order to do this it makes sense to gain visibility amongst your target market through different channels than your competitors.

That’s the reason I am making a major shift back to Direct Mail and I am recommending it to my coaching and consulting clients. (Note: I do believe there is some value in online marketing such as Facebook etc… however it is very easy to get lost amongst the many).

Direct Mail has a proven track record of success. Unlike email marketing it has close to 95% open rate. Email open rates continue to plumit as more and more people suffer from Inbox overwhelm.

Now here is the exciting news of the day… where once there was a lot of Small Business owners using Direct Mail… today there are hardly any! Large corporates still use Direct Mail but at the Small to Micro end of the business spectrum there are very few people effectively using Direct Mail.

This spells OPPORTUNITY to me. An opportunity to reach your target market in a way that your competitors are not even attempting to do.

Lets look at 5 keys to making Direct Mail work for you:

1. Quality List – This is where a lot of Direct Mail campaigns fall down. You must have a quality list of your target market. My preference is to build my own list. Now I do this online with the FREE CD giveaway that we offer. This helps capture their postal address so we can then use this for Direct Mail campaigns. So focus first on developing the right strategies to build your own quality mailing list of your target market.

2. Attention Grabber – You have about 30 seconds to grab their ATTENTION when they open your direct mail letter. So the key here is to use powerful compelling headlines focused on them. There are also other devices you can use to attach to the letter to get their attention such as attaching a $2 coin in the top right hand side with the headline… ‘Why Am I Sending You $2?’. This is a curiosity builder which draws them into the letter.

You want to give careful consideration to the headline and opening paragraph of your letter. Is it focused totally on the reader and their particular desires, wants and needs? If it is not the letter goes straight in the bin.

3. Irresistible Offer – Your sales letter then must have some sort of offer that is Irresistible combined with a call to action. What I mean by this is you should offer them what is known as a FRONT END low dollar value product. This reduces the risk of responding and lowers the barrier to entry for them becoming a client. Make it a totally irresistible offer and tell them specifically how to take up your offer. You want to build into your offer scarcity and urgency to prompt them to act.

4. Sequenced Mailing – One of the little known keys to improving the overall success of your Direct Mail campaign is to use a sequenced campaign. This means you send to the same list a sequence of three letters spaced appx. 3 weeks apart. The first letter outlines your offer, the second letter is sent as a reminder that the deadline for the offer is coming and we haven’t heard from you. The third letter is a final notice letter. Note that letters two and three must reference the previous letters. Using a sequenced mailing campaign like this can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your campaign as opposed to a one off try it and hope for the best approach.

5. Tracking & Measuring – Finally you need to track and measure the results of your Direct Mail campaigns. How well have they worked? What was the response rate? What happens when you send the same letter with a different headline.

In all marketing it is the tracking & measuring of results and then fine tuning your approach that makes the greatest leaps forward toward success.

One of the reasons that I think Direct Mail is so important to put into your marketing mix is that if you combine it with your online marketing what happens over time is your target market start to hear your name all over the place. They may not remember exactly where they keep hearing about you but they know that you keep popping up in lots of different locations. This familiarity makes you highly attractive to your target market.

In a world where most small business owners have lost the art of effective Direct Mail campaigns I highly recommend it to reach your target market in a way that your competitors will probably not even think of.