Top Tips for Writing and Sending Direct Marketing


Top Tips for Writing and Sending Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is a practice that’s been used by marketeers for years to gain direct access to the end consumer. Several tactics come under the banner of direct marketing including:

Direct mail

e-direct mail

Broadcast faxing


SMS messaging

Door-to-door document distribution or canvassing

Social and professional web networking

Direct response television

Marketing Tips By far the most commonly used of these are direct mail (DM) and e-direct mail (eDM). So, how do you craft a good DM piece? Who do you send it to – and how? What things should or should not be included? And, probably most importantly, how do you get the optimum number of responses to your piece? Here we go through these techniques stage by stage and look at other related areas that also require consideration.Direct marketing is a practice that’s been used by marketeers for years to gain direct access to the end consumer.

The target audience

Your mailing list is probably the most critical item to get right but, all too often, it’s the one thing that isn’t properly researched and created. You can have the best offer in the world, but unless you’re targeting it at the right people – it won’t sell. For example, if you’re marketing the latest MP3 player with loads of new gizmos and gimmicks, the best buyers are likely to be in their teens and twenties. So it wouldn’t make much sense sending your offer to a purchased list that contains predominantly senior citizens! Putting this in a corporate environment context, it’s equally pointless sending an email to HR (Human Resources) Directors about a software upgrade. As we all know, it’s extremely irritating receiving poorly targeted messages – just think about some of the spam and junk mail you receive and you’ll definitely appreciate this fact!

So, the number one priority is to accurately identify your market. If you’re selling to consumers, identify the type of person that you want to reach. The following questions can help with list selection:

Do you want to target females or males?

Should they be within a certain age band?

Does it matter if they are a house owner or renter?

Do they need to live in a certain area?

Are you targeting employed or unemployed people?

Should the person be married or have children?

What is their income bracket?

If your target is a corporate audience, it can be much simpler as job titles and responsibilities can narrow down your choice. Other factors that also important include:

Company size, turnover and number of employees

Budget responsibility, new financial year dates and planning timeframes

If the targeted person(s) is responsible for staff members

Is purchasing carried out locally, or does it go to a head office

Company location(s) – local, regional, national or international

It’s much easier to write your message once you’ve identified your audience, as you’ll have a clear picture of who you are writing to and what their needs are.

Craft an engaging message

Now you’ve clearly got your target audience in mind you need to craft a compelling message to promote your goods or services. Make sure your email title or letter header sums up the message succinctly and the first paragraph is, in essence, a summation of the rest of the missive. Try to follow the general approach used for writing press releases where each following paragraph is an expansion on the overall message – and make sure it fits on one side of paper. This technique really focuses the mind on what it is you are trying to communicate and helps to cut down on waffle.

All good DM pieces ask the recipient to do something. Whether it’s clicking through to a web page, watching a demo, picking up the phone, replying to an offer, ordering a product or entering a competition – you want to directly engage with them.

Of course, the message content depends on the person you’re communicating with. If you’re writing to new mothers promoting a 100% cotton clothing line, your tone will be relaxed and persuasive – creating a caring and comforting feeling. On the other hand, when emailing Finance Directors of SMEs (small to medium enterprises) a direct and informed corporate style will be used.

Once a recipient has actioned your request and you have a dialogue going, the follow up should be much easier as the recipient recognises your business offers something they want. Therefore, they will be more open to, say, a phone call in the next stage in the sales process.

Make sure you always include tracking codes on each and every part of direct marketing campaign literature ie. letters, emails, landing pages, response forms, etc. Without these you can’t measure the success of your campaign and be able to identify where your successes came from and where future work needs to be done.

Key reminders:

Keep it short and relevant

Use headings and bullet points to break up text

Include a response mechanism

Consider the use of offers, promotions and other incentives

Always use tracking codes

Abigail Shone

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