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.

Direct Marketing And How To Make It Profitable During Tough Economic Times

Hi, I am a direct marketing specialist that has helped hundreds of direct marketers grow their businesses. You do not know me, but after reading my views on direct marketing during an economic slowdown, I believe it can give you business an edge in taking market share from your competitors.

Today the consumer is being financially squeezed by many economic realities. Soaring gas prices a slowing economy, and job insecurities, just to highlight a few. All this is currently having a very negative impact of the consumer’s mindset for spending. Odds are your company is also feeling the consumer’s anxiety about the future. When I talk to some of the clients I do work for, they have told me that their web sales and response rates have declined, or at best are treading water. The same holds true for the traditional mailers. They are also experiencing consumer pessimism that is reflected in lower response rates.

OK, so does this mean that you have to hunker down and accept all this as the reality of the times for doing business? Absolutely not …But most direct marketers unfortunately will. The enlightened few will view it differently and become proactive, and embrace the challenges.

“Keep on doing what your doing in direct marketing and you’ll keep on getting what your getting in declining sales and profits”

Today savvy direct marketer realizes that the status quo of what worked during the good times isn’t working so well anymore. Hundreds of thousand of companies are competing on the web and via traditional direct mail for the consumer’s discretionary income. Many are destined to fail. Survival of the fittest is being played out, and the marketers who DO NOT make direct marketing refinements will become extinct.

So exactly what can you do to help guarantee that our company not only survives, but also takes market share from the competition?

To begin with you must make absolutely sure that your direct marketing efforts utilize all the responsive techniques that have prove to drive sales. Direct marketing is paying explicit attention to the details of the business, especially now. The day of “lets run it up the flag pole and see how it flies” is long gone. Today it is making positively sure that you have the three basic RIGHTS of direct response in place, or your company is destined to fail.

The three basic RIGHTS that must be in place are:

RIGHT #1: You must have the right copy that talks to the customer NOT at them. It must emotionally engage them and give them compelling benefits of your products and how it will help THEM. Does your copy utilize “YOU” or “YOUR” as much as is feasible? Does each product have a benefit headline? Do you utilize words (under seven letters is best) that the customer will actually understand? Do you answer all the questions in the customer’s mind that could be a potential roadblock to a sale? It’s your job to remove all the roadblocks that would deter a response.

RIGHT #2: The right creative, teamed with the right colors and graphics are essential to getting a response. Does your creative and graphics actually help to sell the product, or do they detract from it? Do the photos you use reflect you’re demographic, and do they add to the enhancement of the copy in obtaining a response? Do the colors you use on your site, or in your mail pieces turn on response emotions or do they turn them off? Certain colors evoke specific feelings; this should not be left to chance. The type you use, and how it is displayed directly affects sales. Type that is NOT black, or that is reversing out of a background has statistically proven in tests to be harder to read, and slower to comprehend which is a roadblock to a sale. Are you using Sans Serif type in your electronic marketing? It is easier to read on a computer screen. The last thing you want is for a potential customer to click away because they can’t read your type or it is to small in point size.

RIGHT#3: The right product with the right prices is vital. Customers are like a peregrine falcons. They scan multiple sites and catalogs to find the right product that is priced right, with the right shipping charge, and right guarantee. 30% (or more!) of the customers on your file are on your competitors files. Products priced right? Do you offer two for pricing? If you have exclusive proprietary products do you note it? Do you offer incentives for large orders, for example like free shipping, a free gift, or bonus coupons for future orders? Do you use testimonials about your products or company to melt away the customer’s cynicism?

If you get all three of the RIGHTS listed above right your chances of getting the response is almost guaranteed. If you miss just one of the RIGHTS it can be a no sale and your clicked away, or your mail piece is resigned to the circular file.

Hey I do not have all the answers, but I have been totally involved in the direct marketing for over three decades. I have helped hundreds of direct marketers grow their businesses and profits. I know how to write responsive copy that moves people, and in turn moves sales. I know how to make sure all the RIGHTS are in place, so as to help guarantee a response. I know what is needed creatively from a direct marketing standpoint to move a customer to take action and respond.
Questions for YOU?

Are your sales at this time where you want them to be? Are you happy with your direct response results? Are you 100% sure your have done everything to employ proven direct marketing principles to grow your business and assure it’s future?

If you cannot definitely say “YES” to these questions, they maybe we should have a chat.

Direct Marketing Vs Direct Sales – How to Leverage Your Selling Power

Direct Marketing – is simply marketing that goes straight to the consumer. This can be done through direct mail, flyer distribution, email etc. as these are all forms of direct marketing. However this method should not be confused with direct sales.

Direct marketing delivers your message right to the consumer directly unlike other forms of brand advertising like radio and television etc.

