The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Direct Marketing
How to Boost Your Response Rates and Build Long-Lasting Relationships with Your Customers
- 8 Reasons Why You Should Adopt the Direct Marketing Philosophy
- Setting Up Your Brand
- Promote Your Products, Services, Causes, And Ideas
- Sell Directly to The Market
- Boost Your Response Rates
- Drive New Traffic to Your Website
- Build-Long Lasting Relationships with Your Customers
- Improve the Brand Experience You Offer
- Position Your Offers as Relevant to The Customers
- Expand Your Audience
- Increase Sales Conversions
- The Principles of Direct Marketing
- Principle No. 1: Concentrate on Helping – Instead of Selling To – The Prospect
- Principle No. 2: Appeal to How the Market Feels or What It Desires
- Principle No. 3: Information Doesn’t Get the Sale; It Justifies It
- Which Direct Marketing Strategy Should You Employ?
- Seasonal and Year-Long Direct Marketing Campaigns You Can Run
- 6 Marketing Tactics You Can Integrate into Your Marketing Campaigns
- The Direct Marketing Formula: How to Get the Market to Act, Engage, And Promote Your Marketing Campaigns
- Step 1: Do Your Research
- Step 2: Analyze the Information
- Step 3: Get Attention
- Step 4: Hook ‘Em Up!
- Step 5: Persuade
- Make and Prove Claims
- Restate the Promise
- Highlight Your Benefits
- Present Your USP
- State or Restate Your Offer
- Step 6: Close the Deal
- 58 Direct Marketing Tips and Ideas
- Direct Marketing Helps You Increase Cashflow And Become Profitable
Direct marketing (also known as direct response marketing) is a business philosophy that focuses on communicating directly with a specific group of customers. This marketing discipline looks to drive sales using measurable methods to understand market behavior and make better use of the marketing budget.
To put it in simple words – direct marketing can help you make and save a lot of money. And here are some stats that help back this claim:
- More than 59% of marketers cite email as their biggest source of ROI via Hubspot.com
- 72% of e-commerce consumers will only engage with personalized messages via SmartInsights.com
- 82% of marketers consider email as the most effective digital marketing format via MarketingCharts
- 56% of companies use direct mail – and 81% of those companies plan to keep or increase their usage via DataTargetingSolutions.com
- 76% of consumers trust direct mail for helping them make a purchase decision via DataTargetingSolutions.com
- Last year, consumers were nine times as likely to respond to a direct mail campaign as they were to an email via DataTargetingSolutions.com
As you can see – contrary to what brand agencies may try to make you believe – direct marketing still works. And for your business, that means applying these time-tested principles can help generate millions of dollars in sales.
Think of companies like Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Toyota – those brands were able to become global entities by making a lot of money using the direct marketing philosophy of business. But I’m sure that (even with all those stats and examples) you might still a bit hesitant to adopt the direct response way of doing business.
After all, direct marketing is a tough and sophisticated industry that requires good judgment, an instinct for what works in sales, and – as I’m sure many business owners will testify – a lot of hard work. And that’s why I’ve produced this beginner’s guide.
Here you will learn:
- the benefits of direct marketing
- the best strategy to use for your business type
- marketing campaigns that you run all-year-long, as well as seasonally
- the marketing tactics that you can integrate into your campaigns
- a list of tips and ideas to enhance your marketing tactics
- and how to get your prospects to act, engage, and promote your campaigns
Welcome to The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Direct Marketing.
8 Reasons Why You Should Adopt the Direct Marketing Philosophy
Before I begin, I feel it’s important to bring up the reasons why you need to adopt the direct marketing philosophy. And hey, I can easily tell you “you’re going to make more money” … but the reality is that business is a process.
Taking your business from zero to hero will take a long time and demanding work. And if you just think of money as the only reason, you’re doing direct response, you might get discouraged. That’s why I want to present to you some small milestones that you will achieve along the way to keep you motivated while you move towards the goal of generating enough revenue that you can sleep at ease.
Look at it as it was a track race. Every lap you complete gets you closer to finishing the race. Here, everything you do will get you one step closer to achieving your goal.
And thus, here are eight reasons why you should adopt the direct marketing philosophy.
