In this internet age when all customer interactions are moving online and businesses can always stay in contact with customers some wonder if there is any value left in direct marketing. Direct marketing was popular before the arrival of internet when customers used to get number of mailings every day in the form of postcards, catalogs, and personal letters. However, the volume of such mailings has recently gone down. Even postal service is feeling the impact of this reduction posting huge losses for several years. While there is no denying that internet has made it easier to interact with customers using Smartphone and other electronic devices direct marketing can still provide value to business owners if it is done right. Customers still love to see their name on emails and printed postcards. Before we go into the benefits of direct marketing let’s answer the question –what is direct marketing?
Small business owners may not have the resources to compete with big brand names such as Nike or Coca Cola, but that doesn’t mean that branding is not important to your business. Building a brand is a vital part of marketing your services. Building commercial awareness of your company is essential to growth.
These days you are bound to encounter signs advertising products or business no matter where you go. They have taken over the shops, roads, clothing and even toilets. Some people even had crazy idea of putting tattoos on their body advertising a product and getting paid for it. While the last one may be extreme there is no argument that your business sign is one of the most important marketing elements that needs careful attention and planning.
Next time you go to the mall pay close attention to the bags people are carrying. You will find many sizes and styles. You will find some bags that are just so good that you don’t care what’s inside you will want to go to the store just to get the bag. Do you form an opinion about the content of the package or the business providing the bag based on its appearance?
Such is the power of packaging. Some businesses, especially luxury retailers, pay as much attention to the packing as they do to the products they sell. After all, customers form opinion about the business based on their first impression of the package.
When it comes to promoting your small business, every cent used for marketing really counts. You’ll need to create a presence for yourself in your community as well as cyberspace. That’s where a great digital printing company comes in. Without their help, you might as well hang up your hat.
With thousands of businesses being created daily, it’s hard to set yours apart from the crowd. Without the right tools, no one will know who you are. You’re going to need to create materials that get the word out about your business and the products and services that you offer.
Many small business owners focus on wrong actions to grow their sales. They have been led to believe by the marketing folks that you have to spend money (on advertising) to make money. What else would you expect to hear from marketing? After all, it is in the best interest of those marketing people to say that. While I don’t dispute the impact of marketing and advertising on sales, I do believe that it has been overhyped. In my opinion, you need to focus on the fundamentals and other low-cost actions before you spend money on marketing.
For any business sales is a function of three business drivers – target customer market, products and customer service. Pick the right target market, develop products they would die for and deliver them with excellent customer service. Viola!! You are guaranteed to see results in terms of higher sales and profits. I know this is easier said than done, but you can take baby steps towards that goal by first understanding what you are not doing right and making incremental corrections. Here are my observations in terms of 5 actions small business owners are taking that leads to sub-optimal sales.
A guest post by Melissa
Whether your primary business is public relations, search engine optimization, or advertising, your company’s attendance at marketing-oriented conferences can be extremely beneficial to your business. Why have other business owners in your field made the decision to attend marketing industry conferences? Although staying up-to-date on industry dynamics and networking are two of the obvious answers, there are plenty of other benefits. These include gaining competitive intelligence, having the opportunity to publicly speak, having the opportunity to exhibit or even sponsor the event, seek out affiliates, having the opportunity to meet your clients face-to-face, recruit new employees, and even party with like-minded people.