Today’s guest post is about process improvement in small business through something that may seem a little “old school”: direct marketing campaigns.
Ever wonder why reputable companies continue to send you paper ads in the mail when you are just going to throw them out anyway? I ask myself that every time I get the mail and end up filling the trash can with junk.
The reason why is because it works, even if not on me. Somewhere in this country, probably just down the street, someone is taking those ads and spending respectable amounts of money at those companies – enough that the companies continue to include direct marketing into their campaigns.
Snail mail is not dead, at least not yet, and “old-fashion direct mail” still works. As a small business owner you may think it’s expensive, it doesn’t yield results or maybe you just don’t know where to get started. But that’s not true. Think of the effectiveness of a handwritten note, or an event invitation. Snail mail is an important part of the process. Improvement to your overall marketing campaign means a comprehensive approach that includes direct marketing.
Determine the profile of your most desired customer and create a campaign that targets that specific niche. Using a list vendor, find people that fit into that audience. Don’t spend a dime mailing people who don’t fit the profile. With more research you’ll be able to reach out to new audiences, but for now you’ll want to stay focused on reaching your most likely customers.
We’re all a little impatient, with technology, with each other and definitely with what we give our attention to. Be clear but creative in your offer. Readers want to know what you are offering, why it applies to them and how much effort you put into reaching them goes a long way in their final decision of whether to consider you or not. Kern Lewis from Forbes.com suggests using self-mailers instead of business envelopes – unless an attractive teaser on the envelope can convince recipients to find out what’s inside. Either way, I suggest a Pitney Bowes postage meter for small business owners; it can really speed up the process, improving your efficiency and just reminding you to send mail.
Make opening your letter worth your readers’ time with a hard-to-refuse offer inside. Readers are more likely to respond to a relevant, focused offer that is catered to them. If you were meeting together for the first time and trying to make a lasting impression, how would you act? Instead of treating them like a number or just an address on a vendor’s list, craft a well-thought out message that will make your reader want to become a customer for life. If you’re generous, they will be too.
Track Your Success
Monitor the campaign and track both successes and ideas that didn’t work out as planned. Give your campaign some time to work through the wrinkles and don’t give up too early, but don’t assume all is great after one good result. Expand and change steadily and deliberately. Several responses over a period of time are better in assessing value than one-time results.
Cost: It’s Worth It
As with all marketing campaigns, they are only too expensive if they don’t work, right? If prepared carefully with a narrow focus, deliberate strategy and a specific customer profile in mind, a direct marketing campaign can be cost effective. Remember: you wouldn’t be getting so much of it if it didn’t work.
Andre Berkowitz Andre lives, breathes and dreams social media. He is the social media strategist for several clients and loves sharing his ideas on Twitter.