If you’ve been researching the best ways to grow your business, then you’ve come across the term “direct marketing.” But what exactly is direct marketing, what are the advantages of using it, and how do you even get started?
Let’s look at the answers to these questions to see if direct marketing is worth it for you, and if it is, we’ve got the details for how to start.
What is Direct Marketing?
Direct marketing is a form of advertising where you reach a specific group of individuals with the purpose of influencing them to take a certain action. This action could be visiting your website, making a purchase, sending in a donation, or contacting you to learn more.
A direct marketing campaign includes the process of identifying your customers and ideal prospects, determining their needs and interests, and then marketing directly to that specific audience.
In contrast, the goal of indirect marketing is to inform a broader audience to build brand awareness that will lead to turning consumers into customers over time rather than immediately.
For example, content marketing like a podcast or blog works by informing and capturing the attention of an audience—this is indirect marketing. On the other hand, a direct mail campaign sent to a target audience with the goal of encouraging them to make a purchase right away is a direct marketing method.
Examples of direct marketing include:
- Direct mail marketing (postcards, EDDM, catalogs, etc.)
- Print advertising (brochures, door hangers, flyers, signs, etc.)
- Email marketing
- Phone calls or telemarketing
- Person to person sales
- Pay-per-click advertisements (PPC)
Advantages of Direct Marketing
You Reach Your Target Audience
Reaching the right audience is so important, and with direct marketing, you can target specific audience segments including certain demographics and even an audience based on their interests, buying activity, and more.
By targeting specific people, you’re able to narrow down your audience so you can reach a more manageable group who are also more likely to take you up on your offer.
Results Are Measurable
Measuring the effectiveness of advertising campaigns helps you plan better for future ones. And for direct marketing methods like direct mail, or email marketing, you can easily track the success of your efforts.
For example, you can measure the effectiveness of print advertising or direct mail by including a promo code, vanity URL with a UTM tracking code, QR code, a call tracking number, or even a simple coupon cutout.
Direct Marketing Is Ideal for Any Budget
While it is effective at building awareness around your brand and is a necessity for many industries, indirect marketing like broadcast media can be very expensive. And casting a large net over varying individuals—many of whom have no interest in what your company offers—can result in wasted money.
Direct marketing is less expensive, has a high ROI, and is very flexible when it comes to working around your budget for many reasons.
One of the main reasons is that with direct marketing, you can define your ideal audience and target a much smaller group of people. This reduces your advertising spend and allows you to concentrate your budget where you’re most likely to convert.
In addition, there are various materials and methods that can be used in a direct marketing campaign that are suitable for small businesses just starting out or large franchises.
Increases Your Brand’s Value
The more you reach out to the people who matter most to your business, the better you build awareness around your brand. When you offer your audience an incentive to respond to your direct marketing message, it increases their interest in your company.
It Comes with Personalization
Direct marketing's focus is encouraging recipients to act. Part of the planning to do this includes analyzing the needs and interests of your ideal audience. Because of this your marketing message is already more personal than an advertisement with the goal of getting as many individuals to see it as possible.
On top of it being personalized for your audience, you can also personalize each direct marketing message to be tailored for each individual within your audience. For example, you can include each recipient’s name on a postcard and change the image on your brochure to relate to each individual.
Strengthened Customer Relationships
When you send customers a direct marketing message using methods like print advertising, you're connecting directly with them rather than going through a third-party resource or reaching a large audience just to get the word out about your company. By creating that direct connection, it helps you display your brand authentically and trustworthily thus turning more customers into loyal customers.
It Can Be Combined with Other Campaigns
Direct marketing campaigns can work as a standalone campaign or be a part of an omni-channel one which can generate even better results. For example, you can combine direct mail with email marketing, and social media to reach your audience on multiple channels. This will increase the chances your audience will choose you when it’s time for them to make a purchasing decision and strengthen awareness around your brand.
