Direct Mail and Marketing Tips

 

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millenials

Can We Still Make Millenials Listen?

There seems to be this misconception that Millenials don’t respond to direct mail because they are the ‘device’ generation. Millennials are often perceived as being constantly glued to their mobile phones, so how could they possibly engage with direct mail or care enough to open it in the first place? If you’re of this mindset then the truth might come as quite a surprise! 

Millennials have now taken over baby boomers in numbers and actually, they currently account for 25% of the U.S population. Although there are some different interpretations of what a Millenial is, generally they are considered to be anyone born between the years of 1982 and 2000. Given the current average age of Millenials and where we presently sit in 2019, they carry a lot of weight in the buying space. According to Accenture, they will spend $1.4 trillion by 2020. This makes them very valuable to businesses, and as a result, SO much marketing is targeted at them. But is it too much? 

Certainly online, regular device users become ‘numb’ to a large proportion of ads and offers. That’s simply due to the extreme frequency of them. After all, no one logs on to Instagram to see ads. No one wants to see promotions every time they read a blog post. It’s not WHY they choose to spend time online. This isn’t to say digital advertising isn’t effective, because of course, it is. It’s about how these messages are delivered.

In a world where you’ve grown up with digital solutions and devices around you, something happens. You don’t actually become a slave to online advertisements and promotions. In fact, quite the opposite. Millenial’s tend to prefer unique custom experiences from brands. They choose personalization and proper connections over meaningless tannoy-like announcements. 

Too many brands ‘shout’ out about what makes them great, without demonstrating it. 

Millennials are also renowned for taking multi-channel approaches to complete a purchase or interaction with a brand. They need to have options and they need to feel valued to take action. 

USPS states that 77% of Millenials pay attention to direct mail. Given that they favor multi-channel approaches to their destination, here’s something that works well: Start the funnel with a piece of direct mail. Something that grabs attention with limited words/space – i.e a postcard. Let the follow-up action happen online, use this piece of mail to direct them to take a digital action that’s valuable to you. The best type of follow-up action should be one that’s highly interactive for that individual. Consider AI or video. 

Remember that one type of communication does not fit all! Communication preferences are largely determined by age and life experiences. For many groups, one type of communication, one pathway or channel is very limiting in the world. It’s up to you guide the receiver to action, but the way you do that should be audience-specific. Age isn’t the only consideration; the type of target market will also determine the best approach. A ‘millennial’ still covers a wide range of individuals; students, parents, professionals etc,.)

days-of-week

What is the Best Day to Send Mail?

With marketing communications comes the need to deliver the message at the optimal time. Even the ultimate messaging/offer and swanky design can benefit from being delivered at the best time for that audience. 

In the online world, it’s easy to monitor ‘optimal time’ down to the exact minute. You can schedule your email marketing and social media content to reach people at the perfect time. 

However, one of the limitations of digital is that it’s mostly passive. This means that you don’t reach out and grab customers, you have to wait from them to come to you.  You can control when you send an email, you can control when you post on social media, but you cannot control when people read it.

On the other hand, direct mail is active communication. We drop it in the mail and it seeks out our prospect. If it’s a postcard you will get an immediate impression. Letters, of course, require an open, just like an email. Since it’s tactile, it’s a different kind of impression, and not prone to the “delete, delete, delete…” mentality that comes when sorting through email.

Timing

It’s a fact that direct mail does tend to work better on certain days compared to others, but it does vary slightly from the audience and the type of content you’re mailing out. Most mail is received on a Monday following the weekend, but this doesn’t make Monday the best time to send your campaign. In fact, quite the opposite. Why send mail on a day when it’s more likely to get drowned out alongside other mail? Generally, it’s also a very busy day for working families. Mail tends to get ignored more on Monday’s.

According to the Data & Marketing Association, Tuesday-Thursday is the optimal time to mail your campaigns. It’s thought that people are more engaged with the content because they are into the flow of the working week. 

At Zairmail, we provide FREE tracking with every direct mail campaign.  That means you can see when your order is processed, printed, mailed, and delivered by the USPS.  This can be really helpful if you are trying to schedule a series of follow-up phone calls.

