Many small businesses and startups have a fantastic ability to engage with modern forms of advertising and marketing, utilizing SEO and social media platforms as major tools for their success – 93% of small businesses regularly use Twitter for marketing, for example. This may be down to younger entrepreneurs being more willing to embrace technology, and it is certainly fantastic if they can be successful this way. But it has led to a situation where smaller businesses are beginning to believe that more traditional direct marketing is simply not a strategy that is effective or it is something that is only used by larger companies.
But is the case or is it that small businesses are missing opportunities by avoiding this aspect of marketing? Here we look at some of the ways that direct marketing can be used effectively by everyone from brand new startups to experienced small companies looking to grow in their marketplace.
Direct marketing works!
One of the most obvious reasons that small businesses should utilize direct marketing is because it works. The small businesses that do use direct marketing typically find that is a very effective strategy. Examples like direct mailers might seem old-fashioned, but remember that people will read their post. A well designed direct mail campaign goes directly into the hands of your potential customer so you can grab their attention.
The fact that so many businesses have success through direct marketing shows that small businesses that aren’t using it are missing an opportunity.
Is it cost effective?
Of course one of the major concerns for any business that is about to start using a new form of marketing is whether or not the work that they are going to do will be cost effective. There is no use running a campaign that gets you more business if that campaign costs you more money than what you recoup. Thankfully, direct marketing is highly cost effective. In fact, it’s still the case that return on investment from direct mail campaigns outstrips that of online marketing spend.
The majority of forms of direct marketing have low initial costs but can generate a lot of business quickly. Email marketing, for example, is completely free while other forms such as the aforementioned direct mailers as well as text message marketing are low cost compared to other types of marketing.
What tools can small businesses use?
Thankfully there is a huge range of free or cheap tools that small businesses can use to run their direct marketing campaigns. The email marketing software MailChimp offers a free service that is ideal for smaller businesses looking to get started with sending out email campaigns. Alternatively, for those businesses interesting in direct mailers, it can be worth purchasing high quality business or residential data lists. It might surprise some business owners to learn that these lists can typically be purchased without a minimum spend and within a very specific criterion. This makes it very valuable for smaller companies who might not be able to afford to buy larger data lists.
Tips for better direct marketing
If you are interested in investing in direct marketing, there are many tried and tested tips that you should be aware of. Here are some valuable pieces of advice that will make a huge difference to your campaigns:
- Direct marketing is always most effective when it is personalized. This can be achieved as simply as adding a customer’s name to the subject line of an email, to specifically selected offers to be sent out to a specific customer profile
- You need to be in a mindset to constantly refine your marketing. Just because your last direct mailer was successful, that doesn’t mean that there’s no better way of doing it. Keep testing your campaigns and trying out new ideas to refine them.
- Ensure that you are constantly building up a database of potential contacts. You can use the aforementioned data list services, but it is also wise to collect data from customers so that you can send them out direct marketing materials in future. Repeat customers are undoubtedly the most valuable business as they have already bought from you in the past and are therefore more likely to do so again.