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24 Codes of a Successful Direct Consumer Marketing Business

What does it take to set up a successful direct marketing business? What are the ingredients of becoming a success in the direct consumer marketing business? What’s the secret of successful entrepreneurs that built successful direct consumer marketing businesses? You are going to find out soon.

In this article, I am going to highlight 24 codes or principles for building a successful direct consumer marketing business. Starting a business, whether a direct marketing business or otherwise doesn’t have to be hard; provided you have the right information and business mentor guiding you. Without wasting your time, below are 24 codes or principles for starting a successful direct consumer marketing business.

                24 Codes for Starting a Successful Direct Consumer Marketing Business

1.            There are four important elements in a “Direct Mail Package” and close attention must be paid to each. These four important elements are:

a)      The graphics (carrier) which must be opened by reader; “what does it look like?

b)      The offer: the way the proposition is phrased; “what’s the deal? What is in for the customer?

c)       The copy: the compelling description that gets the reader to buy or act. “How is it said?

d)      The list: the targeted audience most likely willing to buy or act. “Who is it sent to?

These four elements must be carefully and strategically aligned to make a success out of your direct marketing business.

2.            Perhaps the most important element is the list since an excellent offer, with a striking carrier and compelling copy could turn out to be a disaster; if mailed to the wrong audience. Others believe the copy is most important, but don’t let such ratings bother you since each element is important. Take all reasonable steps to get, use and keep the most accurate and up to date lists possible to increase your margin of success. Set up a system to add names and keep them current.

3.            Heed “Daly’s Law” – which states that “Everything that takes longer, costs more.” So it’s wise to start your direct mail project in ample time to make all elements come together in an easy manner. Use “reverse timetable” to plot what needs to be done and when. For instance, you probably need to order lists first. Then, don’t forget the envelopes, printed stock, other enclosures, etc. Allow time for delivery and return action plus follow-up mailings.

4.            Direct Mail marketing business is a demanding taskmaster, so if it fails; it’s probably because you who missed it somewhere. The fault lies not in the medium. If possible, test some or all portions of your program so you can alter methods if needed.

5.            Writing a compelling Direct Mail copy only seems simple from the outside so don’t be deceived. Heed the basic principles of writing to single person in simple, straightforward manner; yet with style. When writing a direct mail marketing copy, always remember the 3S’s of a successful copy. They are:

a)      Simplicity

b)      Sincerity

c)       Serenity

A long copy is not necessarily bad; in fact, it can outperform a short direct mail marketing copy but be sure to focus on the main message you intend to convey. Never forget you want action to occur; NOW! Be sure your copy answers the number one always-asked marketing question: “What’s in it for me.” Always keep reader’s perceived needs in mind. Do the necessary research to determine the customer’s perceived needs.

                24 Codes for Starting a Successful Direct Consumer Marketing Business

6.            Closely analyze your potential markets and your offer so you can prune the lists and copy to target your approach. Though you will mail by the thousands, remember that Direct Mail is more akin to a rifle than a shotgun. Write your copy to be read by one person at a time.

7.            Remember that Direct Mail is a substitute sales representative; where an in-person sales representative can immediately answer prospects’ questions and overcome objections when raised. Your direct mail copy must anticipate all aspects of these questions and insure logical points are covered.

8.            Incorporate an action device such as a coupon, order form, reply card or envelope, phone number; it will make it easy for recipients to take the desired action. Repeatedly tell recipient what action you want them to take and make it simple to do. Put nothing in the way of getting an order or response. Use all action devices cited above.

9.            A letter almost always works better in a Direct Mail than a package; even better than a catalog without a letter. You may however achieve more positive results if you attach a letter with a catalog. Don’t worry if the letter repeats what’s in the catalog, brochure or order form; it’s there for a different purpose. The sales letter is a one-to-one communication to explain and sell, or get the recipient to act. The postscript is often the most-read part of the letter so pay extra attention to it.

