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.

Achieve a True Diversification With Self Directed IRA

What do you get from self-directed IRA account?

The ultimate advantage of setting up a self-directed IRA account with an IRA custodian is that you are the one who is in control.

The other best attribute you are getting with the said type of IRA is that you get the flexibility you can ever wish.
If you are targeting investments that are beyond the confines of Wall Street, then self-directed IRA is the right one for you. It is said that the average balance in any IRA is more or less $25,000! And so that is enough funds for you to diversify your investments to get to the retirement that you are planning for! Retirement does not have to be achieved at an old age. You can retire soon if you pan for it!

DIVERSIFICATION

With self-directed IRA, you can directly invest your money in real estates. If you are leaning towards acquiring houses or an apartment complex for a continued cash flow, then this type of IRA can help you start that venture. Specifically, if a friend of yours mentioned to you a house down the corner being sold for half its price… or a short term loan at 15% from a credit institution, only with this IRA that you could do this.

You maybe into small businesses or getting a franchise and just the right amount of money is in your IRA but the only way to get to that is by having a self-directed IRA. Your traditional IRA will restrict you from doing that.

Personal loans is something you can take advantage also with this kind of IRA. Begging your fund manager for the money you own and saved would not occur if you have a self-directed IRA.

If there is an investment that will make sense to you at all, with self-directed IRA, money is readily at hand just by writing a check for it.

Purchasing of tax liens could also be done only with self-directed and not the typical IRA. It offers low risk on the investor’s side, the length of investment is often short-termed and the return is substantial unlike what the current market offers.

FINALLY, the precious metals that you can either hold or store in a depository. Only with this unique IRA that you can have a gold IRA or silver IRA started. Gold is expected to rise further its value to a staggering $5000 per ounce. And silver, with the stockpile at a very low mark, can match the price of gold. This precious metals BOOM is happening soon and may not last for long.
From an investment that will give you cash flow to a stable asset even in the middle of a weak economy, the self-directed IRA can give you so much flexibility! Your options are not limited to bonds, stocks and mutual funds! There are just investments nowadays that make more sense than the paper ones.