Direct Marketing Tools

In business, whenever you identify a new market that you know is going to be receptive and fruitful for your product and service then you also are soon faced with the problem that advertising in that market is not easy to obtain. This is due to the fact that most of the best publications are terribly expensive and it is possible that your advertisement might not appear for at least a few months.

In the face of such issues, direct marketing tools can come to your rescue. Direct marketing tools provide you with an effective way to carry out a test of the market relatively fast, at a much more reasonable cost and with convincing certainty. It would help you to determine whether this market was indeed the goldmine that you hoped it to be. You can use direct marketing tools like marketing databases that help you to generate a target list for a campaign of direct mailing. Obviously direct mail also works with the use of purchased lists. Direct marketing tools provide large companies with the capacity to go after defined markets with offers that are specialized. Apart from that, for smaller companies too using direct marketing tool has a variety of attractive advantages.

Direct marketing tool allow you to target recipients in a very precise manner. You can study your responses in far more accurate way and thus get better results that you can rely on. Direct marketing tools also give you the flexibility to build campaigns that fit your budget comfortably. Tools for direct marketing give you the edge of prompt results. In times today when marketing is becoming more and more competitive direct marketing tools can help your business get the edge that is required to realize success.

Direct Marketing Systems For Business Success

If you are not getting the sales you want, effective direct marketing systems are probably not part of your marketing toolkit.

Marketing Effectiveness

Mass marketing methods used to work, but these days, traditional marketing to mass audiences is very wasteful. In his book, Permission Marketing, Seth Godin claims that, on average, we are subjected to around 3,000 marketing messages each day. The message we need to understand from this situation, as marketers, is that it is becoming far more difficult to get our message through to our market, because the clutter of marketing messages makes it almost impossible to attract attention.

With the effectiveness of mass marketing methods having deteriorated over the years to the point of relative ineffectiveness that they have now reached, the most important strategy for us in marketing has become identifying and targeting our most receptive audience. Marketing now needs to be up close and personal to be effective. It does not matter how good our message is and what media we use, if we are not directing our communication to someone who is desperately hungry for our product we stand little chance of success.

Target Market

Can you describe your ideal customer? To effectively target your customers you need to be able to describe the ideal customer in intimate detail. To more effectively communicate with your target market, you need to know the physical and geographic elements that describe your ideal customer, what makes them tick and why they like your product. Having identified our target market, we now need to find out how to communicate our message. This element has two aspects: what is our message and what media we use to deliver it.

Message

Our message to our market must achieve a five things:
1. Attract the attention of our target market by addressing a specific need
2. Present an attractive solution to satisfy the particular need
3. Present proof that our solution is the best
4. Create an urgency to seek the solution now, and
5. Motivate action to obtain the solution.

Our message need not necessarily be delivered in a single communication, although if it can be effectively done in one hit, only use one hit. However, for many products or services, a series of communications may be required to effectively deliver the message. Our direct marketing system is what we need to design to deliver our message appropriately. Our direct marketing system will comprise as many steps and methods as we need to work our way through these five stages of acceptance.

Our initial direct marketing messages must be directed towards generating leads by attracting the attention of the people in our market who have the need our product addresses. It will depend on the maturity of our market as to how much work we need to do at this point. For new products, lead generation may require considerable work to educate the market about the existence of the problem before you can present your solution. For more mature products, a need is often very apparent.

Once we have attracted attention, our aim is to get those people to identify themselves as having the particular need, so that we can turn our efforts towards lead conversion. This is achieved through the final four steps of our direct marketing system. The scepticism that exists in the world today means that you have to work hard to get your market to accept your product is the best solution to meet their need. You must be careful how you make this claim. It must be believable and acceptable.

We all tend to procrastinate and put off taking action to the last minute. You need to overcome this inertia by creatively communicating reasons to “do it now.” Using the concept of impending loss is the most effective method to achieve urgency. This can often be achieved through communicating scarcity and the risk of missing out if immediate action is not taken. This could also be achieved with the risk of a price rise leading to a perceived loss of the price difference if the purchase is left to after the price rise. However, there are many other ways to communicate urgency and it is best to be creative rather than use tired and unimaginative methods that customers may see through and regard as mere techniques to get them to buy now.

