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.

The Great Debate: Digital Vs Traditional Marketing

The Great Debate: Digital Marketing vs The Letter Box Drop

I attended a Sydney Marketing function in June this year held by the popular Real Estate platform, RateMyAgent, and led by CEO, Mark Armstrong. His presentation was aimed at addressing the evolution of communication with an audience based on how quickly the commercial environment is changing today. This is both a relevant and tough debate, indeed!

While this event was Real Estate specific, it is a topical discussion being held across every industry and every market around the world in all boardrooms and strategy meetings: digital vs traditional marketing.

Where do we spend our precious budget to get the most cut through to engage our audiences and achieve our organisational goals?

So, it’s finally time to analyse both sides and get to the bottom of this debate.

Where Are Our Customers?

Effective Marketing is all about your audience. This is never up for dispute as we all know it to be true. Knowing that, it may be time to take a step back and consider that age old question: have we thought about our customer?

Recent research shows that 87% of consumers now search online for reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and I’m sure that statistic is pretty similar for how people are researching product information too. This is a big shift in behaviour from only a couple of years ago. Organisations didn’t start this- consumers did. We did. We, as people, changed the game, and organisations today are hugely naïve if they don’t think people are already doing most of their research before even contacting your business.

As An Example

Mark Armstrong said his son needed an internet router for his house the other day, and at first, he had no clue what a router even was. In about ten minutes online, he become a pro with all of the brands, prices and specifications, then went straight into a local store, went to the shelf and purchased it without speaking to anyone in store.

This is very indicative of the modern customer.

The Digital Interview

Today, it’s all about ‘the digital interview’- in other words, searching online to find more information about a person or business without actually contacting them. Online dating, LinkedIn, Facebook, websites- it’s all about research before meeting in person. Around 70% of customers make up their mind before that stage, which is something businesses need to accept and adapt to.

While statistics are always fickle, all you need to do is think about your own customer’s behaviour, and you instantly know this to be true. Hardly ever does a customer go in unprepared or uninformed.

They’re All Online

How often do we go to a bar or a restaurant, and find everyone looking at a screen? It’s a sad reality, but a reality none the less. That is where your customer is! On their digital device.

People aren’t looking for reviews and information in your physical office or in your marketing collateral – they are looking online. So, being there for your audience is absolutely crucial for your business success.
It’s all about your audience, after all.

The Three Arguments: Digital vs Traditional Marketing

There are the three main considerations when deciding the pros and cons of new digital marketing versus more traditional methods, like the letter box drop or print.

(1) Cost
(2) Effectiveness
(3) Accountability

COST

As a general rule, more traditional methods tend to be far more costly in so many ways. It’s expensive to design, print and physically deliver materials like these. Now look at digital methods: it’s almost instant, requires little design due to templates, and the reach is not physically limited, meaning you can get ten times the exposure for around one-tenth of the cost.

They seem to be light years apart on the cost front.

For example, a client came to me recently and told me that the only advertising he was doing was on the back of local shopper dockets, which wasn’t giving him any tangible results, but was still costing him a few hundred dollars a month. For a fraction of this cost, I put his adverts onto Facebook and Google, and he immediately noticed the difference in leads generated!

EFFECTIVENESS

How long do letterbox drops, print media and even mainstream advertising last?
Think about a letterbox specifically. The printed material sits in an office, then in a mail box all day. Then, when your audience gets home, are they truly engaged when they check their letterbox, stumbling in from work? They are coming home with the shopping, or wrangling the kids. This material has literally one second to capture them in amongst the rest of the clutter, and is so easy to ignore. That’s not to say it doesn’t occasionally work, but the chance of engagement is very low.

Now, consider digital ads. It stays online for a much longer time, and due to the customisable nature of online targeting, it can pop up when the customer is more engaged and in the right headspace. It meets them on their terms, like when they are on their phone killing time, or browsing on a website, and so on. They can also interact with it by clicking on it, watching it, zooming in on it, saving it and much more.

In comparison, think about when you hear a radio ad or see a TV ad: you have to remember and recall the advert at a later time for it to have any impact. This means your audience has to spend the effort to remember to act on it at a later time when it’s more relevant, such as when they get out of the car. Making this worse today is that we are constantly bombarded by ads and messages, which means that it’s very hard to keep one specific advert in your mind. You can’t rely on your customer recalling the message – you need to make it easy and at their fingertips.

