Different Types of Direct Marketing Lists

Direct marketing delivers your marketing message directly to a group consumers or businesses on a personalized level (such as a telephone call or via a personal email message). It’s a form of marketing that provides the recipient with a direct call to action. The following are the three main types of direct marketing.

Mailing Lists
Direct mail is one of the most common forms of direct marketing and an essential part of an integrated marketing campaign. Companies promote their products and services with a provocative mailer. Direct mail campaigns provide your prospects with a tangible piece of mail to read at their leisure. Direct mail campaigns are extremely effective and when they are personalized and customized to a specific target audience can have great response rates.

Telemarketing Lists
Telemarketing is the process of calling prospects on the phone to promote your products or services. This can be done using your own sales staff or by subcontracting out to a call center. Telemarketing is vital in creating brand recognition, building customer relationships, nurturing leads and of course, closing sales.

Even with its bad reputation, telemarketing still plays an important part of any direct marketing campaign. Telemarketing is personal and interactive, and capable of providing an immediate response. As effective as telemarketing is, you need to be sensitive to your prospects’ willingness to receiving unsolicited phone calls.

Telemarketing campaigns work best when the telemarketing lists are highly targeted, with accurate data that matches your current customer’s profiles.

Email Lists
Email marketing is an effective way of reaching out to new prospects or following up with existing customers. Email marketing is extremely versatile, and you can easily customize your marketing messages to various market segments, or for prospects in different stages of the sales funnel.

Email marketing can be used to nurture customer relationships, provide company and product information, drive website traffic and to promote direct sales. The emails can be as elaborate or as simple as needed.

Most people check their emails on a daily basis, making email a very effective marketing method for your business. However, email marketing should be used responsibly, and it is extremely important to have your customers’ consent before sending emails.

The most successful direct marketing campaign will use a mix of marketing methods. Repetition is very important in any type of marketing efforts. The more you can get yourself out in front of prospects, the greater the chance of being remembered. Try a direct mail campaign with a telemarketing follow-up or an email blast in conjunction with a direct mail campaign. A Multi-Channel campaign also allows your prospects multiple ways to communicate back to you.

Regardless of the method, the key aspect in any direct marketing campaign is the ability to target the marketing message to a specific audience. With properly defined target market, you can deliver your message directly to those who have a greater probability of purchasing from your business. This allows businesses of all sizes focus their marketing budget and resources where they’re most likely to get results.

It’s very important, before starting any direct marketing campaign, that you understand the different regulations governing each method of communication. The responsibility is yours to make sure you are compliant. Legitimate list brokers and managers should be able to confirm that the lists they are providing comply to the various rules and regulations. If you are uncertain, do not hesitate to ask.

Why Getting New Leads Is The Most Important Part Of Marketing

What area of your business are you putting all of your focus on? If you said “getting more new customers”, then you are half-way there. A better answer would be “getting more new leads to put into my marketing process”. There’s a strong difference between the two, but we’re going to focus on getting prospects and leads into the marketing process.

The hardest part about marketing is that it’s tough to get a lead. To get about at least 100 offline leads per month, you would have to run a full page ad in a magazine or run a display ad for a long time. Accompany this by the fact that you’re probably not a master copywriter, and you could have a problem on your hands.

If you have the money, I would say invest about $10,000 to hire a master copywriter to write your ads and direct mail pieces. These copywriters are skilled in the area of understanding your niche, what it is that your prospects are looking for- and then creating a pitch that seems like the ultimate solution to their problem.

But if you don’t want to hire a copywriter, you can do it yourself. The first place to start is with a swipe file. A “swipe file” is simply a collection of winning ads and sales letters that you can look over whenever you need copywriting ideas. If I were you, I would start here and hand write all of the sales letters in your swipe file.

This will give you a good indication of what the copywriter was thinking, and their impressions will more than likely be your impressions, and you can use this frame of mind when developing your ads and sales letters.

Once you’ve written your first ad and direct mail sales letter, it’s time to put them into action. Run it in your newspaper, yellow pages, internet, or even a magazine to see how well the marketing piece is doing for you. Don’t promote yourself or your services – stay focused on the main issue that your prospects are facing in their lives right now.

Once you’ve discovered what it is that your prospects are desperate for, culminate your efforts into leading them to a phone number to call or a website where they can enter their contact details.

You want to run your ad all over the place (especially if it’s working) so that you can get a large pool of prospects and customers. You should be excited about this, because a large pool of prospects are the group of people who will spend money with you when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.

You see a constant stream of new prospects will keep your business alive and thriving – and I’m sure this is what you’re looking for. Nothing happens until you get a lead – so remember that. If you want to see your business thrive and is alive and kicking, generate a lead first, and then follow up on them for more information.

Good luck with making your lead generation efforts work for you.

The 3C’s and 4P’s of Outdoor Marketing

When I was working on my MBA, I took a very insightful class called Marketing Strategy that drilled the concept of the 3C’s and 4P’s into my brain. If you have not heard of this marketing concept, briefly reviewed, it is understanding your Customer and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your Competition and your Company, then taking this knowledge and adjusting your Price, Product, Place of distribution and type of Promotion to maximize your sales and profitability.

