Direct Marketing enables communication with targeted groups of consumers and it helps you build profitable customer relationships. Here are 8 objectives Direct Marketing will help you achieve. These are also all the reasons you should use DM as a tool to improvise business functioning, especially in B2B Marketing:
- Generate new business leads and sales
- Increase sales from existing customers
- Re-establish relationships with dormant customers
- Increase customer loyalty
- Focus your resources where they are likely to generate the best results
- Speak directly to current and potential customers
- Track and measure how successful your marketing campaigns are
- Test your marketing campaigns to see which ones work best
The most common form of direct marketing is direct mail– sending letters to targeted consumer groups through the post. Direct mail is used by all types of businesses, to acquire and retain customers and encourage sales. If you understand your customers and target your mailing effectively, direct mail can be a highly personal, highly successful form of marketing.
Another popular form of direct marketing is telemarketing– contacting targeted consumers directly by telephone. Telemarketing does have some significant advantages over direct mail such as:
- You can gauge the customers interest immediately
- You can overcome objections more easily
- You can explain complex messages more effectively
Telemarketing is particularly useful in business-to-business (B2B) marketing as people are more accepting of marketing calls interrupting them at work. Email Marketing is one of the newest forms of direct marketing and it is continuing to grow in popularity. According to figures from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), email marketing has now overtaken direct mail in terms of volume. Advantages of email marketing are that it is often much quicker and cheaper to produce an email marketing campaign than a direct mail campaign.
Whatever method of direct marketing you use, you must bear in mind that the success of your campaign depends on good planning, targeting and accurate, up to date data, because of the large amount of direct marketing sent, you have to work hard to make sure your investment doesn’t end up in the bin.
Plagiarism, content duplication and newer Google algorithms that promise numerical weightings to content owners have fought the long war of providing us with Faster results vs Original results. That, we believe, is what gives makes social media its reputation of being unreliable this often. Blaming journalistic ethics, intended readership or even Google for this could be a huge mistake we make for Internet is yet to be an established communication tool; too virtual to be true.
Most blogs repost borrowed and unaccredited parts of others work because being interesting on Social Media is not just about having something to say. It’s more like screaming in a room full of noisy people to draw their attention to one’s product/service. Conventional approaches to advertising may find it a piece of cake but it isn’t quite so. Being fully aware of the consequences of pirating content is one thing and creating interesting bits of information every day, with a newer, more promising one is another.
Most blogs and its contributors would suggest against stealing; so do we. Although this much is true, we do encourage stealing ideas over content and strategies over credit. A case-study is so called because we can analyse the past applications and better our campaigns with improvised new-fangled data. For this very reason, we go ahead and steal the best content strategy ideas that have worked miraculously for most successful social presence endeavours. All you can eat:
- Write and ebook
- Use the hottest trend in Visual Content: Infographics
- If your content is contagious, it ought to go viral
- Include images and photos (interesting ones like this)
- Rewrite old posts for guest posts
- Establish a post exchange with other bloggers
- Use old posts as broadcast content for your email marketing campaigns (multi-channel approach)
- Answer questions from prospects and consumers on your blog
- Respond to a blogpost with a blogpost
- Create discount vouchers and share it on your blog
- Write an A-Z about your field of expertise
- Get other Industry experts on board
- Repurpose old data into YouTube Videos
- Compile your top most commented/trafficked blogposts and offer a free download
- If you must, steal ideas not content
List Building is not just about earning an income using the Internet. It is also about having a list of active subscribers, converting them into prospects and giving something back to your business. The key to making sure you succeed is to have reliable marketing tools and quality content to provide your customers and prospects. What is holding you back from building a list of active subscribers? Here are 3 list building tips powerful enough to get you started:
1. Marketing Tools — investing in a quality autoresponder service or such other marketing tools is the foundation to building your list. Having the ability to create unlimited autoresponders, making sure your emails get through, and being able to create lead capture pages including other tools to enhance your emails is key. For beginners, thorough research could lead to a variety of choices that may just fit your budget.
2. Content - building a list takes effort but the wonderful aspect of building one is how easy it becomes when you are able to schedule messages ahead of time or contacting multiple list of subscribers simultaneously. A tool allows you to do that but more importantly the information you are putting in these messages are crucial to the stability of your lists. The kiss of death to any email marketing campaign is to overwhelmingly hit your subscribers over the head with constant sales pitches. Most people hate to be sold to and those that don’t mind it still expect some quality information to go along with it. Educating your prospects with some quality content and giving them information that will better their lives in business or personally is a huge part of success when list building.
