What is Direct Marketing

What is Direct Marketing?

Direct Marketing Explained

Direct marketing is unique to other forms of marketing in that it communicates directly to consumers through a one-to-one relationship and seeks to create an immediate action on the part of the audience.

By marketing directly to the end user, direct marketing doesn’t typically utilize distributors and wholesalers as traditional or general marketing might.

Rather, direct marketing utilizes one or more media in seeking a response and/or transaction.

Direct marketing, also known as database marketing or direct response, uses direct mail, fax, telephone, website, e-mail and even face-to-face sales in order to persuade customers to order.

Direct marketing has been steadily increasing in popularity since the 1970s. While instances of direct marketing go back as far as the late 1700s, its use among businesses has increased exponentially since the advent of the database.

The database – or target audience list – is what makes direct marketing unique. No other form of marketing relies as heavily on the database for churning business leads or mailing lists. Whether it is for creating customized call lists, improving catalog response rates, sending profitable e-mail blasts or large direct mailings, the database is key.

In addition, another distinctive aspect of direct marketing is its intricate blend of disciplines. By combining information technology, copywriting, design, analytics and sales, direct marketing is truly a hybrid.

Direct marketers, by nature, are well-balanced individuals who appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of each discipline represented on the project team.

Direct marketers seek a “give-and-take” from each individual contribution in order to reach the optimum mix of creative, database and sales offer. It’s the combination that makes it a success.

What are the top two components of a Direct Marketing campaign?

For starters, you need to identify the main product (or service) for marketing. While this may seem basic, it is remarkable how often this crucial first step is overlooked. Some products respond better to direct marketing than others.

A general rule of the thumb to follow is this: The easier the product is to find in a store, the harder it will be to sell through direct marketing. For example, staple items – such as sugar, milk, bread and eggs, or easily available items like pens, paper, – are not direct marketing items. Items that cannot be purchased through a store, or are specialty in nature, however, typically do respond well to direct marketing efforts.

Secondly, have a plan. Always determine and write out S.M.A.R.T. marketing objectives. First, ensure that the objective is Specific in nature and Measurable. In other words, quantify the goal. For example, you might set an objective to “increase unit sales of X by 4,000” or “increase net sales by $450,000.”

Next, be sure the objective is Attainable. Those that are set too high or too far out of reach quickly fizzle out. Your objective should stretch you slightly so it feels within reach but still require a strong commitment for success.

Next, ask yourself if your objective is Realistic. In other words, is it achievable? The skills and resources necessary for reaching the objective should be readily available. If they are not, then the objective is unrealistic and must be modified or dismissed in lieu of another, more attainable objective.

Lastly, ensure your objective is Time-specific with a clear timeframe and deadline for completion. Without this, the commitment from team members is often too vague. Procrastination almost always sets in and a lack of urgency only further contributes to the doomed project. The irony of the time-specific aspect of the objective is that it too must be specific, attainable and realistic.

What are the three most critical elements of a Direct Marketing plan?

If you think of the direct marketing plan as a pie chart, you’ll find three critical elements for success. The first of the two largest areas is database, commonly referred to as “list” (the audience you’re targeting).

On the pie chart, database represents 40%. This means that database, or list, is a major factor in determining the likelihood of success. To whom are you marketing? Who is most likely to buy the product?

These types of questions, as well as questions concerning customer demographics (sex, location, age, race, buying habits), are key components in direct marketing.

The second piece of the pie chart is the offer or “hook” that motivates consumers to purchase. Like the database, the offer equals 40% of the equation and is critical to the success of the plan.

Direct marketing plans have free offers, reduced offers, discount offers or any number of combinations thereof. The offer is critically essential and can have a tremendous effect on response rates. Companies like affordableblinds.com often test their offers on their website first to see which pulls the highest response rates before creating bigger campaigns.

The third and smallest area of the pie chart is creative. Creative entails everything from the concept, design, paper and photography, to layout, packaging, etc.

While creative only represents 20% of the equation, it is imperative that it receives 100% of its due attention. Solid creative acts as the glue that binds database and offer together. This tri-fecta combination is the difference which often makes a direct marketing campaign lethal to the competition.

Once database and offer have been established, creative goes to work generating and honing ideas that will capture the minds and hearts of the target audience.

What is common Direct Marketing formats?

Direct mail: Often referred to as snail mail, direct mail is still the primary form of business advertising and communication. Direct mail is excellent for generating sales leads as well as selling products directly to consumers and businesses alike.

