A Brief History of Direct Marketing and Its Application For Business Owners

Most people think they know what direct response marketing is all about. When you say the words ‘direct marketing’, most people don’t even heard the word marketing. Instead, they hear the word mail, as in direct mail, junk mail, or just plain old mail marketing. But direct marketing is much more than the tangible material used to make the marketing piece. It’s a way of marketing that’s measurable, accountable, and trackable.

Direct mail has been the workhorse of the marketing world since Montgomery Ward launched its first catalog in 1872. Back then, the idea of offering a world of goods through the U.S. Postal Service was revolutionary. To our farm dwelling ancestors, for whom shopping was a three-day trip with wooden cart and horse over rough terrain, ordering coal burning stoves, ice boxes, dresses and harnesses through the Montgomery Ward, Sears, and other catalogs was a blessing.

What helped the start of the direct mail industry? The U.S. Postal system, with its ability to reach nearly anyone, anywhere, was the catalyst for the direct mail surge. The growth of mass-produced items, America’s rapid expansion and reconstruction period after the Civil War also helped fuel the rising middle class and their appetite for newer, better and more fashionable things.

Direct mail continues to rise in prominence, supported by the famous catalogs. Direct response print ads soon joined the world of direct response. Print ads captured the imagination, attention and wallets of people for decades. Direct mail letters, with their classic Johnson boxes, postscripts, and multiple inserts also made their debut in the 20th century, followed by the ubiquitous donation requests and credit card offers of the 1980′s and 1990′s. Direct response television, in the form of infomercials and commercials for products, added demonstrations of products to the direct marketing world. With the advent of cable and satellite television, channels solely devoted to direct marketing products, such as HSN (Home Shopping Network), QVC and others bring beautiful, useful products into our homes and follow all the basics of direct response marketing.

Today, the growth is online. Although initially getting a bad rap thanks to spammers worldwide who send us such gems as advertisements for medications, drugs, and sexual enhancements, email marketing is now a respected player in the world of direct response. Display advertising, surging ahead of the older banner advertising, remains a prominent means of capturing attention and click throughs, especially when it’s placed next to relevant articles and content.

The latest tool added to our direct marketing toolkit is the use of keyword searches, both natural and paid, to enhances responses and online marketing. Measurable, accountable and trackable, keyword marketing is the latest interactive marketing technique to help businesses worldwide acquire, retain and create loyal customers.

Some marketers lump social media marketing and web 2.0 technologies in with direct response marketing. While these are valid forms of online marketing and can prove quite effective, they are not pure direct response marketing. It is difficult to quantify the exact return on investment (ROI) of Twitter, Facebook, and other social marketing campaigns. It’s also nearly impossible to track responses from each so-called campaign. Social networking is more about making connections and fostering relationships. Like trade show and event marketing, it is about reaching people and starting or cultivating relationships rather than marketing activities with measurable outcomes.

Key Takeaways

This brief history of direct marketing and its current status clarifies the changing world of direct marketing. Examining the marketing mix, managers need to ask the following questions to determine if a direct response campaign is the right tool for the job:

o Will we gain by understanding exactly where our responses come from?

o Will it benefit my company more by cultivating relationships with many, or dialogues with a few?

o How will we use customer data Secure it? Manage it?

o If we gather the data from the campaigns, will we use it?

The marketing mix is often a blend of various tactics to reach many and converse with a few. Direct marketing of one type or another is usually part of the marketing mix. Deciding how much of a part is predicated upon how much one needs to cultivate actionable, measurable transactions with customers.

Direct Marketing Mastery: The Link Between Profits and Success! (It’s Stronger Than You Might Think)

“Good Marketing can’t overcome bad math.”

Dan Kennedy.

Good marketing is all about getting better response rates, but if your math isn’t good then you’ll go broke.

Now, math basically means profits. If you make $1,000 when you put a bum in a seat at a seminar it had better not cost you $2,000 to do it.

That is really bad math. It can be fixed. Find higher priced options to sell to them at the seminar, get sponsorship – you can change the math more readily than you can change the response rate.

The better your math the more you can spend to get a customer and the more you can make from a given transaction.

Assuming the percentage margin is the same, do you think you’ll make more selling the $50 product or the $100 product?

The close rate isn’t; going to be that different when you actually know how to sell. And that is often the catch – the businesses relying on being the cheapest are the ones who don’t know how to really sell. In fact the additional profits allow for more sophisticated selling and they allow for more sales effort on the back of this you may very well sell more of the $100 than the $50.

You need to be able to sell value and show that the extra investment is worth it. I’ve got a client who sells hosting and support for enterprise software applications. I can tell you right now that he is at least double the price of the ‘cheapest on the market.’

Now in lieu of differentiation, every buyer will resort to comparing price and buying the cheapest. We’ve worked very hard to explain why his solution is better and is actually a steal in terms of the additional value he provides. We can probably raise his prices further on the back of this.

However, most people act as if their math is fixed. NEVER assume this. Because it means you are now consigned to the better marketing camp. Personally, I would rather have terrible response rates and awesome math than great response rates and terrible math. I’d take a $15,000 cost of sale on a 80% margin in a $100,000 product – even if it was happening at a 1/1,000 response rate.

How to Direct More Traffic to Your Website – Tips, Tricks and Strategies to Attract More Traffic

Getting more traffic to websites is every marketer’s dream. When you have more traffic to your website, there are literally endless ways of monetizing it via Google AdSense, Amazon offers, eBay offers, ClickBank offers etc. The sky is the limit.

However to direct more traffic to your website, you first need to do a lot of grunt work. It is hard work if what you do is something that you don’t like or have no passion on. You will easily run out of steam and it would be just a matter of time before you lose interest and motivation to do what you should be doing.

This is where so many people go wrong.

They run after money than first asking themselves if it is something that they are interested and would do even if they would not be making a single penny. There is a difference because if you do something just for the sake of money, you will easily be frustrated by the results because you don’t have the patience to wait for the results. However if you do something that you are extremely passionate about, the results don’t matter so much because you like it so much that you would do it without seeking the monetary results.

So how to direct more traffic to your website?

First, pick a niche that you are interested or passionate about and make sure that it is a buying market. And if you want to know how a market is a buying one, enter a keyword in Google related to your niche and see the ads on Google. If there are pages and pages of ads, then you have a winner.

Second, go to forums and find out what people in your niche are talking about. Importantly make note of the commonly faced problems and see if you can offer a free report or make a free video on how to solve the problem. If you can, you can attract a boatload of traffic to your site.

Third tap into the various Social Media Marketing channels to maximize your exposure.

BUT- You know what the easiest way to get a boatload of targeted traffic is? It’s a little technique I like to call the REAL traffic secret…