Direct Marketing – Brand Identity Guru Tips

If your company doesn’t have a direct marketing program in place, a direct marketing agency can create one for you. A direct marketing company provides small to very large customizable ranges of business-to-business and business-to-consumer direct marketing options sure to fit your needs. From database creation and maintenance to data analysis and creative program execution, a direct marketing company can take any existing direct marketing program, or a lack of one, and develop a highly efficient direct sales machine for your company.

A good direct marketing company employs experts in each aspect of direct marketing who have proven time and time again they have what it takes to create a successful direct mail campaign and turn your existing unorganized data into a powerful computer-readable customer database.

The goal of any successful direct marketing program is ultimately a positive effect on your bottom line. Good direct marketing programs are proven performers that will give you an edge over your competition. The direct marketing expertise and capabilities that a good direct marketing company offers will turn your direct marketing expenditures into successful investments.

Look for a company that has years of target market research experience ready to work for you. They will uncover who your best customers are and develop a direct marketing campaign that will get them to respond.

They should know how to impact behavior, get results and form the basis for long-term relationships with your customers and prospects.

Direct marketing abilities should include:

– Direct response advertising

– Customer relation’s management

– Data management services and data analysis

– Media planning, media buying and complete direct marketing campaign management

Seven HUGE Tips to Direct Marketing that gets results

Successful direct marketing takes planning and strategic thought…

1. Know your goal: What do you want your direct marketing to accomplish? What kind of impression do you wish to leave? Do you wish to inform your prospects about your product or just make them aware? Recently, Brand Identity Guru was asked by a client to expand its direct marketing efforts, so we created a direct marketing piece to showcase our client’s most attractive points. That direct marketing piece now accounts for 30 percent of the client’s new business.

2. Research: Don’t just have a list. Learn something about your customers so you can speak to them better. Discover their hot buttons, so you can push them.

3. Plan properly: The best direct marketing campaigns work along with PR, traditional advertising, brand strategy and efforts by your sales force. Ultimately, each piece is part of a larger total company campaign and should work together.

4. Be relevant: Direct marketing efforts should offer something your clients might want to buy.

5. Be conscious of details: Find the name of your primary contacts, and make sure you spell them right in the items you send to them. Even the best direct marketing piece is useless in the trash.

6. Be consistent: Use a series of pieces that speak to your customer’s needs. Don’t know what they are? Ask. Usually, December is not a good time because mailboxes are already overcrowded. Brand Identity Guru suggests waiting until February or another month.

7. Follow up: If you don’t follow up, the results of your direct marketing efforts could crash to a halt. Initiate a conversation with people on your list. A phone call a week or two after your mailing is a great idea.

Direct marketing is a powerful tool to capture your prospects’ attention and orders. If your direct marketing includes an attractive offer, imagine what the results will be. Throw in a brand-centric foundation and you have a direct marketing effort even more powerful than the sum of its parts.

The Direct Marketing Star of 2009

Direct mail and websites must be consistent. Especially if the consumer receives direct mail and decides to go online to respond.

But in 2009, I think you have to identify whether it’s direct mail, or your website, that plays the starring role. Only a few years ago there was little question that direct mail was the “center of the direct marketing universe.” But I think that is rapidly changing. Online is rapidly becoming the “direct marketing center of the universe” with its unique ability to support inbound marketing efforts. Not long ago, I would have said that a website supports direct mail. Today I think direct mail supports a website. I’m not sure you can “integrate” direct mail and your website, but there certainly must be continuity and consistency of offers.

That having been said, demographics of your customers must be considered. The parents of Baby Boomers tend to be readers and, I believe, will continue to read direct mail. They aren’t known to be web-savvy so they may rarely consider using the web to conduct additional research and transact business.

