The Direct Marketing Formula: Covering the Basics

One hears so much these days on social media sites, blogs, posted Articles, eBooks and White Papers about the fantastic outcomes businesses can achieve using online media or other offline sources to make sales or generate leads. There is no question businesses of all sizes, particularly small to medium businesses, are moving to online mediums to drive inbound response from existing and new prospective customers.

The use of online mediums for businesses to extend their reach at reduced costs continues to grow and grow; judging by the ever-increasing growth of the online share of annual marketing spends.

You’ll even hear some ‘thought leaders’ in the online community suggest that more traditional forms of direct marketing like direct mail and telemarketing are dead and long since buried.

When I hear this kind of talk it reminds me about what I used to hear many years ago when PCs started to come onto the scene – “We’re moving to a paperless society!”

Of course, the case of PCs rendering paper redundant in our society seems to have been called a little early!

There are many direct marketing mediums or ‘tactics’, both online and more traditional, that any business can use to get their message to the right people:

Online Mediums
Offline Mediums
Search and SEO
Direct Mail
Email Marketing
Social Media
Display Ads
Letter Box Drops
Daily Deal Sites
Free Standing Inserts
Direct Response TV/Radio

I’m sure that some of you having read the list above might say: Hey, why didn’t you include or, why did you include that one?

The point is regardless of whichever medium or tactic you use, whether you think it’s the next best thing or that it’s dead and buried, a successful Direct Marketing Campaign needs to cover these basic fundamentals:

    • Targeted: A successful campaign is targeted to those likely ‘suspects’ that most closely match your most profitable Lifetime Value customer segments. Those ‘suspects’ that have a higher propensity to buy what you’re offering.
    • Engaging: The message and communication device needs to be interesting, relevant and timely to get your prospect’s interest.
    • Desirable Offers: The offer needs to provide consumers with a strong value proposition – solve one of their problems, or entice them with something they really want!
    • Call to Action: A strong call to action that creates urgency; and allows consumers to use whatever means of communicating with you that they are comfortable with to respond to your offer.
    • Measurable: You need to be able to easily track and measure any element of a direct marketing campaign. Track everything to identify any aspect of the campaign you might be able to improve – test different mediums, lists, copy, creative executions, offers and calls to action.
    • Test, Test and Test: Don’t just stick with one type of direct marketing campaign because that’s ‘what we’ve always done, and it still works’. Overtime, most campaigns reach their use by date. Always look for other opportunities within your campaign elements and test them to see if they are more cost effective than what you’ve become use to doing.
    • Cost Effectiveness: At the end of the day, it’s all about making profit, isn’t it?

To sum up in simple terms: Get the Right Message, to the Right People, at the Right Time, at the Right Cost!

Remember these simple principles, apply them, and you should do fine:

      • Direct marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Take the time to get the strategy right before you move forward.
      • Direct marketing fundamental principles apply to all mediums, regardless of which medium you use, be it offline or online.
      • Target the most likely buyers – do the research first before you select any list or pull the trigger.
      • Use interesting creative executions.
      • Ensure your offers have a strong value proposition and a strong call-to-action.
      • Be open for business and give customers ever opportunity to buy from you!
      • Set up a comprehensive budget that captures true costs and realistic revenue projections.
      • Set up a comprehensive campaign report and track everything!
      • Take onboard your performance learnings to find the sweet spot.

And, if it ain’t broken – Test, Test and Test again; try to break it, to make it better!

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