Setting Up Your Brand
One thing that brand marketers like to claim is that their marketing philosophy will help you achieve long term success – unlike (according to BMs) direct response. And nothing could be further from the truth.
Direct marketing forces your business mindset to be market-centered. And as such, it allows you to create a service-oriented brand. When you address the market, you do it focusing on what the market wants or needs.
And the benefit of that is that you are still selling while you’re building your brand. You’re selling your ability and credibility to the market. Which, eventually, will be more valuable than any joke you pay $30M to tell during the Super Bowl.
The myth that you can’t build a brand using direct marketing is just that – a myth. You can build just as good a brand (or even better) using the direct marketing philosophy of business. And you can still make money in the short run while doing so.
Promote Your Products, Services, Causes, And Ideas
As I just mentioned, you can still make money while setting up a brand with the direct marketing system. And that’s because you will always promote your company and its offers under this model.
Remember – you are presenting your offers as practical solutions to your market. Therefore, after you present the problem and the solution to the audience, the direct marketing mindset will send you straight into promoting whatever you’re selling.
But you’re not doing the hard-selling “BUY! BUY! BUY!” presentation that desperate salespeople do. Instead, you’re going to present your offer as something that will improve the prospect’s daily life. You’ve already presented the problem and the solution. Now you’re simply presenting your offer and why it’s better / bigger / faster than other options.
You’ll always be promoting your business under the direct marketing system. But you will do it to those who want or need what you have to offer. And you can control what you present.
Sell Directly to The Market
When you adopt the direct marketing philosophy of business, you at once adopt the mindset of communicating directly to the customer. What that means is that you won’t need a retailer controlling the message that you send – you do.
That’s right – you will control when, where, and how you present your offer when you sell direct-to-consumer. No store manager will put your products on the top shelf of an aisle, competing with other products. You will get the chance to present your offer, unopposed.
You can present your products and services using very known marketing methods – mail letters, infomercials, email, e-commerce, and more. You can also organize events like banquets or galas. And take part in tradeshows to promote your business.
The options are limitless… and so is the potential to grow. When you communicate directly to the customer, you have control over your message. And it will be up to you to have your message delivered properly.
Boost Your Response Rates
The best thing (for me) about direct marketing is that it opens the door for you to understand what works about your marketing. So then, you can double-down on it.
Because of the specific calls-to-action added to direct response-oriented campaigns, you can measure whether or not the message sent on an ad or web page propels the market to take the course of action you want them to.
With a brand marketing campaign, there is no call to action. The audience will just see the commercial or whatever you present, enjoy it, and move on with their lives. With a direct marketing campaign, you will give the market a phone number to call, button to click, or form to fill. You can then track how many people did what you wanted and rate the campaign as a success or a failure.
The results you get from direct marketing can help you decide whether to continue with a campaign or toss it aside. And that can help you make better use of your marketing budget.
Drive New Traffic to Your Website
Because of the engaging nature of direct response, it would be easier for you to generate new and sales from your website or online store.
Direct marketing is market-centric. Therefore, all the information you will pump out will be about the customer. Things they want to know. So, if a new visitor finds content on your site that they want or need to know about, they’ll stay to consume the information. And the more time your audience stays, the more time you’ll get to promote your offers.
You can create blog posts, videos, podcasts, special reports, client testimonials, and so many other marketing materials that are of interest to your audience. You can have your market hooked on your website for as long as it’s live.
The more you focus on the needs and wants of your market, the more prospects you will get to your website.
Build-Long Lasting Relationships with Your Customers
Do not confuse direct marketers with scammers. This is not about selling something quick and then disappearing. When you use direct marketing, it’s not just about selling. It’s also about building relationships.
Those same pieces that you present to bring prospects in, carry out another purpose: to keep customers hooked. That’s also information that they want to know. So, they’ll come back to get it; thus, forging a relationship and a sense of trust towards you and your company.
Having the right combination of evergreen and up-to-date content can lead customers to continue visiting your website, contacting you for advice, and eventually buying from you.
Direct marketing is not just about short-term results. It is about forging a path of credibility that will keep your market trusting you as you present them your latest offers later.