E-mail: While still relatively new, e-mail is proving to be a successful means of communication with existing customers. Its use as a prospecting tool, however, is increasingly criticized.

Many states have anti-spamming laws (or anti-e-mail prospecting laws) on the books. The US Congress has passed legislation specifically outlining the rights of consumers who do not wish to receive such promotions. For this reason, many companies are steering clear of this potential minefield and have limited e-mail marketing to existing customers only.

Telephone: Also heavily legislated, telephone sales or telemarketing ranks near the top of customer frustrations. Viewed as a violation of privacy by many consumers, state laws now assign extraordinary fines to companies that fail to consult the state do-not-call list before prospecting.

Consumer activism and backlash have slowed investment in this multi-billion dollar industry.

Fax: Like the telephone, use of the fax as a business prospecting tool has been heavily legislated with many of the same restrictions and is most definitely a dying part of the equation. While companies still use this form of marketing, the advent of electronic communication and commerce has seen the importance of the fax machine steadily decline.

Catalogs: Paper catalogs have experienced a re-birth of sorts since the dot.com bust. Marketing managers across the country have opted for a more brick-and-mortar approach after e-mail response rates failed to materialize as they had hoped.

Alternative Media: This consists of card decks, package inserts, bind-in cards, blow-in cards, specialty advertising, etc. This area of direct marketing is still heavily utilized and continues to focus on providing qualified leads as well as generating sales.

Why are companies switching to Direct Marketing?

To begin with, companies are seeking a bigger ROI on their marketing dollars. Over the past several years, marketing budgets and personnel have dwindled as a consequence of two things: the dot.com bust and Wall Street’s stricter corporate governance laws, which require fuller financial disclosure.

The pressure from both corporate management and Wall Street analysts now require top performance from all company executives…marketing included.

Secondly, there has been a shift away from mass-marketing towards targeted, smaller campaigns. One of the most efficient ways of improving marketing ROI is redirecting the focus to smaller, more highly-targeted direct marketing.

Direct marketing thrives upon tracking and analysis of campaigns, ads, etc. It is this tracking, analysis, and proof of return (or lack there of) that companies and analysts find extremely attractive. With newer legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the importance of tracking and analysis will only grow…providing plenty of fuel for those seeking to take a direct marketing approach.

linkedin for small businesses

Local Businesses and Linkedin

linkedin for small businessesLinkedin is a platform for executives, professionals, and businesses and their owners to not only showcase their resumes, but to showcase the value proposition of the business and how they deliver their product to customers and solve problems.

With Linkedin at your disposal, you have the person that you need to talk with in order to make a connection to see if your product or service will fit what his needs are.

Local businesses form sort of a loose bond of crusaders when all of the smoke clears because a local community has an economy all its own. This economy can be a vibrant and ongoing one where it will grow when the conditions are right and supportive. People generally like to business on a local basis because it is easy to get familiar with local people and convenient to continue in that vein.

Local business can mean a small community, and it can mean a larger area in a larger metropolitan area, but local is more compatible to most business people simply because it is easier.

Linkedin gives us the ability to contact people in a very professional manner by reaching out with your value proposition, and stating what you have. One good way of doing that is by forming or joining groups in areas where you specialize according to your product or service. When people see what you do, you will get inquiries and referrals.

When you put your profile onto Linked in you become very transparent fairly quickly, and people will gravitate to you based upon their needs and what they see in your profile. Also you can get reviews of your service which will help people get to know more about what you do.

The ethic of Linkedin is that of a community of people that have the ability to share abilities for the common good of all. For the purposes of marketing your firm and business it really works because all of the other people on linked are people just like you in that they are also marketing themselves and their goods and services.

One tactic that many Linkedin subscribers have taken to heart is to hire a Linkedin coach, or a person who knows their way around the system. In that way you can use all of the available bells and whistles of the system to make yourself stand out (click here) from the crowd so you can gain a following that is real and vibrant.

Right now there are over 130 million business owners who are on Linkedin and that includes many local business owners, many in your own community, or in communities which are nearby who would probably be interested in what it is that you do, if they only knew a little more about you.

And there is one thing about the community on Linkedin, the more your services get used and recommended, the more that they will be used and recommended. That is not just idle chatter, but it is fact and certainly worth shooting for and implementing.

man at work checking his watch

Easy To Use Online Employee Time Clock Software

Time clock software is a smart and the best investment which can help you to protect from the loss of a good amount of money in your company and be the best employer for your office staffs. This time clock software is very simple and easy to use and also benefits the businessman in saving a lot of money and time for their organizations.

