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.

The 3 Elements Of A Solid Direct Mail Campaign

Are you looking to add direct mail to your marketing mix. If you’re an offline business owner, direct mail is almost a prerequisite if you want to expand your customer base and get fresh new people onto your customer list. In my opinion, the thorniest part of the direct mail process is buying postage.

If you’re on a budget, this can severely limit how many packages you can send out at a time. But despite the mailing costs, there are other factors also that play a part in your direct mail campaign. This includes your list, your offer, and your sales letter. All 3 of these elements have to be in-line with each other if you want to get the maximum effect from your campaign.

So for starters, how do you go and acquire a mailing list to mail to? Well, you start at your local library with the SRDS. The SRDS stands for the standard rate and data service, and it contains a wide variety of lists to mail to. This is where you’ll want to begin your search.

Never make the mistake of mailing letters randomly to people in your neighborhood. This is ineffective, and you will hardly get any response. Instead, go and rent out a niche specific list in the SRDS, so that you will have a higher chance of making money with your campaign.

The next thing to consider is your offer. Is your offer unique? Is it something that can’t be acquired somewhere else? What makes your offer unique?!? Well, a unique offer can come in a variety of forms. The uniqueness of your offer could be a 12-month money back guarantee. It could be overnight shipping. Or it could be simply that nobody has access to the product that you’re selling. In short, no one has the product that you’re selling.

If the latter part from the above is true, then you’re in a competition free zone. You could offer your products day-in and day-out, and make a hefty profit. So think about these things before you start mailing out letters.

The last thing to consider is your sales message/sales letter. Even though you’re not a world-class copywriter, there are many sales letter templates out there that you can follow and emulate right away. In fact, if you don’t know anything about writing sales letters that sell, I suggest you start with a swipe file.

A swipe file is a collection of winning ads and sales letters. It’s called a “swipe” file because you can emulate the successful parts of a sales letter and put them all together in a format that would make the copywriting task easier. There are many free swipe files on the internet. In fact you can download something called the “Magnetic Sales Letters” package for free – and it contains a lot of different winning sales letters and headline for you to choose from (hope that makes sense lol…).

So as you can see, all 3 aspects of your direct mail campaign has to be put together in order to achieve a cumulative goal. And if you can do that with your direct mail campaign, you’ll stand to have success with the mailings.

Good luck with marketing your business with direct mail today.

Is Network Marketing Success Luck or Skill?

Network marketing otherwise known as multi-level marketing (MLM) is one of the fastest growing yet most misunderstood methods of moving products in use today. It has been in existence since 1960 starting from the United States of America. The first network marketing company that started in history is known as AMWAY which is the short form for American Way. Presently Amway is quoted on the stock exchange and their annual sales turnover is in excess of $200 billion. Certain people see this industry as a resort for persons who could not get a place in the traditional corporate business world i.e the white-collar job. But network marketing just like every other product/service distribution model is an honorable means of livelihood and business model. What is network marketing? It is important you understand what network marketing is so that you can correct the negative uninformed knowledge that is planted in the minds of so many people who were listening to those who could not wait to understand how this industry works before they quit in their network marketing business. Let us start from the basic. Marketing simply means moving a product or service from manufacturer or provider to the consumer. Network marketing refers to the system of compensation provided to those persons who are causing the products to move or the service to be provided. Multi-level marketing or network marketing means more than one (network) level.

There are only three basic methods of moving products. The first is wholesale/retailing model. This is the traditional distribution model which uses the advertisement media and wholesaler to move their products. It is the most common model but it is aimed to enrich the already rich wholesalers and advertisement agencies. The second is direct Sales. This just like network marketing is a model where the manufacturer or service provider sells the product direct to the consumer. But sales instead of sharing are emphasized. The third is network marketing. This is a model where the manufacturer or service provider offers their products and services direct to the consumer at the cost price and also pay them compensation for buying their products/services and at the same time for sharing the products/services with their friends, associates and relations.

Most objections that people have about getting into network marketing are due to not realizing the difference between network marketing and direct sales method of marketing. Network marketing does not necessary mean door-to-door selling of products but sharing of valuable products and services. What I mean by this is that you use the product which is of more quality than their rival in the market and at the same time share same with others. (Mostly family, associate and friends)The most significant difference between MLM and direct sales is that you are in business for yourself. But in direct sales you are not for yourself but for the company you are representing. Being in business for yourself, you are buying the products wholesale from the company you are representing. This means that you can (and should) use these products for your own consumption. Note that many people get involved in a company at first for this reason alone, to buy wholesale. And many of those will get serious in building a business along the line. Since you are buying your products at wholesale, you can, if you wish to, sell those products at retail band make a profit. The most common misunderstanding about MLM is the notion that you have to sell retail to be successful. The most important point is that you should let your sales come as the natural result of building the organization. More people fail than succeed by trying to do it the other way around, i.e they try to build the organization by emphasizing selling.

The word selling triggers negative thoughts in the minds of about 95% of the people. In MLM you don’t need to sell the products in the traditional sense of the word. However, PRODUCT DOES HAVE TO MOVE or nobody gets paid. I define selling as calling on strangers and trying to sell them something they may neither need nor want. Again, product has to move or nobody gets paid! To understand this, I will adopt Metcalfe’s Law which states that a network’s economic value equals to number of users squared. (Robert Metcalfe is one of the people credited for creating the ethernet, the earliest form of internet) Stating Metcalfe’s Law in simpler terms, if there exist just one telephone, that single telephone really has no economic value. The moment there are two telephones, according to this law, the economic value of the phone network is now squared. That is, the economic value of the network would go from zero to two squared which is four. Add a third phone and the economic value of the network is now nine. In other words, the economic value of network goes up exponentially, not numerically. Similarly, in MLM when you build an organization, you are building a network through which you can channel your products. Retailing is the foundation of network marketing. Sales in MLM come from members sharing with their friends, neighbors and relative. They never have to talk to strangers but what they do is to consciously make more friends and in share their products with these friends.