Business Direct Marketing – Top 10 Must Do’s For a Successful Program

Let’s face it. Companies spend a big portion of their budgets on print and online advertising. And, we all know that we still get a bunch of “junk” mail. Why? Because it works. While inventing new ways to market your business can sometimes pay off, let’s make sure we do not drop the ball and overlook the ground rules for direct marketing.

Small business owners can effectively use direct marketing to grow their business and build relationships with their current and prospective clients. But, a poorly executed direct marketing program will hurt you where it counts! Here are a few tips to give you a great shot at putting together a successful direct marketing campaign.

1. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Create a marketing plan. Set goals for your direct marketing effort and put it in writing. Share it with key employees and have clear-cut objectives that reflect your marketing research and intuition.

2. Get “personal” with your target audience. Sending a marketing letter to “The Manager” is the best way to get your message ignored and thrown directly into the garbage or virtual trash. Get personal by using and creating marketing databases that have detailed information on the businesses you are trying to reach. Do not be afraid to use this information in your message. This conveys to the recipient that you have done your homework and have a value offering that relates to their business.

3. Test before rolling out your promotion. You have done your research, crafted the look and content of your sales message, and prepared your database. That is a lot of work done to get to that point but do not waste your time and efforts by sending your message out to your list without testing it first. Take a smaller nth name test from your database to see the response to your message. Get a feel for turnaround times, inquiries and general receptiveness to your offer. If you like the reaction, roll it out. If not, change something and test again until you get an acceptable response.

4. Include a “call to action” in your message. Putting your address or phone number is not enough. Stay away from creating open-ended offerings. Reinforce your compelling sales message by telling the recipient of your marketing letter exactly what to do and when.

5. Consider a multiple step direct marketing strategy. With the investment of time and money, it is easy to understand why small business marketers want to make the sale on the first pass of a marketing effort. The ability to do that will depend on your product or service offerings. But, two-step direct marketing has some valuable upsides. It allows you to collect a larger pool of potential customers and build a relationship with this market. In many instances, it provides an opportunity to increase the unit sale and introduce additional products and services.

6. Be a Copycat. Do not resist what is working in your market. Understand what your competitors are doing to get business. Pay special attention to what the market leaders are doing and what promotions are repeated. Other companies have done their market research and testing and, sometimes, you can benefit from their investment by implementing a similar strategy.

7. Follow up with a vengeance. Do not let your direct marketing effort fizzle on the back end. Just like in sales, the weakest link is usually in the follow-up.

8. Perceptions are important. We all want to work with quality people. We all want to deal with quality companies. Make sure your message does not make claims you cannot back up or seems deceptive in any way.

9. Niche out your products and services. Packaging a product or service for a particular group can sell more of your business offerings than if you tried to sell to a general market. If you are a specialized business already, look for sub-markets to sell to. It is more work for sure but, you may find a gold mine. Following tip #2, people respond positively to messages that they can relate to.

10. Make sure you analyze your results. You can easily tell if a direct marketing effort was successful in generating sales. But, be sure you note the qualities of both the positive and negative responses because you can miss valuable sales and marketing information if you do not. Things such as response times, geographical disbursement, respondent job titles, inquiries that turn into sales, and actual client feedback, can help you roll out a more effective direct marketing campaign next time around.

Okay, here is one more bonus tip for you. Make your sales message compelling. Be creative and use your instincts. Remember, every sentence you put on your marketing piece should have a purpose. Leave out extraneous information and be clear with your sales message. Now, go ahead and use these tips, along with your business savvy, to form a successful direct marketing program.

Direct Mail Marketing and Customer Coupon Addictions

Many times small-business people complain that their direct-mail marketing advertising is working too good and that everyone who comes in seems to have a coupon and no one seems to be coming in who doesn’t have a coupon. There could be a couple different reasons for this.

One reason could be that your customer service is very lousy and even though you bring in new customers no one ever comes back. But the second reason is probably the most likely and that is that you use direct-mail marketing so often and so much that people only come in when they get the coupon in the mail, which they expect every week or two times per month, so they wait for it.

If this is happening to you perhaps you need to limit how much you give away on your coupons and slowly break your customer’s coupon addictions. You want the customer to be addicted to your great service and or your products and services, not the coupons that you send out in the mail.

The objective of direct-mail marketing is to get the customer in to buy from you and introduce them to your business. Then get them to come back and shop with you more often. But if you consistently send out coupons, they will simply wait until the coupon comes in the mail to come and shop with you.

This does not help your business very much, as it costs you money to give away discounts, send out the direct-mail advertising and you’re not getting a long-term benefit that you need for the ongoing vitality and success of your business. Please consider all this in 2006.

Why You Should Consider Real Estate For Your Self Directed Roth IRA Investments

Self directed Roth IRA investments have the potential to earn more. For many people, it’s “put it in the bank and leave it alone.” But since 1996 when the fund was established, some investors have taken advantage of the fully self-directed approach.

Some of their accounts have values in the millions of dollars now. Those that counted on the banking industry or the stock market have accounts valued at no more than $44 to $73 thousand.

With the right self directed Roth IRA investments, it’s possible to grow $20,000 into a million is as little as three years. Others have done it. Why not you?

Yeah, I know it almost sounds like a get-rich quick scheme, but there is no scheme involved. It’s all a matter of making the right choices… self-directing is the first step. Choosing a custodian that gives you complete control and offers all of the legal investment options is step 2.

Comparison shopping the fees that custodians charge is also important. An annual fee is acceptable and expected. Per-transaction charges add up quickly. Companies like Scott and Ameritrade may offer some free trades, but they will eventually start to charge you for each investment that you make.

In addition, they only offer opportunities found in the stock market.

If you’ve been following the news, you know that many people are turning to self directed Roth IRA investments because they are tired of losing their money. From 2001-2007, the average account invested in stocks and mutual funds grew by about 9% per year. Between 2007 and 2008, it is estimated that those accounts lost an average of 20%. So in one year, nearly 3 years of growth were erased.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t invest in stocks. I’m saying that you need to consider all of your options and fully diversify.

Diversification has come to mean investing in a variety of different mutual funds, but that’s not true diversification. In order to be fully diversified, you need to consider all of the markets, and especially the housing market.

Everyone needs a place to live… and the population is not shrinking. And even if high priced houses are not selling right now and their values are declining, you have to look at the overall picture.

The investor that grew $20,000 into a million in three years did it with self directed Roth IRA investments in the real estate market. He started by flipping vacant lots. His profits were sometimes as high as $40,000 per deal. He continued by offering to provide mortgages for interested buyers. For 15-30 years, his account will continue to accept mortgage payments from several people with interest rates around 8%. So, portions of his funds are earning a 24% return.

The key is to find the market that is buying or renting and provide the housing that they need. Get some more education and turn your self directed Roth IRA investments into real money makers.

You might even get to retire earlier than you thought possible.