Direct Marketing – Brand Identity Guru Tips

If your company doesn’t have a direct marketing program in place, a direct marketing agency can create one for you. A direct marketing company provides small to very large customizable ranges of business-to-business and business-to-consumer direct marketing options sure to fit your needs. From database creation and maintenance to data analysis and creative program execution, a direct marketing company can take any existing direct marketing program, or a lack of one, and develop a highly efficient direct sales machine for your company.

A good direct marketing company employs experts in each aspect of direct marketing who have proven time and time again they have what it takes to create a successful direct mail campaign and turn your existing unorganized data into a powerful computer-readable customer database.

The goal of any successful direct marketing program is ultimately a positive effect on your bottom line. Good direct marketing programs are proven performers that will give you an edge over your competition. The direct marketing expertise and capabilities that a good direct marketing company offers will turn your direct marketing expenditures into successful investments.

Look for a company that has years of target market research experience ready to work for you. They will uncover who your best customers are and develop a direct marketing campaign that will get them to respond.

They should know how to impact behavior, get results and form the basis for long-term relationships with your customers and prospects.

Direct marketing abilities should include:

– Direct response advertising

– Customer relation’s management

– Data management services and data analysis

– Media planning, media buying and complete direct marketing campaign management

Seven HUGE Tips to Direct Marketing that gets results

Successful direct marketing takes planning and strategic thought…

1. Know your goal: What do you want your direct marketing to accomplish? What kind of impression do you wish to leave? Do you wish to inform your prospects about your product or just make them aware? Recently, Brand Identity Guru was asked by a client to expand its direct marketing efforts, so we created a direct marketing piece to showcase our client’s most attractive points. That direct marketing piece now accounts for 30 percent of the client’s new business.

2. Research: Don’t just have a list. Learn something about your customers so you can speak to them better. Discover their hot buttons, so you can push them.

3. Plan properly: The best direct marketing campaigns work along with PR, traditional advertising, brand strategy and efforts by your sales force. Ultimately, each piece is part of a larger total company campaign and should work together.

4. Be relevant: Direct marketing efforts should offer something your clients might want to buy.

5. Be conscious of details: Find the name of your primary contacts, and make sure you spell them right in the items you send to them. Even the best direct marketing piece is useless in the trash.

6. Be consistent: Use a series of pieces that speak to your customer’s needs. Don’t know what they are? Ask. Usually, December is not a good time because mailboxes are already overcrowded. Brand Identity Guru suggests waiting until February or another month.

7. Follow up: If you don’t follow up, the results of your direct marketing efforts could crash to a halt. Initiate a conversation with people on your list. A phone call a week or two after your mailing is a great idea.

Direct marketing is a powerful tool to capture your prospects’ attention and orders. If your direct marketing includes an attractive offer, imagine what the results will be. Throw in a brand-centric foundation and you have a direct marketing effort even more powerful than the sum of its parts.

Boost Your Direct Mail Response Rates with Mapping Technology

On Superbowl Sunday, Domino’s Pizza delivered more than 900,000 pizzas–and mapping technology helped. How do 60,000 pizza outlets serving 3 billion pizzas per year compete in an industry where reputations and dollars are dependent on “fast, hot and delivered to the door?” Global Positioning System (GPS) technology!

Here’s how you can use this great invention to increase your direct mail results–even if you’ve only got one store with local customers.

GPS may be mapping from outer space, but desktop mapping technology can be a “weapon of mass destruction” for competitive marketers. With it, you can visualize your database information to see patterns that have a geographic component. For retailers and service businesses, that translates into “Which locations or neighborhoods am I best positioned in to serve my customers?”

Retailers typically serve a trade area of up to 10 miles. Service companies like to set up “routes” to maximize their travel time. By seeing a visual of your customer data, it’s easy to see where you should bulk up your marketing efforts and where you should scale back–neighborhood by neighborhood–instead of by zip code, which is the way most companies think of their target area.

Rather than sending mail to “everyone in a 3-mile radius,” marketers can use mapping to analyze demographic trade areas at a finer level, such as carrier routes, zip+4’s or Census Block Groups, to monitor their return on investment. Eliminate underserved areas, and you’ll decrease advertising costs and increase results!