Send vs Receive

A simple mistake to make is mailing out your campaign on THE optimal receive day, instead of in-advance to allow time for the mail to be posted. So, if you want to the mail to be received on a Wednesday, consider a Monday send date (again, dependent on delivery times). 

A good technique is to start with first-class mailing which usually takes 3 days anywhere in the continental US. If your mail can’t be delivered USPS will return it to you, which can help you clean-up your database. From here and once you have things rolling if you’re concerned about costs you can switch to Standard A mailing. This takes 7-10 days for delivery but it is more affordable. 

Don’t forget to consider limited time offers with expiration dates and how this might fit into your send/receive dates. If your offer is time-sensitive it might not work alongside the ideal receive date and instead might have to go a day either side. Only you can make this call. You must always plan your campaigns around the offer/promotion you’re communicating. An impending date is used to force immediate action if the date has passed it will have no effect!

Delivery Dates Are Not Everything 

Arguably, the day you send your mail might not one of the top things to consider when you’re starting a campaign. Don’t throw the basics out the window; design, messaging, content type, the audience (postal list), etc. These elements are the defining features of a successful campaign. Personalization can go a long way to stand-out and turn a simple piece of mail into an actionable piece, leading to more than a 50% increase in response rates. Above all else, this is the most important thing; creating a direct mail campaign that drives responses. Color can also increase response rates, so splash on the bold color choices unless it’s not appropriate to do so.

On average mail is kept in the household for 17 days. This is another great reason not to worry too much about the day your mail is received. To take the example of a postcard, you want that postcard to take a prime place on the fridge. Here it will stay for a considerable amount of time until it’s actioned, a daily reminder to take action.

different

4 Ways to Differentiate Yourself as Business

Standing out as a business and establishing a strong brand is crucial for success. If you can’t differentiate yourself from other similar businesses and brands, ultimately you will lose ground on the competition. For local businesses, competition can be very fierce within a small sandbox, so highlighting your unique qualities is the only way to thrive. 

Do you know what makes you different, unique, and more desirable than the alternatives? Every business, whether it is a carpet cleaning company, or a high flying tech startup, has certain traits that make it special.  We need to understand how to put your unique offerings and character front and center.

Do you want to discover yours or just confirm what you already know?

It’s time to answer some questions about your business. 

Every business (literally) has something that makes them special or they wouldn’t be around.  We just need to know what it is. Is that the process we are going to help them work through?]

This process usually starts with identifying competitors (alternate solutions) and understanding what they think their unique benefits/offerings are as well.

When we are doing positioning (you know, the technical term from school, we also need to make sure that it is defensible.  So, for example, if we are going to say we are the cheapest, then there better be a structural reason why we are cheaper, which prevents others from just dropping their prices and blowing us away.

Ask Your Customers

What is the number one thing your customers/clients praise you for?

It could be the quality of the products you sell, it could be the speed of service or the quality of customer support they receive. You might think your leading quality is service, but actually, the number one thing customers praise you for is the product itself. This might not even be a simple question to answer, especially if you’re a start-up. Collecting official customer feedback can help you with this kind of thing. 

If you’re thinking, ‘how can I collect customer feedback’ a good way is to incentivize customers; offer them a discount on their next order, or enter them into a giveaway. Alternatively, simply start asking them if they will leave a review or answer some questions after purchase or interaction. If you don’t ask you often won’t get! However, keep in mind that the number of people asking for feedback these days is VERY high, so most people just don’t respond. You need to find ways to encourage people that are different, novel, or unique.

Specialize

If you focus on a niche vs the mass market for your industry you can become a specialist in that area and differentiate yourself this way. You might argue this has pros and cons, but if you choose the right niche it could be the driving force for your business. 

We just need to make sure (a) the niche is big enough to support us, and (b) it is sustainable.  With that said, there is a lot out there on “the long tail”. In other words, if we can pull together enough smaller (lightly contested) niches, then we can create an overall market model that is both powerful and cost-effective.

