Search Results

Benefits and Best Ways of Using Direct Marketing

The use of internet has developed greatly ever since it was introduced. Today a person has more than one option to start his business online. Not only internet opens diversity in the ways of launching a particular business but also offers a number of remarkable ways to enhancing and promoting any sort of online business.

Since direct marketing businesses can be handled as a part time job, most of the people prefer launching an online direct marketing business. This idea generally proves to be impressive because it is result-oriented by spending little efforts and gaining in return excessive wealth. However, it demands fulfillment of various strategies on part of the businessman. Follow these steps to find out how to start a new direct marketing business.

Work as per your Aptitude_ The foremost and essential thing to be kept in mind is that you should be very relevant to that business which you think you can handle without difficulty. In fact it’s the matter of aptitude that credits a success and growth of any business. Hence, a web designer would not be suitable to kick off a business in the field of social science, for example.

Be Consistent_ In direct marketing there are people of two types; one who spend effort and second, who do not. Of the two, the success is warranted to those who work with dedication and take it serious. Those who maintain consistency in contacting directly with their customers earn much more than those who break up contacts.

Use different strategies_ A number of methods can be used in direct marketing including email marketing, telemarketing, personal selling and direct response. No one knows in the beginning that which way would click on his success. It is advised to adopt all these methods which enable one to directly contact with his customer. Nevertheless, each method has its own pros and cons depending on the nature of business. With the passage of time, a businessman becomes able to choose a suitable method for his business.

Target specific clients_ The response you get from direct marketing business can be either positive or negative. It depends on the nature of clients whom you are going to target as your customers. So it is necessary to keep in view the likes and dislikes of your customers. If you target clients considering their interest, it means you have got the secret of leading your business to the heights.

In short, building up a direct marketing business is not a difficult phenomenon. The only thing is having a capability and understanding of the stratagems generally used in direct marketing. Following the a fore- mentioned techniques can assure a significant income in a short spam of time.

7 Ways a Marketing Strategy Will Grow Your Business

“What is the best money I can spend in marketing to grow my business?” Without a doubt, this is the question I’m most frequently asked by small business owners. It may seem like a question that is promptly followed by an “it depends” type of answer, however, it’s actually quite easy to pinpoint one tool that is relatively inexpensive, delivers a high ROI and, sadly, is not commonly found in a small businesses’ toolbox. It’s a marketing strategy.

Why is a marketing strategy the most powerful tool for growing business? The straight-forward answer is that a solid marketing strategy will address current challenges and map out paths by which a business can grow in the future. It will audit a business’s brand and message, but isn’t limited to branding alone. Rather, a marketing strategy is a combination of big picture and detail analysis that incorporates a wide range of marketing channels tailored for that business’s industry, market, and budget. The majority of marketing strategies I write for small businesses include a high number of items that can be performed for free by current in-house staff, resulting in a plan that won’t lead to a fortune spent. In fact, a good marketing strategy is an investment in saving money because it targets a business’s efforts and helps avoid waste.

At this point I need to qualify my earlier statement; the best money spent in marketing is a smart marketing strategy written by an experienced marketer on behalf of a specific business, not something sketched out by a rep at a service shop (think printer or web firm) or from a generic, ‘small business strategy’ check list. For a marketing strategy to be truly effective, it needs to be a customized effort involving research, analysis and a careful matching of opportunities with the business’s resources and budget. This can never be a quick or off the shelf effort – a smart marketing strategy takes some time to develop properly. My own typically take less than a month and are generally under $2,000.

It’s important to keep in mind that while a smart marketing strategy won’t force a business beyond its means, it will present a mix of opportunities that meet immediate goals and show paths for growth. A marketing strategy’s advantage is that it paints a picture of a business, highlights who that business is targeting, focuses its marketing budget, and develops a schedule for reaching out to buyers. It accomplishes this in 7 key ways:

1. Develops Brand & Message

A brand is simply a business’s public look and message. Businesses all have the beginning of a brand – an official name – and some have taken steps to identify a logo, tagline, and possibly a general color scheme or style guide. In small businesses, these are often a reflection of the owner’s personal taste rather than an evaluation of the market and targeted buyers (years ago I had a client who chose her corporation’s color scheme from her kitchen wall’s paint chip). They may be a result of a family brainstorming effort or an owner’s flash of inspiration. Sometimes they are geographically influenced or an attempt at gimmickry. The point is that while it’s rare to find a small business that developed its name, logo, and message as the result of true market research, it’s a universal rule that, for good or bad, small businesses will refer to these items as their business’s brand.