Future mailings can suppress weaker or non-responsive neighborhoods and increase mailing quantity to “like” demographic areas, resulting in a mailer’s dream: Fewer mail pieces, more results. You can even overlay demographic information, such as home value, income, business population, etc., onto these newly mapped areas for an additional layer of intelligence.

Competitive Analysis

Mapping is also a solution for competitive analysis. By plotting yours and the competition’s store locations, then profiling the markets for age, income, home value, zip code penetration, etc., you’ll find kernels of truth that can lead you to an offensive marketing strategy or better site selection.

Mapping can be a valuable tool even when the business’s only marketing asset is a customer list of names and addresses without transaction (purchasing) information or anything else because critical geographical information can be appended and then analyzed. Franchisors and chain stores rely heavily on mapping technology to assign territories and drive customer traffic based on natural and man-made barriers (highways, rivers, bridges, etc.). Business marketers can improve “inquiry to closing” rates, plan sales calls more effectively, realign sales territories and measure sales force activities.

Mapping projects can be performed “in-house” with a relatively inexpensive software purchase of approximately $300-$400 or projects can be hired out for more sophisticated results that link back to spreadsheet or database information for ongoing analysis and can cost from $50 – $2,500. Whether your business delivers pizzas or manages a dealer network of 1,000 HVAC technicians, mapping technology can add a visual dimension to data analysis that is often more understandable than spreadsheets and graphs.

Making Direct Mail Work for Small Businesses

If you own a small business, then you know the value of affordable and effective marketing. Unfortunately, many traditional and online advertising methods are becoming quite expensive. This article will explain direct mail guidelines and methods.

Direct mail is an often over-looked method that can be very effective if executed properly. There are three guidelines to follow when conducting an effective direct mail campaign:

1. Catch the reader’s attention immediately. You only have a few seconds to do this before your mail ad is thrown away as junk mail. Therefore, opt for postcard mailings instead of sending your offers in an envelope. If your business is relatively small and unheard-of, the reader will never open it unless your company’s name is familiar to the reader. Envelope advertising is cheaper than postcard advertising, but is only effective if you have already built up name recognition.

When using the postcard method, you will need to be able to print images on the card. I highly, highly recommend investing in a quality home photographic printer. You will end up saving money in the long-term, and your printer will be right where you need it whenever you need it. Whenever you have materials printed professionaly, you pay for labour, expensive inks, and expensive equipment.

When searching for images to print on your postcards, remember the the point of this first guideline: catch your reader’s attention. Of course you don’t want an offensive image for your cards, but you do want one that is slighly “controversial”. When choosing images for your cards, ask yourself these questions:

Does it stand out among the rest?

Does it contain bold colors (but isn’t an eye-sore)?

Does the image relate to my business or current offers in some way?

Does the image request user interaction? (ex. a face staring directly at the reader, someone pointing at the reader, etc.)

Does the image have enough white-space for some large text?

2. Offer the reader an incentive for responding. Unless the reader is and has been genuinely interested in your services/productsfor a period of time before receiving your postcard ad, they will never repspond unless you offer some sort of incentive. For instance, you postcard could also serve as a coupon; tell you reader to bring in that post card for a discount. Also, you could use the postcard ad as an announcment for a storewide sale. Be creative when offering incentives to your readers.

Be sure to make your incentive very visible on the postcard. Let’s say, for example, your postcard is also serving as a coupon for 20% on your products/services. Print that “20% off” in large text with the image, along with your product type, such as “20% all dog beds”. Then, on the other side of the card, usually with the recipient’s address, print the discount again with any terms that may apply.

3. Target your readers. The best way to waste advertising money is by sending your direct mail to random people, paying no attention to whether they would actually buy something from you. This is much easier when dealing with business-to-business advertising. When it comes to consumers, find out their interests is a little difficult.

Test out the waters first. A good place to try first is InfoUSA. They sell mailing lists of consumers and businesses and may provide targeted consumer lists. You may be able to create interest in someone who has never heard of your products before, but when you are starting a new direct mail campaign and you have a very small budget, keep your list targeted. You don’t want to try to sell a web site to a business that already has one, or try to sell a dog bed to someone who only keeps cats.

I hope this article has given you some ideas on making your next direct mail advertising campaign more successful.

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