Four Small Business Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns That Say “Remember Me”

With direct-mail marketing persistence is a virtue. Your mail piece may find that one prospect that is ‘ready to buy what you’re offering right now’, but in most cases the recipients of your direct mail marketing piece are those that are categorized as the ‘buying in the future’ or ‘thinking about it’ categories. Your persistence will pay off when prospects in those categories move to the ‘ready to purchase’ category. There are four types of direct mail marketing campaigns discussed in this article.

1. Tip-of-the-Month Series

A monthly mailing is the easiest way to achieve consistency. The content for those mailings should be something that you know a lot about. Your tips need to be related to what your product/service is. Think about what your customer would use or need either right before or after they buy your product. What issues are your prospects facing and think of several solutions (not just buying your product/service).

If you’re a Real Estate Agent, for example, one issue your prospect may face is a growing family and the house is too small. Your solutions would be tips about how to put on an addition, remodel, or find a larger house.

Keep your tips relevant to what your product/service is and it will provide two benefits for you. First, you will be seen as an expert in your field. Secondly, you become a pre-qualified vendor in the prospects mind and they will be more inclined to work with you when they are ready to purchase what you’re offering.

2. Recognition Campaign

This campaign identifies and rewards your existing customers by saying ‘thank you’. It is suggested that you tone down the marketing when using this approach. When you’re sending a ‘thank you’ leave the sales pitch off completely. This is very effective for your existing customers to keep you ‘top of mind’ and refer you to others.

Use this approach to single out your targeted prospects. Start by making them an exclusive offer your general mailings do not. Explain why they are receiving mailings from you and what to expect to receive each month. Keep the sales pitch in but the personality of your message should over shadow it.

3. Pre-/Post-Sale Campaign

Use this campaign to follow your prospect throughout the entire purchasing cycle resulting in customer follow-up. This will create consistency, repetition and follow-up.

Let’s look at a window replacement example:

A company makes a sale to replace several windows and sends postcards to other homes in the area announcing that they will be in the neighborhood. Once the windows are in (make sure your yard sign is in the front yard), the company sends another card to reflect this, and then begins mailing to the area on a regular basis. The company is now developing recognition in the target area. All postcards need a strong call to action providing the recipient a reason to contact them, see the house with new windows, or visit the company’s website.

With this campaign you show prospects what you can do and then ask if you can do it for them.

4. Drive To Your Website

Direct-mail postcards will drive prospects to your web page. The postcard informs your prospects about a free gift, great discount offer, or a Special Report on your website to get them there. Once they are on your website you want to keep them there. Ensure you have a content rich website with information that will be valuable to your prospect. With this campaign you draft a plan about when you will update your website and with what type of information. Use the postcards to announce your updates and the value to the prospect to visit again.

Postcards are cost effective and work well by themselves and/or with other marketing mediums like e-mails, telephone calls, or even sales calls. Establish a frequency and you will be top-of-mind in your prospects eyes for very little money.

These are just a few of the ways you can campaign with direct mail. Experiment to find a plan that suits your particular situation, your products or services, and then see it through. You may find that a combination of these will produce new leads and generate increased sales. A successful direct mail campaign will say ‘remember me’.

How to Not Get Your Direct Mail Promotions Thrashed

Marketing by means of direct mail promotions have become one of the most preferred trends in promotion and advertising. Over the year, it has proven its value especially for small-time businesses that are promoting their product and services.

But then, the most frustrating problem that is encountered using this strategy is junk mail. Oftentimes, your direct mail promotions are considered junk by its receivers. This is because inboxes are full of them. Every day, those kinds of mails are taking over most of the space in the mailboxes. And people are not too happy receiving them.

In addition, they are also aware of spam. Email services nowadays have built in capabilities that warn people about the kind of mail that they are receiving. Most of them delete these spam mails even before people can read them.

There is a big possibility that your mail is considered as one. This means that you are being shut down before you can introduce yourself.

In spite of all these things, companies and businesses are still direct mails to potential customers. Why? Because this has proven to be an effective marketing strategy.

It is true that people junk mails before opening them. It is also true that most of them read first or scan through them before they click on the delete button. That is the time when they will decide if you mail is worth keeping and reading.

Once they see that you have in you something that they need, some will even respond and will wait for further communication from you. This is the start of a good business relationship between the two of you.

The thing to remember is that your direct mail promotion should grab your readers the very first time they see it. According to surveys, the more readers read about the product or services, the more they are inclined to avail of those.

This principle can be seen from media and print advertisements. People are usually presented by a product over and over. Those who do not have a need for it at the moment will not be interested immediately. But then, when the time comes for that need, the first thing that they will want is the product that they have seen many times in the past.

There are even cases that even though people do not need these things, they are enticed into buying them because they find the endorsement attractive and appealing. And without further ado, they will have that product in their possession in no time.

The same thing should be applied to direct mail promotion. You have to make sure that the persons getting them are targeted. This basically means that you have to send them to people that might be in need of your product or service.

Even if they do not have a need for it at the moment, they should get interested enough to inquire more about what you offer them. This may be because they are curious and want to get more information about it.

Keep in mind that the statistics are showing the small percentage of response being generated by direct mail promotions. This is why you should make your mails more attractive and interesting at all times.

Base it from your own experience. What kind of mails attracts you? Differentiate them from those you consider junk. From there, you can expand that concept and be one of those who are earning more money through direct mail promotions.

Automotive Advertising Agencies Shift Online Marketing to Social Networking and Individual Vehicles

The market shift from brick and mortar dealerships to virtual online showrooms has been confirmed with 93% of car shoppers turning to the Internet Super Highway vs. their neighborhood auto dealership or local car row to shop for a new or used vehicle. Of equal interest to auto dealers who have shifted their automotive advertising dollars to the Internet to follow their customers there is that automotive advertising agencies have confirmed that online car shoppers are often using the search engines to look for a specific vehicle, not an auto dealership. As a result, automotive advertising agencies have shifted their online messages to match the consumer’s request for information in more of a pull/push marketing strategy to promote their inventory using local search words and meta tags attached to individual videos of their vehicles vs. the old school push/pull methods that focused on delivering an auto dealer marketing message designed to drive customers directly to the dealers’ website.

The role of the real world auto dealership is maturing into an experience center to test drive vehicles, take delivery — for now — and service the vehicles during their life cycle. Newly developed virtual world auto dealerships are also taking on a new role in the retail auto industry with new technologies that are crashing through the glass wall that used to limit what could be accomplished on the World Wide Web.

Marketing tools using SEO and SEM techniques tied to individual vehicle videos linked to micro-sites with specialized information is more transparent and relevant than driving internet shoppers to a home page on an auto dealer’s website that requires further actions by the customer to drill down to what they need — information on a vehicle that they are interested in purchasing. Online shoppers are less often looking for an auto dealer than they are looking for a vehicle so why not cut to the chase and take them there directly? Google and other search engines have recognized the value of video and more targeted vehicle focused search results with index able vehicle videos taking a priority position over conventional postings and websites with similar local search criteria.

Once a shopper has landed on a vehicle why would an auto dealer want to drive them to an email, a phone call or any similar disconnect in the process directing them to their real or virtual showroom when new technology can answer all of the customer’s questions directly from the video player using integrated online transaction tools? Live two way video customer interaction platforms, like Argistics AutoTransaXion, and third party resources like Car Fax reports coupled with the ability to deliver credit applications, payment calculators and even a complete buyers order — real time — with CRM/DMS integration allowing a comprehensive desking tool for the auto dealer to push/pull all related information needed to actually sell the vehicle online and the required forms for the customer to buy it suggest that there is no longer a need to take the customer back up the sales funnel to the auto dealer’s website.

Comprehensive auto dealership websites are no longer the best — or at least the only — place for automotive advertising agencies to drive online customers to. Auto dealers who wish to survive in the growing virtual world on the Internet must be more focused on internet based tools and techniques that allow them to do it the customer’s way. They must provide online car shoppers with all of the information that they need to find and purchase the vehicle they want without having to fit the auto dealers’ selling processes based on an old and dated adversarial negotiation processes in either their real or virtual showroom where customers perceive that auto dealers will try to sell them something that they don’t want for more than they can afford?

Many vendor applications are currently available and being used by automotive advertising agencies to accomplish all of the above. AutoNation, for example, has recently announced their shift to centralized online transactions using Argistics AutoTransaXion’s customer interaction platform with their two way video transaction capabilities and Sonic Automotive has proven out the role of video to enhance conversions using SiSTer Technologies Video CarLot. Similar announcements by OEM and other technology vendors to the auto industry are expected to be released during the upcoming 2010 NADA Convention in Orlando Florida. As a result, the role of the brick and mortar dealership and their online marketing messages promoting the auto dealership vs. satisfying the needs of the to the consumer must change — and they will because they already are.

Similarly, the role of social networking for automotive advertising agencies anxious to monetize this new consumer driven media is also being accelerated by new technologies and automotive advertising vendor applications. Efforts by automotive advertising agencies to market directly to consumers through social media, B2C, have matured to more successful consumer driven marketing messages. New inventory driven third party websites like ronsmap.com apply new technologies that develop word of mouth, W.O.M., and customer to customer recommendations, C2C, which promise to be the preferred method of selling vehicles online in the foreseeable future.

Simply put, automotive advertising agencies must deliver customers the information that they want when, how and where they want it. All of these issues are addressed through the use of the Internet and new technologies that market vehicles over auto dealers, video vs. copy and recommendations from online friends vs. a self serving auto dealer trying to sell themselves vs. serving the needs of their potential customers.