Improve the Brand Experience You Offer
Brand experience refers to the range of feelings a prospect or customer feels when they hear your company’s name or see your logo. And direct marketing helps you develop a valuable brand experience – one that centers around the market’s wants and needs.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I must repeat… direct marketing is market-centric. Therefore, everything you deliver must revolve around what your audience expects from you.
- solve problems
- warn the audience about certain problems
- help prospect save time
- point out mistakes a prospect is making
- and much more
When you focus your marketing efforts on helping the market, you build a delightful brand experience. Because you are helping your audience become better at what they do.
Position Your Offers as Relevant to The Customers
With so much advertising thrown at people these, you need to make your marketing efforts stand out. And the direct marketing approach allows you to do just that by highlighting your unique selling proposition.
The unique selling proposition is a theory intended to explain a pattern in successful marketing campaigns of the early 1940s. Those campaigns made customers switch brands because they got unique benefits that made those brands stand out.
You can USPs presented most in the slogan of a campaign. Some examples of unique selling propositions include M&M’s “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”; Head and Shoulders’ “Clinically proven to reduce dandruff.”; FedEx’s “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”; and Domino’s “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less—or it’s free.”
By applying the principles of direct marketing to your campaigns, you can find, develop, and present unique selling propositions that place your offers as can’t-miss for your market.
Expand Your Audience
When you manage to build credibility and trust with a sector of your market, you unlock a business factor that can take your business to a higher level of success. And that is word-of-mouth.
People want to be helpful. If they know of something that can help others, they will let them know about it. And when your customers tell others about your products, they are marketing to an audience you haven’t reached out to yet. Thus, word-of-mouth helps in expanding your target market.
Have you ever recommended an app to a colleague? Or a restaurant to a friend? Normally you do that when you understand the product, trust it, and know of other people who had positive experiences with it. It makes you look and sound like you know your stuff. But you can only do that when you know enough to make an intelligent suggestion.
Direct marketing helps you expand your audience by turning your customers into connoisseurs capable of giving suggestions to people who want or need your offerings but don’t know of you yet.
Increase Sales Conversions
This is the goal – to make as many sales as possible. And the direct marketing approach gives you so many ways you can do this effectively.
Direct marketing allows you to track the tactics, methods, and platforms you are using to promote your offers – so you can determine what you should keep and what you should discard. You can then boost your response rates by doubling down on the factors that are helping you sell consistently. And you can bring in more prospects with service-oriented brand experience and customer loyalty.
You can apply direct response philosophy to any marketing medium available. Including television, radio, print, websites, and social media. You can use letters, web pages, and videos. And you can run campaigns seasonally or year-round. The options are limitless!
Direct marketing presentations focus on getting cash. And getting it in the most cost-effective way possible.
The Principles of Direct Marketing
You have learned the reasons why you should take on the direct marketing philosophy to improve your business efforts. You’re all in to become a direct marketer. But… how do you begin? You will get lots of information on this guide that will get you ready to begin your fresh marketing campaigns.
But for now, here are three ideas that you should take right away.
The first one is for you to go out of your way to learn the secrets and winning techniques of direct marketing. Those secrets and techniques will be the foundation for your future sales and marketing efforts. And there are so many sources available – both free and paid – that you can pick whatever path you consider proper. But learn the formulas, master the skills, and use the vocabulary that you will need as a direct marketer.
Secondly, don’t get comfortable with your knowledge. Business is an industry that is constantly evolving – and more than ever now with all the technological advancements we’re experiencing today. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Watch YouTube videos… do whatever you can to stay up to date with the marketing world. Because once you fall a couple of steps behind, it’s extremely hard to stay on top of things.
And finally, work and master the three principles of direct marketing. These principles will help you craft customer-friendly marketing and advertising for your company.
Principle No. 1: Concentrate on Helping – Instead of Selling To – The Prospect
Have you ever gone to a department store and been greeted by someone selling DirecTV, a form of insurance, or any other product you’ve never heard of? Do you answer their questions quickly or look for some way to try and avoid those people? If you do, don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one who avoids salespeople.
