Direct Marketing

Direct marketing , for many businesses is by far the most cost-effective form of marketing.From direct mail and leaflet drops to telemarketing and email marketing, it allows you to target customers with greater accuracy than any other method. However, careful preparation of direct-marketing campaigns is essential if you are to make the most of your investment, get the response rates you want and ensure you do not contact individuals who have decided they do not want to receive direct marketing mailings.

 Direct marketing allows you to generate a specific response from targeted groups of customers. It’s a particularly useful tool for small businesses because it allows you to

  •   focus limited resources where they are most likely to produce results
  •   measure the success of campaigns accurately by analyzing responses
  •   test your marketing – you can target a representative sample of your target audience and see what delivers the best response rates before developing a full campaign

 A direct marketing campaign can help you to achieve the following key objectives:

  •   increasing sales to existing customers
  •   building customer loyalty
  •   e-establish lapsed customer relationships
  •   generating new business

 There are many different approaches to direct marketing. The method most appropriate for your business will depend on who you are targeting, the message you want get across, and response you want to generate.

Targeting your Customers:

 Selling to existing customers is far easier and cheaper than finding new ones. That’s why your customer database is one of your most valuable assets.What information does your database currently hold? A list of customer contacts is a start – but more specific information about their needs and interests makes your marketing more effective. This data might include:

  •   ordering behavior – dates, frequency and timing of orders
  •   order types – type and quantity of goods or services ordered and their value
  •   your total annual sales – the margin on these sales and their payment history
  •   distribution details – postcode, type of area (eg urban or rural)
  •   personal profile of individual consumers – age,
    gender and details of their lifestyle or socio-economic status

 With the right software you can use your data to send mailings to groups with specific characteristics – women aged between 18 and 25 who live within a five-mile radius of your shop, for example.

 But remember that data-protection and electronic communication laws cover how you hold and use information about customers and potential customers and how you contact them. Your database must be kept up to date if it’s to be a valuable business tool. You need to clean your list regularly by removing or amending incorrect data. Failing to do so wastes your money through misdirected marketing – and your data could become unusable within three years.

Direct Mail:

 Direct mail allows you to get information about your products and services directly into the hands of people who may be interested in it. Though it’s often dismissed as junk mail, it can be highly effective in both business and consumer markets if it’s properly planned and researched.

 As well as a mailing letter, you typically include a range of enclosures such as a product brochure, order-form and pre-paid reply envelope. Don’t cut corners in preparing your materials – the success of your mailshot depends on it.

 The absolute most important ingredient for a successful direct-mail campaign is a high-quality mailing list. The most effective lists are those sourced in-house from a well-managed database – you already know the preferences of the customers you have already. There are many commercial list providers you can use to generate lists of both businesses and consumers.

Tips for a successful direct-mail campaign:

  •   Draw up a budget which sees your business profiting at a realistic level of response.
  •   Consider incentives such as prizes or discounts to maximize response – and make sure
    you have included these in your budget.
  •   Source a mailing list that’s appropriate to your objectives.
  •   Make sure you have the resources to run the campaign, follow it up and manage the response.
  •   When your campaign is over, quantify the costs, returns and rates of response.
    If you started with clear objectives, you should be able to learn a lot about what you achieved and how.

Direct-mail services:

  •   planning campaigns
  •   setting budgets
  •   finding your target audience
  •   creating materials
  •   managing the distribution process

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