Your marketing plan needs to address whether or not a direct marketing campaign, (including an email marketing plan, an email direct marketing tool, and postcard marketing - among other tactics) is an effective strategy and the best-fit for your business.
Direct marketing (DM) is a marketing strategy; building your DM campaign is one of a number of marketing tactics that you can use in your business.
DM has been used for many years and originally was used very successfully in business to consumer selling but, in more recent years, direct marketing services have expanded to include marketing to the business to business selling community.
Direct marketing conveys marketing messages directly to consumers or customers; using specific and targeted messaging through direct mail, direct telemarketing or direct email (although broadcast marketing and voice marketing are more recent methods of directly contacting customers).
DM is focused on asking the business audience for a specific call to action: such as, buy a product or service, return a phone call, book an appointment, use a coupon, and more.
One of the benefits of direct marketing is that it is highly measurable (through the call to action) and therefore it is relatively easy to assess the return on investment on the direct marketing campaign costs.
What is direct mail marketing? It is a form of one-to-one marketing that reaches customers through personalized mail.
In this era of anti-spam (through email blasts) and do-not-call registries (for telemarketing), your direct marketing campaign needs to focus on direct mail marketing tactics.
If you decide to include an email marketing plan as part of your direct marketing program, you need to ensure that you run an opt-in or permission-based email marketing campaign (there are email direct marketing tools that will help you gather permission and track opt-ins and double opt-ins).
For example, if you are doing a small postcard marketing campaign, do a little bit of research on your audience and personalize the handwritten message:
"Dear Robert: Just read about your sale of your existing building in the local paper. Congratulations on the sale and on your expansion. My company, ABC Movers, specializes in moving manufacturing operations. We've successfully moved XYZ and VUW companies in the last four months: on time and on budget. We'd like to help you move your facility. Please call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx and I'll arrange to come by for a quote. Thanks, Sam"
You need to understand what result you want before you build your campaign. Are you interested in educating, communicating, building your contacts list, getting a commitment to buy, and more? Pick one desired result (don't mix messages and try to do to much with one campaign) and work with that.
Include an email marketing plan in your campaign; and email direct marketing tools.
Then you need to consider your strategy and write your marketing message. Focus on being clear and direct. Target the message to the specific customer group you have defined.
Identify what the product does, use your product differentiation strategy to communicate your product's uniqueness and competitive advantage early on in the messaging, and explain how those strategies and advantages benefit and impact your audience.
Make sure your potential customers understand the benefit to them. Make your call to action very clear (I like to put it in the top third and the bottom third of the piece; repetition is okay). Be creative.
And then, you need to consider your audience:
You will need a contact mail list of existing and prospective customers. (Remember to use your target marketing techniques to develop this list.)
You can buy these lists; but make sure that the list meets your direct mail campaign criteria; you want to have your mail go to qualified leads.
You can develop these lists on your own: ask your suppliers to share information; go through the business directories at the public library; go through the yellow pages or online directories; go through your customer lists (also include customers who have been 'lost', that is those customers who have gone elsewhere); and more.
Deliver your marketing message through a measurable direct mail marketing program and always do a test of a smaller sample size of your target direct mail list before you release it to the whole list.
Your purpose in testing is to make sure the message is understood and actionable. If you have no/low response in the test; adapt the message content and re-test. When you are satisfied with the response rate (don't expect unrealistic numbers like 60% and higher; if you get those kind of rates let me know how you did it), release the direct mail marketing piece (perhaps a postcard marketing campaign) to the whole mail list.
It does require a marketing research plan; a clear, actionable marketing message; putting measurements and test programs into place; developing contact lists; following up on the campaign; and then, when one campaign is complete, another one needs to begin.
Consider the advantages of outsourcing direct marketing services to help you with your direct marketing campaign (advantages include not only someone else doing the 'heavy lifting' of this work; but also experienced marketers will look to constantly improve your response rates and programs).
Understand Competition Analysis and how to manage your competitive tactics.
Use a Marketing Plan Outline to develop an effective strategic direction.
Find out the Importance and Definition of Marketing.
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Marketing is a requirement for all businesses: without marketing strategies and tactics your business will struggle to survive.
Not all marketing activities are planned: you might be building your brand recognition through a social media campaign (that's marketing); you might be conducting market research to analyze your competitors and/or segment and target your potential market or to develop the most desirable features, advantages and benefits of your products or services (that's all marketing).
Marketing is pretty all–encompassing; and a challenge for many business owners. The additional challenge is recognizing that the different stages of your business life–cycle: start–up, mid–cycle, mature or late–in–life.
During start–up you need to develop your marketing strategies to grow sales; for example, you might want to use a market penetration pricing strategy to build sales quickly.
During mid–cycle, you need to grow your customer base (often through lead generation) and that need requires different marketing strategies, such as cold calling on prospective clients, email marketing, newsletter and blog sign ups and distribution (all to grow your list of prospects).
During the mature cycle, you need to build your marketing efforts around your brand; your competitive advantage can be in your reputation, history, and identity and on what differentiates your business from your competitors.
Marketing your products and services is not something that you do once (such as a marketing plan) and then never change or do again. You need to be continually researching and building your strategies and tactics to be ahead of the market, and ahead of your competition.
The market is constantly evolving; ever more rapidly with the impacts of globalization and technology. You need to invest resources into marketing to ensure that you build and sustain your business.
If you need support in your marketing efforts, or if you'd like a review of your marketing plan, contact us for more information on our marketing services.
If marketing is not your core strength, or if you don't have enough staff to commit to developing your marketing efforts (and acting on the plan), outsourcing your marketing strategy and implementation will allow you to concentrate on developing your business.
Start with a marketing plan that includes the necessary research, strategy development and implementation action plan. We provide you with the plan tactics, budget, schedule and key performance measurements.
Execute the plan yourself or have us at Voice Marketing Inc. manage the execution for you.
Once the plan is implemented, we report on the actions we've taken, the performance of the tactics employed, and on the results.
You'll feel confident that your business marketing is being effectively managed and continually evolving.
We specialize in providing services to small business owners and understand that marketing efforts must be customized for each business' unique needs.