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5 Direct Marketing Best Practices

What is Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing allows businesses to communicate straight to the customer. Different techniques fall under the direct marketing umbrella including email, SMS, telemarketing, and direct mail.  It is considered the most “active” form of marketing because you communicate directly to your audience with a specific and targeted offer.

Direct mail was traditionally thought of as the main direct marketing method, however with the rise of digital communication, many business owners have shifted their focus to email. Direct Mail has all to often been disregarded as an old-fashioned medium, however this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.Direct Marketing

Why Direct Mail?

Some marketers are in fact seeing dramatically higher response to their direct mail than in the 1980s, when direct mail was it its height [Beasley Direct, 2014]. One reason for this could be that less businesses are doing it, so the ones that do implement a direct mail campaign, and do it well, are standing out to their target audience.

With this in mind, we’ve put together 5 direct marketing best practices for you to follow, to ensure your communications with prospects are as effective as possible.

1. Stand Out

You’re at an advantage as less and less businesses use Direct Mail, a personalised letter stands out more than emails, tweets or SMS.  Creative affects about 20% of direct mail response rate [CRM Trends, 2014], which can be the difference between your campaign being a success or a failure. Direct marketing is about really connecting with customers, so getting their attention is the first step. To do this effectively, design is critical and should be compelling enough for the recipient to take notice.

Stand out from the clutter with clear messaging, good branding and intelligent design. Think out of the box with your communications and try to send your customer something that really stands out, resonates with them and encourages them to respond.

2. Make it Personal

Customers prefer, and have come to expect personalised communications from businesses. When it comes to direct mail, personalisation can be a powerful tool as personalised print media has a stronger affect than personalised email. According to Marketingprofs [2014], this is because the audience can recognise that it takes more effort to customise print media than digital [Marketingprofs, 2014].

If you know your own customers well – their needs, preferences and likes or dislikes, you should apply this knowledge to tailor your direct mail communication with them. Always personalise the name, if you know it, and consider using specific images or copy that you know particularly resonates with each consumer segment.

3. Encourage a Response

Every piece of direct mail that you send out should elicit a response from the recipient. In order to entice your customer to act, the content should include an offer and a call to action.

An offer acts as an incentive to encourage your recipient to act. Recipients will be more likely to respond if you offer them consumer something that creates value. Use your copy to emphasise that the offer is for a limited time, or of limited supply to add a sense of urgency that will encourage your customer to take action.

A call-to-action is another vital element in to prompting your recipient to respond. Your call to action should stand out in your communication so that your recipient notices it, and it should be repeated at least once on each component of the direct mail.

4. Don’t Use Direct Mail in Isolation

Direct mail can be an extremely effective medium in soliciting a response from your prospects, but like most marketing strategies, it performs better when it’s backed up by other channels.

Some recipients will respond straight away after receiving your mail, while others may need a bit more encouragement. For these prospects, consider direct mail as your introduction and means of building brand awareness. Follow them up with a telemarketing call, provide access to a web page with more information, or send supplementary marketing collateral that expands on your original messaging.

5. Test & Measure

Direct marketing is a data driven discipline, where results can be easily measured. Messaging, creative approach, packaging type and offer can and should be measured and tested continuously to determine the best performing combination. Although there is a wealth of marketing literature on the dos and don’ts of direct mail, what works for another company may not necessarily be effective for your business.It is therefore imperative to know how many people responded to your mail out, what channel they responded through and what response option they used. By researching every campaign, you can better understand what works for your business and your prospects, and use this to inform any future campaigns.

Ps. Don’t Forget the PS

The PS is the most read part of any direct mail letter. Ensure you include one, and that the content within it reiterates your primary message and includes your call to action, offer and deadline.

Kim McNeil

Kimberly McNeil has a First Class Honours in Marketing, backed up with education in International Business. A certified Google expert, with focus on Content Marketing, SEO, Adwords & Analytics, she knows what it takes to convert marketing conversations into sales. Creating compelling content is essential in all stages of the B2B Buying Cycle in order to engage your customer and build the relationship.

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