By Kristen Pulver | Director, New Verticals
Direct Marketing is a term overused by many marketers who don’t quite understand what it actually means. As someone who has worked in direct marketing for nine years, I’ve seen my fair share of executives and team members who not only don’t understand what direct marketing is, they don’t know how to best implement the practice or why direct marketer’s make the decisions they make.
What is Direct Marketing?
Direct marketing is a three part marketing system:
- Directly reaching the consumer through various media channels – TV, Radio, Online, Text Message, Phone calls, etc.
- Including a call-to-action (CTA). Asking the target to take an action– call now, click here, or some text as simple as “Start Saving Now” is a call to action that is maybe less noticeable.
- The most important step — reading and measuring results. This allows you to determine if your ads working.
The first step in starting a direct marketing campaign is choosing the right media channels to promote your offer. To help you determine this, consider the budget for your campaign. TV commercials will be the most expensive while digital display banners and email may be more in your price range if you are not starting with a large budget. However, it’s up to your marketing team to develop the right CTA offer for the right channel.
Once you’ve determined the right media channel, it’s time to focus on developing a creative offer. If you have a product and you sell as Buy 1, Get 1 Free, that sounds like a good deal, but there are other offers you can create that sound more appealing. You can say “Get a free bottle today!” or “Ask how to get a free bottle with your purchase.” Then, present the user with a toll free number or link that acts as your CTA.
Upon completion of these steps, it’s time to measure the results. Track each online advertisement using a unique tracking link and for TV use a specific phone number for each station. This helps you keep track of:
- Your marketing spend by website, station, etc.
- How many people take action on your ad by opening the email, clicking on the banner or calling the toll-free number.
Using email as an example, there are a few ways to measure these results. First you have open rate. Take the number of emails opened and divide by the number of emails you sent. This percentage is directly affected by two things, distribution list and subject line. Compelling subject lines drive higher open rates. The next measurable result is your click-through rate (CTR). This is determined by the number of users who clicked on your CTA, divided by the number of users who opened your email. This is a reflection of your “offer” and “CTA.” Direct marketers will recommend an A/B test; a true A/B test will split the lists in half and send each version to one list. This will help you determine which CTA and creative are most compelling. Something as simple as changing the color of the CTA button can significantly change the click through rate.
Lastly, you have the conversion. If the revenue made from the sale is $50, you need to make sure that your return on investment (ROI) is positive. If you are spending $5,000 on a direct email campaign, you need to ensure you’ll get at least 100 orders to break even.
Direct marketing helps you make the right decisions for your marketing dollar without subjectivity. By using numbers and not only relying on instinct to make business decisions, you and your agency can best determine what moves to make next. If you’re looking to start a successful direct marketing campaign for your product or service, contact the MediaWhiz Affiliate Marketing team.