And this is where a marketing strategy steps in. A smart marketing strategy will thoroughly evaluate a business’s brand through experienced and unbiased eyes. The marketer is not (hopefully) a member of the family and most likely hasn’t seen the kitchen’s walls. Instead, an experienced marketer will audit the brand as both a buyer and a marketer, and evaluate its ability to quickly convey the business’s story, whether or not it targets the appropriate buyer, and if it is unique enough within the marketplace to set the business apart from the competition. The marketing strategy will highlight any brand challenges, inconsistencies, or weaknesses before suggesting modifications and improvements.

Unfortunately, ‘brand’ seems to be a point at which many small businesses abandon their strategic efforts. A business’s brand is essential and well worth a hefty effort, but ‘branding’ isn’t enough of an action item to grow a business and isn’t where a smart strategy ends…

2. Audits Current Program

Which segues nicely into the next stage of a strategy: auditing the current marketing program. This stage goes beyond branding to review all of the business’s marketing efforts and is an essential component to any smart strategy. It’s at this stage that wasted money or effort is discovered, missed opportunities highlighted, or where I find that a client had started down a positive path in the past but either abandoned it too early or was off in its message. Has the business’s marketing program been well thought out or has it been a shotgun approach through a series of one-off efforts spread over time? This is where we find out.
My audits look for strengths as well as holes and weaknesses in a business’s marketing program by dissecting the marketing channel mix, promotional locations (both online and traditional), frequency, and more, then matching the entire program to the targeted buyer profile. I spend quite a bit of time looking through the business’s marketing tools such as its web site, brochures, newsletters, and social media and evaluate the business’s staff resources, factoring any strengths into the final evaluation.

3. Profiles Buyers & Marketplace

It may be hard to fathom but there are small businesses that face each year without knowing much about their own marketplace and the very buyers upon which their livelihoods depend. As a marketer, it baffles me how any business can hang its shingle without taking the time to first evaluate who it will sell to and from whom it will grab market share. Questions such as, “how many buyers are out there?”, “how do they like to be reached?” and, “who am I competing against?” are all fundamental to business success because it’s only through this knowledge that a company can adapt and grow. The only way to create this profile is through research!

I start by pulling information directly from my clients through a combination of interviews and surveys filled with carefully crafted questions. I’ll ask then re-ask until I’ve developed a complete profile from my client’s perspective. My work then turns to generating a buyer profile from a marketing perspective that stems from my client’s high level buyer description. I’ll dig and research until my profile is complete, then compare my profile with that of my client’s. Hopefully we’re in synch, but if not, I’ll point out where we differ and evaluate where my client can hone his or her efforts.

At this point I’ll also want to look at the marketplace from my buyer profile’s point of view, and will “shop” the competition. I’ll look at the business’s geographic reach and investigate both demographic data and local economic growth plans. All of this data will play into the final evaluation of whether my client should continue in its current market or branch out into an area that’s buyer-rich.

4. Evaluates Competition

“Who is my competition and how do we differ?” That’s a question every business owner should be able to answer at any given time! Business owners should be aware of who is snagging market share from them and how each competitor compares in services, quality, customer service, messaging, and overall marketing efforts. It’s wonderful to be the best service provider available, but that won’t mean anything if the competition is signing more buyers!

