Direct marketing tools you should be using

6 min read
Curtis McHale

Some marketing methods are of the spray-and-pray variety. For example, you put ads up in a bunch of places and pray that likely customers see them. While this can work if you’re going for general brand awareness, direct marketing is much better when you’re asking recipients to take an action.

Direct marketing is when you target your efforts towards people that have already identified themselves as interested in what you have to offer.

That would be an outdoor company sending me something in the mail or via email because they know I subscribe to various climbing and backpacking magazines. They’re marketing directly to someone who is in their target market and asking me to take an action, like purchase their new product. The action you want consumers to take doesn’t have to be a sale though. Maybe you want them to request a quote, or visit your website.

Let’s look at four ways you can use direct marketing in your business.

4 direct marketing tools to try now

This type of marketing takes a targeted approach to reaching people who are most likely to buy your product or service. Here are four top DM tools.

  1. Postcards.

  2. Promotional emails.

  3. Text messages.

  4. Phone calls.

Combine two or more of these for even better response rates.

1. Postcards

Direct Marketing Thank You Postcard
Companies often send loyal customers discounts or exclusive invitations.
Photo: kevin Xue on Unsplash

Every year Western Canoeing and Kayaking has a sale at the end of August. On top of flyers and web advertisements, they send around 8,000 postcards to people all around British Columbia.

These are people that have asked to be on the mailing list for the company. They want to know when a sale is coming up so that they can make a purchase.

Every year a number of customers say they only knew about the sale because of the postcard that was sent.

Some of them are so interested in getting a great deal for their next boat that they line up hours before the store opens, after driving 15 hours to make it to the sale. Others aren’t quite so dedicated but still call in orders from all over western Canada once the company opens up phone orders.

Some tips for using postcard marketing in your business:

  • Treat it as a means of driving people to your website for more information.
  • Consider using a vanity URL for the product page you send them to — one readers will remember long after they’ve lost the postcard.
  • Include a testimonial from a real customer.

You can learn more about postcard marketing here.

2. Promotional emails

Marketing emails are another great way to speak directly to your customers. Once you have some idea of what a customer purchases from you, you can email them further recommendations for related products that they might also like.

Many email marketing services allow you to track a user’s behaviour on your site and then automatically send emails based on criteria you set.

If a client browses your site looking for a product, but doesn’t purchase, you could send them an email with more information about the product and a sales-based call to action.

You can even take this one step further and offer them a discount if they haven’t made a purchase within a few days of looking at the product. Giving a customer a small discount might be just the nudge they need to finish out the sales process they started.

It’s all about personalisation

One thing to remember is that people will be annoyed if you waste their time emailing them about products that aren’t relevant to them. In a 2017 survey by Adobe, 34 percent of respondents were frustrated when the emails a brand sent didn’t match their interests. Your customers expect you to know what they like.

Related: Increase email response with market segmentation

3. Text messages

Direct Marketing Mobile Phones
Text messaging — with permission, of course — is a great way to engage customers.
Photo: rawpixel on Unsplash

Most of us have a phone in our pockets and often times we’re not using it for voice calls.

They would also rather pay for a purchase using a smartphone or mobile wallet over any other method.

It’s important to remember who your target market is, because knowing this can change which type of direct marketing you use. If your business sells to millenials, text should definitely be in the marketing mix.

Remember if you’re sending text (SMS) messages, make sure:

  • You’re sending relevant content.
  • You don’t text outside business hours.
  • You respond promptly to customers who reply to you.

When done right, text marketing can solidify the connection between your company and its customers. And ultimately, increase sales.

4. Phone calls

Personal calls are a staple of nonprofits and higher education. I know this because the college I graduated from 10 years ago calls my wife and me every year looking for donations. Since I went there, I’ve already identified as someone with some affinity to the school — which makes me a prime candidate for the direct approach.

Direct Marketing Man On Phone
Phone calls are most effective with those who already have a relationship with you.
Photo: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

If you’re going to use direct marketing over the phone, you need to make sure that your staff is ready to make the most of every contact. Good phone staff are:

  • Enthusiastic about the client’s background and needs.
  • Patient, so they’re not rushing the customer.
  • Passionate and knowledgeable about whatever they’re selling.
  • Ready to laugh at themselves and with the person on the other end.

One of the great ways to increase the number of leads that turn into customers is to connect what you’re selling to something that matters to the people receiving the calls.

Direct marketing pays

By leveraging more than one of these tactics, you can increase the revenue of your business. So maybe instead of just sending a postcard for your sale, you remind people when it opens up with a text message.

No matter which direct marketing tools you choose, make sure you can measure the results and that you’re not wasting your customers’ time. Only provide them with information about things they’re interested in and at times that should suit them. Follow these tips and you’ll reap the rewards in more sales and more loyal customers.