3. Relationships — the ultimate path to building an active list of subscribers is creating long-term relationships with them. If you approach your list with care and respect you can develop a strong relationship with most of them. Approach the messages in your emails sent from your autoresponders as if you are contacting someone you know personally. If you belong to any social marketing networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter it is impossible not to realize the power of how getting to know one another can be to a business. Take a hard look at the interactions at these sites and take some of what you learn and apply it to your email marketing campaigns.
While many companies utilize both social media and email marketing most companies are missing out on the substantial benefits of integrating the two methods. With integration between your social media and email marketing efforts you can obtain results and discover data that you could have only dreamt about in the past. Here are a few extra things you could do to integrate your social media and email marketing efforts.
Once you send a campaign you will start to have access to a wealth of social reaction data. You can then segment future campaigns based on that data. You could send a campaign to subscribers who shared a specific campaign on Twitter. Or maybe you wish to send a campaign to subscribers who have not liked any past campaign on Facebook. The data is yours to segment and work with.
Automated social reactions:
While social media marketing cannot be automated entirely – you can setup automated social reactions. You could subscribe a subscriber to a new list if they Like a campaign on facebook, send a follow up campaign if they post on Twitter about a campaign, update subscriber fields when they take a specific social action, and more. Automated email marketing with a social twist!
Facebook Like button:
Easily include a familiar Facebook Like button within your emails. All “Likes” are included in your reports and can be used to segment or created automated actions.
Facebook subscription forms:
Generate a custom subscription form and integrate it with your Facebook Page. You can even have them redirected back to your page upon subscription.
Social media auto-posting:
When sending a campaign you can choose to auto-post the campaign to your Twitter and/or Facebook accounts. This syncs your incoming data and reaches out to all audiences who may have missed a platform or two.
Social sharing in your emails:
Easily add social sharing icons for Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and more with the help of an inhouse designer. Clicks are tracked and results from Facebook & Twitter are thereby tracked.
1) Blogs are not about the media, but about democracy
Everyone is a reporter, you know. As a representative of the communications department, one can’t help but agree with it. Imagine a world where everyone had a secret diary which everyone else could read. It is nearly that bad.
2) Blogs are not about recall — they are about reputation
“Recall” is a 20th Century expression, smugly portrayed by ad men and monopolistic publishers and broadcasters. People will remember your brand, but HOW THEY FEEL depends on what/how bloggers think of you to be. Think about it.
3) Blogs wear pyjamas
Whatever blogs are, they tend to be informal in general, and defy stereotypes. Media persons and professional corporates blog, but so do NRI moms and housewives, and guess what? Everyone mentions brands, somewhere, somehow. Go figure.
4) It ain’t just about blogs; instruments abound in the world of social media
E-mails are part of it all– if someone forwards them (they do!). Chats, RSS Feeds, widgets, Twitter, social networking pages, random remarks, discussion forums, message boards. Sounds complex? It is simple, really–instruments have multiplied, like TV channels and mushrooming PR agencies.
5) Influence the influencers
Does it matter if it is a certain Mr Smith, the most glamorous content writer on the block curating your content? Things are getting there, sooner or later. If you don’t post it, someone else will. Special correspondents are passé.
6) Kill the press release, make corporate blogs happen
Tell your clients to type. Ghost-write, if they insist. I see a future in which the informality of the medium must be matched by counter-informality. Google has already done it with its blogs. We are told that the world follows Google these days. Even Bill Gates does.
7) It is not about relationships. It is about Truth, Transparency and Tact
Some say that the PR professionals must now stop behaving like lawyers. It is either that or something about industry jargon and praising oneself and their own products may have put many a readers off corporate blogs. One must face the truth and tell it like it is. It was always this way, but now social media leaves no place to hide. Some quantity of spin may just be allowed though.
Mix now, fix later
Be yourself. That point number seven about relationships isn’t all over but relations only help you take the message forward, not fudge the message.
As of mid 2011, 44-percent of Fortune 500 companies didn’t have a Facebook account and another 40-percent don’t have a Twitter presence. These companies –with a vastness of resources haven’t taken the time to ask their in-house IT guys to set up a simple Facebook page? With online communities blooming, we have had to fight, tooth-and-nail, to get a serious audience for the question “why?” Why post 5 times a day on Facebook? Why tweet 100 times a month? Why open a seventh branded twitter account? Why get your space carved out on Google+, Foursquare, or the like?
Each company needs a social landing page. While some do just well with a website, some require a multi-channel approach .It is important for all companies to understand WHY their company should invest in social media and whether they should or not. Here some such concerning factors that will help you understand whether or not and how social media can help you:
When it Makes Sense:
There are plenty of instances where Facebook and Twitter make a great deal of sense. If your business is reliant on regular interaction with the consumer or the perception of an authoritative voice on something, Twitter needs you. If you’re a news-maker without a Facebook, that’s a problem.