For this stage of a marketing strategy, I like to shop the competition from a buyer’s perspective before comparing my findings to my own “client shop”. Since I’m an outside consultant, it’s fairly easy for me to assume an unbiased buyer’s approach to most shopping efforts, be it B to B or B to C, and I look for easy shopping situations, who could satisfy my buyer needs, would entice me to make a purchase or conversely would turn me off as a buyer. I use these results to suggest ways my client could improve his or own business’s message and to…

5. Determine Marketing Mix

This stage of a marketing strategy is a game of, ‘find the buyers’. After all, what is marketing if it isn’t an effort to communicate with buyers and lure them to a business? To me, this is the truly strategic stage of a strategy, but one that could not exist without all the previous steps. It is at this point that the strategy should answer questions such as, “should a business adopt the latest trends or stick to more traditional methods?” or, “what will provide the biggest bang for a limited budget?”

It’s also the stage where experience really pays off as there are many, many ways to spend money in marketing and only so many options that will reach the right buyers. I enjoy this stage the most and spend time looking under rocks to discover new options and find cost effective solutions. No two strategies should be ever be the same at this stage, making this the most custom portion of the entire process. A good strategy will look beyond paid search and Facebook ads and find new ways to present the business – within budget.

This is also the most flexible portion of a smart marketing strategy. I like to include a variety of options that range from ‘incorporate immediately’ to more longer term efforts that make sense once the business has grown or has put other marketing tools in place. A good mix will pull in multiple marketing channels and allow a business to reach buyers on many levels.

6. Finds Internal & Low Cost Options

Many businesses have low cost and free marketing options already at their disposal and may not realize it. A good marketing strategy reviews a business’s internal options, evaluates the business as a whole, and discover resources that can be used in the marketing plan. I like to empower my clients and give them the chance to save their budget for bigger ticket items down the road.

7. Designs 1 – 5 Years Marketing Plan

I wrap up every marketing strategy with a 1 year, month by month, marketing plan. This marketing plan lists carefully selected marketing efforts determined in the strategy and provide a schedule for when they should be launched and evaluated. For smaller businesses, I try to stick to the low cost options that can be maintained internally with optional efforts that may cost more money or should happen after an early goal has been achieved. More expensive or involved opportunities are generally reserved for a 2-5 year plan and are contingent upon achieving goals.

By incorporating the above 7 stages into a thoroughly researched and carefully crafted strategy, a small business will have a map by which it can achieve its goals and grow its business. It’s money well spent and something a business really shouldn’t exist without!

Who Else Wants to Know the Pros and Cons of a Direct Marketing Campaign?

Starting Your Own Business

I got to tell you that whether you are in the network marketing business or are building another home based business, marketing is a very important factor. How else can your business succeed if nobody knows it even exists? How would anybody be able to find you and your business? Continue reading and I’ll share some of the advantages and disadvantages of running a direct marketing campaign.

Marketing Campaigns

There are a few different ways to run a marketing campaign. Direct bulk mailings, email campaigns, telemarketing and even purchasing television or radio commercial time are all ways that small businesses get the word out about their products or services.

For most of us, these methods can be cost prohibitive. Many home based business owners take their business’ budget right out of their household income. Because of this, it becomes very important to weight out the pros and cons of direct marketing before making the investment.

The Pros and the Cons

Direct marketing is driven straight to the potential customer or lead. This removes the need to raise prices to cover a middle-man. Some methods of marketing, including emails and bulk snail mail, can even further target your desired consumer by determining what demographic your market consists of and gathering or buying mailing lists specifically for that market.

Direct marketing also allows you to more accurately track the success or failure of specific campaigns. This information is very valuable moving forward as you fine tune and adjust your marketing strategy.

One of the most obvious disadvantages to direct marketing is people’s tendency to not only get annoyed by these campaigns but even to prevent you from reaching them in the future. For example, I tend to mark as “spam” any direct email marketing that I did not specifically request, hopefully to never be heard from again.

Another clear disadvantage is the costs involved. For most of these strategies, market research, mailing lists and delivery costs are all factors. If you’re considering putting together a radio or TV ad, production costs must also be considered.

Word of Mouth

Perhaps the greatest and most overlooked direct marketing campaign strategy is simple customer satisfaction. If you go out of your way to provide your customers or leads exactly what they are looking for at a reasonable cost, their word of mouth advertising can be the most direct, not to mention least expensive, form of marketing available.