Baby Boomers are more likely to blend direct mail and the online experience. But I think there should be a huge concern to anyone using direct mail who is pushing response to a website. When a consumer reads direct mail, and you point her to your website, she might research other offers for identical products using keywords and key phrases that organically bring up competitive offers. If the direct mail offer didn’t sell her on doing business with you, she might find a competitor online, who has optimized their website, and get a better deal than you were offering. Which begs the question: if you are using direct mail, do you really want your customer to go online when they can be so easily distracted, and through organic search easily find and buy from your competition?

And the younger the individual, in their 20s and 30s, the more likely the web is where they go for community, social interaction, shopping, and entertainment, and research before they buy something offline. Any of us with teenagers or twenty-somethings see them mostly ignoring direct mail-and even e-mail solicitations. All they need comes from a computer screen, speaker and keyboard or, more and more, their cell phone they’re using for texting and surfing the Web.

Online search, cutting across most age groups, is where the marketing action is to find your website. If your website isn’t optimized, you might as well not exist. If you’re not capturing email addresses for email marketing, you’re leaving money on the table. If you’re not adding content every week, your organic website rankings will slowly sink. If you’re not thinking mobile technology, you’re missing lots of young people. If you want to keep your customer or donor plugged into your company, you need to do so with blogs and social media. And by all means, get Google Analytics tracking what’s happening on your website so you can see your results. It’s amazingly sophisticated and useful in its reporting, and it’s free.

The rules of direct marketing engagement have shifted. While direct mail and websites can, and must, co-exist, their roles are different today as consumers migrate more and more online. The economics of marketing online, and the desire of consumers to do business online, have, in my opinion, permanently shifted how we will market this year and beyond. It’s less and less of us pushing our wares to consumers and businesses. It’s more and more consumers and business searching for what they want, and that means as marketers it’s essential to get smart quickly about inbound marketing methods-positioning ourselves to be found-and the online experience.

Direct marketers that don’t recognize this fundamental shift now risk lagging behind when the economy perks back up. It takes months, even years, for search engine optimization techniques to grab a foothold. And, tomorrow’s strategies may be different from today’s, as that world is evolving quickly. So your challenge as a direct marketer is how to manage that shift so you retain your position in the marketplace and not let it be eroded by some smart Internet-savvy upstart who outmaneuvers you.

Powerful PR Lessons from Successful Direct Marketing Techniques

Direct marketing–including catalogs and Internet sales–is a $1.85 trillion industry in the U.S. that accounts for 7 percent of total U.S. sales, according to the Direct Marketing Association. Direct marketers make their money by understanding exactly what customers want and giving it to them. Here are five key public relations lessons to learn from direct marketing:

Target your message

Successful direct marketing is targeted. It gets the right offer in the right format to the right people who have an interest in or a need for a manufacturer’s product. Direct marketers spend millions of dollars creating and refining mailing lists and subscriber profiles to find just the right consumers to buy their product.

Direct marketers don’t try to be everything to everybody. They use their budget wisely to reach only the people who are their best prospects and reach them frequently enough to encourage new sales and spur repeat sales.

How targeted is your message?

Do you write your brochures, advertisements and radio commercials with your typical customer in mind? Is your message telling them how they can solve their problems, achieve their dreams, or meet their needs? Direct marketers know that customer benefits outsell product features. Targeting your message to your most likely buyers will make the best use of your budget and yield the most sales.

Test your message

Direct marketers base their ad copy, list purchase, media buys and graphic design on research and industry information. Testing is a basic part of successful direct marketing. Direct marketers will take two versions of an ad–one with slightly different copy from the other–or two different lists, or two different regional versions of the same magazine–and run their campaign tests. All the research in the world can’t substitute for testing. Research gives you a theoretical answer. Testing validates your theories in the real world.

Many business owners give up on marketing if their first ads don’t send customers flooding into their stores. Or they abandon advertising in a magazine if one ad doesn’t make the phone ring. Direct marketers know that it is often the message–not the medium–that needs to be adjusted to speak more persuasively to the customer. Don’t be too hasty to give up on a whole type of advertising because one effort did not bring a crowd. Change your ad, re-write your mailing piece, adjust your list and try again. When the right message reaches a receptive potential customer, sales happen.