For example, if someone is looking for high-end luxury real estate, they are far more likely to go to a real estate agent who is a high-end specialist. In this case, the specialist could lose out on other areas of the market, but should attract more of the business for the luxury market. If that laser focus results in a higher close rate and greater sales overall, then that can be a powerful formula for success.  By the way, this formula can work in other ways too. You could also choose to specialize on finding homes for young families on a budget. The margin on each sale may not be as high, but if there are more opportunities, and you can close more sales, this might be every bit just as lucrative.

You can segment on the region, transaction size, community, ethnicity, income, or a thousand other variables.  You can even combine them in unique ways. You just need to be the best at what you do and be able to back it up.

Bring Your Values into It

It’s 2019 and people love brands with real values that align with their own. It’s a very successful way to stand-out and it can attract like-minded individuals. If you are a business owner with a passion for zero waste, you can introduce this into your operations, and then let people know you are passionate about this. It could be that there are others who share this passion and want to support you.  If you’re keen to help disadvantaged children in poor areas of the globe, consider donating a percentage of your profits to this cause. You can build an entire business around your mission and you will soon learn that customers like brands who care about something other than just profits. 

Innovate

Take an existing type of business and make it better by innovating a process or product. There are so many businesses that exist because of this. You don’t need to come up with a completely new idea that’s never been done before to be successful. You can simply take something that already works well and you can make it better and unique. 

There is new to the world, new to the industry, or new to the firm.

You can take something that exists and make it better.  You can adopt something from another firm or industry. Some people work on process innovations to reduce costs.  But, it is totally legit to use innovation to create differentiation and competitive advantage – as long as it is defensible…

The reality is, businesses just fade away if they don’t solve problems in a unique way. Even the simplest of businesses exist to solve some kind of problem, be that small or substantial. If you can solve that problem better than someone else, more efficiently or with a better customer experience you will stand the test of time. 

business

Tips for Local Business Marketing

Local business marketing is more specialized and requires a different approach than selling to the masses. Of course, we would always recommend a targeted approach to marketing on any scale (large or small).  Local marketing also requires a more personal touch and process. We hope these tips will put you on the right path to grow your own local business marketing success. 

Connect with Other Local Businesses

There is always a cross-over or connection you can make with another local business that will benefit your own business. For example, if you sell Mother and baby classes, consider connecting with baby retailers in the area, or other related businesses. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, there is always a potential partner who wants to reach the same customers in a complimentary way. 

The relationship could be something as simple as offering reciprocal links on your website, or exchanging flyers, or even displaying business cards at both businesses. However, it could also develop into something more substantial, a true partnership or some kind of collaboration on a product, event, or package. The possibilities are endless and this can give you a helpful kickstart if you’re a new business too. 

Sort out Local Listings

Google Local is a really important type of listing to master. Utilize this to your advantage; keep the listing up to date, and add all of the relevant information. Upload multiple photos, make the most of this feature, and showcase your best bits. You should add a contact number, email address and a correct address. Google reviews will also display with your listing, so if you can find a way to encourage customers to leave reviews here (or even incentivize them to do so), your listing will stand out even more. 

Google local is the most important listing service, but you need to engage with other local listings too to really maximize your local exposure. The majority of these services are free so there is no harm in signing up for as many as you can. Bing, Yelp, Yellow Pages; you can find an extensive list here

Local Facebook/Instagram Adverts

When it comes to social media adverts and local targeting, the best platform to use is the Facebook ads manager. This is an integrated part of Facebook Business. This tool can help you run social media adverts on Facebook, Instagram or both simultaneously. The local area targeting is very powerful and, of course, you can also couple this with interest-based targeting to drive your message home. These types of ads give you full control over your budget and provide in-depth stats that can help you make decisions on further investment or tweaks that need to be made to each campaign. You can start with a small budget and build on this over time, you don’t need to spend big to get results. 

When in doubt test.  Put together a couple of ads. Target a couple of different audiences. Then monitor your stats closely to see what works. Spend bigger on the campaigns that work. Redirect funds from less effective campaigns to new experiments that may help you uncover other hidden gems. Effective advertising, online or offline, requires testing and experimentation.