When I started my own company, I sought to take this concept a step further and applying its principles to Outdoor Marketing.

Customer

Applying this principle to outdoor marketing requires different thought than developing a TV or radio spot then deciding on which stations to play it. For instance, you must understand where does your customers travel, shop, work, eat and enjoy life outside of the home? Moreover, what are their likes and dislikes? You must truly get to know your customers because this information will be crucial in your outdoor marketing efforts and specifically in determining exactly where to place your ads.

Competition

You are not the only one who wants your potential customers. Undoubtedly, you have competition. To effectively communicate to those customers, you will need to differentiate your company from your competition and focus on your strengths and on their weaknesses. Furthermore, be sure to expand your idea of competition. You not only have direct competitors (i.e. Ford dealership vs. Toyota dealership), but you also have indirect competitors (i.e. Ford dealership vs. Mass Transit). Broaden your horizon and give adequate thought as to their strengths and weaknesses.

Think like a consumer. If you understand your customers, you will know where to advertise to reach them and your competition may not. Don’t be afraid to directly compare your strengths to their weaknesses in your outdoor advertising. Make your competitors defend themselves. The business arena is not the place to play nice guy.

Company

First and foremost list what your company can do well and, more importantly, what it cannot. It is quite painful to admit that you do not excel in all areas of your business but it is better to understand it now and not misstep and let your customers down by promoting something that you can’t delivery on.

Once you have this list, can you effectively communicate what your company does utilizing outdoor media? Can you get across your primary focus and your main strengths? Can you make it simple enough? Focus on your top two strengths that intersect with the top wants of your target customers and place your ads where they frequent. Furthermore, depending on what you want to communicate, you will need to choose the appropriate outdoor media of which there are many.

Price

If your company cannot afford to advertise on traditional billboards, which can average $2,000 per month for a major highway billboard, then you should look into other forms of outdoor and out-of-home media. You can advertise at bus stops, in malls, on diner placemats, and of course my favorite, on receptacles. The price for this media can range anywhere from $50 to $500 per month depending on which you choose and where they are located.

If you are a smaller company with a small budget for advertising, alternative out-of-home media, as opposed to the traditional highway billboard, will be most effective for you. You will not be able to take the shotgun approach and advertise everywhere. You will have to be more like a sniper and target your customers (not literally, of course) using the information you’ve gathered when analyzing your customers.

Place

Where you advertise will be dictated by how you analyzed your target customer. Thus it is vitally important to truly understand your customer otherwise you could develop a fantastic message that falls on deaf ears. If your target customers are college students, you should place your message around bookstores, coffee shops, bars, and late night eateries. If your target customers are professionals, then you should place your ads on mass transit, highways into town, bus stops, and lunch-time eateries. If your target customers are stay-at-home moms, you should place your ads in malls, shopping centers, and grocery stores. Take note of your best customers and you’ll know exactly where to place your ads.

Product

Your product will most likely have many features. Depending on where you are advertising and which segments of your customer base will see your message, you will want to showcase different features of your product or service. If your message is in an upscale part of town, you will want to focus on your service and how you are customer-oriented. If you are placing your message in a lower-scale section of town, then you’ll want to focus on value and your guarantee.

Promotion

In promoting or advertising your product or service, you can choose many avenues. The most common form that is most prominent is, of course, the television commercial. However, internet advertising has become extremely popular since most people now have access to it.

While both have the advantage of wide reach, television advertising is very expensive and internet ads can get lost in the thousands of ads that are there. The best scenario is a complete marketing campaign that includes out-of-home media. Why? Because out-of-home media can help to reinforce your existing message and you can also talk to consumers when they are out trying to make their purchase decision. With a properly placed message, you can directly influence that decision. You can place your ad near the place of business of your largest competitor. You can also place your ad near a synergistic business (i.e. if you are a tailor, you could place an ad near a fabric store). Out-of-home media provides much latitude to what you want to say to whom and when.

And do not limit yourself to thinking that out-of-home media, and more specifically outdoor media, is only billboards. There are a myriad of alternative outdoor mediums that target pedestrian traffic. Through such media, you can have a more robust outdoor ad because pedestrian foot traffic is slow and unlike a moving vehicle on the highway, if a pedestrian wants to read your ad, he or she can simply stop walking and take notice. You can also better target your message to consumers who will be most receptive to it because everyone goes somewhere at sometime. Your job is to learn this information about your customers and place your ad there through ubiquitous advertising tools such as the AshCan.

In summary, following the above steps will aid you in better understanding your business, its strengths and weaknesses and how to sell your strengths to the appropriate consumers at the right place with the right message.

Always consider out-of-home media as you can narrowly target your best potential customers and not spend a fortune doing it.

Remember, think like the big guys and perform with the nimbleness and friendliness of a little guy and you cannot go wrong.