Change your definition of success

Direct marketers are patient. They understand that testing is essential to capture sales. But they also have a realistic idea of success. Depending on the size of the campaign, the type of product and the break-even cost, some direct marketers consider a response of 1 – 5 percent to be very successful. They know that large percentages aren’t realistic.

A campaign’s success also depends on its purpose. Some offers are made just to generate leads in order to build a better mailing list for the next offer. Those campaigns are focused on screening out non-buyers, not necessarily on selling product. Getting 1,000 names of people who are interested out of a mailing of 10,000 people on a list might be very successful under those conditions.

Make sure you have defined success in a way that is realistic and based on solid criteria.

Tailor your offer

Direct marketers know that the magic is in the way the product is offered. Are you selling closet shelving–or an organization system? Is your product an air cleaner–or a way to reduce indoor air pollution?

Even the way the price is stated makes a difference. If you’re having a sale, is the price half off, fifty-percent reduced or two for one? Direct marketers know that different ways to say the same thing get different responses. Make sure that your offers are tailored to what encourages your customers to take action.

Know your customer

The most important lesson is to understand your customer. Find out what the customer is really purchasing when he buys your product. Direct marketing success happens when in-depth customer knowledge is used to tailor an offer, create a targeted, customer-oriented message that is tweaked and perfected through testing, and that produces profitable results.

Even if your business doesn’t currently use direct marketing, you can apply its wisdom to your public relations process to increase your business success.

Direct Marketing: The Business of the 21st Century

Direct marketing is truly the preferred business of the 21st century. Why? We are quickly discovering that we cannot rely on the standard of working for someone else, so it only makes sense that we would look to other resources to change our life. I am going to share with you more about direct marketing, how it works, and why people are turning to it for their livelihood.

What is it?

So, what is direct marketing? This type of marketing is no doubt different from what you are used to. The reality is that direct sales are what make a difference in the lives of others, from the perspective that you can sell to folks directly. People love being served and they like knowing that if there is a challenge with something they have purchased, that they can come to you directly for help.

Direct marketing is simply marketing something directly to an individual, and in some cases it can be a business. It doesn’t matter what the product is as long as it’s something that is needed by whomever you are marketing to. Over the years, this has been referred to as network marketing and even MLM, or multi-level marketing, which receives criticism from many people due to how it works, and how folks get paid.

The reality is that there isn’t anything wrong with direct marketing, and the truth is that if you are marketing a real, viable product that people need, then you have a business. Those who are encouraging you to recruit others without a product or service of value, are involved in pyramid schemes and should be avoided.

How it Works

Now that you know more about what direct marketing is, how does it really work? This type of marketing is actually rather simple, in that it includes a personal decision to sign up, get training for the product and service you are providing, make sales and also recruit other people to do the same. The more sales you make and the more people you recruit, the more you will get paid.

Direct marketing means that you yourself are marketing to the public. This can be done by traditional methods such as advertisement via radio, newspaper, or television. In these current times these advertising strategies are known as offline methods. Now that we are in the 21st century, marketing is changing, meaning that most of it is now online. This not only makes it easier to market to those you already know and have as customers, but you are also going to be able to market to those you don’t know more effectively by using the internet.

Imagine that now you have all of the opportunity in the world before you, and you don’t do anything with it. Shame on you, because this is why most folks who get involved in direct marketing DON’T make any money. Because you can now use the internet to make yourself known, you will be able to market to billions of people versus only a handful.

What’s Next?

Now that you know how you can make direct marketing work for you, are you ready to get involved? You can make good money in direct marketing, and it’s very satisfying.

Now that you know what direct marketing is and how to make it work effectively, you can get involved. It gives you the opportunity to earn money which is proportional to your efforts and build a rewarding and profitable business.