Here’s a bit on how we (as human beings) work. We love to shop. That’s why shopping malls and Amazon exists – we’re enamored with the idea of buying. What we don’t like, is the idea of being sold to. And that’s what you need to avoid when producing your marketing… do not present a “BUY! BUY! BUY!” commercial.
Instead, begin your presentation by creating a mental picture in the head of the prospect that teases at their desires. Present a problem or ideal situation to get the audience’s attention.
Do not look to sell the prospect. Just find a way to present your offer as a practical buy to fulfill a need or want.
Principle No. 2: Appeal to How the Market Feels or What It Desires
How do you get the attention of your target market? Simple: by hitting them where it hurts. By appealing to whatever they love or hate.
Here’s another bit of knowledge on human behavior: we buy with our emotions, not with our reasoning. Most of the time, we go after things that we don’t really need, but we love so much… we must have them.
Think of food for instance – more specifically, cake. While being one of the unhealthiest grubs you can eat, cake is one of the most sought-after foods in the world. Everyone loves cake! But why?
It’s not because it puts you at the risk of having diabetes. It’s because of its flavor and texture. You love cake because it’s delightful to consume it. That’s why you and billions of people consume it.
So, when you present your products and services, appeal to the market’s feelings and desires. Make them love you first.
Principle No. 3: Information Doesn’t Get the Sale; It Justifies It
When you present your offers, you should first invest time in connecting with your audience, creating a picture that the prospect can recognize. After you do that, then it’s time to present the details of your offer.
I mentioned before that people buy with emotion instead of reason – and that is true. But reasoning does play a role in the purchasing process: we use our rationale to justify what we just bought.
Let’s go back to the cake. On the surface, eating cake is a stupid idea. It is unhealthy from a fitness point of view. But it’s a delight to consume. It makes you feel you good (if not great) when you eat it. That’s enough rationale for any of us to get that piece of cake. We’ve justified that purchase. Cake got us
If you follow the principles of direct marketing, you will produce advertising that connects emotionally with your market, while giving them enough reasons to act. And that’s how you close sales.
Which Direct Marketing Strategy Should You Employ?
Before I go into which strategy you should use to promote your business, let’s make something clear.
As of late, marketers have taken marketing strategies, tactics, platforms, campaigns, and even sharing triggers, and have placed them all into the “strategy” category.
You can point back to the launching of Google Analytics (in 2005) and find when this pattern started. This creates confusion when a true professional marketer tries to communicate with their audience. So, let’s take a moment and try to clarify what is a marketing strategy, and what isn’t.
Direct marketing is NOT a strategy – it is a marketing philosophy.
Inbound marketing is NOT a strategy – it is a campaign you run.
Advertising is NOT a marketing strategy – it is a marketing tactic.
Facebook is NOT a marketing strategy – it is a platform.
What are the marketing strategies, then?
There are only three marketing strategies that you need to be aware of. And here they are…
Marketo defines engagement marketing as the use of strategic, resourceful content to engage people and create meaningful interactions over time. This means that with engagement marketing, what you want to do is present the market with content that generates enough interest to make your audience interact with or about it.
This strategy carries a lot of weight these days (especially for B2C companies) due to the huge amount of information that people get daily; combined with how busy people are and the prominent level of cynicism that has been developed over time. Therefore, the more you can get people to interact with your content, the higher are the chances for you to develop a relationship with your targets.
There are so many ways for you to engage with your audience. This page is an example of engagement marketing… as I have left the door open for you to let me know what you think. You can also use your social channels to engage. You can make use of video and podcasting. There are infomercials and seminars… the options are infinite.
If you want people to connect with your market right away, become informational and encourage people to drop their two cents in. That’s what makes the engagement marketing strategy effective.
While engagement marketing looks to connect promptly with consumers, the nurture marketing strategy tries to get renting space inside their market’s head – and using valuable information to pay for that space.
If you have been involved in any way with business-to-business transactions, you then know those transactions don’t happen right away. It takes a certain period for B2B deals to materialize. And what nurture marketing allows you to do is to keep your brand fresh in the minds of decision-makers so that when the time comes to make a purchase, they choose you over your competitors.