Direct Mail Campaigns

One of the most effective ways to reach a highly targeted local audience is through direct mail campaigns. Direct make cuts through the clutter (especially online) and delivers a message directly to your audience.  Direct mail is highly trusted, more digestible than online adverts, inexpensive, and quick to make an impact. It is a common misconception that direct mail will take you a long time to get set-up and organized. Not to brag, but Zairmail created the concept of short-run hybrid mail (“electronic-to-postal mail”) with the US Post Office back in 1999… Just upload your list, upload your document, and approve an online proof, … we take it from there.  You are in the mail!

We get it right out (same day mailing available) and we track delivery as well.

We know what we’re talking about when it comes to mail. 

We have seen how the online world has changed direct response marketing for the better, giving direct mail even more power than it had before! If you need more information check out our latest article, ‘building a local brand with direct mail’ which covers all of the reasons why direct mail brings a host of benefits to any local business. 

Building a Local Brand with Direct Mail

Does direct mail have a bad rep? When consumers think of email newsletters they probably think of discounts, sales, and special offers. When they think of mail, it’s just bills and bad news right? Wrong! This way of thinking will only hold you back from the host of benefits that direct mail could bring your local business right now!

Direct Mail is Easier

A recent study showed that direct mail is easier to understand, and requires 21% less effort to process the information, compared to a digital promotion such as an email. Some offers are very simple and straight-forward, but some business propositions require a little more thought-power to be completely understood. If your business, or the offer you’re highlighting, fall into this category, consider a test run to try different approaches.  You can also use images, in some sections, rather than just text, to help improve comprehension (understanding). 

Is uncertainty still holding you back?  Are you curious about the best place to begin and the right process to use?  Zairmail can help you get started quickly and we can even provide you with a list of contacts to send your campaign too. 

You Don’t Need Big Bucks

You don’t need a huge budget to be successful with direct mail. This is a common misconception which we’re pleased to say just isn’t true. This is good news for start-ups and smaller local businesses. A postcard campaign is one very cost-effective way to reach well-targeted prospects for a lower cost. Postcards are cheaper to produce and small in size which makes them great for the mail. A good postcard should take prime position on the fridge of the recipient! A fridge-worthy message is what you’re aiming for. Give us a call on 1.888.898.0066 or 503.715.3109 to discuss your project. 

More Options for the Customer

A strong call-to-action is always needed on any kind of promotion, along with a strong and clear message. With direct mail, you can give the customer multiple options to respond so it’s easy for everyone to get in touch. You can tell them to email, call or visit your website depending on their preferred method. 

If you’re a small local business, having these multiple options can be very beneficial, and increase the level of engagement, rather than limit the recipient to one method. Some people just don’t like to speak over the phone initially; whereas others might not want to wait on an email. It’s always a good idea to include your website so that customers can learn more about your business. Even if you really only want calls or email, the mail is like the door to your business and the website is a bit like the lobby. 

We’re certainly not saying ditch the digital and put all of your efforts into direct mail. We just strongly recommend a combined approach, as laid out here. 

social-icons

Can Social Media Work With Direct Mail Marketing?

It’s no secret that social media has taken the world by storm. There are 3.5 billion active social media users worldwide and the average amount of time spent on social platforms is over 2 hours every single day.

This is a huge group of people who are heavily invested in their screen time and interaction with a social media app. This opens up doors of opportunity to find and engage with new customers/clients. However, it’s also a very busy competitive space. 

When combining traditional mail with digital marketing, you can enhance the reach and impact of your campaigns. In this article, we’re going to focus on the connection between social media and direct mail and look at some simple ways you can integrate the two. 

Direct Mail to Hook, Social to Follow

Direct mail should act as your hook. It’s a hugely successful way to get your message in front of a highly targeted audience. It’s a far less competitive space in 2019 compared to the digital world and it actually carries more trust. Believe it or not, because direct mail is tangible and ‘real’, it’s proven that recipients trust it more and feel as though it has more authority than a digital message. This is really important when it comes to getting attention and building a connection of trust which eventually results in action. 

The other reason to lead with DM is that the demographics are much better developed and more precise.  If you were to target Dentists in New Jersey who have purchased a Chevy in the last 12 months, that is doable with a direct mail list.  It would be difficult to find anything like this for email or social media. We already know that “the list” is 70% of our success.