Digitally, your customer can fully interact at the very point they experience the piece of content, meaning engagement is far greater.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Which technique truly works? What really has cut through and metrics to measure it? If you ask most organisations who spend budget yearly on letterbox drops, for example, they will say things like “$50,000 a year”, and then if you ask them “does this work?”, all they do is shrug their shoulders.

The problem is, some businesses get into a rut of “it’s how we’ve always done it.” This represents a concerning shortfall in our perspective and our priorities. Our industries are too tough and our competitors too smart for us to be thinking this way anymore.

On the digital marketing side, with retarget marketing and tracking cookies, online communication and adverts are able to serve up your communication to more defined and far better aligned demographics. Your adverts are more intelligent because they learn about the behaviour of your audience and adapt to how they consume content, then works out where and when to best display your marketing.

The Three Battlegrounds of Marketing

From the 1960ies, there has been an evolution of Marketing and communication battlegrounds based on how we built our customer database.

(1) The Physical Address

Organisations clambered to obtain the physical addresses of customers to communicate with them physically, either with a sales person, door knocking or letter box communications.

(2) The Email Address

Next, emails went through an effective stage and businesses rushed to fill their databases with everyone’s @.com address. However today, we have found this to be far less effective do the quantity of spam everyone receives daily.

(3) The Computer Address

People live on their mobiles and tablets now- this is where they are today. The battlefield has become exposure based on IP address online. Building a database of tracking cookies has become the Marketing battleground of today.

While these IP addresses are kept private due to Privacy Laws and you never get the actual details, it doesn’t matter as you can rest assured that this technology is getting your message in front of the right people. Then tracking success comes from the metrics and analytics behind these interactions.
The core essence of Marketing hasn’t changed across any of the above battlegrounds: it’s always been about reaching your audience. The only thing that has changes is how- and this is a direct result from how the marketplace and consumer behaviour is evolving.

What is it about Digital Marketing then?

Digital Marketing is effective because it is customisable. It can target specific demographics to ensure that the best audience is getting your adverts and content at the right times.

The following are three combined ways of how digital marketing finds your audience.

(1) Location

Google tags computers with a geographical location. While letterbox drops can do the same, location is where the comparison ends. Digital is able to combine location with the following two qualifiers to ensure that your message is tailored, rather than mass distributed to just anyone.

For example, in the Real Estate industry, around 70% of residences are investor controlled, which means letterbox drops are ineffective because the people receiving the materials are not the decision makers and therefore not finding themselves in the hands of the right people. Digital equivalents would use location and the following two to ensure it is being fed to the right customers.

(2) Browsing History

It is the fact above that allows digital marketing to take it one step further. The history of your browser paints a picture of the type of person your customer is and their interests, which means that adverts can be served up to match this. It’s not a perfectly accurate science, however due to the cost effectiveness of digital marketing, it has a far better cut through and success rate.

(3) Remarketing and Tracking Cookies

As you move from website to website, tracking cookies embed themselves into your web browser to allow the content be catered specifically to you, so you are not receiving irrelevant messages. This allows advertising content to be shown to a relevant audience rather than just anyone.

Where is Marketing Heading Next?

Given that digital marketing is following around your ideal customer and delivering them relevant content, it seems to be working effectively at the moment. However, if I know Marketing the way I think I do, the next stage will be empathetic retarget marketing, which means showing the advert not just anywhere on any website, but when the person is browsing material that is contextually relevant.

For example, when your customer, who has already been identified as interested in Real Estate, reaches a Real Estate or property website, the ad will be displayed, as opposed to how it is now, where it comes up on any website they may be looking at.

It’s all about being in front of the right customer when they are in the right frame of mind.

Network Marketing Products – How to Pick a Good Product

There are thousands of network marketing products offered these days but how do you pick a good product? Deciding which product to become affiliated with or purchase can be a daunting task. In researching products or services you will no doubt find all kinds of pros and cons. Some of these may or may not be legitimate claims so it is vital that you do complete research.