As with engagement marketing, there are so many mediums you can use to develop a business relationship. You can use white papers and case studies to prove your case. You can produce videos and podcasts to talk directly to your leads. And you can send out mail and email newsletters to let the prospects know you’re still available.
If you’re a business-to-business entity (or a premium B2C product/service), you should think about implementing a nurture marketing strategy to highlight your knowledge of the industry. That will help you stay relevant in the eyes of your target market.
Integrated Marketing Communications
Integrated marketing communications is a favorite of many marketers, and one strategy you see a lot of companies implement. That’s because its premise is quite simple: send a uniform message through every marketing and advertising channel available.
IMC, at its most basic, can help you generate brand awareness by cementing your brand message across different platforms. It can also position or reposition your company as an industry expert if you share valuable information with your audience. And you can grow trust and loyalty within your market by becoming easily accessible.
You see IMC strategies used a lot on seasonal campaigns. Think of companies that send exclusive offers during the Holiday season – you get the same information on TV, YouTube ads, and email promotions. That’s an example of integrated marketing communications.
If you have a marketing message you want to send out, make sure to use the IMC strategy to reach out to as many people as you can.
Seasonal and Year-Long Direct Marketing Campaigns You Can Run
After you decide which strategies you are going to execute, you then go on to design the marketing campaigns. These marketing campaigns are going to drive the message home using a variety of channels, formats, and content types to entice the market into taking a form of action.
You run marketing campaigns to know which of your efforts work, when they work, and what makes them work.
You can run marketing campaigns that go all year long. But you can also present campaigns for specific seasons/events.
Let’s take a moment to define and differentiate the two types of campaigns.
Seasonal Marketing Campaigns
Seasonal events like Valentine’s, the Super Bowl, and Christmas offer a terrific way to meet new consumers.
You run seasonal campaigns to take advantage of an important season or event and connect your products and services with feelings, fears, and wishes that your market has related to the time.
Hallmark takes advantage of Valentine’s Day’s “love” theme to sell greeting cards. Pizza, chips, and beer entities make a lot of money around Super Bowl weekend. And grocery stores send out a lot more turkey and ham during the holiday season than any other time in the year.
If you have products and services that you can connect to a time of year or a special event, consider running seasonal marketing campaigns to create new customers.
Year-Long Marketing Campaigns
If seasonal marketing campaigns serve to bring in new customers, year-long campaigns serve to keep those customers around and grow their loyalty towards your company.
The reason you run year-long campaigns is threefold. First, you want to keep your brand alive; you need to let people know you’re available even when you’re not on your peak period. Secondly, you want to constantly communicate with your audience – owning that rent space you have in their heads – so that as soon as they need you, they contact you. And finally, year-long campaigns let you build influence consideration within your industry and market; people will recognize you as an authority as your brand and sales grow.
There are six year-long campaigns that you can run:
- inbound marketing – these are campaigns designed to let the prospect come to you
- outbound marketing – campaigns created so you can then go and sell to the prospect
- cross-industry – campaigns that allow you to combine concepts to present innovative ideas
- cross-media – campaigns using the integrated marketing communications strategy
- mass marketing – campaigns intended to drive large numbers of sales
- guerilla marketing – low-budgeted, untraditional campaigns to promote micro businesses
Run any of those year-long campaigns to retain your positioning, keep brand awareness alive, and establish influence within your industry and market.
6 Marketing Tactics You Can Integrate into Your Marketing Campaigns
Now that you have your strategies and campaigns, it’s time to decide which tactics you will use to promote your offers.
Your tactics are the actions you will take to present your marketing campaigns. Are you going to run your campaign online or offline? Will you use text, audio, or video content? How do you present your campaign – via magazines, television, or Google?
There are about 30 marketing tactics you can employ. But here are the six I recommend…
Promote anything you want with advertising. From bubble gum to the most advanced of SaaS software. That’s because your ads can concisely and clearly explain how your product, service, cause, or idea helps your prospects.
Advertising can captivate a prospect with valuable information. It can position your offers as a practical solution to your market’s problems. And you can set your products and services apart with clear, clever brand messaging.
You can use space ads, television commercials, brochures, and advertorials to promote your products. But advertising doesn’t stay offline… you can also advertise your offers in the digital world. More on that later.
