Contractor Marketing 101: How to Direct Mail Without Competitors!

In the world of contractor marketing, it is your ad vs. your competitor. For some reason, month after month contractors “battle it out” with shared mail.

Well, you might as well throw money out the window because advertising WITH your competitors, in the same magazine or coupon pack, is crazy!

Direct mail marketing services are constantly evolving as new, more effective tools become available both online and offline. There are now simple and cost effective ways in which you can deliver your mailers and offers, to targeted homeowners, WITHOUT your competitors offers in the mix.

With modern direct mail services, such as the EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) format offered by the USPS, you can deliver a knock out punch to your competition.

With EDDM (not shared mail), your target homeowner receives a huge direct mail flyer from you, without receiving your competitors ads at the same time (in most cases).

Moreover, this type of solo mail campaign will lend credibility to your business, vastly improve your visibility, and help identify you as the “go to” provider for your specific products and services.

Popular ad agencies may resort to different ways of communication like TV, radio, and internet search campaigns, but solo mailers create an instant and direct connection with your target prospects.

In fact all you need to do is find a good direct mail service provider and give them the copy of your ad, they will manage the design, printing, and distribution for you at super-low rates. Even better, you can leverage their years of experience in print advertising and direct mail marketing, something that is always undervalued!

The best way of ensuring that only your ads reach every destination, is by using the new EDDM program and targeting entire “postal routes” from the USPS. Every single household in your target area(s) will receive your huge full-color flyer and offers, and your phone line should start ringing off the hook!

Do whatever it takes to generate a massive response. You may involve techniques such as creating early bird prizes, gift vouchers, and coupons that demand an immediate response. These inclusions in the mail can instantly make your ads popular. Moreover, you can time your ads to deliver during festivals, Christmas, New Years, Halloween, or simply a promotion for the Spring or Summer. This can also help in establishing an identity with your prospective clients.

Email Marketing Secrets That Few Marketers Know and Most Internet Businesses Violate

News of the impending demise of email marketing has been greatly exaggerated. Email remains the true “killer app” of online relationship marketing. Contrary to the assertions of various overnight social media consultants clambering out of the woodwork, email marketing often gives marketers far more control over target selection and greater ability to monetize than social media marketing can.

Knowing this, businesses from local retail establishments to fortune 500 companies have continued to invest money and other resources in their email marketing efforts to tease out greater and greater returns on investment.

Despite their best efforts, many small business attempts at email marketing are severely compromised by some oft-overlooked challenges that very few online businesses ever stop to consider. Mostly because they either do not know that these factors are important, or presume that they cannot afford the solutions to overcoming them.

Problems of small business email marketing

There is no end of consultants, trainers and marketers waiting to tell you about the latest CAN-SPAM compliance techniques, email subject line copywriting tips, how to use spam checkers, the optimal lengths of the email message body, or the optimal frequency of auto-responder messages.

While all the tactics above are important to know and understand, they are being emphasized at the expense of some of the fundamental principles of direct marketing; principles which are far more important to the success of any strategic marketing campaign online. Here’s a list of some of the biggest mistakes of omission you might be making:

1. Poor Message To Market Match

If you utilize permission-based email marketing tactics such as the use of targeted landing pages and email capture forms geared to specific prospects, you may be surprised to hear me say that your subsequent messages or auto-responder sequences are mismatched to such a list.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most of the messages you send to the subscribers on your lists are likely to be unmatched to the verified needs and interests of these subscribers. For many campaigns, the only well-matched message is the first post-capture message when the subscribers receive exactly what they asked for.

This is due to the fact that marketers often do not create processes and systems to segment their lists according to preferences and buying patterns.

2. Poor synchronization with website analytics

Do you closely track your website usage analytics? Do you use tools that show the behavior of your customers and email list subscribers when they go to your website?

Research has shown that only a small percentage (less than 20 percent) of online relationship marketers use customer data from website analytics to trigger messages or sequences in their email marketing programs. The few businesses that can connect things like shopping cart abandonment or web page abandonment rates to their messages, experience greatly increased ROI.

