Engaging directly with your consumers can lead to higher engagement rates and higher ROI.

Every business wants to get its message out to potential customers. It’s how you gain leads, sell, and build brand awareness. Direct marketing can be an effective method to instantly reach the consumers you want.

While you may think direct marketing is synonymous with junk mail and mass phone call campaigns, this form of marketing has adapted to the modern age. It can occur online and offline—and your customers don’t have to loathe it either.

This article will guide you through the world of direct marketing and how you can use it to your advantage.

What is direct marketing?

Direct marketing is a promotional strategy that sends messages straight to consumers. Unlike indirect marketing—which includes digital marketing tactics such as online reviews and search engine optimization—this strategy skips the middleman. Instead of having an agency or publication translate your message for you, you’re communicating directly with your target audience on your own.

The goal of direct marketing (sometimes known as direct response marketing) is to evoke a strong response from potential buyers and persuade them to take action. Because of this, a strong call to action (CTA) is a crucial element of direct marketing. You also want a message that connects deeply with the specific shoppers to whom you’re speaking.

Direct marketing channels

Direct marketing can take many forms, reaching users on the internet, at retail locations, and even at home. As you contemplate this promotion strategy, consider these direct marketing methods for your next campaign:

You’re never limited to selecting a single channel for your campaign. Taking an omnichannel marketing approach by blending and optimizing a handful of these marketing techniques might improve results.

Regardless of which form of direct marketing you choose, remember that you’re speaking for your own brand, so you want to make a compelling impression that sparks quick action.

Building a direct marketing campaign

Indirect marketing might be the preference of many marketers today, but that doesn’t mean you should leave direct marketing behind.

As long as you know how to adapt your strategy to the modern landscape, direct marketing is far from being an annoying tactic of the past. Instead, it can be a great way to boost customer engagement and develop a relationship with potential buyers by catering your message to their specific interests.

Here are some examples of how you can optimize your strategy and reap the benefits of direct marketing:

1. Define your target audience

Compared to outbound strategies and inbound marketing that lets consumers make the first move, direct marketing can feel too aggressive. However, the tactics you use don’t have to be pushy. Whereas outbound marketing pushes your message to a broad audience, successful direct marketing tends to be very well-targeted.

Instead of intrusively blasting a message that only a few people will pay attention to, direct your marketing efforts to people who likely already care. Your message should speak directly to a specific segment of your audience, offering an experience that’s catered to their needs and desires.

Some research shows that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand with this type of personalization, helping to boost conversion rates. With a clearly defined target market, you can keep your direct marketing budget low while maximizing your return on investment (ROI).

2. Make your marketing strategy measurable

The key to a successful direct marketing campaign is making sure you can identify when success actually occurs. Think about what metrics can serve as indicators that your goals are being achieved. For example, you may consider tracking the number of people who opt into your service following a direct mail campaign, or the customer response rate from an SMS campaign.

Making your strategy measurable will help you figure out when your customers aren’t connecting with your direct marketing efforts. Even during your campaign, you’ll be able to adjust your methods in a way that can inspire your audience to take action. After your campaign is over, this well-tracked data can help your team get a clear picture of what occurred. For example, you may see a trend in what language increases click-through rates or what channel garners the greatest customer interactions.

3. Be straightforward

Direct marketing isn’t subtle. While indirect marketing often places an ad under the guise of helpful information, direct marketing is usually highly promotional. Because you’re trying to spur action quickly, you need to be reasonably straightforward about your intentions with a clear CTA or sales pitch.

For example, if you’re an orthodontist promoting Invisalign, you may explicitly encourage users to book a free consultation. To make a CTA even more enticing for potential customers, many direct marketers will offer a discount or other such promotion. Going back to our example, you may follow your CTA by stating that users who sign up for a treatment in the same appointment will get $50 off.

Successful direct marketers take a customer-centric approach by forming a CTA that is both creative and relevant for targeted customers. As long as buyers know exactly what you want them to do and what they can get out of it, you’re on your way to building an effective direct marketing campaign.

4. Maintain relationships

Your direct marketing efforts don’t have to—and shouldn’t—end just because you’ve successfully converted members of your target audience. This type of marketing can be particularly useful for forming a bond with your customers since you’re directly engaging them. Over time, buyers may develop an emotional connection with your brand, which builds customer loyalty.

The most effective direct marketing strategies are able to reactivate consumers. One method you can use is segmenting your audience based on what stage they’re at in the buyer’s journey. This way, you’re not selling to your current customers with a sales pitch they’ve already heard. You’re giving them other reasons to return, whether it’s a new product or promotion.

5. Use your data to improve your approach

We’ve already mentioned that your direct marketing strategy should be measurable, but you can use your metrics for more than just figuring out the success of an individual campaign.

When you take the time to sit down and analyze the metrics from several campaigns, you’ll be able to pinpoint trends. With these trends in mind, you’ll know what channels and messages resonate with your buyers the most. You can use this information to make significant decisions for future direct marketing campaigns.

Your data about each customer will also grow the more they return. By taking advantage of information about your buyers, you can better curate a direct marketing message to each person. For example, growing data will allow you to implement better cross-selling techniques that match buyers’ interests so that you can increase customer lifetime value over the years.

Captivate your audience

Through direct marketing, you can send your message directly to the customers who want to hear it the most. There’s no mediator in this type of campaign, which means you have the chance to actively engage with your audience and build lasting relationships with every buyer.

If you’re ready to get started with one of the most effective and modern forms of direct marketing around, don’t miss these 77 statistics on why SMS marketing should be in your toolbox.

Nico Dato
Nico Dato Executive Vice President of Marketing

Nico Dato is the EVP of Marketing at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers. He fuses his passion for statistics, design, and digital marketing to produce measurable results.

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