Don’t pay attention to the people who say advertising doesn’t work anymore. Advertising is a science -and when done right, it can generate extraordinary results.
Direct mail is a form of advertising that allows businesses and nonprofits organizations to communicate directly with the customer. And much like advertising, reports of its demise have been exaggerated.
Use direct mail to retain or upgrade subscribers, members, and product buyers. You can also grow leads, sales, and registrants with engaging mail pieces. And secure leads or sales orders with personalized letters.
You can prepare sales and lead generation mail packages, as well as postcards, newsletters, and magalogs as part of your direct mail tactics.
Just remember to be personal when using direct mail. You’re selling directly to the prospect – you need to market as if you were there with them, discussing their future purchase. It’s cost-effective and – if you speak to the right crowd – the results will amaze you!
Are you looking to generate sales online? Then look no further than putting some digital marketing tactics into action.
The right digital marketing tactics can drive most people to specific discounts or other advertising pages. You can deepen customer relationships and drive follow-up purchases. And reach out to boost sales with special promotions, invitations, and so much more!
Emails, PPC campaigns, banner/text ads, and video sales letters can help you execute effective digital marketing tactics.
Whether you’re an e-commerce owner or run a brick-and-mortar store, consider digital marketing to bring more people in and generate more sales.
Search Engine Optimization
Today, when people wonder about any topic, they often don’t ask their friends. Instead, they now go straight to Google. And if you want people to find you on Google, you better have some search engine optimization tactics in place.
SEO tactics can help you rank high in search engines like Google and Bing. They can also help in supplying a great website experience. And of course, the goal – bring in massive leads and boost sales conversions.
Your website, landing pages, and microsites are all part of your SEO tactics. You want them all to rank high in search engines. But you can only do this by becoming a popular commodity for your market.
When dealing with search engine optimization, focus on those keywords that people use on Google. That will help you generate website content that could rank high on the world’s biggest database.
If you are a business-to-business (although this also applies to B2C and B2G companies), content marketing might be your best option to position any product, service, cause, or idea your company wants to promote.
You can bring in some SEO traffic by putting some content together that carries value to your market. Content marketing allows to keep customer loyalty and put some stock on that rent space I keep talking about that’s inside your prospects’ heads. And you can give back to your community by sharing your expertise.
Content marketing tactics that are working these days include blogging, podcasting, and video marketing.
Make some time to produce content to inform your prospects about your industry and what you offer. For the right companies (mostly B2B), this can be an effective way to generate sales without relying so much on hard selling.
Social media is a phenomenon that has connected billions of people worldwide. If you’re looking to expand the reach or setting up your brand online… then some social marketing tactics might be all you need.
The proper social marketing tactics can help you attract engagement to your company in the form of likes, shares, and comments. Send out traffic to your site using links on your social media sites. And all you need is about 90 minutes a day.
That’s right – you don’t need to be all day promoting yourself on social media. In about 90 minutes, you can position and brand your company while networking with your target market. All you need is the right tools and a roadmap to follow.
But the coolest thing about it is that social media marketing is still in its infancy, although it is growing quickly. But you still have a chance to take advantage of sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. So go do it!
The Direct Marketing Formula: How to Get the Market to Act, Engage, And Promote Your Marketing Campaigns
Direct marketing can be intimidating and confusing in the beginning. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, as I mentioned, learning more about direct response is one of the best things you can do for your business.
But you must understand right off the bat – being a successful direct marketer requires a lot of discipline, as well as a set of steps that you need to apply.
Step 1: Do Your Research
The first thing you need to do is dig up as much information about your offer as you can. Look through old marketing pieces to find data that can be useful for writing new campaigns.
If yours is a new offer with no marketing attached, don’t worry – that’s not an issue. Because new products and services are usually preceded by a lot of paperwork: employee memos, blueprints, and the likes. Just make sure to collect as much information as you can about the offer.
Also, if possible, try to find out as much as you can about the competition – what their strategy is, how they design their marketing, and what approach they take when presenting content to the market.
Step 2: Analyze the Information
Once you have collected all the information possible about the offer, you’re going to dissect that information to get what you need for your copywriting assignment.
