It’s a regular day. You get up, get yourself ready, and before you head out the door, you rifle through your mail.
Bill, bill, magazine subscription, restaurant voucher, thank you note, and a piece of mail that’s advertising a huge sale at your favorite department store. A special code is printed on the advertisement. All you have to do is enter it on their website to activate 40% off the entire store.
This type of marketing is called direct marketing. For complete context, let’s break down what it is.
What is direct marketing?
Direct marketing is a type of marketing that addresses customers through a variety of channels such as direct mail, email, texting, brochures, flyers, and targeted online ads. It’s a more aggressive form of marketing and can help to expand a company’s customer base all while completely eliminating the need for an advertising middleman.
Direct marketing differs from social media marketing because it doesn’t rely on advertising in mass media. In this article, we’ll discuss what direct marketing is, how it works, and the benefits it offers.
Because companies who utilize direct marketing don’t rely on advertising in mass media, they market to their customers directly. These companies will perform their sales pitch and promotion through direct mail, email, text, etc.
For example, instead of promoting their products or services on a billboard in a busy city or in shop windows, they mail their customers coupons, send them emails announcing a sale, or text them a discount code.
Why direct marketing is effective
At the end of the day, direct marketing is effective because it’s only presented to people who already have an active interest or desire for a company’s product. This demographic information will have already been collected prior to the customer being targeted in a direct marketing campaign. They will have signed up for promotional emails or given their number when applying for a company discount card.
In addition to the precise audience targeting, direct marketing utilizes the call to action. It’s an integral part of this form of marketing. In its true form, a call to action is an incentive (like an enticing deal on jeans) that prompts the customer to respond, click, and act.
For example, people who enroll their children in summer camps at a park district may receive an email promoting a special discount on swim classes in July. It’s likely that only the parents of the children taking part in summer camp are interested in enrolling them in swim classes. By targeting only them, the park district doesn’t waste extra money advertising to people who are not interested.
While some company marketing campaigns aim to gain brand exposure or promote a product to the masses, direct marketing’s main goal is to get the customer to take action and, in turn, transform that click into measurable and tangible results, such as product purchases, signups, or inquiries for further information. An effective marketing campaign always includes a “can’t resist” offer. It’s a tried and true method.
Types of direct marketing
There are a handful of different direct marketing formats, each yielding different results for different companies. Some companies use a couple of formats all at once, while others find one that works best for them. The reassuring thing about direct marketing is that there are so many different types to try out so that if one doesn’t get you the results you are after, you can quickly switch and try another one.
For example, if you decide to hand out flyers on the street to promote a buy one get one free promotion at your restaurant, you can pivot and try out an email campaign where your customers will get the coupon in their email inbox.
Check out our social media marketing hub to learn even more.
The benefits of direct marketing
No matter which types of direct marketing your company utilizes, there are a core group of perks and benefits that come from using each one. Let’s talk about the three reasons why direct marketing is beneficial.
As mentioned before, by trying direct marketing instead of a broader marketing technique, companies can save money by only advertising to the customers who have an active interest in what they are offering. They increase their chances of receiving more sales and signups while avoiding the possibility of annoying the uninterested consumers. For this reason alone, it has a higher ROI (return on investment) and will continually prove successful into the future.
Avoid being annoying
Some companies are synonymous with junk and spam mail. By using direct marketing, a company can avoid this reputation altogether.
Great for small businesses
Direct marketing is also an effective method for smaller businesses. If a restaurant opens up, they may use traditional marketing at first and take some time to find their audience (via Facebook Analytics, Instagram Analytics, or Twitter Analytics). By doing this, they can switch to direct marketing and only email, text, mail, and advertise to their regular and loyal customers.
Focusing on direct mail marketing
Within direct marketing lies direct mail marketing. One of the factors that makes this technique stand out from digital marketing is the fact that you can’t scroll past it. When you get your mail from your mailbox, you’ll shuffle through the stack and even if you don’t keep a company’s piece of mail, you’ve seen their logo. Their brand awareness increases every time they send out mail.
Direct marketing has proven to be a widely used and highly effective form of marketing. The combination of precise targeting, the use of a call to action, and the value of enticing deals is a win-win for both the buyer and the seller.
Don’t forget to carry out good planning and organization before developing a direct marketing campaign and in no time, you’ll achieve the results you want.
Alexa is a former Content Marketing Associate at G2. Born and raised in Chicago, she went to Columbia College Chicago and entered the world of all things event marketing and social media. In her free time, she likes being outside with her dog, creating playlists, and dabbling in Illustrator. (she/her/hers)