Direct Mail Advertising – It’s Easier Than You Think

If you’ve been thinking about direct mail advertising for your business, but are worried about the complexity or think it will just take up too much time and money then think again. Direct mail can be one of the easiest and yet most powerful tools available for marketing your company and you could find it exactly what you need to take your business to the next level. Even a small home run business can find the budget necessary to utilize direct mail advertising in their marketing plan. Below is a simple step-by-step guide to help you get up and running fast.

Step One: Think about what you want to say

Direct mail is all about communication. In fact all advertising is really about communicating a message to existing and potential customers about something you want them to know. So before you go off and print a ton of flyers, carefully think about what you want to advertise and the best way to do that. You may want to advertise your company as something different from your competition somehow, or maybe you have an exclusive product that nobody else does? You need to draw attention to something that will get you a response or your direct mail campaign will fail.

Step Two: Choose a format and design the ads

Now you know what you want to say, you have to decide how best to say it. Do you need a brochure with lots of images? Maybe a personalized postcard format to talk straight to your customers? Maybe just a text-based flyer is enough to get your message across? What you decide here will have a big impact on how customers will react to your message and how they will subsequently see your business. A brochure can add a real touch of class if that’s what you need, but be careful to stick to a standard shape and size to keep costs as low as possible when printing and mailing them. Flyers are often the cheapest choice, but be sure that this option doesn’t just make your ad look too tacky. You also need to ensure the content is written and designed for your specific target audience, and if you struggle here a freelance writer/designer or a proper design firm can help depending of course on your budget.

Step Three: Get your direct mail material printed and sent

Once you have the design all ready, you should shop around to find a good online printer with low prices and order in bulk to lower the cost further. Choose the highest quality option you can and try not to order fast delivery as this can cost more. Once you receive your order, all that’s left is to get them delivered. For a direct mail campaign you should always use proper first class stamps so you may want to get a machine that aids in the process to speed things up. Now simply send off your direct mail adverts and wait for the response.

4 Affiliate Marketing Techniques Every Marketer Should Know

Various affiliate advertising marketing techniques are available. They help you increase your sales and profits using a variety of ways. You have to just invest some time and energy into this and surely the profits of your business will increase. Choose a marketing strategy that suits your objectives and requirements and you are off to a flying start.

The strategies employed are as follows:
1) Posting links on other people’s sites.
2) Posting banners on the web.
3) The use of forums and discussion boards.
4) The use of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

1) Posting links on other people’s web sites- this is an excellent way to advertise your websites or blogs. What you have to do is approach another web site owner and exchange your links with him. You post the link to your web site on his/her web site or blog. And they do the same on yours. As long as the page and blogs involved are similar and relevant the owners of other web sites usually do not have any problem with this idea. By doing this the traffic to their site also increases as they can reach a wider customer base with their advertisements being posted on other relevant sites.

2) Posting banners on websites-the placing of banners on web sites is a common practice amongst the affiliate marketing community. If the banners are located on web sites that have a lot of traffic then a part of that traffic is directed towards your web site increasing the sales of your products. What is important in this regard is that the banners must placed in strategic locations, where it is clearly visible to the web surfers. The design of the banners is also important, a stylish and creative banner is always best.

3) The use of forums and discussion boards- there are many forums and discussion boards on the internet. Find ones that are relevant to the affiliate products and services you promote on your web site or blog. Join these forums and discussion boards and post comments on them. You are usually required to get a sign in name for these things. On your sign in name write the link to your web site. When you post something, people will click on the link and will be directed to your web site or blog.

4) The use of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace- social networking sites are very popular these days. They have millions of users and one can meet people of similar interests in these places. You can join these networking sites and use them as a platform to advertise your web sites and blogs. Once you make friends with the people there you can tell them about your products and services and direct them to your web site.

Thus you can use one or a combination of the above methods to increase the traffic towards your web site or blog.

Copywriting and Marketing Book Review: Is Freakonomics All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

When I read Freakonomics recently I was a little underwhelmed. It wasn’t what I was expecting after hearing so much praise for it around the traps. Really, does it have any lessons we can glean from the book in the worlds of marketing and copywriting?

So I’ve thought long and hard about should I bother writing about the lessons contained within the book. To me it’s a series of case studies about how people act in their own-self interest when presented with a given set of incentives.

As a direct marketer I am sure that we all know that people act in their own best interests and that if offered an incentive then there is a boost in response rate. There may or may not be a corresponding drop in the quality of responses – that is why we test these sorts of things.

More importantly, it is about the unintended consequences of incentive systems and how people will naturally look to get the best deal for themselves.

I think there is a lesson in this for everyone is the sales and marketing world. I do know of an enterprising salesman working for Oracle software… Every time the quotas were shifted he would plug all the variables into a spreadsheet with the rest of the sales staff watching.

In 15 minutes they would have the exact mix of products and services they had to sell in order to maximise their commissions while minimising the amount they actually had to sell.

Bad for the business but great for the salesman.

The second lesson is about unintended consequences further down the line. Freakonomics details how one change seemingly for the better was hidden and on the surface, anunrelated cause in an completely unrelated trend. Legal abortions and the dropping crime rate.

I’ve recently come to realise that one of the greatest weaknesses of modern humans is our inability to recognise the relationships between things. We are all too often completely blind to them. Things will always happen and there will be consequences, often unthought-of of ones.

Recently I did a little consulting with an energy broker. With a low price of entry and initially, relatively low costs of sale the niche has become an absolute disaster area – everyone competing on price and the market is rapidly cannibalising itself.

While the quality of the copy and the marketing is poor overall in this niche and the economic rewards are few and small. It has gotten to the point that the energy retailers may take years in order to recoup their acquisition costs. Many times longer than the customer will stay for on average. Which means as a direct marketer I don’t want to be an energy broker, and I’m not too keen on the idea of consulting with one or writing their copy.

While many in the market may have gotten a new world view from Freakonomics, I don’t think it’s the revelation that many found it to be. But then again I am a copywriter and a marketer. People doing things in their self interest and watching the flow on effects of decisions is part of what I do every day.