The most important element after getting this far is to motivate action to buy. Many marketing communications are weak at this point. Many ads we see promote a product and do everything else right, but leave out the call to action. Subtlety is an ineffective marketing tool. You need to tell your customers what you want them to do to buy your product.

Media

The final step in developing our direct marketing system is to determine the appropriate media to use. Many people make the mistake of thinking about media first and then developing the message. This often happens when you have an advertising sales person pressuring you to buy space in their media. This approach leads to poor or worse, zero results. When you have identified your target market and developed the appropriate messages, the decision about media is much easy to work out. Often, it will depend on how easy your target market is to reach. You need to use the most efficient means of attracting the attention of the people most ready to buy. In lead conversion processes, you may use a combination of direct mail, internet (email and web sites), or personal selling approaches, again depending upon the ease of reach.

Conclusion

One vital aspect of developing an effective direct marketing system and a huge advantage over traditional marketing approaches, is the ability to test your system before you commit enormous amounts of money to it. Mass media marketing is expensive and unaccountable. Direct marketing systems give you the ability to measure results and track your return on investment. You can trial your system in small quantities before you roll it out to a larger audience. Eventually, with the right fine tuning, your direct marketing system will deliver predictable results. You will be able to plan your expenditure and schedule your marketing program to deliver the sales volumes you need at any time. Ultimately, your direct marketing system should deliver you all the sales from the most preferable and profitable customers that you would ever want.

Why Use Direct Marketing for Your Marketing Campaign?

Well, the good news is, you now have the opportunity to plan a really great marketing campaign. The bad news is, your boss actually expects to see results!

Let’s take a look at your budget. You have $20,000 to spend? That’s a big budget! Really cool! Now… let’s see what kind of campaign we can come up with. To start, we need a really great Creative Concept. What self respecting marketing campaign goes without a creative concept? Then of course, we just have to have that huge full page advertisement in the most prominent daily. Maybe a short burst on the radio or television would be good.

With $20,000? You could not even get out of the door with that campaign. Let us put things into perspective. You have a marketing campaign to run, and you need to see results. So, you need to have a solid marketing concept, then you need to have a great marketing plan to execute that marketing concept. So, besides the creative concept (it ain’t free!), the marketing plan and the execution, then you have to create the visuals and get down to the actual print work, online stuff and so on. Now, if you want to know the RESULTS, you will also need to budget some kind of market survey. This is needed to see a before/after scenario. Otherwise, your marketing campaign is over, how do you know what the results are?

As a small marketer, you need to be aware that you are constrained by budgets. You do not have the hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on an elaborate marketing campaign. Just to raise consumer awareness using a traditional advertising campaign will require a frequency of exposure that will likely make it beyond the reach of most small to medium sized companies.

But all is not lost. Direct Marketing is a very powerful and often over-looked tool in the marketer’s arsenal. Your marketing campaign can be made so much more targeted and results more grounded by employing direct marketing in the campaign.

A quick definition, direct marketing as we are talking about here, refers to any kind of direct response marketing that is targeted to an individual (as much as it is possible to do so). Examples of direct marketing would be

– Flyers mailed to a customer

– Email campaign

– Coupons

Of course, there are other direct marketing methods, and the above is just a sampling. Why would you want to add direct marketing to your marketing campaign? On the surface, it always looks like direct marketing is much more expensive than a general advertising above-the-line program. Your $20,000 above can easily translate to a few advertisements in several local print media and reach hundreds of thousands of people.

But consider this:

– direct marketing is highly targeted, noise (wastage) is extremely low

– direct marketing allows a direct response

– direct marketing is easily tracked (from a returned coupon, a phone call, a form…)

Your $20,000 can be well spent if you set aside a portion of it to create a flyer with a simple discount coupon and mail it to your customer base. This simple action, would have increased the power of your marketing campaign at many levels. While your print advertisements will reach its hundreds of thousands, the flyer will reach your existing customers. They will USE the coupons, get a discount and actually buy something from you. Therein lies the “results” that your boss is so hungry for!