Eventually you will want to select a product that is something that you can relate too and use yourself. Having firsthand knowledge will help you in marketing the product to others. By using the product you can have a documented and proven testimonial of what the product has done for you. If your product has to do with weight loss, document your success from the day you start. In this documentation it will be a good idea to keep a journal, take pictures or make videos. This will be your validation for your business and your success. If your product deals in wealth management and finances you can do the same thing. You will always want to have some type of proof for those that are skeptical. This is why the most legitimate network marketing companies will have either written or video testimonials on their websites.

Becoming the product of your products or services is important. Your knowledge and experience will grow exponentially having experienced what can happen before during and after using your product. You will find that you will become more compassionate and sincere when dealing with others about your network marketing business. When you display compassion and sincerity to others they are more likely to trust you. Trust is what network marketing teams are made of and teams are what your business is made of.

If your products or services have live events, go to these events. They are designed to give you the most up to date information about the company and services. This will allow you to stay apprised of what is happening. Most new products or services are only revealed at these live events. This will give you a heads up on your competition that does not attend the event. You will have first knowledge of the product and what it is capable of. You can use this to your advantage by being one of the first to aggressively market this new product. This advanced knowledge and marketing will gain you huge profits that you and your bank account will thank you for.

Network marketing products have to be in high demand. Marketing any product on the internet can be challenging. If your product is in high demand there are millions of people searching for it and if you do your marketing correctly you will make sales.

Along with being high demand, the products need to have high profits to you. Products with a profit margin below 35% are not high profit products. 50% is a great profit margin. Products with this type of profit are in very high demand and are high end. This means that you will have to sell smaller amounts of product to get the highest payout for your time and efforts. These higher end products will usually have residual income attached to them furthering your success.

Choosing the right product and the right network marketing opportunity will make a huge difference. When you choose the one that best suits your needs, your success will be determined by you. Rely on your support system, mentors and trainers and your success will almost be guaranteed.

Marketing Plan for Your Business Success

A quote that I use on a regular basis is “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” by Benjamin Franklin. In business, the most important plans to have are a business plan and a marketing plan. Today we will discuss the marketing plan. The marketing plan shows the direction of all marketing and advertising efforts. Remember, marketing is the total efforts of getting together buyers and sellers, whereas advertising is the types of communication used in marketing. Advertising includes TV, radio, online, print, and other mediums. Let’s go over some important parts of the marketing plan that will help your business succeed.

Situation Analysis – This is the current state of your business. It is where the question of why you are in business is answered. What products do you offer? What problem are you trying to solve? Also, how is your business different than others? The situation analysis is a look at the inner-workings of your business to identify product and service offerings, differences, and the main reason why you exist. Business owners can build a firm foundation for their mission and vision statement with this information and are better able to communicate their value to customers.

External Environment -The next part of the marketing plan is the external environment. What is going on outside of your business? Business owners should take a look at what is going on in the external environment or industry. Are other businesses in your industry succeeding or closing shop? Is the industry in a growth or declining phase? Could there be threats that could jeopardize your business operations? Industry information can be found online at http://www.sba.gov.

Target Market – Based on research, the target market section defines the ideal customers for your business. Who and where are your ideal customers? It defines income, gender, and level of education for your target market. When defining your target market, business owners should look at census, demographics, and other secondary information. A clearly defined target market enables business owners to better use resources to obtain new customers.

Advertising Mediums – There are many options available in advertising mediums. For example, TV, print, billboards, email, flyers, social media, and radio are some common mediums. Business owners should consider different advertising mediums to reach their target market. If your target market has high usages of the Internet, then use online advertising mediums. Take into account your marketing budget as well when choosing mediums.

Marketing Budget – The marketing budget explains how business owners will pay for marketing efforts. A marketing budget should be based on a percentage of gross sales, advertising mediums utilized, and other factors. Some marketing expenses to include in the marketing budget are tradeshows, events, and sponsorships.

The marketing plan is an important part of growing a successful business. Essentially, you are planning how customers get to know your business. A marketing plan doesn’t have to be 20 pages long to help your business grow. I have found some that are one page long that are just as effective. Click the link to download one or both one page marketing plans http://smallbiztrends.com/2008/06/one-page-marketing-plan.html.