Is Direct Mail Right For You?

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You may have heard that “direct mail is dead.” Especially in the world of Web 2.0. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Quick statistic: According to Target Marketing’s survey on direct response, 34% of respondents said direct mail delivers the healthiest ROI for customer acquisition. (Email came in at a respectable 24%.)

Does that mean that YOU should use direct mail as a client acquisition marketing method? Not necessarily. 

  • If you don’t yet have a product or defined service or indeed anything to promote, then direct mail is unlikely to benefit you right now. 
  • It’s certainly not right for you if you don’t have a defined target audience.
  • If you think of spending £10–£20 on postage as an expense, rather than an investment, then direct mail is not for you.
  • If you want to develop a strong referral campaign, then direct mail might prove to be very beneficial.
  • If you’re launching a new publication, then direct mail can be the springboard to its success.
  • If you’re thinking of reaching your customers because your emails keep bouncing, then direct mail is likely to work for you.
  • If you can see the benefit of combining offline promotion with online advertising, then direct mail will be right up your street. 

To get the most out of your direct mail campaign, I’d certainly suggest reading the works of David Ogilvy, Leo Burnett and Claude Hopkins. Many of their books will be available at your local library. You can borrow and review them without spending a penny.

Another way to gain F.R.E.E. insight into the aspects of success in direct-response marketing and other strong marketing performers is to sign up to receive my newsletter Communiqué for Success!

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And the Winner is . . . You, Too!

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Holding a competition is a great marketing tool, giving you:

  • brand recognition
  • positioning in the marketplace
  • goodwill in the community
  • publicity
  • the ability to fish for product name ideas
  • leads
  • new customers and/or sales

It needn’t be complicated or costly to set up, either.

If you’re looking to build your customer base, then a simple ‘send-in-and-win’ tear-off reply coupon is sufficient. You can do the same via email (“Send the answer to the following question to contest@yourdomain.com”). 

You can also get ideas for a new product or service. For example one of my colleagues is giving away $1,000 (approx £550) for the person to come up with the best title for his forthcoming book. This is all being done via social media. 

If you’re a life coach with a local client base, you can ask your clients and prospects to choose their best restaurant, doctor, supermarket checkout assistant, bus driver, milkman or postman and give away six months of coaching to the winner. 

If you’re a gardener, hold a “name that tree” competition, and then donate a tree or two to the local park in both your names. You can do the same if you’re a carpenter, only donate a bench instead… 

The ideas are endless. You just need to get a bit creative. 

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English Corner: Which is it?

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One of the most common errors I come across in any kind of writing is mixing up “it’s” and “its”.

Put simply, “its” denotes that “it” is a possessive pronoun meaning, more or less, “of it” or “belonging to it” – eg, “She gave the dog its bone.” Always fight the urge to add an apostrophe when you are using “its” in this sense. 

The only time you need use that apostrophe with these three letters (“i”, “t” and “s”) is when you are contracting the words “it” and “is”, or when “it” and “has” are being used together – eg, “It’s sunny outside,” or “It’s been sunny today.” 

See, once you know how and why, it is that simple!

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Time To Beef Up Your Advertising?

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I heard on the news (BBC) this morning that supermarkets are spending more on advertising and less on branding, in an attempt to lure shoppers and defeat the credit-crunch fallout.

Does this mean that you should follow suit?

Advertising – whether it’s advertising in magazines, newspapers, the trade press or online – CAN be yield a good return on business. But it’s generally more appropriate for larger brands with the advertising budget to match their size.

That said, advertising DOES work, and it can work for you . . . providing you advertise the right things to the right people in the right places and in the right way.  

If you do wish to dip your toe in the advertising arena, then I would suggest spending your budget very carefully to ensure you receive maximum returns for your expenditure.  

My step-by-step, lead-generation system High-Powered Ads that Generate Sales reveals where to place your ad – and where NOT to advertise – as well as how to triple the results of ANY ad you write . . . guaranteed! For more information, point your browser to: http://mediaminister.co.uk/products.htm#HPA 

But back to the question of whether you should ditch your branding efforts. I think not. Branding is crucial to any business – at any time and regardless of the state of the economy.

It can reinforce your image so that you stay in your existing customers mind, as well as grab the curiosity of potential new customers. 

Central to effective branding is the concept of consistency. No matter what you do, you absolutely MUST be consistent with your core marketing message. That’s because you want your business image and brand to be easily recognisable, and you want your prospects to conclude that your company is a confident, credible and stable one.

To really strengthen your brand image, as well as being consistent, you should be educating your potential customers about WHY they should buy your product or service (no one likes to be sold, right?). The use of case studies and testimonials is a great way to achieve this. You’ll find plenty of other ideas in posts here on MarketingMoment.

So what about you? How are you educating your customers to increase sales?

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One-Page Marketing Plan Template

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Perfect for testing an idea before making a commitment, a mini or condensed version of the standard marketing plan can prove valuable in a number of ways. Not least to analyse the year before, review where you are now and focus on what you wish to achieve over the next six months.

Start by heading over to this handy page where you can download a variety of one-page marketing plan templates – F.R.E.E. of charge.

By putting it in writing, you will identify tactics and strategies to help you with your business goals. 

Psssst . . . Not sure where to start? As well as offering worksheets and home-study tools, I can give you profit-multiplying advice and pointers on things you can do straight away to attract new business with my Powerfully Effective Marketing sessions.  

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‘Working’ Holidays?

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I read a fun post on freelancing and holidays by blogger Joanne Mallon this morning. She points out that the word holiday is often a misnomer for sole traders. There they sit on the beach, hugging their Blackberry to their left ear while trying to pick up important work emails (and pick off not-so-important granules of sand).

That’s IF they’re lucky enough to unchain themselves from their desk and actually take a break, that is. As freelancers know only too painfully, no work = no pay.

Well, do you want to hear something shocking? I haven’t been on holiday for more than two years! Well, I did go to Cornwall for a week in September 2006, but I don’t count that as I became seriously ill on day two. Oh, and yes, I did go to see my dad in Devon for a few days back in February this year, but I don’t count that one as a holiday, either. As much as I love my father, he can be hard work!

The point I’m making is that I’m long overdue for a holiday, and if I’m not careful I’ll be fully booked with client commitments before the end of summer.

That’s one of the perils of self-employment: Unless you schedule in some ‘getaway’ time well in advance, the days can easily fly by without you having so much as dipped your toe in the garden, let alone those much-missed sunnier shores. So make time for that holiday! Hmmm, best take heed of my own advice, then…

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Subject Line Secrets

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The subject line is one of THE most powerful weapons in your internet-marketing arsenal. Yet it’s one of the most overlooked. So how do you get your emails recognised, opened AND acted upon? Easy, sign up to my newsletter and you’ll receive a ‘hidden’ link to the article I ran on this very topic in last week’s issue.

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