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Direct Mail Advertising: A Key Ingredient For Successful Business Growth

by: Keturah Whitaker

In today’s highly competitive economy, it is essential that you promote your business with marketing materials that strategically position your business for increased customer traffic, expansion and growth.

A highly effective marketing tool that will dynamically promote your business is direct mail advertising. The success of your direct mail advertising will be highly dependent upon the perceived quality of your business, the design, the message you’re conveying, and the special offer. The combination of these factors determines if your direct mail piece will influence your reader to contact you or get tossed aside. You have exactly 3 seconds to make a lasting impression.

Customer Mailing Lists

To get started, you will need to compile and develop a database for your customer mailing list. If you are targeting different customer segments, then you should have a separate database for each targeted market. Also, your direct mail offer should be designed specifically for each market. For example, if you are targeting age groups 15-20 and 50-65, your direct mail piece for your 15-20 target market must be designed differently than your 50-65 target market. The term for this aspect of marketing is called differentiated marketing.

There are multiple sources for locating potential customers for your direct mail campaign. Excellent sources to search for your potential customers are the yellow pages, white pages, newspapers, trade publications, the local Chamber of Commerce directory and you may want to consider contacting mailing list companies for list building. Before you develop your lists and leads, it is vital that you conduct research to "know" who your customers are; their needs and preferences.

Types of direct mail collateral to send to your targeted lists:

Postcards

Postcards are quick and easy because the message is short and simple and they are inexpensive to have printed. Postcards can immediately advertise new products and services and announce a new store location. Postcards achieve an almost 100% readership versus an envelope, as it doesn’t have to be opened to read your special offer. Postcards can be converted into coupons for special customers or cross sell your other products and services.

Letter Mailing

This mailing consists of an introductory letter introducing your business or your offer and a flyer or sales brochure that will highlight your business services and products. This method is very effective. However, the costs involved with this type of mailing are more expensive than a post card.

Newsletters

Newsletters are the perfect way to notify your customers and potential customers of your current business news, introduce new services, promote new products, communicate special offerings, and demonstrate you are an established leader in your industry and community. Newsletters also make excellent handouts for business meetings, off site workshops, trade shows, networking seminars and community events.

Final thought: direct mail has always been a popular medium to advertise for any business, whether your business is home-based, a small business, a midsize business or a large business. Extraordinarily designed direct mail that communicates your business and introduces special offers, can open doors for excellent sales leads and contribute to your business bottom line: increased sales, capture market share, growth and expansion.

Keturah Whitaker is the CEO/President of CoreNet Imaging Solutions®, an Atlanta based design firm that provides small business owners and non-profit organizations, with graphic design services for brochures, newsletters, newsletters, direct mail, flyers, pamphlets, business cards, business forms, and print media ads. She can be reached by calling 770-953-0252 or via email at kw@corenet-imaging.com.

Direct Mail Advertising; Email Is Not Like Postal Mail.

by: Bobette Kyle

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Copyright 2002 Bobette Kyle. All rights reserved.

Direct Mail Advertising; Email Is Not Like Postal Mail.

by: Bobette Kyle

One of the most popular and potentially effective advertising
methods is direct email. If you deliver a well- written message
and execute delivery properly you will be rewarded with new
leads, sales, and traffic to your Web site. If the message is
poorly written or you commit a netiquette faux pas, however, your
efforts could end in disaster.

If you are new to Internet marketing, you might equate direct
email to direct postal mail. The concepts are very similar; in
both you broadcast a standard message to a large number of
individuals in hopes of receiving positive responses. To the
uninitiated, it is logical to assume you can approach the two in
the same way. It seems like the only difference is the means of
communication. If you are thinking this way, STOP! STOP! STOP!

Many people perceive unsolicited commercial message (UCE) – spam
– differently than junk mail from the postal service. The sender
pays for direct mail sent through the postal service. Not so for
UCE. Spam on the Internet ties up the recipient’s resources by
using storage space, slowing down systems, and sometimes crashing
equipment. For this reason and others, many abhor spam. Some
assertively condemn spammers. If you spam you will undoubtedly be
reported to your ISP and email provider. Depending on the
circumstances, your accounts could be closed and your Web site
may be shut down. Need I say it? This is NOT the result you are
looking for from your email marketing program.

Some email advertisers feel that as long as there are unsubscribe
instructions in the email or they only send one message it is
okay to send unsolicited email. A few use never-passed
legislative proposals in their defense. In marketing, perception
is far closer to reality than loophole rationalizations. Some
recipients are offended whether the unsubscribe phrase is there
or not and they are offended even when they receive only one
message from you.

Different individuals define spam differently. Some consider all
forms of UCE or unsolicited commercial postings spam. This means
that if you send advertisements without prior permission from the
individuals you will get complaints. In all likelihood you will
be reported as a spammer. Because service providers generally
have user agreements that are stricter than current U.S. state
and federal laws, you are likely to be reprimanded, have your
site shut down, and/or be put on a blacklist if you send out UCE.

* Spam/UCE Law

As of this writing there are no U.S. federal laws governing UCE.
Some states, however, have laws that regulate UCE. These states
are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois,
Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada,
Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah,
Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Depending on the state,
allowable claims range from $10 per message up to unlimited
damages. Most state laws allow opt-out procedures. In other
words, companies can *legally* add a recipient’s email to a list
without his/her knowledge as long as a means of removal is
provided. For details by state, go to
.

International laws are stricter. Seven countries – Austria,
Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Norway – have opt-
in laws. In order to legally send UCE, you must first have the
recipient’s permission. Other countries have opt- out directives
or pending legislation. EuroCAUCE provide details at
.

Worldwide, there is much discussion about UCE and laws are
changing quickly. There are several sites you can monitor for
details about UCE. These include the SpamCon Foundation
(law.spamcon.org), the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial
Email (CAUCE, www.cauce.org), and the spam section of The Open
Directory Project (dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/Abuse/Spam).

* More Email Marketing Resources

SpamCon Help for Email Marketers:

SpamCon Links to Blacklists:

WebSiteMarketingPlan.com Links to Email Advertising Resources

Wilson Internet Links to Email Advertising Articles
http://www.wilsonweb.com/cat/cat.cfm?page=1&subcat=me_Email- Gen

About the Author

Bobette Kyle is author of "How Much For Just the Spider?
Strategic Web Site Marketing." She used techniques detailed in
the book to bring her own site, WebSiteMarketingPlan.com, from a
ranking of 17 million to 59 thousand+ in less than four months.
http://www.WebSiteMarketingPlan.com/sr.htm

Copyright 2002 Bobette Kyle. All rights reserved.

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