And how to get started with Direct Marketing
Direct Marketing should be the norm for small businesses because it fits them perfectly. However, the truth is that most small business try to emulate big business advertising. They also copy competitors in the hope that at least they know what to do and how to advertise, right?
Big businesses have a totally different agenda when it comes to marketing. Not only do they have to please their Board of Directors and stockholders, (who know nothing of marketing and advertising) but they have to “look right” to the media and Wall Street, build their brand, win awards for best advertisements, and… oh yes, they have to sell something. And guess what? They have the budget for it.
What is your agenda as a small business owner?
You just have to sell something like NOW, yes?
How are you going to compete with big business by copying their advertising styles? That’s right, you’re not. And you are going to go broke trying.
For small businesses, Direct Marketing is the answer. It not only gets you to talk directly to the person you need to talk to, but it gets them to respond to you straight away. And you can nurture them and speak to them only when they are ready to buy. Often, they will call you.
To help you get started, here are the 10 commandments of Direct Marketing:
1) Thou shalt identify your ideal client
You HAVE to do this step and you have to do it FIRST. Before you start your Direct Marketing Campaigns. Too many small business owners tell me “everyone” is their ideal customer. You will only attract some clients by accident. If you don’t speak directly to your ideal client, no-one will be listening. Not everyone wants or needs your product.
Sit down and think of your current clients. Who is your best client? Which of your current clients do you want more of? What is he/she like? What is his/her gender? What are his or her fears? What are his or her dreams? Which problems do he or she have? Which problem did you help them solve?
You get the idea.
Now that you know what your ideal client looks like, you have to find out where they hang out in large numbers. Is it Facebook? LinkedIn? YouTube? A community or group? Look for them online.
Now it is time to advertise to them.
2) Thou shalt have an offer for thy prospect.
You now know what their fears are and what problems they have. You can use any of the following media to help them solve their problem: a video, report, a case study, a quiz, or ebook. It doesn’t need to cost you any money, but it needs to be a free offer for your client, and it should solve a problem. Perhaps you have more than one ideal client with different problems. You should have a free offer for every problem and solve each problem.
This approach works every time! If you solve the prospect’s problem, and do so for free, he will find your solution if he searches for you online. Isn’t it a better way to do business? He needs your solution. Cold calling to prospects who you think may want what you offer, make you appear needy, and the prospect won’t buy. When the prospect calls you, he is the one who needs your product or service. Now you are the one with the authority. You are the one with the power.
3) Thou shalt give thy prospect a reason to respond straight away.
We humans like to procrastinate. This is why you need to give your prospect a reason to respond straight away. Some business have actual scarcity. In my business, for example, I can only take 4 new clients per month. Because of the intensive work I do, I can literally not take any more.
If you have a service, you may have actual scarcity because you’re only one. Unless you have people working for you, in which case there is still a scarcity because you can only take so many clients for each person working for you. But if you have physical products or digital products, you need to figure out how you can create scarcity. The best way is to have a deadline, or make the price go up in say 3 days. A countdown clock can show the hours until the deadline finishes. If you have physical products, you can show the number of items left, and show the countdown for that. You can also do next day shipping where you offer free shipping for one day only.
4) Thou shalt communicate clearly
Sales are often lost because prospects don’t quite know what to do next. Just because it is clear to you, it may not be clear to them. Make sure that in all our communications with the prospect, he or she knows exactly what they’re going to get and exactly the next steps to take. People don’t like not knowing what is expected of them or where to go or what to do next,
Your order form should be neatly laid out and very clear. People are reassured by clarity and they respond to it favorably. Make sure that you provide it.
5) Thou shalt measure, track and make sure the advertising you do gives accountability
You demand accountability from your salespeople. Why not from your website, advertising and promotions? From now on, you will measure everything. Every bit of advertising, every sales letter that is going out. Put a little code at the bottom of it, and when someone phones you, ask for that code so you know which ad or sales etter that lead comes from. Then have a form for each code, and write a tally for each code so you know which ad performed better. You will then have more control because you know which ad to run more of and how many inquiries you can expect from it.
Also when someone calls you to try to sell you advertising, you will know to ask for accountability. If they say it can’t be done, then you know not to buy from them.
6) Thou shalt not pay for branding
We are not against branding. However, as you can’t measure branding, you should not be paying for it. Branding should be a by-product of your advertising. So you are better off focusing on your lead generation, serving your current clients, your sales and profits. By all means, add your branding, and your brand will grow through your marketing efforts.
7) Thou shalt close the holes in thy bucket
Literally millions of dollars are lost through the following holes in your bucket:
- Someone calls to ask questions and no-one asks for their contact details so they can follow-up.
- No follow-up on leads
- No follow-up on referrals
- No follow-up on new customers
- No prevention or rescue of lost customers
This is how you follow-up:
- First follow-up: Re-sell same offer.
- Second follow-up: humorous letter giving a deadline.
- Third follow-up: Final Call
- Fourth follow-up: change the offer
8) Thou shalt write strong sales copy
Your prospect is bombarded with ads that vie for his or her attention. Because of that many prospects “tune out” ads. This is why most advertising fails. To combat this many companies try to “shout louder” to get noticed. But not you. You have now learned the commandments of direct marketing and you are going to write and advertisement or sales letter that gives a compelling reason to contact you. To do that you need to make your copy emotional. Give the prospect feelings when he reads your advertisement.
You can also not write timidly. Remember, you need to convince the prospect to become a client or customer. You won’t do so by being shy. You need to be bold, with lots of confidence and convincing.
9) Thou shalt make thy copy look like mail order
I am talking about formats and layouts. Mail order advertisements are usually broken up into quarters and halves: The top one quarter is for the headline and sub-headlines. The middle half is for presentation or proposition, and testimonials. The bottom one quarter for the offer and clear instructions on how to respond, sometimes with a coupon. The alternative is an advertorial that looks like an article.
These are the only two formats you should use for your advertising. It may seems strange to you, but it works! You need to get some examples, and you can get it from the Readers Digest large print edition and Agora Financial. There are many examples.
10) Thou shalt be disciplined in thine actions, and only look at results. Nothing else
Nobody’s opinions count. Not even your own. Only results count. You need to run split tests and see which ads bring in revenue. Every dollar you spend in advertising must bring in results. You need to know which advertisements bring in the best results, and which don’t. You have facts derived from results to make conclusions from. Test, test and test some more. Make sure you document your testing so you can see your results. And be committed to results. Only then will you see the type of business growth you’re looking for.
Now that you know the ten commandments of Direct Marketing, it is time to put them into action. First, you should throw all your old marketing materials in the garbage. Next, you need to create a new marketing plan. Then you need to get the tools you need to market to your prospects: Magnet offers, email sequences for follow-up, products that hook the prospects and your final products and services.
Tools are necessary to help you. Some tools can do it all for you, and once you have set it up, will continue automatically with only little tweaks necessary every now and again. The tool all my clients use can be found here: See the Demo today. If you want to see a testimonial first, watch this video.
If you find it all too daunting, and would rather have someone set it all up and run it for you, please contact me and I will help you get started. You can also email me or phone: 845 729 7359
This article is a summary of this book: