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Direct marketing made easy – eight tips to reach your customer via email

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Direct marketing isn’t glamorous – you won’t see snazzy advertisements or funny commercials. And forget about the fireworks, they’re not going to happen.

What you can expect, though, is direct interaction with your target market. And what it lacks in pizzazz, it sure makes up for in return on investment.

Direct marketing is the art of losing money in very small amounts so you can make it in large amounts later,” says Malcolm Auld, principal of Malcolm Auld Direct.

But forget the outdated, annoying and largely uninvited modes of telemarketing or direct mail spewing from overstuffed mailboxes – these days the most effective channel is email.

The proof is in the purchase

Just how effective is email marketing?

According to US body, the Direct Marketing Association, commercial email marketing boasted a $43.62 return on investment for every dollar spent during 2009. Compare this with internet search advertising’s ROI of $21.85, and you can see how powerful direct email marketing can be as a marketing tool.

What’s more, Datran Media reported that, of the 5000 companies surveyed, email was the strongest advertising channel in 2009, with a 39.4 per cent vote. And Forbes’ ‘Ad Effectiveness Survey’ of Feb/Mar 2009 found that email and e-newsletter marketing are the second-most effective tool for lead generation, followed by search engine optimisation (SEO).

E-mail marketing is certainly held in high-esteem. And there’s little doubt why – unlike traditional advertising channels such as print advertising, email marketing allows for targeting, is data driven, drives direct sales, and develops customer relationships.

Don’t shoot blindly

However, email marketing’s success hinges upon consumer reaction. And for there to be any reaction, the intended target market needs to be reached. Like any marketing strategy, the marketer needs to define the target market and identify how they can be reached.

“With direct mail, it’s all about getting it right first time,” says Auld. “Invest in getting the list (or media) right before anything else. If the media is wrong, it doesn’t matter what you are sending, you won’t get a response.”

Many marketing-specialist businesses offer targeted databases for a price – these can be rented for a one-time or multi-use license. These are generally quite expensive, compared with accruing your own contacts, but very convenient and time-efficient.

Alternatively, build your own database of potential contacts. For repeat business, ask for contact details, including email addresses, for any sales made. Though it will take longer to build a substantial database, generally a more meaningful relationship can be forged between the business and the customer.

Pestering for a purpose

Like any marketing campaign, email marketing requires a strategy in line with business goals and objectives. Here are a few hints to maximise upon the potential of your campaign:

  1. Check your spelling. Nothing says incompetent like carreless speling mistaykes. See?
  2. Deliver value. Give your customers a reason to read your email. This may be in the form of helpful advice, handy tips or even a coupon or two.
  3. Whatever you do, limit the dreaded $cash symbol$. Spam filters check for this and will deposit your email directly into the Junk Mail folder.
  4. If you capture email addresses online, implement a retype box. This will limit spelling mistakes on the customers’ part.
  5. Involve a clear call to action, such as ‘click here’ or ‘visit our store’.
  6. Choose an appropriate time to send emails. Sending emails during the holidays, for example, will not be as successful if the majority of contacts have work email addresses.
  7. Subject lines are crucial – ensure yours is punchy and entices the reader to double-click. Again, wording should be carefully constructed to avoid automatically being placed in the Junk Mail bin. Percentage and dollar signs and exclamation marks are notorious for this.
  8. The design and layout of the email should reflect your brand.

And, finally, Auld recommends testing the waters, before taking the plunge. “Ideally, test the list prior to using it. Select, say, one thousand names and test an offer to see what happens,” he says.

Remember, customers’ contact details should be kept confidential and secure. Visit the Australian Communications and Media Authority website for details on how to stay within the law when using the channel of direct marketing.

So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Wednesday, July 28, 2010

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