Once you’ve got the attention of a receiver, you can easily direct them to your social media channels if this is your goal. If it’s not a primary goal, simply including your social media handles (e.g @yourbusinessname ) and the platforms you’re present on can drive people towards them in the future. 

Use Social Media to Communicate

Depending on your audience, you could use social media to collect responses. Facebook messenger is a very popular way a brand can communicate with their customers directly and privately. This type of campaign would probably be more effective when targeting 18-35-year-olds because it’s a group of people that will already communicate with businesses in this way. 

In general, we should let customers contact us in ANY way they prefer – phone, fax, email, social media. Any additional channel we can give potential customers to reach us is a really good thing. If they prefer Facebook, then we want them to be able to use this.  The same goes for other forms of social media.

In one of our recent articles, we discussed using premiums as a tool to collect responses. This is one way you can get customers to interact and make contact in order to redeem an offer. 

Shout-out

Here’s another idea. Use part of your mail to focus on your offer and drive responses to that (whether that’s a call center or website). Use the other part of your campaign to shout about your social channels and what happens here. If you share exclusive discounts, giveaways and company info that will benefit customers on your social channels, let them know! Let them know why they should follow you on Instagram vs everyone else. What will they gain? 

 

If you sell home-ware will they gain interior design inspiration, ideas for easy storage and ‘Insta-worthy’ decor tips? If you’re in real estate, will you share newly available homes on your Facebook page the minute they go up for sale? There has to be an advantage for someone to jump on their device and seek you out. You can post all sorts of fun content, contemporary new home designs, homes of the rich and famous, homes of different peoples (Eskimo’s, cliff dwellers, houseboat users…). The key to social media is entertainment.






palm-trees

5 Reasons to Send Business Postcards This Summer!

Postcards pack power at any time of the year and Summer might not be an obvious choice to focus on these types of campaigns. The holiday season might seem more appealing, right? But have you considered these 5 reasons to make the most of postcards this Summer?

It’s Postcard Season

Even though you’re not sending a postcard from a sunny vacation, the fact is, friends and family might be. If a postcard turns up in Summer, it’s more likely to be read with anticipation. Even when the recipient realizes it’s not a vacation postcard, by this point you’ve already got their attention. If your messaging and offer is strong, you’re ahead of the game. 

Reduce Marketing Costs

If you want to reduce costs on your marketing campaigns this Summer but still maximize output and return, postcards could be the answer. They are one of the most cost-effective forms of direct mail because they are inexpensive to print and easy to scale. 

Less Competitive Season

Summer is actually one of the best times to send mail because it’s a much less competitive season. There is no major influx of mail during this time like there is during the holiday season. 

More Receptive Time of Year

With an increased number of people off work, recipients are more likely to digest the information, with less going on in their day-to-day lives. When consumers are in a relaxed frame of mind they notice things more, take in more information and have the time to read into things a little further. 

If the messaging is especially memorable, some people put them right on the fridge so they won’t forget them. How powerful is it to have your message hanging on the door, of one of the most used appliances in the house, for months at a time? 

Easy to Test

You can roll out a new offer and test it on a smaller group of recipients to determine how successful it might be when rolled out to more people. It’s very simple to run multiple tests to compare the response rate of different messaging and designs. 

They Don’t Waste Time

No one likes things that waste their time. This is one of the reasons many consumers dislike commercials because they interrupt TV shows and can often feel like a waste of time. Postcards are quick and easy to digest. If the offer is of no interest to the recipient, they are small and easy to dispose of. Hopefully, your offer is irresistible and once that postcard has been read, it’s up on the fridge waiting to be redeemed or followed up. 

Easy to Redeem In-Store

If you’re sending promotions that customers can use for money off or for collection of premiums from your store, postcards make it simple to redeem. Small in size but stand-out in nature, they are easy to slip into a pocket or handbag and bring in to store. 