It will record the “clock in” and the “clock out” of the employee who will be beneficial to your payroll process. If you want to improve the payroll process of your business, then this software is very much beneficial for you.

However, if you get the cards stamped for your attendance, then the employee who marks the attendance in the employee’s attendance card can do any wrong entry in that which could lead you to a great loss of money in your business.

So to avoid this type of mistakes and to protect the loss amount in your business this type of software has been introduced in the market. You must use the software in the office to protect your business loss and to protect the employee’s satisfaction towards you and your business.

Advantages

This software is highly beneficial for both employees and the owner of that organization as it will record the time of the employee and will keep the record of the time entering of the office and the departure time of an employee who will lead to a fair payroll process. For a businessman, this is a smart and good investment for your business. This will also avoid the loss of money and time which you can give it to your business and can benefit your business with that. This software also calculates the records, and it helps you to payroll process. It is quite helpful in the payroll process.

Having time clock software in your organization will help you to not to carry the attendance card in everywhere and not to have a fear to lose the card because it is recorded in the software. After having the time clock software in the office, you will notice that you are saving a lot of money for your business every month and you will get the good employee satisfaction towards you and your organization.

Easy To Track The Attendance Of The Employee

There are many methods to track attendance of the employees. It is really, important for your business to have a good track record of your employee’s working hours. Nowadays, this is possible using this software itself, and it is much more effective than any one person’s work. The machine is much more appropriate and effective work than any employee. It also protects you from any errors which can cause you a  high loss. Are you aware of the different methods to track the employee’s working hours? If no then read on to know.

Mobile Attendance System: – While they are in the office you can easily track the working hours by wall mounted cards swipe or pressing the red button in the software. But what if they are out of the office for the business purpose. It is nearly impossible you to track the employee’s working hours without the help of the mobile attendance system. Now you must be wondering how it works. It tracks the employee’s location with the help of the GPS which works on the employee’s phone. They confirm the working hours by data collected through the GPS.

Use Of Wall Mount Card Swipes: – These wall mount card swipes depicts the updated version of the punching cards in the cards system. This is used as swiping card in the time clock software and gets the attendance in the records. It records the entire clock in and the clock out of the employee in the system. After that it transfers the data which has been recorded to a system where all the working hours is calculated and according to that payroll process continues.

Automatic Attendance System: – Accurate tracking system is very important for the numerous requirements and the meetings. If you use the automated system to track the attendance, and the time which can help to reduce the errors and to prevent the costly litigations which can arise for the non-compliance.

The Bottom Line

This software is really easy to use for the employees and the businessman. It also keeps the clean and fair record of the ‘clock in’ and the ‘clock out’ of the employee. This is a quite good investment towards a business. It will be highly beneficial for the owner and as well as the employees. So hurry up and install the software in your office.

reasons to use LinkedIn

Four Reasons To Take Advantage Of LinkedIn!

reasons to use LinkedInFour Reasons For You To Create A LinkedIn Account For Your Small Business

Working On Building A Brand

When you meet someone in person at a promotional event and you introduce yourself, it is likely that they will go and look for you on the Internet. A profile on LinkedIn will help people find you and get a sense of who you are, so you should get an account if you do not already have one. In order to boost your credibility, you should add rich media features, like sales sheets and presentations.

You should look at your profile as a great representation of you as a professional that will allow others to connect further. One thing you must remember is that speaking in first person tense is a must since it will give readers the impression that you are talking to them directly. This will keep them engaged and encourage them to connect with you.

Taking Advantage Of Free Marketing

LinkedIn company pages are a free and effective way to market your business to others. While it should not be used as a replacement to your site, it is a useful supplement. Small business owners who choose not to build company pages on LinkedIn are losing out on the opportunity to spread the word and increase their customer base.

One way that your company can increase it’s image would be to work hard to build a solid search engine presence. You can do this by using the best possible keywords and phrases on your page. These are the terms that people will use when they are performing searches. For example, if your company sells orthopedic shoes, keywords like, “men’s orthopedic shoes” and “orthopedic shoes for ladies” will be very helpful. Use a tool like Google Adwords or SEMRush to figure out what the best keywords would be.

Extended Your Sales Reach

People in your network on LinkedIn can help you make more sales. You have to build your network and work on making the best possible connections. Vendors, co-workers and people you have met at events are a good start.

Using the advanced search feature on LinkedIn, small businesses can find out who they should connect with, figure out which current relationships can open up new doors and reach out to the best possible people. It is not all about who you know; who they know matters as well. That is one of the best things about LinkedIn: You have the chance to make connections and build your brand through word of mouth.

