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Direct marketing should invoke customer involvement, not irritation.

The purpose behind direct marketing is to build a healthy engagement with your prospect. It’s always nice when a direct marketing campaign results in a hard sale, but if they aren’t ready to make the purchase, it’s important to engage your prospect with some really good content so that when they are ready, they will think of you.

Direct marketing is a direct way of communicating with your prospect. You are talking directly to them, rather than to everyone in the general vicinity. Hence the name DIRECT marketing.

The worry that a lot of marketers feel is that if it’s not done the right way, direct marketing can be seen as simply junk mail and spam. It can be more annoying than informative and that’s not the desired effect. Direct marketing needs to be attractively and professionally packaged so that the prospect feels involved and informed..

The best way to accomplish this is through target marketing. This will insure your prospect gets relevant information, based on their interests or expertise, that they can actually use. If you are a non-profit organization – try a list of donors; if you are selling residential solar panels – try a list of eco-friendly homeowners, if you are an agency representing a high end resort – try a list of high end travel buffs, etc. With tens of thousands of direct marketing lists on the market, there’s no shortage of possibilities. The important questions to ask yourself is “who is my ideal client? And why?”

For example: we had a contractor ask for a mailing list of home owners in a certain area. Their direct marketing plan was to do a mailing to everyone within a certain geography. One of our list brokers asked to know what services they were trying to market. The answer was ‘renovations’ and ‘home building’. Those are two completely different targets. Someone interested in renovations would normally be a homeowner with an older home within a certain income bracket. Someone interested in building their own home would normally be someone with the income to be able to afford it, regardless if they were already a homeowner or not.  Doing a blanket mailing to everyone in the area would not be effective. Doing two separate mailings to each target market with a slightly different mail piece customized to each was the smart marketing move.

This is why it’s really important to define who your ideal target market is. The best way to do this is to look at your current clientele and search for commonalities. This will allow you to create a profile or profiles of your best target markets. The more you know about your current customers, the better you are able to define where and who you to reach out to.

There are certain stigmas associated with direct marketing and it’s essential to really think about who you want to be targeting and why. This will ensure that your direct marketing effort are encouraging customer involvement and not irritation.