What is direct marketing?
Direct marketing is a form of advertising in which businesses reach out directly to their customers. It can sometimes be referred to as direct response and specifically targets certain individuals. This can be done through various types of media, including TV ads, newspaper/magazine ads, catalogues, text messages, phone calls, fliers, emails, online adverts, and websites.
Why is it so effective?
One of the reasons why a direct marketing plan is so effective is because it targets only those that the product may be of interest. Another reason is that it’s very measurable in terms of tracking how well it’s doing. Direct marketing is also much more cost-effective than mass advertising as only focuses on those consumers who’ve been identified as likely to buy from you. This will give you a much higher return on your investment, which is another reason it’s so effective.
As mentioned above, there are many different ways to market your products to consumers. Obviously, some work much better than others. To help you get your creative juices flowing and give you an idea of how you can best promote your business in the forthcoming year, here’s a few of the best direct marketing strategies for 2018:
- Direct Messaging: A good way to boost sales and improve the overall customer experience is to offer a direct messaging service. This allows your customers to get in touch more easily when they need to. There’s nothing worse than having to hang on the phone trying to get through to a company when all you want to do is ask one simple question. It puts people off and makes them less likely to return. Direct messaging can be integrated into your website via a live chat facility or through social media sites, such as with Facebook Messenger and Instagram direct messaging. The more channels you have available for customers to get hold of you, the happier they will be, and the more they will buy.
- Personalisation: This involves making it personal to the individual by making your message grab them at the first glance. This goes far beyond sending out an email with an individual's name on it. It’s about letting the customer know you’ve listened to them. You know just what they like and are here to offer that to them. One way to do this is by creating a popup that triggers when customers visit your site from a particular source. You can also use data that you already have about the customer to make it more personal. For example, you could create a marketing campaign that focuses on where people live, their purchase history or even their last interaction.
- Problem Solving: Rather than focus all your marketing efforts on promoting the product, instead shift the focus on the needs of your buyer and all the problems that your product(s) solves. This can be particularly effective in the cycling industry as there are so many reasons as to why people choose to take to cycling (i.e. to save money, to lose weight, to be more social). So, instead of organising your marketing campaign around the specific features of the latest bike to be released, highlight all those benefits of that it will bring to the individual. This is by far the most direct approach to use in marketing as instantly puts the attention on how the product will make the customer’s like much easier or more enjoyable.
- Social Media: The power of social media is huge. With so many users across various platforms, it’s the perfect place to market your products and any business would be crazy not to make the most of it as part of their marketing strategy. Facebook holds a lot of data for individuals. Using the analytics tools available on social media platforms you can tap into some of this information to learn a lot about your customers. You can find out their wants, needs, personalities, and sharing behaviours. Then you simply need to take this information and come up with a targeted, personalised campaign to draw those who are showing interest in it.
- Make it measurable: Keeping up to date with your Return on Investment (ROI) for all your marketing efforts is essential. It will let you know what’s working and what’s not and will also you to change it up as need be. ROI is a very important part of planning future marketing strategies, particularly when it comes to budgeting. Without this information, you’re purely taking a gamble as to what works and what doesn't and could end up spending money on a marketing campaign that’s giving you nothing in return.
- Mix it up: Don’t just stick with one type of media to market. Use multiple types of marketing strategies and media channels to achieve the best results. One good marketing strategy, based on this idea, involves using traditional style marketing idea such as direct mail and coupons to attract new customers, then uses social media to enhance the relationship further. Then, if they’re experience with you is a good one, they’re more likely to share it with their friends.
Whatever marketing strategy you do decide on for 2018, make sure you plan ahead and be prepared to make changes as you go along. The best marketing strategies are those which are constantly evolving to suit the wants and needs of the customer. What marketing plan is employed in the end could be completely different to what you planned to start with. But, as long as it’s attracting the customer by tapping in to what they want, you should have no trouble at all in securing new business. Direct marketing is a tried and tested form of advertising and as long as you get it right, you should see your business grow and become more profitable in no time at all.