Regularly Returning Customers:
If your business/organization has regularly returning customers (say at least once a month) the sort of instant mass-contact you get from Facebook brings a great deal of benefits. A Facebook post might be the best and cheapest weapon in the advertising arsenal for a beauty salon trying to drum up business around prom time, or a coffee shop trying to get rid of those scones before they expire.
Now, if you don’t fit into one of those categories, its time to start asking yourself: “Self, why do I need to devote business hours to updating social media?” Well, you don’t.
Companies spend time urging customers to like them. Begging, “Help us get to 1000 fans by tomorrow night!” New York Times blogger MP Mueller rightly puts these practices in perspective. “It feels a little like a kid on the playground begging to be picked for a team,” he writes. “It makes me feel uncomfortable for that company and question why I would consider a relationship with them.” And the reward that consumers get for giving in? Giving up vital wall-space to self-promoting advertisers. Folks don’t want to see business spam on Facebook, this is their space.
Beyond the desires of your consumers, we have to ask, “Are these people even my consumers?” In 2011, 77-percent of Facebook users were 33 years old and younger. The U.S. census data reveals that only 12.7-percent of business owners, leaders, and CEOs are in that same age range. If you’re targeting businesses, Facebook is not your tool.
A 2011 infographic from Social Times illustrates the “Real Cost of Social Media.” They find that the average social media campaign (year-long) costs just over $200,000 in time and expense. So much for free advertising, right?
Another study looked closely at the potential return on investment a company gets from Twitter. The findings were a bit worrisome for the “gurus” of the world. The average company on Twitter invests $2,382 a month and sees a return of $1,667 (ROI: 43%). This situation screams strategy and time management.
An easy response to defend the use of social media (albeit not especially compelling) is the “What harm can it do? Its free!” response. In early 2010, food-giant Nestle found themselves in quite the Facebook quandary. Thousands upon thousands of comments flooded their wall. “Why is there no ‘I want to register my disgust button’?” was one such comment. A few rumors and a viral video turned Nestle’s Facebook page from a non-destination into the worst PR move in company history. And if that story isn’t enough Google the Southwest Airlines twitter fiasco are one of the many instances where media has gone wrong.
The take home point here isn’t that your business should close down every social media outlet you’ve opened. In fact, giving your consumers the ability to “like” or “mention” you is perfectly good practice. Spending work hours on twitter of Facebook hoping to drum up business, on the other hand, likely has the worst ROI of any marketing effort if not done aptly.
If your business has decided to jump on the blogwagon, it’s essential to understand exactly what it is that you’re setting out to achieve. Here are 8 great steps for you to follow building your blog strategy:
1. Who Is Your Target Audience?
First, who are you writing your blog for? Do your target audience necessarily understand the technicalities that you want to highlight through your blog? Specialists within any industry have a tendency to speak in jargon rather than in ‘real world’ speak. Decode this language for your readers if you ever wish to gain readership.
2. How Are You Going to Promote Your Blog?
It’s all well and good having great workable content, the key is to attract new and repeat visitors to your blog. Think about your business partners who may see it as an opportune link to place on their own website. Are you highlighting your business blog from your company’s email signatures? Your LinkedIn account? Simple word of mouth techniques will assist greatly if your content is valid and worthwhile
3. How Do You Entice Repeat Visitors?
In all likelihood, a visitor may read one of your blog entries, think “Great idea!” and go off to put some of your thoughts into practice, or research further what you wrote about. To ensure repeat communication with this visitor the construction of your blog is a key ingredient in building a successful blog campaign. Make sure your designers are equipped with the knowledge that links to RSS feeds, email subscriber boxes and downloadable promotions are all within eyeshot of the first-time visitor
4. Don’t Deviate From The Reason Your Blog Exists
Don’t be afraid to, in a subtle manner of course, pitch your business to your blog reader. Whether you’re in a mass market or niche industry, as soon as you’ve captured that readers attention, for all intents and purposes, they’re involved in a sales path. It’s all well and good to provide a resource for your industry, but don’t forget the key reason why your blog exists, to develop sales communication
5. Monitor Your Blog Use
Simple analytic tools will allow you to build a quick picture of which areas of content are proving to be the most interesting to your visitors. If particular articles are getting greater readership, try to understand why, and look at how best to mix your article promotion. Keep note of which of your articles are being commented on the most – people love a good debate and whilst articles carry 5-10 comments initially, users will have a greater ease adding their own commentary
Your blog, as an extension of your business website, gives you a fantastic platform to provide your potential customers with topical relevant information. This information, in turn, will turn your visitors into your customers using a sound and sensible blog strategy. Before jumping in head first, keep the 8 techniques listed above in mind and you’ll soon be seeing the fruits of your blog labour!
