5 Ways to Drive Home your Call to Action in your Direct Marketing
Effective direct marketing demands an effective Call to Action. People talk about a Call to Action all the time but do you really know what it is? You must tell your prospects what you want them to do after they receive your direct marketing piece. Otherwise, you’re wasting money with printing, mailing, or emailing a direct marketing piece that your readers don’t know what to do with.
Here’s an example: I took my kids to the fair this summer and while we were waiting in line for one of the rides, my daughter looked up to the sky and pointed, “Look, mommy!” There was an airplane pulling a banner through the sky. Neat idea, right? Well, actually it could have been better. Continue reading “5 Ways How to: Call to Action”
The number of businesses using direct mail marketing to increase sales now compared to 10 to 15 years ago is staggeringly higher.
We are noticing that after the temporary dip, now there are more and more business owners and marketing managers who understand and appreciate the effectiveness of direct mail marketing.
Our clients who are doing direct mail marketing right now include mortgage brokers, real estate investors, telecom companies, insurance agents, investment advisors, non-profit organizations, and many others.
I’ll be the first to admit that while it used to be exciting for a consumer to receive a direct marketing piece in the mail, and they were not only looked at but actually read, nowadays you have to work a little harder to really catch your prospects’ attention.
By the way: I was surprised to learn that the term Junk Mail can be traced back to 1954. (Online Etymology Dictionary). I thought it was much more recently than that. But I always say, if you are doing your direct marketing properly, and using a list broker to help you narrow your target market down thoroughly, then you are NOT sending junk mail. There’s a difference between sending out your direct mailing piece to anyone with a pulse and sending it out to people who match your current customers who could truly benefit from your offer and willingly act on it.
So how can you make your direct mail marketing piece more effective and increase your sales revenue?
James’ opinion is that posting regularly on social marketing (Facebook, twitter, Linked In, Foursquare, etc) is a great vehicle to use to promote yourself and your business. I agree with that, but, as I said to him, if I had to make an analogy, I would say that direct marketing is to bread and social marketing is to jam. I see social marketing as an added component to what you are already doing, but it’s certainly not the be-all and end-all.
What about social media marketing?
Last night, James and I were talking about the pros and cons of social media for marketing versus direct marketing. It ended up being a bit of a heated discussion! I am so passionate about direct marketing that when he was extolling the benefits of social media, I felt as if he was insulting one of our children. (OK, not exactly, but you get the idea).
James’ opinion is that posting regularly on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc) is a great vehicle to use to promote yourself and your business. I agree with that, but, as I said to him, if I had to make an analogy, I would say that direct marketing is to bread and social media is to jam. I see social marketing as an added component to what you are already doing, but it’s certainly not the be-all and end-all. You need a firm base to hold that jam! James agrees. He conceded that if you want fast results, do direct mail. Social marketing takes longer and is much more work (if you ask me).
Companies that are not already doing direct mail are totally missing out and leaving money on the table. Period. At the very least, you should be sending a direct mail piece to each and every one of your customers once every six weeks. Direct mail is a tried and true method of marketing. It’s the old standby. At our firm, we are finding more and more companies are getting back to basics with direct marketing. You see, they all tried to save money on marketing when the economy started to turn and they’re now realizing what a mistake that was.
I believe that sending a direct mail piece to a very targeted list of potential customers, and then following up with a phone call, is the best way to grow your business starting right now. Because you can choose from over 1,000 different selects (such as hobbies, pets, children, which magazines they read, where they donate and how, what school they went to, what kind of car they drive, and on and on), you know your mailing piece will be going to the exact right targets for your business.
By all means, continue to use social media, but don’t forget about the basics, like direct marketing. It really works!
When I say postcard, maybe you think of the old-fashioned, jagged-edged dull pieces of cardstock. Think again! Today’s postcards are vibrant, high-impact creations with images so real they’ll jump off the page at you. And the best thing about them…
1. They’re Short and Personal
Let’s face it, people just don’t have time to sort through a lot of advertisements and junk mail. If the truth be known, they immediately identify ads and pitch them into the trash without ever slitting the envelope.
