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Developing an Audience: Part Three

Direct Marketing


Direct marketing is precisely what it sounds like – reaching out to customers and prospects directly in an effort to sell a product or service. Because its main goal is to elicit an action that will either sell or lead up to an eventual sale, direct marketing depends heavily on a call to action (i.e. purchase today, visit our website, request more information). 


Types of Direct Marketing


Direct Mail

Direct mail involves sending advertising material directly to customers via traditional post. Examples: fliers, catalogs, coupons, promotional letters, and free-trial CDs/DVDs. 

E-mail Marketing

This popular marketing channel is relatively simple and requires few resources, making it a cost-effective avenue for contacting a target market. Companies can reach customers and prospects at any time of the day or night with a personalized message. As an added benefit, online tracking and analytics allow for precise measuring of sales conversions. 

Telemarketing

Through telemarketing, businesses contact customers using the phone.

Direct Selling

Direct selling involves soliciting products or services to customers in person. Salespeople will typically approach prospective customers in public places or at their homes with information about the product or service in question. 

Mobile

Mobile marketing has grown steadily over the last several years. Using this method, companies interact with customers and prospects utilizing both SMS (short message service, also known as texting) and MMS (multi-media message service – images, sound, video). 

Pros of Direct Marketing:
  • It helps a business/brand become known within a specific market or several markets
  • It can be accurately measured (e.g. 30% of customers clicked on an e-mail link, while 10% purchased the advertised product)
  • It helps businesses form relationships with clients
  • It allows marketing messages to be delivered to members of a target market
While there are several benefits to direct marketing, it is often perceived negatively due to aggressive sales tactics. Be sure to respect customer privacy requests, including do not call preferences, do not solicit signs, and “unsubscribe” e-mail requests. 

When used ethically and effectively, direct marketing has the potential to provide businesses – both small and large – with a high return on investment.