Five Steps to A Profitable Direct Marketing Campaign

Direct marketing is when you want to reach out and touch your target audience in a personal way; not mass marketing such as through a radio or television commercial. Direct marketing can be extremely cost-effective if done correctly. Examples of direct marketing include;

  • personal letters or e-mails
  • personalized e-news
  • brochures sent directly
  • explainer video
  • trade show stand
  • boardroom lunch

These five tips will help you maximize your ROI (return on investment)

1. Set your budget

What results do you need to achieve from your direct marketing campaign? This can be decided on by factors such as;

  • sales made
  • phone calls converted
  • units sold
  • new contacts made
  • interest generated
  • referrals generated

Your target should be whatever are the optimum results suitable for your business. This will help you set a reasonable budget and decide how large your target audience will be.

2. Find your target audience

The point of direct marketing is to direct a specific message to a specific audience. It’s not one size fits all. If you have a varied customer or potential customer base, then segment your market. Send them a marketing message that resonates with them. You can segment your target audience several ways including;

  • geographically
  • by gender
  • by age
  • by specific interest
  • business sales (B2B) versus consumer sales (B2C)
  • new customers only
  • only customers who have purchased from you before

Create a marketing message specific to the group you are targeting. What will be the greatest benefit of using your product or service? What problem are you solving? And don’t think only about offering discounts. People’s purchasing behavior can be based on a variety of factors including;

  • convenience (how easy to purchase)
  • perceived quality
  • uniqueness
  • price
  • reputation (of the company or product)
  • relevance to them
  • competitor alternatives

3. Determine your method

How will you send your information?

  • Mail?
  • E-mail?
  • Video?
  • Catalogue?
  • Personal delivery?
  • Gathering at your office?

The first two steps will help determine how you will communicate what you have to say. If you are in B2B (business-to-business) sales your method will likely be different from B2C (business-to-consumer) sales.

4. Cut through the noise

You probably hear a lot of the importance of standing out from the crowd; because it’s true. With people expose to an average of 5,000 advertisements every day, you need to think about how to be compelling, relevant and MEMORABLE. Some ideas to do this include:

  • use of photographs
  • vivid colours or images
  • eye-catching titles or subject lines
  • interesting paper – marble effect, embossed, etc
  • unusual shapes


5. Evaluate your results

The reaction to your direct marketing campaign will tell you what you need to do to improve your next direct marketing campaign. Some questions that you should ask yourself include:

  • Did I meet or exceed my goals?
  • What was my ROI? (return on investment)
  • Was my segmentation effective?
  • Did I hit the right target audience?
  • Was the marketing message pitch-perfect for the audience?
  • What did my recipients respond to most strongly?
  • Were there any errors that I could have caught?
  • Why did the people who bought buy?
  • Did I receive any customer compliments, comments, or complaints?
  • What one aspect could I tweak for a better result?

Direct marketing is a powerful tool to reach customers. By following these steps, you can cost-effectively maximize your profits.

What Does Direct Marketing Cost?

For the purpose of this article we will be talking about direct mail, telemarketing and email marketing. With direct mail, you can mail out a simple letter, a colourful postcard or small package with a sample of your product. Telemarketing allows you to speak directly to your prospects and inform them of your product or service. An email campaign can be as simple or elaborate as you want, providing your prospects with quick links to your website.

You can also try to do all three! The key to marketing is repetition. By reaching out to your prospects using different marketing methods, you strengthen your initial message. This also gives your prospects a variety of ways to respond, which will improve response rates.

Of course, the costs associated with each direct marketing method will vary for each form. Regardless of the form you choose, there are a few things to think about when setting a budget for your direct marketing campaign.

The first cost is going to be the list you use. Unfortunately, there is no absolute cost to a direct marketing list. Your list cost is going to vary based on what type (mail vs telemarketing vs email) of list it is, how many records are on the list, what data elements it contains (how targeted it is) and how it was sourced (compiled, subscriber, direct source, etc). There is also variance in costs from one list owner to another as their compilation methods vary as well as cost and procedure involved in maintaining the accuracy of the data.

Based on list type, a mailing list is usually cheaper than a telemarketing list as it’s just a name and mailing address. A telemarketing list will have name, mailing address as well as a phone number. The extra cost for the telemarketing list is the extra element of the phone number.

An email list than has name, mailing address and email address will normally also be more than a simple mailing lists. There are email lists that contain just name and email address, and these tend be cheaper. Depending on what kind of marketing campaign you are planning, you might want to steer clear of these email lists as the sourcing of this information might not be entirely reliable.

The more records on a direct marketing list, the cheaper the cost per record. For example, you may pay $.05 per record when purchasing a mailing list with 5,000 names. That same list could cost $.02 per records if you purchase 1,000,000 names. This is because list owners will offer volume discounts.

