Direct mail has largely been abandoned over the last decade or so in favor of email marketing, but is one outbound marketing tactic that is experiencing an incredible resurgence. Sure, email marketing is cheaper and easier to track success metrics. But now our inboxes are so inundated with marketing emails that it is hard to get noticed amongst the clutter. Direct mail is just one outbound marketing tactic that will help you set yourself apart from competitors and other marketers.
As with all of your marketing tactics, it is important to start by determining what your want to accomplish with your campaign, and how you plan on executing and tracking its success (or lack thereof). Direct mail can come in a variety of forms. From traditional pieces like letters and postcards to three-dimensional objects, promotional swag and puzzles used to increase engagement and brand recall.
Direct Mail Marketing Best Practices:
- Coordinate and be consistent. Your messaging on your direct mail piece needs to coordinate with any landing pages, telemarketing scripts or any other tactics that are being integrated in the campaign. The continuity of your messaging will increase buyer recall and enforce what you are asking the audience to do.
- Be emotional. Buyers buy on emotion and justify with facts. Your messaging and visuals need to connect with your audience on an emotional level. This is where understanding your target buyer persona becomes helpful in crafting your message.
- Make yourself available. Providing multiple ways to respond to your call to action will maximize return. Provide a web address, QR code, email address and phone number at a minimum. Depending on your audience, also consider including a fax number and/or physical address with return materials. It may sound out-dated, but people do still respond to these reply channels.
- Track it. As with all things in marketing, make sure you are setting up systems for tracking your direct mail marketing return. Include an offer or landing page web address that is specific to the direct mail piece to help you determine that is what ultimately inspired the prospect to learn more.
These direct mail marketing best practices should help you get started with reacquainting yourself with direct mail as a viable option for your business. Have you recently run a direct mail campaign after taking some time off? What direct mail marketing advice would you share with other business owners who are reconsidering this communication channel?
In this business environment, where the audience has so much control over the content they see and read, there has been a lot of talk about inbound vs. outbound marketing, outbound marketing is dead, etc. Well, hold off on the outbound obituary, because outbound marketing isn’t dead.
There is still an important place for outbound marketing in your integrated marketing mix. The level and importance of outbound marketing for your business depends on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) budget, industry, target buyer persona, and campaign success metrics.
Let’s define what we mean by “outbound marketing”. Outbound marketing is closely related to “mass marketing” in that it casts a wide net over your target market in order to generate business by reaching the right prospects through sheer numbers.
Outbound marketing may cost more than inbound marketing upfront, but the effects and return on investment are usually far more immediate than inbound marketing tactics. There are two really important factors to remember when it comes to planning and executing outbound marketing campaigns. One is that your outbound marketing tactics need to be coordinated across of mix of marketing activities—there is no “silver bullet” that will guarantee you achieve your goals. The second it to make sure you define and focus completely on your targeted buyer persona. Today’s integrated marketing campaigns often combine various outbound marketing tactics along with inbound marketing activities.
Examples of traditional outbound tactics include advertising (broadcast, print and online/digital advertising), telemarketing, and direct mail. Our next blog posts will explore some outbound marketing tactics to provide advice and best practices for implementing them in your marketing plan.
What are some other outbound marketing tactics that your company uses to increase brand awareness and drive revenue?
TAB’s business tips from the top series brings business owners like you practical, real-world advice generated and submitted by other business owners and top leaders in the TAB community. By bringing together thousands of business owners every month to share challenges, solutions, advice and support, we are able to share business tips on a broad variety of topics to improve the SMB community as a whole. This edition of TAB business tips from the top will help you target your marketing to save time (and, thus, money) in the sales qualification stage.
Do you receive a lot of inquiries from potential customers that turn out to be unqualified? While sales is a numbers game, you need to make sure you remain focused on your core competencies. If you are spending too much time on prospects that aren’t qualified, then your marketing process isn’t doing its job. Make sure your website and other marketing materials are very clear about who you work with.
Every business person knows about target markets, and you have likely defined your target market based on demographic targets such as gender, age, location, etc. Buyer personas take that a step further to include psychographic information based on actual current client and target prospect research to focus on why your target customer makes a purchase decision.
Pro Business Tip: Start developing your buyer personas by asking these 9 Questions You Need to Ask When Developing Buyer Personas. Do not rely only on your own answers to these questions, but include your sales team, current clients, past clients, and people who have not become clients. Also consider implementing a survey for leads who ultimately decided to purchase from a competitor or substitute.
By now, you may be wondering what buyer personas have to do with prequalifying prospects. It boils down to the cliché example of the buyer who wants a hole, not a drill. If you take the time to develop your buyer persona, you will have a deeper understanding not just of who your ideal customer is, but what they need.
Once you have developed your buyer personas and understand who they are, you can begin to craft your marketing messaging and communications around your ideal customer. Refer to one of our previous business tips articles, Business Tips from the Top: Websites That Attract & Convert to make the most out of updating your website. By targeting your message, you will find that your marketing is generating a lower number of leads, but a higher percentage of those leads will be qualified to move into the sales funnel, thus saving time and money in the qualification process.
Our business tips from the top series is all about sharing advice and ideas amongst business owners such as yourself. So, tell us: what questions and/or advice do you have for us that will help target messaging to prequalify leads more effectively?