Attracting The Top Talent In Your Industry

If you are looking to attract new clients, LinkedIn is the place where the wise ones begin their search. Small business owners should have a personal profile or company page that will help them build their brand. If you are looking for top talent, you must have a page that is in line.

Those who are looking for new people to hire for their company can post job listings and search the site for potential candidates. Searching for candidates on your own means that you will have the chance to handpick the type of person that will fit the position you are trying to fill, reach out to them and lead them to your job listing.

The biggest error a small business owner can make would be to ignore all of the features LinkedIn has to offer. Whether you are just getting started or you have more experience, LinkedIn is a great resource for anyone that is looking to give their small business a much-needed boost.

Now that you have all of this information available to you, there should be no reason to hesitate any further.

linkedin for leads

Will LinkedIn Help With Leads?

linkedin for leadsGetting leads is starting to become one of the most difficult things for people involved in Internet marketing to do.

However, what people need to realize is it is going to be easier for them to find the right information and leads by using various websites to help them out in getting the information.

This is when people should know more about how they can use LinkedIn to help them in developing the leads they need to have for their business.

Without this, people are going to continue to have to work harder and harder to gain the leads they need.

Knowledge of the likes and interest of the professionals is going to be the primary reason why people are going to want to go here. While most people never think about this, they need to realize this is going to allow them to get more information about the professionals and this is going to allow them to establish a closer connection.

This in turn will help people in getting the right connection and possibly the higher results of completing the connection compared to what they were anticipating beforehand.

With the information on LinkedIn, people will start to get to explore and reach out to contacts who already match what people are looking for.

While some people never think about this, they need to realize that if they are reaching out to targeted people they will have a higher level of conversion.

Since most people list their job titles or what they have done in the past on this website, it will start to be easier for people to target those individuals and this is going to help them in getting to reach out to the proper people, but also improve the chances of getting a conversion.

Quality of the leads that people are going to get is something else that people will enjoy when they are using LinkedIn. Normally people think that any lead is going to be a good one, which can be the case at times.

However, what people need to realize is if they get better high quality leads they are going to be able to have better conversions and potentially new clients versus the basic leads that may not provide people with the right type of assistance.

When people are looking at the different ways to build up leads, they will generally end up looking at the different ways to do this and will turn to Facebook, Google +, and their own websites to do the work.

What people do not realize is they need to look at LinkedIn as well. By using LinkedIn, people will start to get the high quality leads they need to have, but also start to get the assistance that is needed to make these leads into one of the most qualified leads around.

This way people will start to get the right leads and know they will convert because of the type of leads they are getting.

linkedin introduction

An Introduction to LinkedIn

linkedin introductionLinkedIn is a medium that is used by people all over the world. This is a great way to use the growing use of technology to something that can be very useful.

For instance, this is a platform used to make networks and bond with people who may have gone to the same school as you, or applying to same job or if you are someone who is looking to hire someone you can find resumes and their education all on here through their profile.

This is a great way to get or find a job if you are looking to hire someone or are wanting to get hired. People who are just wanting to form connections or get an idea of what others who have their degree are working with, again this is a great medium to look at for some help.

This is something that is used be hundreds and thousands of people making it a lot more fun and worth trying out. If you are someone who is wanting to do any of the things that I have listed above it is time that you create your very own account.

Getting an introduction to LinkedIn is very simple. You just want to firstly make an account. Make an account under your name and also do not forget to include an email address that you normally use when applying for jobs.

You want it to be professional, so that it ends up leaving a great impressions. Silly one’s can be excused because that does not set up a convincing profile for you. Later, you also want to save up a picture that represents you well.

Just make sure that it is not a selfie, or anything that does not seem formal or represent you correctly. The best would be to stand behind a plain background, wear formal work clothes and look well put together and smile.

This will showcase that you are friendly, organized and you know what it takes to take responsibility you want to make them see that you are mature for the position that they possibly may offer you.

Making an account here is perfect because a resume is very flat, you cannot put too much information on there, but with this they also get to see a face to the picture making it more personal and giving you a better shot at getting the job.

Getting an introduction to LinkedIn is very simple and really only requires you to follow a few quick and simple steps. After you are done following those you are good to go.

You then just want to request to follow people you know, or are in the same program or university as you, so that you can from there start building up connections.

You also want to ensure that all the information you write about yourself is accurate and not too detailed, but also not too brief, just enough so they understand and get a jist about your education and previous experience.