You are going to focus on three things: 1) the offer itself, 2) the market, and 3) the marketing campaign.
Getting Info on the Offer
For the offer, you are looking for what makes you different than your competitors. Make a list of all your offer’s features and produce at least a benefit and a promise you can make for each. Then find which of the benefits or promises sets you apart from your competition – and that’s going to be the focus of your marketing campaigns.
If there’s nothing about the offer that is different from your competitors’, then find what benefits have not been stressed out by the competition and make them the focus of your advertising efforts. It can be anything from product reliability, economical offer, customer support, or the guarantee.
Getting Info on the Market
When you look at your market, try to create the ideal customer in your head. Are they male or female? How old are they? Do they know about your offer? Have they bought any of your other offers before? What do they love about your offer? How will they pay? What are their concerns and what can you do to end them?
All those questions will help you create your ideal client – the person you will address in your marketing and advertising campaigns. This will make your copy more conversational, and more appealing than a generic letter trying to appeal to everyone.
Getting Info on the Campaign
And finally, when analyzing your data for your campaign, you will be looking for what has worked, what hasn’t, and what has not been given the light of day. This information will help you decide what you will include in your campaign, how to present it to the market, and which channels will best for you to do so.
Once you have collected and dissected all the data, then it is time to sit down and start producing.
Step 3: Get Attention
The first thing you need to do with your marketing and advertising campaigns is to at once grab the attention of your target market. This will be the job of your headline.
The headline is the very first sentence your audience reads or hears when they find your advertisement. And with attention spans narrowing more as time goes on, your headlines need to be most effective and drawing the audience into your offer.
Here’s where you can separate the good direct marketers from the bad ones. Because bad marketers tend to open their advertisements with comedy – something cute or funny. Maybe because they don’t believe in the product. Or they don’t really know what they are doing.
Efficient marketers, on the other hand, know of the importance of the headline and work hard to present the audience something they can sink their teeth into. They either make an appealing promise, draw a picture, tell a fact, or ask the audience a question.
The effective marketer’s approach to headlines not only grabs the attention of the people. It grabs the attention of the people you want – those willing to buy your offer.
Step 4: Hook ‘Em Up!
Once you get the audience’s attention, you got to keep the ball rolling. To do so, you need to have the first few paragraphs (also known as lead paragraphs), to build a relationship between the audience and your offer. And you do so by delivering what you stated in the headline while introducing them to your big idea (aka your offer).
You can approach your audience with your lead directly or indirectly. Your approach would depend on the type of offer, your market, and the perceived value of the offer.
Direct marketers use a direct approach for offers which value is commonly known by the market.
In the direct approach, the copywriter pulls no punches – they straight to the point with the offer. And they do it by presenting a promise and the offer right away, inviting the audience to accept the offer, or presenting a problem with the offer as its solution.
Knowledgeable marketers use direct leads for free offers, gifts, subscriptions, and trial offers.
The indirect approach works well when you need to create value for your offer. And you do so by leading your audience into the offer in a roundabout way.
Direct marketers can make industry predictions, tell stories, or reveal secrets and systems to hook the audience with the offer. You can find this approach used in advertising for newsletters, information products, and consulting services.
If you use the correct approach to your first paragraphs, you will capture the interest of your audience. And that means the stage is set for you to pitch your offer to the market.
Step 5: Persuade
Ready to step your selling skills up a notch? Because you have reached the body of your advertisement. The body copy is the steak. And this is where you will either gain a sale or have the audience turn the page and look for something else.
To prevent the market to walk away from your offer, you need to make them feel like your offer is worth their investment. You have already engaged them on an emotional level, so let’s not throw that away.
Let’s give some rationale to that emotional connection by giving the audience reasons to get your offer.
Here are five ways to do so:
Make and Prove Claims
If your offer allows you to take a scientific approach to your advertising, go for it.
Consumers want to know if there is evidence that they can get what you are offering. If you can give them proof, the better the chances are that you can close this sale.
Restate the Promise
If you feel like your headline did not present the promise clearly or convincingly enough, you might want to take the body copy to elaborate on the importance of what you are offering.
