Direct marketing is a multi-faceted concept with a simple definition. The best way to articulate a direct marketing definition includes the mention of components such as customers and communication. Direct marketing is a measurable way of getting in touch with a potential customer without the use of a middle man. Direct marketing is also considered "direct" because it is an intimate, high-touch technique. The channels used for direct marketing, such as email, smartphones, printed mailers, are some of the most forthright ways to get in touch with a customer. A level of intimacy is reached when a person allows a company to obtain access to them through the giving of an email address of cell phone number. No one appreciates spam mail. Similarly, very few people like to receive phone calls from telemarketers. So a good way to circumvent these boundaries is to circulate messages by direct postal mail. This approach puts messages in the hands of the audience but leaves them free to choose how and when to address it.
Direct marketing is also a high-touch situation in that there are a myriad of opportunities to connect with a customer on a regular basis. Sending an email once a day, once a week, or multiple times during the month are zones of consistent reminders of the company's presence. Depending on the consistency of the marketer, direct marketing holds the ability to attract and maintain a loyal customer following.
There are a few reasons why direct marketing is so important and incredibly vital to the growth of any company. One of the most common goals for any business involves turning a high profit. Direct marketing continues to prove its ability to effectively expand the amount of sales from current customers. Once various direct marketing strategies get applied, they may be the catalysts to turn new customers into repeat customers.
Direct marketing allows companies the phenomenal opportunity to build a solid relationship with the customer. Once a relationship is built, there is a level of trust and loyalty the customer eventually develops. Once a customer is loyal to a brand, they will naturally tell others about their experience. Word-of-mouth referrals are some of the best gifts any company could ever ask for. Once a person tells others of their experience, it is only a matter of time before they bring other new customers on board.
For customers who may have been on the fence about becoming loyal, direct marketing can help to put the customer at ease. It has been noted that "repetition deepens the impression". When a brand is repeatedly promoted in an excellent way through direct marketing, a customer who’s on the fence will become a lot more comfortable and familiar. The more familiar and comfortable a customer feels with a company, the more likely said customer will patronize the business.
There are a few channels considered to be the most popular for direct marketing strategies. As previously mentioned, maintaining a business email list is one tool, maintaining consumer mailing lists, and business mailing lists are likewise useful. Other tools include mobile (SMS and MMS), social media, display ads, voicemail, search engines and other online methods.
Many companies take advantage of an email list because email marketing averages a $4600 return for every marketing dollar spent. Many internet marketers and business owners share the sentiment that "the money is in the list." This simply means that it is important for anyone with a business to always capture the email addresses of their customers. If there are no ways of directly contacting the customer, it is very easy for customers to completely fall through the cracks.
Emails with HTML, links, pictures and/or interesting content are usually well-received. Social media avenues such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are excellent ways to use direct marketing. Creating eye-catching, enthralling content helps to draw customers in and keep their attention. Social media avenues are also helpful because it is so easy to directly communicate with almost anyone with a specific account. Access has never been easier.
Thanks to analytics, and big data technology direct marketing is as measurable, as any other business process. When a company decides to send out an email blast to its list, components such as the open rate, click-through rate (CTR), and sales earned through that specific email can all be tracked. Print mailers can be tracked by using QR codes, and coupon codes exclusive to the print campaign. There are lots of different tracking services available for brands to utilize. After posting an ad or a picture to one of the popular social media channels, it is possible to see the analytics and "likes" of specific content. Access to these numbers is what makes direct marketing measurable. Measuring is important for future reference. It is impossible to not make mistakes, but you have really try to make the same mistake twice after learning what works and what doesn't work based on the audience of the message.
It’s important to understand how to integrate direct marketing strategies into every communication channel, because each one is different. What works on Pinterest won't necessarily work for email. What works for Facebook won't work for multi-media messages to a smartphone.
Successful direct marketers understand the power of adding value to a customer's life. Including helpful information, that can really solve a problem, helps to assert a company as a knowledgeable authority on a subject. It also displays a company as a credible source. Incentives are also excellent for direct marketing. The consumer always wants to know what is in it for them. By adding coupons, giveaways and other creative incentives, a customer is more likely to become interested and responsive.
Email and direct mail are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to direct marketing. There are so many different avenues to use to get the word out, and used thoughtfully, the various marketing media can be aggregated into a singular brand message with tremendous impact. With thorough research and study, any company can discover the best direct marketing techniques for their brand and execute those strategies to achieve positive results!