6 Tips to Improve Your Direct Marketing This Year


In direct marketing, some basics never change; but those basics need to be augmented with some updated insights from time to time.

Erich Kominsky, CEO of US Data Corporation, says, “For every dollar spent on direct email marketing the average return on investment is $44.25. It will only get better in 2015 as marketing companies continue to develop innovations that boost ROI.”

Here are six tips that will improve your direct-mail marketing business:

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Target Your Audience

Part of the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing is knowing who your audience is and being able to target that audience with your direct marketing. This will save you a lot of money and increase your return on investment.

Building your own list can be tedious and unscientific at best, and it’s easy to get scammed by online companies selling dirty lists full of false leads that cost you a lot of money. Make sure you get your lists from a reputable business. Consider renting a list if you don’t think your budget can afford buying one.

Create a Memorable Look

Having a great design that stands out and also reinforces your message is essential to email marketing success.

Make sure you follow basic design rules, but don’t be afraid to get creative. If you don’t have the software or inclination to create stunning professional designs, hire a graphic designer. The credibility that a professional design lends to your direct email marketing message is well worth the investment.

You’re Selling Solutions, Not Products

No one cares about your widgets. What they care about are their own needs and wants. For instance:

  • Bob doesn’t want a new drill, he wants to finish his to-do list faster so he can go golfing.
  • Mary doesn’t want a dress, she wants to look thin at the party this Friday.
  • Alice doesn’t want an investment newsletter, she wants to find a great investment that will let her retire at 45.
  • Ted doesn’t want a recipe book, he wants new ways to impress his friends at dinner parties.

The Heart Comes Before the Brain

Most direct marketers are number-crunching, logical people. It’s easy for them to fall into a cold, left-brain, bullet-pointed, 714-reasons-why type of sales pitch. However, people make decisions in the right brain based on emotion. Then, they justify that decision with logic. To set up a sale, appeal to emotion first. Then, to close and confirm the sale, use logic.

Remember the Basic Elements

Every direct marketing message includes three basic elements:

  • An offer
  • Enough information for immediate acceptance of the offer
  • A mechanism for responding to the offer

Without each of these, you are not doing direct marketing but merely using a medium associated with direct marketing. And for direct email marketing, the response button must be prominent and not make customers jump through hoops. Each second of delay will see more of your prospects back out of the sale.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is taking over the marketing world. It is getting huge.

Google says that mobile search will surpass desktop search by the end of the year.  Perhaps the most stunning statistic is this: 70 percent of mobile searches lead to action within one hour. By way of comparison, 70 percent of desktop searches lead to action within one month.

According to PEW research the percentage of adults in the U.S. who now have cell phones is at 90 percent. It would be marketing madness to ignore this gigantic subset of the consumer market.

Snapchat is becoming a huge player in the mobile marketing game. Large corporations like McDonald’s, GrubHub, and Mountain Dew have used Snapchat to promote new products and standard services. This segment is only going to grow larger as new technology advances what mobile apps can do, and how easily they can do it.

Image: Mountain Dew

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Melissa Thompson


Melissa Thompson Melissa Thompson is a freelance producer and writer at USA Today for the web only video interview series 'Your Take'. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband.

3 Reactions

  1. What’s the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing?

    • The 40-40-20 rule was developed by direct marketing maven Ed Mayer many years ago. It divides direct marketing success into three segments as follows: 40 percent to using the right mailing list; 40 percent to who the mailer is and what he has to offer; 20 percent for everything else – postage rate, format, paper, stock, color, copy, graphics, etc.

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