While I certainly don’t think that direct mail is an “old fashioned” direct marketing idea, I know there are a lot of people who do. What with all the Twitter-ing and facebook-ing and Squidoo lenses and everything in between, it can be hard for business owners to decide what to do with their marketing. Direct mail tends to be pushed by the wayside in favor of the more trendy new marketing gimmicks.
But the bottom line is that direct mail marketing, while it may seem old fashioned, it works. Just ask Dan Kennedy.
If you send a well written postcard with a strong offer to 5,000 prospects and you get a 2% response… that’s 100 sales. What is the value of what you are selling? $50? $500? You can do the math on your ROI but the fact remains that direct mail works.
Here are 8 Tips that will improve your direct mail campaign:
1. Only mail to your pie-in-the-sky
Let’s say you are an interior designer. You would target your direct mail piece to your ideal prospects, such as: women, aged 40-60, married, with a household income of $100k and higher… Then rent a mailing list of exactly those people. If you do an untargeted mailout, and 50% of your recipients are male, you’ve just completely wasted an opportunity to make sales. Not to mention the wasted postage, printing costs, and your time. (I am using the women-only example simply to illustrate my point. I’m sure there are actually plenty of men who hire interior designers.) Continue reading “8 Tips to Improve This “Old Fashioned” Direct Marketing Idea”
There has been a long debate about which is better: direct mail or email marketing. At our firm, we offer both options for our clients. Direct mail is tried and true and statistically, it has a higher response rate. However, according to a new article in Chief Marketer, email marketing has the highest ROI (return on investment).
Larry Riggs, writing for Chief Marketer writes:
Direct mail may generate the highest response rates of all direct marketing vehicles, but email posts the highest ROI (return on investment), according to the Direct Marketing Association’s annual response rate report.
According to the study, response rates for letter-sized direct mail sent to house files was 3.4%, more than 30 times the 0.12% response rate for email. But email’s ROI was 28.5% compared to 7% for direct mail. See report here.
Direct mail response rates
In other words, even though people are more likely to respond to a direct mail piece, by the time you deduct the cost of writing, printing, and mailing the campaign, it ends up costing more than the email campaign. Email may have lower responses but ends up making more money. This is especially true if you are emailing your own customer base in a cross-selling attempt.
Remember: Direct mail is tried and true and statistically it has a higher response rate.
What exactly is brand hierarchy in direct marketing? It’s about communicating with your customers from differnt contact points within your compnay. This is a very interesting concept, because most small businesses generally communicate from the “Brand” itself, i.e. with mailing a postcard from “Company Name”… or one of your sales people sends emails from their own name, such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Using brand hierarchy in direct marketing
Using brand hierarchy in direct marketing can be very effective because it can shake things up – if your prospect didn’t open your last email, maybe they’ll open one from the President of the company.
John Keating just wrote a good article about Brand Hierarchy in direct marketing in The Marketing Donut. You can read the article in its entirety here: http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/blog/2012/07/what-can-brand-hierarchies-do-your-marketing
“Brand hierarchies recognise that the interaction between a customer and a brand occurs on more than one level and that communications also occur via more than one marketing channel, which again has differing levels of importance or relevance to customers.
Brand hierarchies show that these levels are not equal and do in fact have a hierarchical structure. Consequently a message from a higher level of an organisation is likely to be seen as more important or interesting.”
Thinking about your company’s Direct Marketing
I would encourage you to think about what areas of your company your direct marketing is coming from now, and try to incorporate brand hierarchy in your direct marketing. As always, do some testing with your direct marekting and see what happens.
People often ask me, “What is a list broker and what exactly does a list broker do?” and it is a very valid question. When I’m at a dinner party and someone asks me “What do you do?”, most of the time, most people have never even heard of a list broker.
A list broker works in the direct marketing industry and acts as a middleman between a client who needs a marketing list and the list owner who is renting their list. There are over 50,000 list owners and list compilers in North America and the average person would not know where to even start when it comes to choosing a list vendor. That’s where a list broker comes in. Continue reading “What is a List Broker?”