Direct marketers don’t have a glamorous job. But it is disciplined and can teach small business marketing a lot about driving business results from marketing activities. Why? Because direct marketing costs money. Every message, every address, costs money so they’re forced to hone their message, design, lists, and offers and test them until their campaign is perfect before committing their full budget.
This type of discipline is very insightful for identifying the aspects that lead to higher conversions. The results are often not something you’d talk about at a dinner party but it is the kind of marketing that will keep your business up and running. So let’s look at what small businesses can learn from direct marketers.
Your list is everything
Whether you’re sending a piece of mail to a list of 5,000 or sending an email to a list of 150,000, the quality of your list is everything in determining the success of your campaign. For direct marketers, every message costs money so to make sure they’re getting a return, they spend incredible resources making sure their lists are filled with only the best prospects.
For your email marketing list, this includes setting appropriate thresholds so that bounces are unsubscribed and that you attempt to re-engage inactive users or remove them altogether. Direct marketers teach you that quantity is not valuable, quality is.
For snail mail, the list is even more important because of the high price of mailing marketing materials. If you’re doing a mail campaign, learn from direct marketers’ obsession with testing. Print and mail is a big investment so take the time to test a few pieces of content before creating the final mailing piece.
By keeping a maintained list, direct marketers improve their ROI and send marketing messages only to those most willing to purchase.
Content is crucial
If your list is everything, the content you send is crucial. Direct marketers find that envelopes with “lumpy” things in them are opened more than simple paper. Why? Think about it. A “lumpy” item in an envelope is a mystery, it’s exciting. While your website content shouldn’t be a mystery, it should be exciting so that your audience engages with it longer, and, hopefully, sees the value of your offering and takes the desired next step.
Creating content that is useful, and stands out are other lessons you can learn from direct marketers. While in direct marketing, creativity may stand out but in other channels, this creative best practice may translate into using a unique channel to deliver your message, or a valuable coupon in an email. You know your business but when developing marketing materials, consider how to position it as exciting, useful and how to get it to stand out.
If you really want to learn to tie marketing to results, associate a cost with every Tweet, every email, every website bounce and you’ll start making decisions that improve your marketing and your bottom line.