When corporate budgets are down, marketing efforts are often one of the first things to go. But as the economy takes the first tentative steps toward recovery, it is important that you keep your company, and your products and services, in front of your clients so that you are poised to take advantage of an upturn.
In times like these, every dollar you spend will need to be used efficiently. Direct marketing is one of the most effective methods of advertising. But your efforts can be wasted if you don’t research your market and your clients’ needs.
Spending on direct marketing rose slightly last year and is expected to continue to rise in 2010. Direct marketing campaigns can often be targeted and often result in a better return on investment, which is why many companies are spending more on this and less on other forms of advertising.
Direct marketing can take the form of a mailing, an e-mail, or, in these times of social media marketing, a posting on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter.
Identify Your Market
First, it’s important to identify your target market and develop an understanding of it. It could be as simple as taking names from people who have purchased items or services from you in the past year. However, direct marketing campaigns can fail if you use a general shotgun approach, attempting to reach too many people and over-generalize the campaign. If you are offering a specific item or service, your marketing effort will work best when you whittle your list to those who are most likely to take advantage of your offer.
For example, if you own an accounting firm that is offering a discount on tax-preparation services to those who come into the office during the month of January, it may not make sense to target those who normally file quarterly taxes.
Measure Your Results
One of the great advantages of direct marketing is that you can measure your results. To get the most from this benefit, you should offer a call to action, such as redeeming a coupon or going to a Web site to download materials. Decide what result you want, whether it is for people to come into your store and shop, or to gain information on a product you sell, and then target your campaign to ensure that clients will take advantage of what you are giving them.
Tracking a successful campaign is about more than just looking at the number of coupons that are redeemed. If you use mail in coupons or rebates, track where they come from, who uses them, and what they use them for. These numbers can be a vital clue for further marketing campaigns. You can learn what demographics to target, which ZIP codes respond to your marketing efforts most consistently, and how much people spend. The next time you will be able to target your marketing efforts even more directly, tapping into the consumers who use your products and services most.
Direct marketing campaigns, if you handle them the right way, can be a very consistent and professional form of advertising. Used the wrong way, they can waste your marketing dollars, and that is just what you don’t need in a down economy.