Better yet, the side effect is that for everyone who has seen the advertisement, but is not a customer, they have no discount coupon! Now THAT will surely spur them to try to get on your mailing list. Suddenly, it becomes important.

Word of mouth now comes into play. OK, before we get too carried away by how exciting a simple direct marketing campaign can become, let’s get back on track.

Your simple print advertising campaign, supplemented with a small direct marketing campaign can yield results for your marketing campaign that would be significant. Don’t get me wrong, it is doubtful that a $20,000 marketing campaign can beat a $2 million advertising blitz, but working within your means, the addition of direct marketing will add a measure of impact that is more than worth its cut of your budget.

Think on it. Happy marketing!

Direct Marketing – 5 Essential Components of Successful Direct Marketing

Direct Marketing produced $2.05 trillion in sales in 2012. That represents about 8.7% of US GDP in 2013. This implies several key points.

First, competition in direct marketing is stiff. With all those advertisement dollars being spent on direct marketing, you need to ensure your message is getting through and being heard. Second, with stiff competition, you need to craft compelling messages, not once, but repeatedly. You need to do this effectively and efficiently, if you want to do more than just tread water.

Thus, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy that optimizes your budget spend by employing direct marketing more effectively. Here are 5 essential components of successful direct marketing.

1) Deliver a Compelling Sales Message

Several elements go into creating a compelling sales message. Successful sales letters and other marketing content must be relevant, useful, and persuasive. Marketing content that works grabs your prospect’s attention, shows uniqueness, and builds trust with your prospect. Employ these three elements in all your direct marketing content.

· WIIFM – Tell your prospect exactly what’s in it for him or her.

· Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – Clearly describe why your solution is the superior one.

· Testimonials – Let your satisfied customers “sell” for you.

2) Follow-up Leads Promptly to Attract and Engage Your Prospect’s Attention

You might have a lead-generating sales letter, but if you don’t follow-up, valuable leads will slip through the cracks. Follow-up a live event with a phone call, an email, or a letter that invites the prospect to take the next step.

Offer a free demonstration of your product or service. Set up an appointment with a subject matter expert who can go into greater detail on how your company’s solution works, and why it’s better than the competition’s. Then, before the scheduled demonstration, send a white paper that explains your product in detail.

Follow-up, engage and spark your prospect’s interest in your solution.

3) Promote Your Brand

Benefits from branding give companies and edge over competitors that don’t brand. Branding helps position your product or service favorably. It also gives you pricing and distribution power. The takeaway is: never miss an opportunity to brand.

Direct marketing affords you many online and off-line media to build brand awareness. Online media: (1) Banner advertising; (2) Blogs; (3) Email; and (4) Website. Off-line media: (1) Print advertising – sales letters, postcards, brochures; (2) Press Releases; and (3) Public Relations.

4) Nurture the New Customer Relationship

Lead nurturing is just as important as lead acquisition. Most companies want to develop long-term relationships with customers. That’s because they become repeat customers. And, over time, repeat customers generate more sales and profits to your bottom line.

Outbound marketing provides many ways to build and maintain a thriving lead nurturing program. You can employ email, direct mail, social media, mobile, podcasts, seminars, phone calls, and videos.

5) Integrate and Synchronize Online and Off-line Direct Marketing

To optimize your message and direct marketing budget, success lies in finding the right mix of online and off-line methods. One method isn’t necessarily better than another. Instead, the secret sauce to successful direct marketing depends on how you weave these various methods together.

You can integrate and synchronize these methods along the sales cycle beginning with message delivery. Start with a sales letter, follow-up with a phone call or email. Refer your prospect to your website for deeper marketing content, and don’t forget to brand throughout this process.

Achieving the right marketing mix produces a “multiplier effect” that helps you close sales faster and easier. Employing different media in a consistent and coherent manner working towards the same goal optimizes your marketing efforts.

Don’t Overlook the Value of Direct Marketing

With so much attention focused on inbound marketing lately, it’s easy to overlook direct marketing’s benefits. However, as you can see, it still commands the lion’s share of sales. Therefore, it’s prudent to examine your marketing strategy’s focus and align your budget accordingly.

Before you undertake a direct marketing campaign, employ these five essential components to compete effectively and efficiently for that $2.05 trillion market.