Direct marketing is a form of advertising that delivers a promotional message directly to the end consumer. This differs from most other forms of commercial advertising, which usually involve an ‘intermediary’ such as a broker or agent who introduces and positions goods or services for consumers before actual purchase.
Direct marketing focuses on building personal relationships with your customers over time so you can drive repeat business and increase customer loyalty. It’s a positive way to create a relationship with potential clients because it allows businesses to engage prospects in a more individualized way by providing information about products, services, and special offers that such individuals have indicated they’re interested in learning about.
You might have used direct marketing online or offline yourself as part of your shopping or browsing habits—researching products, reading email newsletters, or visiting physical locations to learn more about a product before making a purchase.
Here are some ways to use direct marketing to grow your business:
Phone Call Marketing
This can be an easy way to get started, especially if you’re already using phones to answer inquiries from customers. You can use pre-recorded messages or get more personal by having real people call your prospects.
The challenge with this is that it takes some time and effort to learn how to make professional phone calls for marketing purposes. Fortunately, there are also services like Call Cowboy which allow you to avoid some of these issues since they do the calling for you while providing analytics that measures results.
Before you can call up people, you must have their contact details first. So, to encourage people to give their details, offer an incentive when they sign up on your website, social media, or on a mobile app, then use a phone call marketing service to follow up with those leads.
You can start your direct marketing efforts through email by sending out newsletters and promotional offers to people who subscribe to them. It’s a great way to build trust with potential customers as well as create long-lasting relationships that keep those customers coming back over time. The more you know about your customers, the better you’ll be able to adapt your messaging and content to meet their needs and help them make smarter buying decisions.
The main benefits of using email marketing include:
- List acquisition (using double opt-in processes)
- Building trust
- Visibility of who has opted in or out via list hygiene or tracking unsubscribe rates
- Visibility of what a subscriber has opted to interact with a specific subject line
- Ability to email within an agreed time frame (scheduled emails or campaign deals)
The main drawback is that it can be hard to generate quality, in-depth content regularly. Aside from that, you need to monitor open rates and click-through rates to determine if your emails are indeed working.
One of the most cost-effective methods of direct marketing is through postcards that offer special deals and discounts to website visitors or email subscribers. Like postcards that offer coupons for local dietary and health care services, these cards can provide useful information about your company’s products and services while encouraging customers to take action and enter their contact info to receive further information.
You could hand out postcards at trade shows and conferences to create awareness about your business, or you could hand them out during door-to-door sales to offer discounts on select products. The key is to make sure the postcards are relevant and interesting so people take a moment to learn more about what you have to offer.
There are several benefits of using postcards for direct marketing:
- Low cost per item delivered
- Can be customized with unique images, messages, and offers
The main drawback is that it can be difficult to generate a sufficient response if you’re not targeting a niche audience.
If you want a low-cost way of advertising directly through consumer devices, consider launching an SMS marketing campaign with the help of something like this non-profit mobile messaging software. This is a quick and easy way to build trust between you and your customer base—and it’s highly effective if you find the right customers through channels like opt-in forms or content upgrades.
Companies that offer SMS messaging services, like Drop Cowboy, can be tapped to take care of your viral campaign, where customers and fans share offers and deal with others via social media and receive rewards like discounts and free products. These sorts of campaigns work best when the message is short (between 100-200 characters), and has an actionable call to action that includes an end date to attract more responses from consumers who need something casual but urgent enough to motivate them into taking immediate action.
There are several benefits associated with using SMS marketing:
- Ability to track and measure results
- The ability to allow users to opt-out easily by texting “STOP”
- Messages can be scheduled in advance or even sent on-demand, making it simple and easy to stay connected without having to “beg” for attention.
The main drawback is that mobile connections aren’t always reliable and you might not reach your customers if their phone service is spotty or unavailable in the area or country they’re located in.
There are several different types of video marketing that brands can use as part of a direct marketing campaign. But this could include live streaming on sites like YouTube, engaging with viewers via discussion boards, or uploading demonstrations of new products.
One of the best ways to leverage video marketing is through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter where you can engage with customers in real-time. You could also host live Q&A sessions about your products or services using Periscope, for example, so viewers can interact with you directly when they have questions or concerns to address about their purchases.
There are a couple of benefits associated with using video marketing, such as:
- It’s a simple way to establish credibility through testimonials
- There’s a huge potential to collect email addresses and other customer information for future offers and referrals
The main drawback is that it requires a high level of commitment and doesn’t necessarily translate into immediate sales unless you’re offering something extremely compelling or unique compared to your competitors.