10.          If all elements of the package are good, it is imperative that repeat mailings be made. It’s difficult to wear out a good list and unless mailings are overdone, you can’t wear out your welcome. Let statistical probabilities and the laws of economics work in your favor rather than allow difference about making frequent mailings deter you. A commonly made error in a direct mail marketing business is not to mail often enough or to a wider list.

                24 Codes for Starting a Successful Direct Consumer Marketing Business

11.          Keep detailed records of everything you do. Follow a “systems approach” so you know what happened, when and why. That way you can repeat successes and avoid failures. Sometimes the difference of a tenth of a percent or less is all it takes to tune a marginal performer into a winner.

12.          Study all elements of your package so you can know what’s working. Is it the price? Or Geography? The timing? The phrasing of the offer? The list? The copy? The product? Which of those myriad elements, in combination or without one element; makes the critical difference in the return? Analyze your records closely and continually until you know why you’re winning and can repeat success.

13.          Keep current with changing postal rules, rates, regulations and procedures. Regularly monitor your procedures to insure you’re in full compliance.

14.          Save, subdivide and study the good Direct Mail copy of other direct marketers. You will get to learn what to do and maybe what not to do. Remember that some of the things that may appeal to you will turn out to be failures when tests are carried out. So never underestimate need for simplicity and complete honesty in your direct mail copy.

15.          People who take actions by mail are different from those who don’t. Thus it is wise to isolate those who buy so you can easily re-email them with new or different offers. Remember the axiom: “People who buy by mail; buy by mail.

                24 Codes for Starting a Successful Direct Consumer Marketing Business

16.          Do what’s necessary to make your mail copy stand out, even “look peculiar;” since your mail copy has to fight all types of competition. If your mail copy doesn’t get opened, looked at, and read; there’s no chance it will bring the action you want. Clever “teaser copy” on the outside of the mail copy carrier can work wonders.

17.          Wise mail merchants work at differentiating between “suspects,” “prospects” and (best of all) “customers.” Once they can distinguish names on lists among these three categories, they will able to achieve cost efficiencies that novices can only dream about. So keep good records of what happens and when it happens while mailing to a particular list with a particular offer. Capitalize on success.

18.          Testimonials can be effective promotional tools, especially if they’re heartfelt and cogently express what the average user might feel about a product or service. They’re even better when offered by celebrities or persons well-known to the audience. Treat testimonials like the jewels they are and gather more.

19.          There’s no such thing as a “normal” percentage of return that’s universally applicable across a wide range of products and services but over time, and by keeping careful records you can determine what some norms are for your offer (s). After factoring out the norms, you can then set a goal to “beat your best” and surpass the norm; even if only by 0.5% or 1 percent.

20.          In producing Direct Mail programs these seven words may be cliché but only because it’s true: “Nothing is as simple as it seems.” Continual care needs to be exercises at every step of the direct mail planning and conceptual stage, though any step in the conception-production process can become critical if close attention isn’t paid to what’s happening. “To err is human.” Proofreading in a professional manner is essential.

                24 Codes for Starting a Successful Direct Consumer Marketing Business

 

21.          Direct Mail Copywriter “John Yeck” long ago advised direct mail marketers to be aware of these two “sinful” acronyms: “KISS” and “CIPU.” The first, “Keep It Simple, Sweetie” describes how to tell your message while the second cautions us to avoid lapsing into business or industrial jargon which “we” understand but most everyone else doesn’t; “CIPU stands for “Clear If Previously Understood.

22.          While the Power of Direct Mail will long be with us (even though the nature of the Postal Service might change or even become obsolete with the coming of the internet) wise direct mail marketers see themselves practicing in the fields of “direct Marketing” or “Direct Response.” They become knowledgeable of the synergistic value from use of print media (magazines, space ads, newspaper, inserts, etc) as well as electronic media (radio and/ or TV) to supplement their mail promotional efforts. The combination can be very powerful.

23.          Continually study and be alert to what’s happening in this dynamic medium. It may seem that not much is new, when in fact there are subtle but important shifts in many of the areas delineated in each of the four elements cited in Principle #1.

As a final note, these are my 23 codes for starting a successful direct consumer marketing business.

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