What is Direct Mail Marketing and Why Should I Use It to Promote My Small Business

Most small business owners have heard of direct mail marketing, but may not really know what it is. And there’s good reason to consider direct mail to promote your small business.

It’s versatile, effective and affordable. It allows you to give prospects one-to-one direct attention, and it allows you more control over growth than nearly any other type of promotion.

Direct mail marketing is one of several types of direct response copywriting. I suppose it’s somewhat confusing, but most tend to think of the two terms as interchangeable. There is however, a subtle difference.

Direct mail marketing can be defined as one-to-one communication sent by mail directly to potential clients with the goal of specific action by the recipient. Direct response copywriting is basically the same thing, but isn’t limited to snail mail delivery.

Direct Mail Marketing is Versatile

Direct response is one of the most versatile forms of small business promotion there is. You are in fact, really only limited by your imagination. Some of the more common types of direct response are:

  • Direct mail letters
  • Direct post cards
  • “Lumpy” mail
  • Business letters of introduction
  • Direct response brochures
  • Flyers
  • Direct fax
  • Direct email
  • Bulletin board letters

Of the eight different types listed above, only the last three wouldn’t be considered direct mail marketing, but would instead be considered a different type of direct response copywriting.

Most of them are self-explanatory, but you may not have heard of “lumpy” mail. Lumpy mail is simply direct mail with the addition of something related to your message in the envelope besides just a letter. It could be as simple as a stubby pencil, a sample-sized bar of soap, or even a child’s toy. It might cost a bit more, but it often leads to a surprisingly big increase in response rates.

And perhaps you haven’t heard of bulletin board letters. Technically, they’re not a form of direct response, since they’re not sent directly to a particular recipient, but rather are posted on a community bulletin board where anyone in the local area can find them.

Community bulletin board letters can be nearly as effective as a direct mail letter, but have the added advantages of lower costs and reaching a larger audience. They’re most often hand-delivered, stapled to bulletin boards in towns, in storefront windows, or anywhere else you feel they’d be seen.

Direct Mail is Affordable

Whatever the mode of delivery, dollar for dollar, direct response copywriting is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your small business. On average, a direct mail letter costs less than $1 per recipient. That’s including paper, envelopes, printing and postage stamps.

A direct postcard can cost even less because it costs less to mail–total cost is around 70 cents. However, higher paper costs could even out the cost difference.

Direct Mail is Effective

With average response rates between 1 and 3%, it’s one of the most effective ways to promote your small business as well.

Unfortunately, most amateur copywriters (and many professionals as well) don’t have response rates nearly that high. They’re soon discouraged, giving up on direct mail marketing when their first efforts show a poor, or no response.

One of the reasons might be that they’ve chosen the wrong goal. Keeping in mind that it takes an average of 5 to 7 contacts before a potential client actually buys something from you, your goal should seldom be a sale.

Most of your contacts will need to get to know you before they spend their hard-earned dollars on your product or service. Don’t expect a sale. Rather, consider any purchases from introductory direct mail a pleasant bonus.

A much better goal might be to consider direct response as lead generation instead of sales generation. For example, you might want your recipient to visit your web site, contact you for a free report, or call you for more information. Those types of requests are more likely to result in the type of response you’re looking for.

Direct Mail Allows You to Speak Directly to Your Recipient

What other form of small business promotion allows you speak directly to your recipient? Not television, radio, billboards, or your web site. Besides, with the exception of a web site, TV, radio and billboards cost way too much for most small business owners to consider.

Addressing your recipient personally, as in “Dear Joe” or “Dear Ms. Smith” rather than using “Dear Colleague” or “Dear Homeowner” increases response rates dramatically. And it improves the chances that your recipient will actually open the envelope instead of throwing it away unopened. (So does using an actual stamp instead of a postage meter by the way).

Direct Mail Gives You Control Over Your Growth Rate

Growing your small business too fast is almost as dangerous as not growing fast enough! What would you do if you suddenly grow way past your company’s capability? It’s a danger you might think you’d welcome, but there is such a thing as too much growth.

With direct mail, you control your growth as simply as controlling the number of direct mail letters you decide to send. If your goal is one new lead a month, knowing the average response rate is 1 to 3%, you can send between 33 and 100 letters for one response

No matter how you’re promoting your small business right now, I hope you’re convinced to add direct mail marketing as one of your strategies. If done well, it truly is one of the most effective marketing strategies available to small business owners.

Marketing Strategies for Small Business: Simple Ways of Taking Your Business Online

There are so many marketing strategies for small business out there these days that it’s enough to make you dizzy if you try to listen to every advertisement. The problem is that people who sell internet marketing systems are likely to be pushing something that doesn’t even work for them! No wonder it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the technology of today.

But what if there was a way take just the “meat and potatoes” from the best of the marketing strategies for small business?

The purpose of this post is to try to simplify what you actually need to get started in taking your business online…

Why taking your business online?

The beauty of taking your business online… The beauty of taking your business online…

Because, now that the internet is a huge part of the average business, if you’re not taking your business online, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table! You’re apt to be left in the dust while your competitors ramp up past you with their own marketing communication strategy.