3. Overlooking Lifecycle email marketing programs

These timing-based email direct marketing campaigns are generally overlooked because companies believe that they always require custom programming…and that’s not the case. Certain specialized email service providers have woken up to the need for delivering offerings that perform these functions for small businesses.

Your relationship-building should depend on the stage of relationship the subscriber is in – prospect, engaged customer, past customer in need of reactivation.

I recently received an email from a marketer which noted that I hadn’t clicked a link in over 4 months and just about required I click the link to their Facebook page or they would assume I wanted to be off their list. I got to their Facebook page just on time to see tons of messages from other subscribers asking not to be removed from the list.

I was compelled to click on the link (and re-engage with them) even though I was somewhat indifferent as to whether I remained subscribed to their list or not. That’s just an illustration of how powerful your messages can be when they are tied to tracked behavior. You can offer lead warming information to prospects, special deals to top customers and repeat visitors, and re-activation incentives to former clients who have not clicked through in a long while.

4. Ignoring multimedia, multichannel contact

Email is not the “be-all” and “end-all” of marketing… or of internet marketing for that matter. It is no panacea. The power of your email marketing program can be greatly amplified when it is sequenced and integrated with a multimedia and multichannel approach that includes direct mail, phone calls and other modes of communication.

While an email thank you message may not be noticed at all, a Thank-you by mail from an online marketer tends to stand out significantly from both emails and other direct mail pieces. I know this from personal experience.

If you own a small business and you have not tried combining a mix of email marketing and SMS marketing methods, you may not be getting the best ROI out of your marketing investment.

Drawing Up A Successful Small Business Marketing Plan

Every small business owner dreams of drawing up a good marketing plan, implementing it and seeing revenue increase. It is worth taking a look at the elements of a strategically relevant plan that is detailed enough for the business person to assess the suitability of a large number of available marketing tactics appropriate to the business concerned. There are seven key areas involved when it comes to creating a strong and efficient marketing plan for your business.

1. Vision. There has to be a marketing vision that mirrors the overall business vision. So for instance if you marketing vision is to expand your market into previously untapped markets but your business vision is to carry on doing the same old thing, the two are not matched. This will weaken your marketing efforts and produce negligible results.

2. Awareness. For your marketing efforts be effective you have to comprehend and accept the particular needs, concerns and assumptions of your target audience. If you neglect to do so the result will be poor communications and reduced return on investment.

3. Competition. It is vital to analyze your competitors in the marketplace whether direct, indirect or variable. Your direct competitors are self explanatory e.g. shoe shops compete directly with other shoe shops. Your indirect competitors compete for the same budget in the same general area e.g. movie theatres compete with restaurant for family entertainment spending. Variable competition refers to external factors that could disrupt your business e.g. a bridge is washed away in a flood preventing customers from reaching your offices.

4. Message. It is important to work out the communications element, i.e. the basic message, you want to get across to your audience. An inappropriate message could do your marketing campaign more harm than good. It could even benefit your competitors.

5. Media. Once you have clarity about your marketing message it is time to decide how precisely the target market is to be reached. Try to eliminate personal preferences from the mix. Just because you like SMS campaigns does not necessarily mean it is appropriate for your business or your target audience. Endeavour to use a wide selection of media.

6. Analysis. Determine how you are going to test, measure and tweak your marketing efforts in the short and long term. Build these methods into your marketing plan. This is very important. I would go so far as to say that you should eliminate any media where your efforts cannot be measured precisely. If your intention is to gain new markets then you must make sure that the success of this plan is measurable. This is the only way you will be evaluate and adjust your marketing campaign as required.

7. Funnels. These are marketing systems whereby you should define the process whereby your target audience is addressed, your prospects garnered, how they will be informed and how they will eventually become customers. By designing your funnel you will be able to streamline the process and instill continuity for staff and customers alike.