Direct Marketing Is a Proven Method That Delivers Positive Results

Direct marketing entails a variety of advertising methods that are used to contact existing and potential customers via mail. Thanks to online marketing, owners now have additional ways to reach clients without purchasing expensive postage stamps.

Previously, direct marketing was limited to sales letters, postcards, and telemarketing calls. Now, businesses can take advantage of websites and blogs to acquire subscribers. Using collected email addresses, owners can send advertisements via email, social marketing networks, electronic newsletters, and Web advertising.

Innovative technologies have made is much easier for businesses to get connected with customers and deliver personalized advertisements. For instance, personal emails and digital newsletters can contain each recipient’s name, together with exclusive offers created especially for them.

Customized ads are a powerful way to get the attention of customers and can influence their purchasing decisions. Customization software can be used with cross platform marketing endeavors such as email, Web, and video marketing.

It is imperative to monitor results of each type of direct marketing campaign. Owners that make use of several strategies may find it advantageous to employ a marketing consultant. Professionals can assist owners with learning how to interconnect each strategy and monitor results.

One method that is becoming very popular is personalized online video advertising. These types of videos can be customized for every individual that views the ad. This provides a unique interactive experience and is a great way to let people see how innovative your company is.

Currently, only a handful of companies provide interactive video advertising, but it is likely to become more prevalent in the near future.

Another fascinating development is personalized websites. This technology automatically inserts visitors name or location at the website. Any time customers visit the site their name is inserted into the sales copy. Personalized business websites are a great way to collect information about each visitor’s buying habits. They are also ideal for companies that conduct online consumer surveys.

These methods do necessitate developing a database of opt-in subscribers. This can be achieved by providing a newsletter subscription form on websites and blogs; giving away complimentary reports that require people to subscribe; hosting a contest; or asking people to supply their email address in direct mail advertisements.

One of the greatest benefits of direct marketing is it is relatively easy to determine results. For example, if a company mails out 100 postcards and 10 people respond then owners realize they are getting a response rate of 10 percent.

The same is true for calculating response rates from Web marketing. If 100 people visit a website and 10 people subscribe to the newsletter, survey, contest, or offer of a free report, the response rate is 10 percent.

Owners that are inexperienced with direct marketing often find it helpful to enroll in a marketing training course or work with an experienced consultant. It is vital to comprehend how to fully participate in this style of marketing in order to obtain the greatest return on investment.

The Direct Marketing Association reports that approximately 55 percent of advertising funds are spent on direct marketing. In 2011, businesses invested over $160 million in direct advertising campaigns which resulted in close to $2 trillion in sales. Obviously, this form of advertising works, so owners would be wise to make good use of it.

Warning Signs Your Marketing (and Copy) Isn’t Right

“This time it will be different. You are a copywriting genius.” This is usually a warning sign that no matter how good the copy produced it will not turn into a result.

There is a lot involved in producing winning marketing – the copy is a big piece of it but it isn’t all of it.

Over time, working with clients you can get a bit of a sixth sense for when your client’s ideas about marketing and copy will lead to non-results.

There are three all too common signs that your marketing is not going to work.

1) Naivety of the Business Owner. This is the first sign that there will be marketing problems. Business Owners either are marketers or they aren’t.

You can turn yourself into a marketer over time but it takes work and commitment to education. And it is important to learn marketing – at least to the point where you can identify and retain talented people to oversee your marketing.

Otherwise you’ll just be a marketing victim.

But at any given time a business owner either is or isn’t a marketer and when they aren’t they are often deluded by business opportunity level sales pitches about how better ads will magically turn them into a millionaire – with dollar signs in their eyes they will fall for anything.

Conversely, when the business owner is intelligent gets what can and can’t be realistically done by with a marketing strategist or copywriter they are often not patient enough to keep working with them beyond that first project because it takes a couple of goes to get it right. They’ve exhausted that bright shiny object and are on to the next one.

2) Poor Market Selection. When I meet a potential client who tells me that their business is ‘anybody with a heartbeat’ or some variation of that, I despair. This ties into number 1 but it is so important it warrants its own section.

Without fail there is a sweet spot in the market that is more valuable to you and you are more valuable to them – where you can command and receive higher fees. It is worth searching for and finding these sweet spots.

I was talking to a potential client recently who was trying to market to everyone but was also secretly hoping that one or two industry segments responded because they were so valuable. I should have made him write me a check for what I said next but I asked him”

“Why don’t you just get a list of industry segments you want and customise your marketing for each of these?”

Light bulb goes on over the client’s head.

3) Over reliance of benefits and feature driven copy.Most good copywriters will tell you that selling is all about benefits but it isn’t. More accurately, it is all about the benefits being able to solve the problems your market has. For this reason the best copy actually is problem focused and story-driven about the solution to those problems.

The product’s features and benefits can almost be an afterthought. I wrote an advertorial where the product basically isn’t mentioned. It is all about the problems that the audience faces and the missed opportunities that arise from not addressing the problem – only in the final 10% of the advertorial is the specifics of the product mentioned.

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.