Did the Internet Kill Direct Mail?

It’s hard to think direct mail still reaps benefits when everyone is resorting to online marketing. Put simply, many marketers now see the internet as an untapped chunk of potential markets waiting to be uncovered. This resulted in the boom of internet marketing websites, forums, and seminars. So did the internet kill offline marketing techniques such as direct mail? Many people will say it did, but there are always two sides of the coin. Let’s look at this topic from a fresh perspective.

The world has become so internet oriented that you can hardly have a conversation without weaving internet website or tools into it. People who don’t have basic internet skills are now met with raised brows and sometimes even jeers. So how does this relate to direct mail? When all marketers shift to a different technique, you have an advantage once the coast is clear. An average internet user has become so used to those flashy ads on blogs and websites that a paper under their door can definitely grab their attention more at this point.

Before internet advertising, one would receive heaps of junk mail under his door and would toss it away instantly. Now with companies shifting towards internet marketing, less are sending out direct mail. Chances of exposure now are much higher than they were in the past. The trick now is to grab your prospect’s attention in an unconventional way – a way that totally goes against internet basics.

Let’s put this scenario, your prospect wakes up, pours juice and checks the mail. You have up to one minute to grab your prospect’s attention. In the internet world, at the moment, you have up to 8 to 10 seconds to grab the surfer’s attention. That’s the first benefit of direct mail over the internet marketing techniques.

Let’s look into the factor of personalization. When your prospect surfs the internet, he is aware that at least thousands are being exposed to this ad in the very same second. This puts your prospect in the “impersonal, indifferent” mode. With direct mail, the ability of the prospect to touch a postcard or brochure addressed to them creates a sense of intimacy or connection. That is yet another benefit of direct mail over internet advertising that can reap enormous rewards on the long run.

The last factor that kicks in is your prospect’s curiosity. While in both offline and online campaigns you can pique interest via design, copy, or incentives, when a prospect curiosity is minimal due to distractions. Let’s see how this applies to a daily scenario. Let’s say you’re online, you find an ad that says “Are you broke?” While this may pique your interest if you’re indeed broke or bored, you may click the website only to find it’s a paid service and close the window.

The attention span of an internet surfer is very low. How about someone who’s on the couch, bored to tears, with a direct mail catalogue on the table? Most people will look at catalogues for hours just for the heck of it. Their attention span amounts to how bored they are. That’s a huge advantage for any company looking for exposure.

This effect is only maximized by targeting market segments. This can be done by distributing direct mail to those in need of your product.

3 Reasons Not To Hire A Marketing Agency

Are you considering hiring a marketing agency to do the marketing side of things for you? If so, then you may want to consider this option. Most of the work that they can do for you are things that you can do for yourself. Plus, the fees that they charge to come up with campaigns for you are outrageous.

You don’t need to hire an agency. Your success in business depends on 2 things: a good list, and a good offer. I’m confident that you already have the offer, but the list is something that you don’t know how to get. Heck, some marketing agencies don’t even know how to get the list for you.

So why shouldn’t you hire a marketing agency? Well, I’ve put together some of my top reasons why you shouldn’t use a marketing agency. Here’s reason number 1:

1) They cost too much

For what they charge you, you could probably run a few display ads in your local newspaper – along with a direct mail campaign. And I’m willing to bet that you don’t have the money to fork over just to try out a new “marketing secret”. Your funds are probably tight, and needs to be used on something that is proven and guaranteed to work.

If you don’t have the thousands of dollars to hiring a marketing agency, I suggest you don’t do it. Here’s another reason why you shouldn’t hire a marketing agency:

2) The work is easy

Everything that they will do for you, you can do for yourself. And eventually you will have to start doing things on your own because once the contract is up with you and marketing agency, you will have to go back and start marketing on your again. This probably makes you want to vomit, but it’s just the truth of the matter.

Here’s the last reason why you shouldn’t hire an agency

3) You could find a good course on marketing

Instead of spending thousands on a marketing agency, you should know that there are “small business marketing products” out there that will help you to market your business. And these products cost considerably lower than what it would cost you to hire a marketing firm.

All you need to know about is something called “direct response marketing”. Marketing agencies specialize in brand advertising, instead of delivering you results right away – so you have to keep this in mind. Brand advertising will always take a longer time to work than direct response advertising, so give brand advertising the boot, and stick with direct response.

With all of these options considered, this is why I don’t consider you using a marketing agency when you can do the marketing yourself. Believe in yourself as a business owner and start bringing new customers into your place of business. You can do it without betting the farm on a marketing agency. 2+2 just doesn’t equal 4 when you hire an agency – so keep that in mind.

Good luck with using these tips to have the kind of marketing success you crave.

Relationship Marketing for Prospects

As personal selling to cold prospects becomes more difficult and expensive and as business-to-business marketers come to realize the prime prospects in their niche markets are relatively few, relationship marketing becomes the priority.

First there were the separate discipline of advertising, public relations, direct marketing, sales promotion, event management and personal selling, then integrated marketing communications brought all those separate disciplines together in one combined approach to the marketplace. Relationship marketing is integrated marketing communications to qualified individuals.

For the business-to-business marketer relationship marketing has four components:

- Developing and maintaining a list of key prospects, which means winnowing down a mailing list of 2000 to the best 200, or to the top 100, decision-makers in your specialty.

- Staying in contact with the list and requalifying it; “Still the same decision-maker? And assistant? Same address? Same general qualifications?

- Establishing credibility with key prospects over time by offering choices of content by trade media, the Internet, phone, mail or in person.

- Being on call when a need arises. On first contact perhaps 95 percent of your key prospects will have no immediate need. But over time, perhaps 100 percent will have a need.

The last bullet point is why repeated direct mail canvassing of a large database to gain a few immediate prospects is not a wise relationship marketing strategy. Instead of harassing key prospects with that kind of mail (and cheapening the perception of your company), it is better to send valuable information to a much smaller, more qualified list and create a favorable perception with them. Include qualified opinion leaders on that list. So they may digest your information and have knowledge of your products/services when asked by a decision-maker.

How do you get the attention of decision-makers, and how do you get them interested in your products or services?

Today decision-makers are scan-readers bookmarking, or rolodexing, future resources. Unless there is an immediate need, they don’t have time to thoroughly read valuable, targeted content on particular products or services, they only have time to differentiate between good content and promotional schlock. The source of the good content gets filed, put in a rolodex, or bookmarked on a Web browser for the inevitable future need. That exchange, your good content for the decision-maker’s interest and attention, is the beginning of a marketing relationship. It is no coincidence the increasing dominance of the Internet and the World Wide Web and the resulting overflow of information have made credible, targeted content important to every business-to-business sales and relationship marketing effort.

How do you stay in touch with and on the short list of the majority of your prospects who do not have an immediate need?

Canvass your select prospects regularly offering content by phone, email or mail in exchange for more information about their needs. They will respond as their needs change and develop, or if they tire of their current provider(s). Sometimes making it onto a short list of invited bidders is as far as the prospect will allow the relationship to develop. But if you make that short list, you are conducting a successful relationship marketing effort.

Establishing the credibility of your company’s special expertise in solving prospective purchasers problems paves the way for your sales consultants to provide the decision-maker with expert professional service to customize your offering and close the sale. The consultant is introduced into the relationship as a person possessing valuable information needed by the prospect to solve a problem.