Last night after a good meal and some pleasant family time I found myself with a spare and very rare hour to myself. As I debated between taking a nice aromatic bath or reading my backlog of industry newsletters, my thirst for knowledge won out.For someone who has spent more than twenty years in marketing and client services, I never turn away the chance to find out more about direct marketing. It never ceases to amaze me how companies and advertisers are able to find new and unique marketing methods to directly market to both businesses and consumers. That is why spending time reading industry news is part of my daily job.Industry articles, newsletters and whitepapers are wonderful tools. Anyone in business can benefit from reading them. Remaining stagnant with your industry knowledge only serves to allow your clients to look elsewhere for the help they need. And you would have only yourself to blame. You expect your doctor to constantly keep abreast of new and cutting edge procedures and medicines. Why not do the same yourself?Recently I was reading a paper by Robert Bly entitled “Secrets of Successful Business to Business Direct Marketing”. He makes some interesting and thought provoking testaments thanks to his many years in marketing. In one section he expounds:”The business buyer is an information seeker, constantly on the lookout for information and advice that can help the buyer do the job better, increase profits, or advance his career.”I cannot disagree with that. Direct marketing business to business is very different from direct marketing business to consumer. Drip marketing is very effective when marketing to a business as most will purchase a product or service after a long period of research. Consumers however are impulse buyers and one offer is all they need to see before whipping out the credit card. Where we disagree however is when he states:”Don’t be afraid to write long copy in mailers, ads, and fulfillment brochures. Prospects will read your message – if it is interesting, important, and relevant to their needs.”Sorry Robert, but most purchasing agents and company owners that I have dealt with over the years are consumers at heart. They purchase needed materials and services the same way a consumer would: what gives me the best value for my money. Directly marketing to them with an overload of information will have them tossing that mailer in the trash or deleting your email with the click of a button.Whether a company uses direct marketing to attract another business or a consumer, always make sure your advertising makes the recipient want to know more. Show them where they can find out by directing them to a website, opting in through an email or responding with a return reply card. THEN send your brochure or booklet full of information.When using direct marketing to a business, always be professional, knowledgeable and concise. Grab the buyer’s attention and lure them into finding out more. Your bottom line will thank you for it.There are many more pieces of information in Robert’s report that have me thinking. Direct marketing experts like him are a wealth of knowledge. I have many more articles yet to read too. Who knows what I might still learn. If I do I will be sure to share.
Direct marketing in the offline world has grown to huge proportions, becoming a very professional industry in which the biggest players are immensely successful. And these same direct marketing strategies and techniques are the hallmark of the most successful Internet marketing businesses, etc. In fact, every direct marketing professional should consider Internet marketing as a career or at least a sideline for additional income streams.Direct mail pieces in the offline business world become email blasts online – and with more and more email programs now HTML capable, can be just as glossy and heavily designed as their offline counterpart. And just as direct marketers buy targeted leads or use location-based mail drops, Internet marketing pros rent email lists, buy solo ads and buy leads.Direct marketing techniques also include classified ads and TV infomercials – online there are a number of classified-ad sites, some international and many based on certain locals. And video sharing sites are perfect for displaying TV-style commercials, infomercials, product demonstrations, etc.And the ‘golden lists’ or the big Direct Mail houses, those lists of targeted leads that buy from them regularly, are no different than the customer lists online. Just as direct marketers have a pre-written series of e-mails and offers that go out to their previous customers on a regular basis, so too do online marketers who use pre-written autoresponder series to follow up with each purchaser.If you own and/or operate an offline business in direct marketing, learn all you can about the strategies, tools and techniques being used by successful Internet marketing pros and use that knowledge to increase bottom line profits considerably. While some online regulations, like the anti-spam laws, make parts a little trickier in compliance, it’s more than made up for by the low cost of email blasts, the lack of lead time required for printing, and the free video hosting the video sharing sites provide. Start by putting every commercial and infomercial in your current library online at sites like YouTube, Viddler and Daily Motion and you’re already well on your way.And if you’re currently working in the direct marketing industry with no equity in the company that employs you, consider starting a part-time job in online marketing and building it into your own full-time Internet marketing or affiliate marketing business. You have the skills so start investigating this low-startup-costs online industry for your own future today!