Be Successful At Direct Marketing The E-Mail Way

As I write you are probably sitting on a very usual list of customer contacts – past, present and potential (my 3 Ps of customer type). So how do you get the most out of it? Your next step is to utilise this database by communicating with your customers in the most economical way – e-mail.

E-mail marketing is not only the cheapest form of Direct Marketing known to man it is also the quickest way by which you can communicate with customers and the most effective method (see below) but also you can ‘tailor’ you message to suit:

The Customer Profile
The information you wish to impart
All the while bearing in mind that the purpose of your e-mail is to:
Build a business rapport with existing customers
Encourage customer loyalty
Encourage repeat business
Encourage additional business from existing customers
Introduce new products to existing customers
Advise special offers/ sales and more to existing customers
Acquire new customers
Before you begin creating your ‘missive’ that you wish to e-mail then you need to remember key factors about the e-mail screen.

First of all let’s ponder a moment on who the mail is from. Yes, it is you (idiot I hear you call me) but there is a couple of important questions that must be considered here.

Is your business known to the recipient?

If it is are they likely to want to read what you are e-mailing them about?

If you business isn’t recognised by the recipient then again -

Are they likely to want to read what it is you have to say?

Whichever, former or latter, you need to have a distinctive ‘subject’ – the next section of an e-mail.

If the recipient has agreed to receive information from you (recall your database laws!) then you still need to be concise about what your following message is all about. So it could be something as simple as Newsletter No:23 or Special Offer or Sale Now On – or something along these lines that is attention grabbing.

The same but perhaps even more importantly so, the subject needs to make the recipient want to read on as to what it is you are actually contacting them about.

Thus your third area, the message itself, needs to be as concise as possible, not beat about the bush, no waffle, just warm interesting information within which, or at the end is a call to action. This can be as simple as asking them to open up an attachment that might have further details, a discount voucher perhaps, a revised/ sale price list, full details of a new product…you get the gist of it. Or it could be a ‘hotline/ VIP’ telephone number. A website address or even a discount code to enter when buying on-line.

A word from the wise. People don’t just open up attachments ‘willy-nilly’, especially from an unaccredited source. There are many horror stories and warnings about opening up an attachment from an unknown business so make certain that the message area of your e-mail assures people who to open an attachment will not bring down their entire computer.

How Mailing List Services Can Increase the Value of Your Marketing Lists

Direct marketing lists are an important part of every business’ continued success. Whether companies are marketing to new prospects or sending out new promotional offers to existing customers, mailing list services add value and increase the value of their marketing lists. There are several mailing list services available to enhance your list. These services include telephone and email appending, list hygiene, mapping solutions, data analysis and data entry.

Telephone appending is the process of adding phone number to an existing list or database. You can append phones to an existing customer database or to a prospecting list. Telemarketing is one of the most common forms of marketing where initial contact or follow up is made by phone. Phones can be added to a residential database and/or business database.

Email appending is done by adding email addresses to a customer database. Appending emails is done for a company’s existing customer database. Appending to a prospecting list not typically permitted. With today’s advancements in technology, almost every household has an email address available for communication. This is the most cost effective way to stay in front of your customers with new promotions and customer satisfaction follow ups.

List hygiene is the process of updating the addresses within a mailing list. There are on average 45 million people moving each year, which is almost 15% of the population. With these approximate numbers, that shows that each mailing list will decline about 15% each year. As your mailing list ages, the accuracy will continue to decline. This results in wasted printing and postage. A mailing list should be run through the national change of address and the coding accuracy support system at a minimum of every 90 days. Other hygiene options include removing deceased people from your database and removing telephone numbers that have been added to the national do not call.

Mapping solutions gives marketers a visual look at exact where their customers are and helps to set boundaries for multi location businesses. At times selecting the correct areas to market is harder than it sounds. It is crucial to choose the optimal geography along with demographic variables to successfully accomplish a company’s objective. Many multi-location retailers have a complicated time assigning territories to each location, especially when they are close to each other. Mapping helps to sort out their geographic markets so their mailing can be as effective as possible. Mapping aids in tying all of these important variables together and proves a visual tool for your client.

Data analysis involves studying a current customer file and calculating exactly who is currently purchasing your product and/or service. A company’s customer file would be ran through an appending software system and attaches elements including age, income, cluster codes and several other household demographic information. This information can then be used to model your perfect customer and can be used to purchase new mailing lists with the demographics from conclusion of the analysis. This can be a significant tool in creating a perfectly targeted prospect list.

Data entry can aid in turning your stack of reply cards sitting by your desk into a useful money making electronic mailing list. Often time’s businesses get inundated with responses from their postcard mailers. In this case, these reply cards can sit in a storage room or office floor for months. These are individuals that have responded with an interest and should be utilized for additional marketing promotions. These cards can be shipped to a data entry company and can be manually entered into an electronic mailing list for further promotions.

Direct mail marketing should be an integral part of any business’ advertising strategy. This form of marketing gives marketers the ability to target a message to the people that fit the profile of having an interest in your product or service. Updating and enhancing mailing list services will add value to your lists, increase the accuracy of your mailings and significantly lower waste. These mailing list services will ensure you are getting the most out of your lists.

Make More Direct Mail Profit in Three Easy Steps

In this article, I’ll discuss a simple three-step direct mail marketing system that gets more people to give you more money, more often, for higher profits. Isn’t that what you really want? The main thing I want to emphasize here is that a good marketing system focuses on the prospect more than the product, in all ways. Think about what you sell, and think about the marketplace you sell to, and remember: when it comes to direct mail marketing, who you sell to is much more important than what you sell.

You see, no matter what you sell, the marketplace you serve will remain more or less constant through time. Your business might survive for decades, and the products and services you offer throughout that time will come and go; but the people you sell to will generally be the same (assuming you don’t change marketplaces altogether).