Social Media Marketing
If you want to get direct response marketing right, social media is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to connect with customers on a deeper level than traditional advertising ever could. Social profiles are also great for driving traffic back to your website where individuals who aren’t familiar with your business might learn more about what it has to offer.
Depending on which platforms you’re targeting, the key will be adopting the correct tone and voice of your brand so you don’t come across as too salesy or pushy. Remember, this isn’t just about generating sales! Use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter for casual engagement first. You can do this by promoting content updates, discounts, and new products as part of your overall strategy, and then start pushing those offers when you’ve established a strong foundation with your target audience.
There are several benefits associated with using social media marketing:
- The ability to engage on a deeper level than traditional advertising allows and establish the company’s voice and tone
- Stronger brand identity due to increased visibility and interaction with consumers vs. more passive methods like TV ads or billboards
The main drawback is that there’s always the risk of exhausting fans who will become tired of constant prompts for engagement. This problem can be compounded exponentially if you’re not careful about mixing up your approach week by week, which can make it more difficult to capture consumer attention organically rather than constantly pitching offers and discounts.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When executed with care, SEO can provide a virtually endless supply of new customers that almost guarantee sales for your business if you have the necessary funds available to scale up your digital marketing efforts over time.
This is because search engine rankings are determined by an algorithm incorporating dozens of different factors, so it’s difficult to artificially ‘trick’ Google into elevating an undeserving site to the top of any given search results page. This means that you’ll have to work hard for every customer who comes through your pages.
The key here is to ensure that your website or blog offers original content that people will want to link back to more than once. This is possible if you include useful resources like instructional videos or free digital tools that help someone solve a problem.
Remember, Google’s primary objective is to return the most relevant results possible for each query. So, you’ll need to know exactly what potential customers are searching for before you can build links back to your site in a way that will increase its chances of ending up at the top of the search engine rankings over time.
There are several benefits associated with using SEO. Some of them include:
- Builds trust with consumers who feel more secure clicking on the official company website where their information is ‘protected’ by security certificates
- Establishes authority & thought leadership as an industry expert because of high search engine rankings
The main drawback with this marketing tactic is that it can significantly increase your costs to acquire new customers, especially if you use Google AdWords to drive traffic back to your site. It’s sometimes possible to get a discount on advertising by agreeing to purchase a certain volume of ads over time, but the cutthroat nature of the paid search market ensures that your cost per click will always be among the highest in any given industry! That said, SEO has proven itself as one of the most effective direct response tactics for growing brands at scale when executed properly.
If you’ve ever heard about Uber’s crazy success story, then you understand how powerful incentivized referral programs can be when it comes to promoting your product or service to targeted segments of the population. The idea here is that you offer potential customers a free benefit for referring their friends, family members, or colleagues to try out your product or service, then reward them with discounts or other incentives that encourage them to continue telling everyone they know about how great your company is!
There are several benefits associated with using referral programs:
- It can significantly reduce customer acquisition cost compared to other methods like Facebook ads or SEO
- Tap into brand ambassadors who are more likely to give higher ratings or reviews and promote business via word-of-mouth marketing
The main drawback of this tactic is that it can be difficult to justify its associated costs because each referral channel has a different conversion rate that needs to be analyzed before launching such an initiative. It’s also important to understand how your existing customers are interacting with various referral programs—whether they’re active participants or passive viewers who don’t even bother learning about the special discount code you’ve offered their friends and family members.
If you’re not already engaging in content marketing, then now is the best time to start. The idea here is that when people see your brand name or product mentioned within a high-ranking blog post, they will be more likely to click on it because you appear like an authority figure in your industry—which means you’ll attract more leads!
If you’re just starting, then it might be too early to begin investing in traditional forms of influencer marketing such as paid ads or purchasing endorsements on social media. However, this should not prevent you from building relationships with business owners who have already built an audience—whether this involves attending blogging conferences and meet-ups to connect with other companies, or simply following people on Instagram who share interests similar to your target market.
Sponsoring local events often involves reaching out to community leaders via email pitches that briefly describe what you do and why you’re interested in participating as a partner. If someone accepts, you can follow up by providing a list of items to distribute as promotional materials (e.g., pens with your logo and website printed on them).
Whether you decide to focus on one marketing tactic at a time or allocate a specific budget toward each of the strategies above, you need to find your target market and speak directly to them. This will increase the odds that they’ll recognize you as an authority figure in your industry, which means more leads and sales!