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Elements of a Direct Marketing Promotion

OK, so you realize that despite all the hubub about Twitter, Facebook, etc. It can still be very smart to have direct marketing in your mix, primarily that can be direct mail or e-mail. If you are going for the very first contact though, direct mail is your likely channel. The question is how much do I focus on the different elements of the offer and how much does each contribute to the success of my campaign.

Consider each element appropriately for success!

The Direct Marketing Association studies show that your Audience and Channel are the most important by far, accounting for 40% of your success! In other words, making sure your list is targeting your specific customer and that you are sending your message in a way that they will receive it! You also want to zero in as much as you can on the prospects that are the most likely to buy.  A quick couple of checks here can help.

1. How old is your list? If your list you’ve been mailing to is over a year old, most likely you should buy/rent a new one. People move, companies go out of business and you need to make sure you’re not wasting money AND getting the opportunity to target new prospects on your list.

2. How targeted is your list?We help companies zero in on the best prospects, and when you do it saves money! It is truly amazing how far we can go zeroing in a prospects. A builder we once did a job for wanted to target homeowners with incomes over $100,000, who had also been in their homes 3 years or more, in a 30-mile radius. The search yielded 30,000 addresses and put the job well over their $10,000 budget for the mailing. I suggested that we refine the group down by only taking homowners with estimated net worths over $100,000 with the assumption that anyone with that income that didn’t have net worth would likely be in debt and unable to qualify as a purchaser. The list came down to 13,000 and put the mailing in budget. A properly targeted list will both increase your response, save you money and then make you more money!

The next most important element is the Offer. The offer represents 20% of your campaigns success. It should be relevent to your prospect and should take into account the solutions your product or service solve, the price, payment terms, Incentives (i.e. buy one get one free) and guarantees.

Copy and Designaccount for 15% each. One of the dangers of direct mail is overfocusing here and not making sure your audience or list are first rate, but after you have identified them you do want them to notice you. Copy and Design work together to encourage the reader to take action and carry the message that you want to communicate. Some tips for creative and copy are to keep in mind are: (1) Creative originates with customer insights, what are they interested in, what problem are they trying to solve, why do your customers choose you over your competitors. (2) See your product or service through your customers eyes, how do they perceive you, will they think your offer is relevent? (3) Expand on product benefits, or even better, the solutions that you provide to improve your results. (4) Keep it within your customers comfort zone. Don’t talk over their head and then again, don’t treat them like they are stupid.

Finally, Timing comes in at 10% and includes considerations for seasonality, holidays, purchase and usage trends, contract periods, life events and so forth. Often this is a neglected variable. If you sell baby products, targeting new mothers within the first few months of the birth of a child is a good idea. Targeting me when my youngest is 9…not so much.

I talk to many marketers who will tell me “I tried direct mail and it doesn’t work”, but I would counter that let me review your list and your mailer and your timing and I will bet there are many ways it could be improved to give positive results!

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