Now, some changes do occur. People will come in and out of the marketplace and some clients will stop being customers for one reason or another, but the marketplace as a whole will stay mostly the same. So you have to know that marketplace better than you know yourself in order to sell to it. If you start with the premise that you need to do a better job of understanding who your customers are and who the marketplace is, then from that position, you’ll be able to identify the kinds of things that marketplace wants.

Your first and most important task is identifying the benefits your prospects are looking for. Usually, they seek out offers that fill their wants or provide solutions to problems they’re experiencing. If you’re in the diet industry, people who are overweight will seek your solution to help them become fit and healthy. If you’re an electrician, you solve people’s electrical problems. If you’re a mechanic, you fix people’s cars.

People come to you because they’re in pain or have a problem they need solved.

If you always start with the marketplace, then the products or services you offer can adapt and adjust as you serve them; whereas if you start with your product or service and your marketplace shifts, you’re stuck with worrying about your product specifically. You may miss a market shift because you’re so focused on your product, and may be unable to keep up because of that focus.

Step One in a successful marketing campaign is attracting the right kind of people and repelling all the others. You do that by means of the offers you make, based on your extensive knowledge of your marketplace.

Step Two is building people’s trust. Today, it’s not easy to trust people, especially in business. Many businesses have let people down in all kinds of ways; and in fact some of those problems go far beyond individual businesses, straight to the industry at large. You have entire industries full of problems, and then governments get involved to try and fix the problems, sometimes creating a whole new set of problems.

As a small business owner, you have to break through that distrust by building relationships with people. What better way to do that than with direct mail, where you can communicate with them one-on-one? It’s as if you wrote a letter specifically to them; it can introduce you to them and establish a new relationship. As they continue to do business with you, the relationship can grow stronger. In the beginning, when you send your letter to a prospect who doesn’t know you from Adam, it’s the only thing that can build any kind of relationship or trust factor. You have to use words to paint a story that introduces them to you, your company, your business, and those benefits they can achieve when they decide to become your customer. Direct mail is perfect for that, because it’s a one-on-one communication. It’s not a billboard they see as they drive down the highway. It’s not an ad they see screaming at them from the TV.

No, it comes quietly in the mail and, when done right, delivers a hard-hitting benefit, promise, or guarantee that makes them sit up and take notice. You can then build from that point and ultimately gain their trust, which is how you survive in business. You don’t do business, especially repeat business, with people you don’t trust.

Step Three in this formula is proving to them that you alone can provide them with the things they want the most. Again, we’re talking about the marketplace here, not just the product or service you sell. You want to prove you can deliver the goods and make good on your promises. You have to convince them you have something they can’t get anywhere else. That’s where your unique selling position or USP comes in.

Give them a strong reason why they should trust and do business with you. If it’s too easy for them to get what you have from somebody else, they won’t have a good reason to decide to do business with you. The more you can deliver the idea that they can’t get what they want somewhere else, the more likely they’ll be to choose to do business with you.

If you’ll do these three things — attract the right people while repelling the others, build their trust through the offer, and then prove to them that they need to do business with you and you alone — you can get more people to give you more money, more often, and for more profits. You have to do these things right, or you’ll chip away at your profits. I’ve used this strategy effectively for years, and so have many of my colleagues. Remember: lifelong customers are always more important than a particular product or offer. If you make them happy, they’ll eagerly await what you have to offer next. That should be your goal: acquiring lifelong customers by attracting the right kind of people who come back again and again.

Now, this doesn’t work equally well for all businesses; a realtor won’t be selling houses to the same people every week or every month, but they can still build a relationship for sales years down the road. With smaller products and services replaced on a continual basis, of course we want our customers to do business with us as often as possible. This is true no matter what marketplace you’re in: real estate, moneymaking, health, investments, home products, home improvement, or professional practices. You want a continuous flow of customers, both new and repeat business. If you’re smart, you take care of your good customers and keep them coming back again and again.

Again, one way to build trust and get new business is to use two-step marketing. You offer a low- or no-cost product or service, not making a profit from this first step. The idea is to bring in a flood of new business, and then follow up with a great offer that makes you money later. Always keep in mind that your best customers deserve your best services and products.

I’d also like to re-emphasize the third step I mentioned, giving people what they want — not what you think they want or need. This is key to all business success. When you’re looked upon as the primary source for a specific kind of product or services that people want in your area, you’re going to make money hand over fist. When people trust you and know you have what they want, whenever it comes to mind they think, “Oh, I’ve got to go see Bob.” You’re the source. When you’re the #1 source in your community, that’s the ultimate power to make money. If you want a realtor, you have to see Jack. If you’re getting a massage, you have to see Betty. If you want a plumber, you have to see Hal. Whatever your business is, you want to be the top source. Again, it’s all a matter of building trust with your market.

Don’t be afraid to tell your story. In fact, you must tell your story. Now, you might ask, “What is my story?” It can be lots of things, but ultimately it’s how you connect with your prospects and customers. What can you dramatize that will connect you to them in an emotional way? Only you can decide what that is. Your story can be of how your company came to be, the story of how you came to discover and develop the products and services you sell, or the things you have in common with the people you’re trying to do business with.

Find the most compelling way to tell your story, and tell it often. You’ll get sick of telling it, I promise you, but they won’t get tired of listening. People want to do business with other people just like them. People love emotional stories, and direct mail is the perfect way to do that, because you have room. You can write quite a bit about your story and include pictures that do a full job of illustrating and describing the kinds of things I’m talking about here.

Remember, this is all about salesmanship. The best salespeople build a rapport with the prospective buyer before they go in for the close. You have to do that with your direct mail, too.