First Steps to Direct Marketing Success

First Steps to Direct Marketing Success
First Steps to Direct Marketing Success Direct marketing is an efficient way to maintain and grow your customer base. It is targeted at the individuals or businesses who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say and it should contain a clear offer rather than attempting vague aspirational advertising. Also, the response to each campaign can be precisely tracked, letting you know if it has been successful, what improvements you should be making in the future, and if it is giving you value for time and money. For all these reasons, more and more companies are turning to direct marketing in our increasingly difficult economic climate.

Of course, only a well-planned direct marketing campaign will retain the loyalty of existing customers and win new business. Whether you are considering a first flirtation with direct marketing or you already have strategies in place but they're unsatisfactory, it's important that you think clearly and go about creating your campaign in a logical and methodical manner. There's no point to the exercise if the people you flyer about new lawnmowers live in urban high-rises, or if you come up with a good list of people to contact but then the email you send out looks like it was designed by a cat walking over a keyboard. Here's a step-by-step guide to help get you started.

Who are you targeting?

The success of any direct marketing campaign rests on you being absolutely clear about who you want to talk to and how you plan to find them. Your own company databases are a good place to start: people that have bought your products and services before are more likely to be interested in the kinds of offers you're promoting now. Also, to generate new leads, you can consider buying a mailing list. This can be tailored to your individual needs – a particular demographic, companies in a niche industry, people who have bought similar goods or services before. Mailing, for instance, is easy to use and, crucially, guarantees that its contact information is regularly checked – you don't want half your emails to fail because the address no longer works, or a brochure about holidays for the over-50s to fall through the letterbox of a property newly-bought by a young family.

What do you want to tell them?

Once you've identified an audience who are likely to listen to what you have to say, you have to figure out how you're going to capitalise on this initial interest with an offer that will galvanise them to action. What do they want? Whether it's a great value sale or a tempting new subscription offer, think hard about what you can say that will have real appeal.

How are you going to tell them?

What format will your audience most respond to: email, SMS, direct mail? Grab their attention with original, bold design, and craft your language to maximise impact. You need to be clear and concise, so your audience can see at a glance what you're saying and will respond to your call to action.

Do they know what to do next?

Make sure that it is obvious what it is that your audience should do to capitalise on your offer: do they ring a hotline, click on a link, fill in an order form? Your marketing materials should contain all the information that your prospective customer needs, and the contact information should be clear and accurate.

Track the response

Does the volume of sales or enquiries increase as a result of your campaign? By how much, are you getting value for money, is your offer working? Ideally, build in a way to exactly measure the take-up, perhaps a dedicated email address or phone number that customers have to contact you on, or a web-page that gives you traffic analysis, or a promotional code that they enter when placing an order. This will help you refine your strategy in the future and help you on the path to direct marketing success!