Direct sales on the other hand delivers the message to your consumer also but through personal interaction. While this can be a very confusing concept to understand a rule of thumb for separating the two is when there is actual personal human interaction between you and the customer then it is direct sales not direct marketing.

Conversely many companies hire a sales force to deliver their marketing message to the marketplace via telemarketing and knocking on doors. In that case its direct marketing for the company and its executives but its direct sales for those talking to the customers.

This confusion of direct marketing vs direct sales causes two major problems. If you are the sales person your trying to make sales with no marketing and if your the owner of the business your sales reps are going to have a harder time making sales simply because you are not following the proper process.

Direct Marketing Drives Direct Sales

Picture yourself driving a manual stick shift car with 6 gears. It would be quite difficult to start a car in 3rd gear and if even if you did it would drive improperly the whole way because the original process was incorrect.

Compare this example: you send out a postcard or a flyer with your offer on it that’s first gear. Your customer responds and you collect their information that’s second gear. You or your sales reps call them back to schedule an appointment that’s third gear. They see or hear the presentation that’s fourth gear. They buy that’s fifth gear. Getting the referrals is 6th gear.

In essence direct marketing should handle at least the first 2 or 3 steps in your marketing process. The direct sales process should pick up where your direct marketing left off. What marketing medium you use is not only up to you but it’s dependent upon what audience you are trying to reach different consumer markets will receive information through different mediums.

A Brief History of Direct Marketing and Its Application For Business Owners

Most people think they know what direct response marketing is all about. When you say the words ‘direct marketing’, most people don’t even heard the word marketing. Instead, they hear the word mail, as in direct mail, junk mail, or just plain old mail marketing. But direct marketing is much more than the tangible material used to make the marketing piece. It’s a way of marketing that’s measurable, accountable, and trackable.

Direct mail has been the workhorse of the marketing world since Montgomery Ward launched its first catalog in 1872. Back then, the idea of offering a world of goods through the U.S. Postal Service was revolutionary. To our farm dwelling ancestors, for whom shopping was a three-day trip with wooden cart and horse over rough terrain, ordering coal burning stoves, ice boxes, dresses and harnesses through the Montgomery Ward, Sears, and other catalogs was a blessing.

What helped the start of the direct mail industry? The U.S. Postal system, with its ability to reach nearly anyone, anywhere, was the catalyst for the direct mail surge. The growth of mass-produced items, America’s rapid expansion and reconstruction period after the Civil War also helped fuel the rising middle class and their appetite for newer, better and more fashionable things.

Direct mail continues to rise in prominence, supported by the famous catalogs. Direct response print ads soon joined the world of direct response. Print ads captured the imagination, attention and wallets of people for decades. Direct mail letters, with their classic Johnson boxes, postscripts, and multiple inserts also made their debut in the 20th century, followed by the ubiquitous donation requests and credit card offers of the 1980’s and 1990’s. Direct response television, in the form of infomercials and commercials for products, added demonstrations of products to the direct marketing world. With the advent of cable and satellite television, channels solely devoted to direct marketing products, such as HSN (Home Shopping Network), QVC and others bring beautiful, useful products into our homes and follow all the basics of direct response marketing.

Today, the growth is online. Although initially getting a bad rap thanks to spammers worldwide who send us such gems as advertisements for medications, drugs, and sexual enhancements, email marketing is now a respected player in the world of direct response. Display advertising, surging ahead of the older banner advertising, remains a prominent means of capturing attention and click throughs, especially when it’s placed next to relevant articles and content.

The latest tool added to our direct marketing toolkit is the use of keyword searches, both natural and paid, to enhances responses and online marketing. Measurable, accountable and trackable, keyword marketing is the latest interactive marketing technique to help businesses worldwide acquire, retain and create loyal customers.

Some marketers lump social media marketing and web 2.0 technologies in with direct response marketing. While these are valid forms of online marketing and can prove quite effective, they are not pure direct response marketing. It is difficult to quantify the exact return on investment (ROI) of Twitter, Facebook, and other social marketing campaigns. It’s also nearly impossible to track responses from each so-called campaign. Social networking is more about making connections and fostering relationships. Like trade show and event marketing, it is about reaching people and starting or cultivating relationships rather than marketing activities with measurable outcomes.

Key Takeaways

This brief history of direct marketing and its current status clarifies the changing world of direct marketing. Examining the marketing mix, managers need to ask the following questions to determine if a direct response campaign is the right tool for the job:

o Will we gain by understanding exactly where our responses come from?

o Will it benefit my company more by cultivating relationships with many, or dialogues with a few?

o How will we use customer data Secure it? Manage it?

o If we gather the data from the campaigns, will we use it?

The marketing mix is often a blend of various tactics to reach many and converse with a few. Direct marketing of one type or another is usually part of the marketing mix. Deciding how much of a part is predicated upon how much one needs to cultivate actionable, measurable transactions with customers.