Depending on your business, Summer might actually be one of your seasonal peaks. In this case, it’s a no-brainer to make the most of a direct mail campaign during this time. One thing to consider If you do send postcards over the Summer is to remember that many households are away on vacation during this time. Try to factor this into your offer, perhaps allowing for a longer validity than usual. 






pink-mail

Premiums As Response Devices

Everyone loves a freebie, even the most simple and basic items that aren’t worth a great deal are well received when they’re free. From a consumer’s point of view, premiums build trust, create excitement and make the receiver feel valued as a potential customer. From a business point of view, they act as a great way to start a positive relationship and build brand awareness.

Lumpy Mail

When businesses send ‘lumpy mail’ with premiums like free samples or free merchandise, research shows that open rates are much higher. Even though direct mail is, of course, tangible, ‘lumpy mail’ makes it even more so. However, the cost and time involved in sending a campaign with premiums included are much higher. With this in mind, rather than focus on sending premiums as a tool to increase open rates, why not use them as a response device?

Opens vs Responses

Open rates are, of course, the first goal when it comes to any direct mail campaign. From here though, any open would be less valuable if it didn’t result in a response. Responses are your next goal, and of course more important than opens. 10,000 opens and 100 responses are far poorer than 5000 opens and 500 responses. You can see where we’re going with this…

Enough responses = a return on your investment. So focusing all of your attention on using premiums as a way to boost open rates could add a lot to the time and expense involved in sending a campaign without the desired result. Of course, you know this. But what if there was a better way, a way to almost guarantee that every receiver of a premium is a ‘warm lead’?

Here’s an Idea….

What if you made receivers call or visit your website to claim their premium? Short snappy messages such as ‘Call to Get Your X Today’ should push responses rather than opens. Open rates might well be lower because you’re losing that ‘lumpy mail’ advantage, but expenses should be less and responses higher. With this approach, you’re only incurring extra costs for those clients who are truly interested in your offer. Overall ROI could well be higher as a result of higher quality leads.

We couldn’t say without a doubt that this approach would work better than sending a premium in the initial campaign, but it makes sense to give this a try. The only real way to know what will work better for you is to test both methods in an A/B split test style approach, keeping everything else the same throughout the campaign. We recommend you start testing small quantities to find something that works for you and then turn up the dial once you have a winning formula.






online-marketing

How to: Combine Direct Mail & Digital Marketing

How do you successfully fit direct mail marketing into your overall marketing strategy and combine this with digital marketing efforts? It almost seems like a backward concept doesn’t it? Once upon a time, businesses contemplated how to make digital work and how they could expand their strategy to dovetail with offline efforts. Now the direct mail marketing space has become much less crowded it STANDS OUT above all that digital noise. But that’s not all, it’s also a very different place to what it was several years ago. It’s crucial to recognize how consumers search for information following brand introductions and how they interact with advertising both online and offline. Here are things to consider for a more integrated marketing approach:

Matching Data Files

Target the same customers across multiple platforms by uploading your direct mail data file to places like Facebook advertising or your email marketing list. Of course, this requires that you have email addresses for the same group of people you’re sending direct mail too. Email addresses could be more challenging to acquire for non-customers, but it’s a very good tool for re-marketing purposes or upselling. Increasing prospect exposure to your offer is usually very effective, as long as it’s not overdone. If you have time-limited or limited availability offers, sequential online ads could act as a real-time way to let customers know how much time is left, or how many spaces are still open, following on from the initial message.

Streamlined Messaging

Even if you’re not targeting the exact same group of people across multiple platforms, it’s still important to keep all branding and messaging the same with your online and offline campaigns. [This is super important. Consistent branding/messaging is key.] You could use color or image variations in adverts, as long as they are clearly connected. This means that if the same person does see more than one advert, they can make that brand connection instantly. This is where online campaigns really support offline efforts and visa versa.

It is important that brand/message is consistent, but we also don’t want it to get stale, otherwise, people just mentally ignore it. To deal with this advertisers can change the visuals slightly to keep it interesting, but keep the messaging the same.  Check out this example from Fresh Sep Kitty Litter. This same concept can apply to our dm and digital campaigns.

marketing

Create Combined Funnels

You might use a direct mail campaign to initially reach new potential customers and generate responses. However, those responses could be online. From here you could follow up with a thank you email and continue immediate communication (in relation to that initial offer) online. You can and should use direct mail to generate responses that happen in the digital world. The direct mail campaign has played its part in grabbing attention and creating action. The digital side takes over to continue the conversation in a place that customer (no doubt) spends a lot of time… on a device.