List owners also impose list minimums. If the number of records falls under their minimum, they will charge a flat rate. This means if they charge $250 for a minimum thousand records, and you only want 500 records, you will still have to pay the $250 minimum.

If you want more targeted lists, or specialty lists, these will cost a bit more. In general, the more data elements, the greater the cost. A simple list of females in Seattle is going to cost less than a list of female nurses in Seattle with a good credit rating who own cats. Although a finely targeted list may cost more, they should perform better than a broadly targeted list. You will have to determine if the added cost is worth the improved response rates.

After the cost of the list, the next expense will be the delivery of your message.

If you choose to send your message out by direct mail, you will have to take the cost of printing and postage into account. By using postcards instead of envelopes, you can almost cut your postage rate in half. If you purchase a large enough mailing list. you can mail out en masse, allowing you to qualify for bulk rates.

If you decide to use telemarketing, the size of your telemarketing list will help determine the cost of your campaign. If your list has only 1,000 names you can probably call the list yourself, keeping the telemarketing campaign in house, which will obviously keep the costs down. If you are working with a large telemarketing list, you might want to consider contacting a call center. A single caller at a call center typically makes around 100 calls per 4-hour shift. Of course you’ll have to pay for the service.

The costs associated with an email marketing campaign are probably some of the lowest. You will have two options, you can either purchase an email list and send the emails out yourself or you can have the list owner deploy the list on your behalf. The size and the frequency of the emails should help you decide which option is best for you. If you plan on emailing to the list very frequently, it would be more cost effective to send them out yourself. However, if you plan on sending out to a large list you might want the list owner to send out the emails on your behalf as they have dedicated servers that are whitelisted allowing for better deliverability.

As mentioned before, there is no straight answer to what a direct marketing campaign is going to cost. It’s like going to a car lot and asking what a car costs. There are many variables that go into the cost of a car – year, make, model, etc. It is the same is with direct marketing. The best advice is to find a knowledgeable list broker who can explain all of these options and help figure out the best direct marketing campaign that will work for you. List brokers don’t charge for their services and will know which is the most cost effective method of direct marketing for your product or service.

Telemarketing Lead Generation and Other Direct Marketing Services

Promotional marketing makes it easier for you to reach possible clients and invite them to your company event, but it is not enough. Do not overlook traditional direct marketing services when developing your company’s promotional campaign. Direct marketing techniques are still as effective today as they were years ago. You will get better results when you address your clients directly.

Educate yourself with traditional direct marketing techniques you may want to use. A company offering professional direct marketing services will help you execute your marketing plan flawlessly. You can increase your responses significantly through the following methods.

Telemarketing Lead Generation

The most difficult part of traditional direct marketing is gathering fresh contacts. The Internet makes it easier to make your information available to the widest audience. Not everyone will check their emails, though. You must use Internet marketing strategies with traditional advertising methods to acquire the most desirable results.

Using telemarketing for lead generation purposes increases your response. You will see as high as 30% increase in registrations for your event. Following up regularly on these registered participants will give you a minimum of 60% increase in your attendance rate. Remember that your sales prospects increase if you convince more people to attend your business event.

People respond more to telemarketing because they talk to your company’s representative directly. They can ask questions and make clarifications on the spot, which helps them make more informed decisions. They will also be more open to providing additional information once you’ve built trust. Telemarketing lead generation is a great way to start building your contacts.

Direct Mail Promotion

Sending hard copies of your promotional materials is another method professional direct marketing services provide. Brochures, informative newsletters, posters and invites to your events are some examples of materials you can send potential clients via direct mail. These contacts may be from your provider’s market research, your existing subscriber list, or from the telemarketing lead generation campaign.

Direct mail works because your target customers will have something tangible to use as reference. These materials will serve as a constant reminder of your brand, your products and services. It is also more difficult to ignore these packages once they are there. This is in comparison to email promotional materials, which you can easily overlook with a click of the mouse button.

Direct Selling

Out of all the direct marketing services, direct selling is the one you will be most familiar with. You see it everywhere you go – in the malls, on the streets, even in your own home. You will promote and sell your products and services to potential clients face-to-face. You can do this directly by approaching each client one by one or visiting their homes. More companies choose the indirect way, where they either showcase their products in business conventions and company-sponsored events or they display their products at public markets and wait for clients to approach.

This is effective because your potential customers can see what you have to offer. They can inspect your products thoroughly or ask about your services directly without having to go through a representative. You can tell people what your brand is all about more accurately than any representative.

Remember that no marketing strategy is effective on its own. Combine these traditional marketing techniques with modern Internet marketing methods. You will observe your sales prospects increase over time.