There are multiple avenues to explore in the use of direct marketing, building a lasting relationships – communicate directly between your business or not-for-profit organisation and your audience. A powerful medium used by all sizes of businesses or charities, measurable by the response.
Some channels in direct marketing are: postal mailings, advertisements, email marketing, telemarketing, text messaging, online advertising, catalogues, postcards, personalised letters and many more.
Below are just some of the aspects you should consider with a direct marketing campaign.
An important element to any direct mail is the database, the list should be relevant and up-to-date. It’s no good sending a letter to Mrs Brown, age 75, if your product is a coloured hair gel with glitter, aimed towards teenagers (although she could be a trendy pensioner), a researched clean database is a must.
If you have your own database, most mailing houses offer a service where your list is cleaned. Duplicates, gone-aways, deceased, opted out and many other filters applied before processing and delivering your mailing. Mailing costs will be lower after cleaning your list and with targeting the correct audience, the response rate will be higher.
Direct Mail has gained a name as Junk Mail, this is because, organisations have mass delivered to an uninterested audience and not researched the mailing list before sending, thinking by sending enough mailings the response will be higher.
Direct Mail is a representation of your organisation, sometimes a first impression, you should remember your consumer’s needs and wants – will your mailing offer a product or service they need or want, an improvement for them in some way, can their help change the lives for the better.
Whatever list you go with, if you opt to buy a list, purchase it from a reputable company, who can do all the cleaning for you, who are open about where the names on the database have come from and follow the rules set in place to protect the consumer.
Your copy is how you tell the story, an interaction between you and your customer or donor. Be clear about the nature of the material they are reading, make it personal, if you know their name, use it, if you don’t know their name, find out. Dear donor, just doesn’t cut it when they give £5 a month.
I just had an email arrive while creating this page, addressed to ‘For the kind attention of the Owner,’ the email went on to say: ‘As discussed, we would like to…’ what a waste of time. A little more effort would have gained a better response if the email would have been addressed ‘Dear Alan,’ and they had actually contacted me previously to discussed their service, they had not. They obviously don’t care about me or my business, a prime example of a business getting it so wrong! Personalisation shows you care, and don’t try to trick them with ‘as discussed’, when you have not, always be transparent.
Keep your copy short and spend as much time on the heading and/or envelope teaser copy as the rest of the text. This is also true with the subject line on email marketing. This is the first text that will be read, a judgement will be made instantly to continue to open the envelope, email, or read on.
Read your copy aloud, this will point out the pitfalls and mistakes within your text, and remember spell check everything. Use short words and sentences and avoid jargon.
If you are unsure about copy, then the best way to go would be to attain the services of a copywriter. Copywriters are worth their weight in gold – a professionally written mailing will push all the right buttons and determine the correct emotion.
With any form of marketing, you will only get a response if you ask for it, add a call to action and make sure it can be seen, don’t hide it away in the small print.
Design and layout
Your campaign, should be appealing to the audience and relevant. Every inch of the page is at a premium and all elements should work together. Space is just as important as the graphics, text and images, leading the eye through the page with space for the eye to rest.
The design should complement the subject and have meaning, not just to look pretty. Colour evokes emotion and should be used carefully – can the text on the colour background be read, is the design legible. Is the design non-fragmented with images, text and colour balancing harmoniously.
Can the call to action be found easily, this is direct mail and you want a response.