Direct mail and email as tools both have strengths and weaknesses.  Email is a very effective tool for building a rapport once you have a relationship with a customer.  Because of the volume of SPAM these days, it is a very poor tool for prospecting or finding new customers. One of the strengths of direct mail is the ability to target – the lists and demographics are very well developed.  It can reach every household and business in America. Plus, it is a welcome form for initial engagement. That argues for a strategy that starts offline and then morphs online with periodic touches offline as well.

 

email-marketing

Combining your offline marketing with your digital side enhances your messages and supercharges your impact. The takeaway points here are to stop thinking about direct mail and digital marketing as two completely separate funnels and start looking at them as a way to compliment each other. It can be a real shift in your approach to thinking about marketing campaigns, but as with anything, if you’re in doubt … always test it first. : )






people

Basic Principles for Reaching the Right People

Put simply, marketing is the process of effectively communicating your product or service to a customer. This could be through branding, advertising or product position. Marketing is not just the advertising and promotions that take place. How your business is perceived all comes down to marketing and positioning your service or product as you want it to be viewed. Conducting market research also forms a part of marketing; it’s very much a collective term.

Understanding the problems of your customers

Have you heard the saying ‘sell the problem you solve, not the product’? One of the major principles of marketing is understanding the problems your target market faces and using that to create something (be that a product or service) which solves that particular problem better than a competitor.

Every business solves a problem of some sort, even if it’s not immediately obvious at the surface. However, there is a difference between knowing the problem and really understanding it. How does the problem make your customers feel? How does it impact other areas in their lives? Conducting market research is one of the best ways to gain a full and true understanding.

If you offer a quicker service for something that’s usually drawn-out and stressful, don’t focus your messaging on the ‘quick service’ part. Again, focus on the problem you solve; ‘less stress, less worry’.

Demonstrating Value

Showing the value of your business is key to acquiring new customers. This can be challenging because there are limited ways to do this successfully. Offering trial periods or free samples is one way to hook in would-be buyers, but this can be costly. If you go down this route you would need to monitor the ROI closely. If this approach doesn’t work for your business model, you could showcase customer reviews and case studies as a way to create ‘social proof’ of your value.

For example, if you have a 5-star rating on a well-known platform, you could include this in all marketing material, both online and offline.

Building Positive Relationships

When you generate a lead you are forming a relationship with a customer. When you send out promotional content you are starting that relationship. Before a buyer commits to any kind of purchase they already have some form of a positive relationship with that brand. At the point of transaction, you have built trust between you and the customer. You have created an understanding that you’re aware of and care about the problems that the individual faces.

Many brands continue to build on that relationship with follow-up content that does not directly sell. Tips, tricks, and support in the form of newsletters, direct mail, and social media content. This is possible when you know exactly who your buyers are and you really understand the other challenges they face that surround your industry.

Here’s a very specific example that covers the 3 principles discussed above:

A local acupuncture business wants to reach more pregnant women who are suffering from morning sickness or lower back pain. They understand that for women struggling with these problems it has a huge impact on their ability to continue work leading up to their maternity leave. It can leave them feeling very low and take the enjoyment out of their pregnancy due to constant suffering. To demonstrate value, the practice offers 70% off the first session and promises to help women enjoy their pregnancy to the fullest, taking away the symptoms that are causing stress and discomfort.

After a customer has completed a course of acupuncture, a monthly newsletter offers them advice on staying healthy as a new Mum and looking after their mind and body as they face new challenges.






 

 

About the Author

Wilson Zehr is a Direct Mail Industry Expert, Direct Marketing Specialist, and CEO of Cendix (www.cendix.com), the leading provider of Web-to-print solutions that increase sales both online and offline. He is also the founder of Zairmail (www.zairmail.com), the company responsible for many "industry firsts" in direct mail.

 

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