There was a time when consumers looked out to relatives, friends and/or neighbours while making purchase related decisions. With the ever-emerging Internet, even strangers sharing common ideas have become influencers, says new wisdom on changing market practices. There are many tools to do this, such as a Website recommendation, a voting button, a favourite list. You name it, the internet has it.
With economic downturn affecting advertisers, promoting brands through conventional advertising is being re-examined by spenders in a new light amid the rise of new Internet habits.
A global study of 17,000 active Internet users across 29 countries conducted by Lodestar Universal, reveals that the rise of social media – which includes social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook and blogs – ‘digital friends’ (like pen pals of yesteryears) and proliferation of Internet channels like photo and video sharing sites are changing the landscape altogether.
Globally, actively influenced categories include consumer electronics, cellphone services, travel options and cinema. Realty is increasing its influence steadily.
Creating an understanding on how brands and marketers should respond to the new changes in technology and the resultant consumer behaviour is essential to keep us ahead of the curve. Just tracking online behaviour is not going to help. As marketers, we have to be able to compare the yield of both platforms to imply appropriate strategies. According to the Internet Innovation Alliance, published content on the Internet has grown 8,760 times since the year 2005. With the content explosion, celebrities endorsing products have gotten increasingly pale in comparison. Problem TVCs?
Despite understanding the benefits of continuing advertising, marketers feel the need to be absent from mass media when overbearing budgets fail. Consumers respond to sentiments and moods rather than factual information. If marketers can understand how to interact with and impact the influence economy so that sentiment and emotions are based on factual information, they can benefit a lot. Social Media is a decision making hub because it is a two-way communication streak where consumers are getting smarter and they feel talking to a cohort is quiet more reliable than watching commercials. So find out what moves your TG and start a conversation today!
Interactive aspects of marketing are becoming a larger part of the marketing mix by the day. A certain Forrester report estimates that by 2016, online advertising spend will be equivalent to television spend today. This means marketers will spend $77 billion on interactive marketing alone by 2016.
The benefits of professional email marketing have been very strong and clear from the beginning. It was the very first platform many of us have used positively to build our business database. It has experienced quite resurgence ever since, as we all can attest to the massive email marketing we get daily, many of which we did not subscribe to.
When someone voluntarily signs up to become a part of your email marketing database, they are committing to you as a professional and are giving you “permission” to send them timely, helpful and relevant resources and information. This is the greatest way to grow and build trust. It is also a very targeted and effective way to ‘ask people for their attention’. There is great power and responsibility in permission based marketing, as long as you are using it appropriately and respecting your community.
Deborah Shane, a popular media host and a contributing author to SmallBizTrends speaks of 5 ways to grow and build trust using email marketing to grow your business while keeping in mind the importance of ‘Permission’:
- Create a monthly Newsletter with specific themes and content that is thoughtful and highly targeted to what your followers need and want from you. Get to know who is on your list and why they joined it in the first place.
- Be consistent with sending your message and campaign out monthly and find the best frequency and timing. Do not over kill your list with too many daily emails. More and more people are tuning out and unsubscribing to those that over email, regardless of how popular they are.
- Offer content especially for this community that other people do not have access too that are NOT on the list. Let your community know how exclusive they are to you and how much you want to serve their specific needs.
- Integrate your email marketing campaign into all your other platforms. Unify the message across your social media, blog, websites, podcasting, video and mobile. Make sure your visual logo, look and feel are consistent over all your platforms.
- “Serving is the New Selling’ should be your approach and mantra. Giving lots of FREE WHY, then SELLING the HOW is a perfect formula. We are in it to make money right? Yes, but earning the business by building strong relationships and using the trust to sell your products and services is why they choose you and ensures more longevity in customer retention.
Resolutions are meant to be broken, not always, but they do hold a reputation for it. As every industry expert makes resolutions, lays them down and cares to share them with the world; we, at NexSales have taken the liberty to choose the best ones of the clan and present them before you. Even if you don’t follow each one of them till the end of time, they are sure to help you analyse your shortcomings. That, we believe, is a good place to start.
Here is a list of New Year Resolutions taken by various marketers around the globe in effort to adapt progressive field habits:
- Spend more time getting to know people
- Reduce, reuse, recycle: Content
- Focus on traditional marketing but to think outside the confines of “traditional” PR
- Listen to what my customers have to say
- Try something new with every campaign
- Try be a better writer; in 140 characters or less
- Ensure to speak measurement upfront, not when asked by the client
- Engage in SEO friendly idea
- To slow it down and clean up my act when necessary
- Improve website design
- Approach technology and alternatives and adapt to them faster
If you think here is a resolution that matches your marketing needs, feel free to adapt. We also invite you to share your own resolutions below. Happy New Year!