Highlight Your Benefits
Another way to make the best use of your body copy is to outline all – or at least the most important – benefits that the buyer will get from the offer.
As a side strategy, you might want to take your two most important benefits and bookend your body copy with them. Just to keep the audience interested from beginning to end.
Present Your USP
USP stands for “Unique Selling Proposition.” And if you have a compelling USP, then break it down on your body copy. That way, you will truly set yourself apart from the competition.
State or Restate Your Offer
If you haven’t presented your offer yet, or you haven’t elaborated enough on it, then take it to the body copy and let the audience know exactly what you have in store for them.
Step 6: Close the Deal
Finally, after all the presenting and explaining – it’s time to go after the sale.
This doesn’t have to be as hard as many make it be.
Simply instruct the audience on what they need to do to buy the offer. And that’s that.
Let them know which phone number they must call. Or what website they must visit. Or to fill out the form you sent with the letter.
Whatever steps they need to take to buy your offer, let them know.
58 Direct Marketing Tips and Ideas
One of the most dreaded tasks for freelancers and business owners is to produce ideas to promote their offers. Especially when they know little-to-nothing about advertising.
Here are some direct marketing tips and ideas to get you started:
- Be able to describe your target customer in once sentence
- Evaluate your body copy at least every 90 days
- Produce cold-calling scripts
- Develop telemarketing scripts that are “welcoming”
- Assess your body decks by repositioning your bullets
- Answer your phone merrily
- Remember that most purchases are emotional, not logical
- Evaluate your headlines at least every 90 days
- Don’t place ads just one time to see if they will work
- Run an ad a minimum of six times
- Give a surprise premium to your buyers after the first purchase
- Close the deal: ask for the sale
- Make visiting your establishment an electrifying experience
- Make the customer the hero
- Turn your marketing campaign into an interactive experience
- When making a pitch, put emphasis on what the audience will get in return
- Simple works extremely well in advertising.
- Try web conferencing apps
- The rates for ads on local cable stations are often reasonable
- Use integrated marketing techniques
- Employ traditional and digital marketing to drive Web traffic
- You can use your voice mail as a marketing tool
- Don’t forget traditional newspaper classified ads
- People still use the Yellow Pages (mostly online though)
- Don’t just show people what the product or service is
- Prove to your market why they need your product or service
- Try TV advertising through Google
- Stay in the “keep” pile of mail and prompt action using postcards.
- Buy mail lists from reputable companies
- Grow leads, sales, registrants, etc. with an engaging newsletter-style self-mailer.
- Retain or upgrade subscribers, members, and product buyers with a renewal series.
- Cross-promote on other companies’ newsletters
- Cold call
- Create a direct mail marketing plan
- Create a cool poster and give it away
- Send gift cards as a thank you to your customers
- Advertise in industry newsletters
- Include discount coupons with your invoices
- Send customers an advance letter letting them know of any price increases
- If your best clients like to text, keep in touch via text
- Display your brochures prominently in your office
- Place your Web site on all marketing materials
- Fax specials to clients who use faxes regularly.
- Include a postscript message in your business letters; it’s the most read part of a letter
- Make sure your fax number is easy to find
- Ask your customers how they would like to be contacted
- Host a chamber of commerce event at your office
- Conduct regular Web meetings to stay connected with your clients
- Leave a call to action on voice mail messages
- Use telephone call tracking to analyze what advertising works
- Use text messaging advertising
- Never forget a call to action in your marketing material
- Advertise in your industry trade magazines
- Regularly send quality public relations releases to trade magazines
- Make sure your contact information is on every page of your Web site
- Start a networking event
- Create a direct mail campaign
- Target your entire daily Internet advertising budget on one state or city at a time
Direct Marketing Helps You Increase Cashflow And Become Profitable
Starting today, you should have a better understanding of what the direct marketing philosophy is and how it works. You should be able to pick the right marketing strategy to execute, campaigns to run, and tactics to apply. And you should not run out of ideas for at least a month.
Do you have any questions, suggestions, or comments about direct marketing? Please leave a comment explaining your side of things. And feel free to share this article with anyone you feel can receive help from reading it.
Thank you for your time.
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