But no need to get overwhelmed just yet…

I’m here to give you those “meat and potatoes” for the best internet marketing strategies for small business…

… in actuality, you only need three things for taking your business online to where you can allow the system to do most of the “heavy lifting” for you.

There are basically only three marketing strategies for small business online…

1) Taking your business online with a capture page…

This is also called a “landing page” because it’s what your visitor who’s searching for your service will initially land on. The purpose of the capture page is to compel your visitor to want to enter their email address; hence, you’ve just “captured” them as a new lead.

The main thing you need to remember about the capture page is that it must promise something.

Look at it from your visitor’s point of view; what would compel you to want to enter your email address for more information? A good example of this is to promise something for free – like a free educational video for more information.

2) Taking your business online with a sales page…

Ideally, this is a video that your new lead will be introduced to immediately upon entering their email information. The beauty of this, of course, is that it’s all automated so your new lead will literally be listening to a sales presentation from “you” while you might be still sleeping!

3) Taking your business online with an auto-responder…

On average, most people will need to be approached seven times before making a decision to purchase.

SEVEN times? OMG!

Who on earth would want to be that much of a nag? Especially those small businesses such as network marketing deals where you get all the work and NO training on how to promote you deal. Developing a marketing strategy is so much easier if you only need do it once, and then let the system take over the bulk of the work for you.

The beauty of having an auto-responder is that you set it all up ahead of time with your own personal messages…

People tend to want to buy from those who they know, like and trust. And it’s your continuous flow of emails with your pictures and videos that help them get to know who you are, whereby giving them the chance to grow into a trusting “relationship” with you – even without ever having met you!

And that’s really all there is for in marketing strategies for small business online… except for the idea of a “funded proposal”…

If you haven’t heard of this term before, think of an internet marketing system that will automatically “sell itself” while you use this system for taking your business online. This is an idea adopted by millions of successful internet marketers because it costs money to market your business, and, without a funded proposal, it’s likely that your funds for the business will be exhausted before you start to make any substantial profits.

It’s no wonder that the funded proposal is now a household term among those using marketing strategies for small business online!

18 Essential Tools For Marketing Your Small Business

Growing and maintaining a small business is not easy. It takes stamina, patience and perseverance to keep the doors open every day. It also takes money and marketing to succeed at getting your message to the right prospects. Small business owners need to pay close attention to the message they convey and how it is perceived by their target audience in order to their promotional budget.

Knowing what works and what doesn’t in the arena of promotional advertising and marketing is one of the most common problems business owners face. When you are working with limited resources it is extremely difficult to apportion time and money to every new idea that comes around. This is one reason why Internet marketing has still eluded a lot of local companies. They often don’t know what to do and where to best allocate resources.

Trying to keep up with the various trends that seem to pop up on a regular basis takes a lot of work and no small business owner has the time keep up when they must also wear 100 other hats in their industry. What I found is that the basic principles of marketing still holds true even in the digital age regardless of the type of product or service being offered there are still fundamental applications that fit even the most cutting-edge marketing model. I have distilled the processes down to a basic set of tools that any business owner can use to succeed at generating leads.

There are marketing 18 tools that are vital to the health and growth of a small business in today’s competitive world. There is no doubt that technology has made life easier for small business operation but it is also made it more frustrating. But the essence of marketing is still finding and influencing the people who have a need for what you are selling. You can use any of these 18 tools in a variety of configurations based on your budget or unique requirements.

1. A Company Website
2. A Separate Blog
3. Affiliate Or Referral Program
4. Customer Retention Program
5. Direct Mail
6. E-Mail Marketing
7. Google Maps
8. Internet Advertising
9. Monthly Articles
10. Monthly Newsletters
11. Online Videos Channel
12. Podcast Channel
13. Print Ads
14. Radio and Television Advertising
15. Regular Press Releases
16. Search Engine Marketing
17. Social Media Interaction
18. Telemarketing

These tools offer your business a fighting chance at staying ahead of the competition and can also dramatically improve your bottom line. I wouldn’t necessarily stress one particular tool over another because they all have their pluses and minuses when it comes to effectiveness based on particular markets. It isn’t necessary to utilize all the tools every month; that may be impractical for many small businesses.

If you are just starting to pay attention to marketing, choose a collection of tools that can easily be tracked to gauge their performance. For example establish a company website and a separate blog. Use e-mail marketing and direct mail to promote your company. Establish a customer retention program and affiliate or referral program using your e-mail marketing campaign and direct mail campaign to generate interest.

Craft your message and stick to it. Conduct market research and establish a series of keywords that can be used throughout your promotional campaign both on the web and off-line. Keep your message consistent with the keywords in order to generate a solid message to a target audience.

Promote your message through a variety of media sources for example articles and video or develop a podcast series dealing with the specific topics surrounding your message. Get the word out through social networks and your blog and drive traffic and search engine marketing techniques.

Sketch out your entire campaign on the calendar in order to simplify the entire process. This also allows you to identify your milestones and help in tracking your progress. Marketing should never be an afterthought in your business. Delivering your message and converting prospects to customers is essential for generating consistent profits.