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Five Keys to Recession-Proofing Your Direct Marketing

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recession Savvy business owners turn to the experience and insight of marketing innovators who have the ability to blend “old school” best practices and foundation-builders with new “in-line” marketing channels to ensure success in any market. Let’s take a look at five essential keys for keeping your marketing in step with today’s challenging times:

1. Understand the elements.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but in terms of what works and doesn’t work in direct mail marketing, know that your marketing piece can be a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, but without the three essential elements of offer, information and response, it will never earn you a “second date.”

• Start with a compelling OFFER.
In any market, this is crucial, but in tough times, it’s even more important to ensure that you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and consider their wants and needs. Features are reserved for your interests and benefits are truly what appeals to your customer. Sharing how your organization can solve a problem, sooth a fear, or give a customer something of real value such as a free trial period, free gift or attractive terms is key. Remember to answer these important questions in your direct marketing:

o What is the benefit?
o How is it unique to your audience?
o What is your call to action?

• Include the RIGHT information.
Consumers respond to clear-cut messages with enough information to allow them to make a decision. If they have to guess, think about it or find your message confusing, they won’t respond. The bottom line? No response equals no sales. Again, put your consumer hat on to determine if your offer has enough information to move you to take action. Test your message on people outside your organization and gauge their response before going through the expense of mailing, or trust an industry resource with a proven track record for effectively matching message to market segment.

• Response equals results. The best rule of thumb in direct response is “make it easy for people to buy from you!” How often have you been online or even in line at a store and have had trouble “checking out” or finding what it is you came in to purchase. Always keep that in mind when crafting your response offer.

2. Invest in your mailing list.
Even more important than WHAT you send is the audience you are sending to. Strong, effective direct marketing matches the message to the market segment – so who are your best customers and what do THEY need to hear? It’s now or never time in today’s tough market. So, starting now, get organized! Who should you market to? That’s easy!

o Your current customers
o Your past customers
o Your competition’s customers
o Customers that demographically match your best customer profile

3. Integrate for a one-two punch. Direct mail is a proven solution in today’s tough market, but business owners who truly want to turn up the heat know that adding multiple marketing channels greatly increases their success rate. Consider DID numbers (direct-in-dial call capture numbers), personalized urls or webpages, even voice mail options to reach a wider spectrum of consumers and better track your return on investment.

4. Become a good habit.
Only the companies that maintain their brand, stay in consistent contact with their customer base and fuel their relationship building systems will survive in shifting economic times. In fact, not only will they survive, they’ll emerge as leaders when the market does make the shift. They say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. The Direct Marketing Association tells us that the ideal time between marketing mailings is 21 days. There’s a coincidence worth noticing. Develop the good habit of staying in touch with your customers faithfully, and you’ll find when it comes to putting their faith in a company to do business with – yours will rise to the top of the list.

5. Keep your eyes on the horizon.
Don’t panic. These are tough times, and tough times call for tough measures and tough-minded thinking. More importantly, they call for smart strategies and a need to keep your eyes on the road ahead. You can’t change what was, nor can you control THE economy. However, with solid systems in place, best business practices on your side and a focus and commitment to stay close to your customer base first and grow your business from there, you can control YOUR economy.

There’s never been a better time to look at what you’re doing to solidify and build your business. We’re here to help. From recession-proof marketing ideas to good old fashioned customer service. Your success is our business. We look forward to being the resource you can count on. Need help? Call us today at 1.800.287.5710 or visit us at http://www.oppknockspostcards.com or http://www.birthdayprospecting.com