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Direct marketing is a kind of outreach that can be used by companies to promote products in a personalized way. Businesses approach targeted customer segments through the mail, phone, or online platforms to inform them about their products or services.

Direct marketing advertisements eliminate the use of a middleman. Hence, this is usually less expensive than more traditional advertising methods.

Direct marketing is crucial since it targets a specific segment of consumers in a personalized way. This factor saves money since companies won’t reach out to customers who aren’t likely to be interested in their products.

This method of marketing often includes requests for customers to take action. These can include asking customers to to click on a link in an email, call a toll-free number or make an order. Non-profit organizations can also use direct marketing to receive donations.

Benefits of Direct Marketing

There are many advantages to using this approach to reach out to customers. Here are a few of the key benefits to using direct marketing:

  • It helps to personalize promotional materials.
  • It costs less than other promotional strategies.
  • There is a high return on investment.
  • Companies gain insights into customer preferences.
  • It’s measurable which makes it easy to manage.
  • It increases brand recognition.
  • Businesses can create a strong relationship with customers.


Direct Marketing Channels

There are a number of different channels that are commonly used in direct marketing campaigns. We explore them here, hopefully giving you a better idea of which ones might work best for your business.

Emailing

Emails are the most convenient direct marketing method. They are typically easy to design and draft. Companies usually send their email to a list of customer contacts.

These customers are either new prospective customers or customers who have already bought products.

These emails can serve a number of different purposes. They can have information about products or services, increase brand recognition, or introduce loyalty programs. Companies also include offers such as discounts and links to order products.

Emails may also include product catalogues, or requests for donations.

Direct emailing can be beneficial for reaching a huge number of customers efficiently. It’s a fast and cheap method since it costs less than regular mail. Most customers check their emails quite regularly, so it’s guaranteed to reach them.

It’s also easy to measure the efficiency of emailing. Some programs enable companies to track the number of customers who opened the email, archived it, or clicked on links. Therefore, companies will be able to understand customer behavior and preferences.

A downside to emailing is that in some countries there are regulations against companies sending bulk emails to customers. Also, company emails can sometimes land directly in spam or junk folders.

As a result, some companies now are starting to engage in permission emailing. This practice entails companies receiving permission from customers prior to emailing them. For example, some websites will ask you to enter your email if you’re interested in receiving a newsletter.

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Direct Mail

This is the most profitable channel of direct marketing. Companies send promotional material to prospective customers, existing customers, or donors. These materials include newsletters, catalogues, brochures, or products samples.

Companies usually invest in direct mail since it enables them to build a stronger rapport with customers. Also, since people don’t receive much mail nowadays, some companies find direct mail an excellent opportunity to reach them.

There are two types of direct mail, shared and standalone mail. The shared type of mail is when companies share one direct mail piece. It’s usually a medium sized brochure or group of brochures that include a number of brands from different companies.

It can include information about products, offers, samples, or coupons. These types of mailings are usually sent as a bulk to residents in a certain area. Companies often prefer these since they tend to be cost-effective and reach more customers.

The disadvantage shared mail is that a company’s brand might be hurt. There is a chance it might be confused with other brands in the same mail. The company also has no role in choosing which customers should receive this mail.

Shared mail tends to have lower response rates than more targeted marketing options.

The other type of direct mail is called stand-alone mail. It refers to direct mail sent by one company alone without sharing it with other companies.

This method is more expensive, but it can be more effective than shared direct mail. It also has a higher response rate.

Using standalone mail enables companies to have more control over the process. Companies can tailor the promotional material according to their customers preferences. There is more freedom in choosing materials, design and the targeted customer segment.

Telemarketing

Telemarketing is employed by calling customers to inform them about products, services, or promotions. This method has low cost and usually companies outsource this process to a call center. However, some companies prefer to perform this task in-house.

There are different types of telemarketing. Cold-calling is when a company calls a customer for the first time to sell a product or a service. Contrarily, warm-calling is when a company calls an existing customer or conducts a follow-up call.

Telemarketing helps create a strong rapport with your customers. Telemarketers can be more in touch with customers’ preferences and needs. Companies can then use this information to improve their products and increase sales.

However, telemarketing can have a low response rate since people receive a lot of cold calls. More customers are now adding their phones on “Do Not Call“ registers so as not to receive any calls. In addition, government regulations are making it harder for companies to acquire customers’ phone numbers.

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Mobile SMS Marketing

One of the most effective direct marketing channels is text messages. This channel makes reaching customers an easy task since most people are constantly attached to their cell phones. Lot’s of companies outsource this type of marketing to service providers who even compose the messages.

The content of text messages may include notifications of new products or services, promotion codes, delivery notifications or appointment confirmations. Travel agencies and airlines can use this method to notify their customers about delays, cancellations or weather alerts.

The two types of text messages are either campaigns or transactional. Campaigns are used when there is a new offer and the message is sent to a huge number of customers. Transactional messages can be sent to confirm appointments, provide delivery updates or whenever a customer needs to performs an action.

In countries where internet access is difficult or expensive, companies use SMS messages to reach customers. Texts can sometimes be more effective than emails for offers that expire after a short time. SMS messaging also has the highest response rate.

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Social media

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become very powerful direct marketing tools. These channels can be highly effective in increasing a company's brand recognition and awareness. Social media also can enhance a company’s online presence.

Facebook allows companies to create pages to promote their products and services. Businesses usually use these pages to communicate with their customers to announce new products, services or offers.

Facebook ads also are very useful and cost-effective. Companies have full control to choose the type of users who will receive these ads in their Facebook news feeds.

Direct marketers use social media in conjunction with emails. Sometimes, companies try to create a hype over a promotion to make customers wait for the email. Businesses also enable customers to post their reviews about products which increases the companies’ credibility.

Direct Selling

Direct selling is an important channel to create relationships with customers and learn about their needs and preferences. Companies usually use this channel since it eliminates any advertising costs. However, they might incur other types of costs.

There are numerous kinds of direct sales methods. One-to-one sales are when a sales representative makes an appointment with a customer or business client to present the product.

Also, there are venues sales which take place at events, malls or sports games. A business will have a booth to sell products or services. Online shopping is another of the direct sales approaches since it doesn’t need a middleman.

Party plan selling involves organizing a party at a house and customers are invited to attend product presentations. This method is often utilized in the real estate industry or home appliances and furniture.

Network marketing is when a salesperson sponsors a group of other salespeople and earns commissions when they sell products.

There are some disadvantages to direct selling. It can be costly since a company will have to hire sales representatives. This entails training costs, salaries, and transportation compensations.

Direct selling can also be time-consuming. A sales representative can spend hours giving a presentation to a prospective client or negotiating the price. Companies will have limited coverage since they can only hire a fixed number of salespeople to cover a given region.

Summing it Up

Direct marketing is all about reaching your targeted segment of customers in the most effective way. Personalizing your message is the key to a successful direct marketing strategy.

We have presented many channels and all of them have pros and cons. The best decision would be to use a mix of these channels according to your business needs and budget.