How to Get Started on Direct Marketing
Use the steps below to successfully get started on your advertising campaign:
1. Outline Your Goals & Budget
There are two main things you need to determine before you begin any marketing campaign. Those two things are your goals and budget.
For your goals, what is it you want to offer? Are you looking to promote a sale or product, your grand opening, the services you offer, or are you looking to bring in donations to your nonprofit?
You also need to keep your advertising costs in mind. Outline everything that will be needed, including how many people you’re looking to reach, the cost of a mailing list, your materials, a graphic designer, postage costs, etc. Put together everything you will need to make sure you stay within your budget through the entire process.
Once you have a clear vision of the message you want to deliver along with your budget, you need to choose the right medium and method. For example, direct mail postcards using a custom mailing list is a cost-effective way to offer a discount, Every Door Direct Mail is an affordable way to invite individuals to your business’s grand opening, and brochures or catalogs are effective at delivering detailed information on the services you provide.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
For a successful direct marketing campaign, make sure to analyze and identify the audience who is most likely to respond to your message.
If you’re looking to reach your existing customers, it’s important that you reach only the people who make sense for your campaign. For instance, is your message intended for new customers, loyal customers, or customers who haven’t ordered in a while?
If you’re looking to target a new audience, it’s a good idea to choose individuals who are similar to your most valuable customers. For example, a retail store may want to target individuals who live close by to them. However, they should also look at their current customers and see what demographic segments show interest in their brand so they can narrow down their audience by location, gender, age, income, and more.
3. Include an Offer
What is it you want your audience to do? Do you want them to visit your website, sign up for a newsletter, give you a call, or make a purchase?
Whatever it is you want your audience to do, you need to create an offer and include a call to action (CTA) that encourages them to make the response you’re looking for. For example, if you want consumers to buy your product, give them a discount or an incentive they can use towards their next order.
Make sure that your offer and call to action is easy to understand, and bold. It should be one of the first things your audience sees when viewing your message.
4. Launch Your Direct Marketing Campaign
Once you’ve chosen the best material and method for your goals and budget, identified your target audience, and chosen your offer, you’re ready to discover the advantages of direct marketing for yourself.
Depending on what material and method you have chosen, they will determine the next steps you need to take.
For instance, with direct mail marketing, you need to create an effective direct mail design, you need to find a printer, choose if you will be automating your campaign or launching a one-off campaign, and you need to account for the production and delivery time.
5. Measure Your Results
As mentioned above as one of the advantages, direct marketing is measurable and once your campaign begins running, it’s important to monitor your results. This is because the responses you generate will show you how different customers and prospects react. It will also show you what’s working and what’s not so you can tailor future campaigns accordingly to increase your success over time.
It’s also a great idea to A/B test your advertising campaign. For example, send half of your audience a postcard with a QR code and the other half a postcard with a promo code to see what performs better. You can even A/B test your offer, images, or CTA to begin better understanding what your audience is interested in.
6. Plan Your Next Campaign
What did you learn from your direct marketing campaign?
Keep a record of your response rates over time along with the details of what worked and what didn’t so you can continue to generate greater results with your future campaigns.
Conclusion: Direct Marketing Advantages
If you’re looking to advertise directly to your audience in a way that effectively grows your business, then direct marketing can help.
Overall the advantages of direct marketing include:
- The ability to target the right audience
- You can measure results to improve all future campaigns
- Direct marketing is ideal for even the smallest budget
- It strengthens awareness around your brand and adds value to it
- It creates more personal relationships with your audience
- Direct marketing leads to more loyal customers
- It can be combined with other advertising methods
At Kingston Printing, we specialize in direct marketing like print advertising, direct mail campaigns, and omni-channel campaigns like email combined with direct mail. Plus, we have a variety of materials and services to meet your exact goals and budget.
If you’re ready to get started on a successful direct marketing campaign, click below to discover some powerful solutions you can take advantage of today!
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