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Direct marketing in the digital age

This article will give you a greater understanding of what direct marketing in the digital age is; how the form has changed as consumers rely increasingly on technology, and the best ways to use direct marketing as part of your marketing strategy.

Sophie Porter 01. Apr 2019 6 minutes
direct marketing and sales

Direct marketing is a way of advertising directly to customers through a variety of different channels; traditionally labeled as direct mail, direct marketing is often associated with expensive & outdated methods of promotion, such as posting personalised letters through consumers’ doors or leaflet dropping.

However, as technology has evolved and a variety of communication channels have opened up, direct marketing has also had to evolve...

Whilst traditional direct marketing would have been particularly effective even as recently as 5 years ago, as we edge ever closer to a near-paperless society, direct marketing in isolation has become far too easy for the average consumer to ignore.

However, when used in conjunction with a wider marketing campaign and with a little bit of creative rethinking, direct marketing can still be a powerful means of capturing consumers’ interest - providing them with the personalised, concise information they need to make an informed decision.

And this is exactly how we used direct marketing to increase the sales and enquiries of one of our local clients; a family run business in the heart of north Hampshire.

But what was involved? We’ll walk you through it below.

Direct Marketing in a digital age

What is direct marketing in the digital age?

 

Direct marketing is another personal touch-point

Emails, Facebook adverts, and Google Ads can be all too easy to ignore when today’s average consumer is bombarded with over 5,000 adverts per day.

However, particularly when presented in the form of a personal letter or an informative leaflet which uses personal and defined messaging - tailored to the needs of the intended audience or their specific location - direct marketing can help your business stand out as a helpful, local brand your audience needs.

Example:

You’re opening up a new gym in Oxford that incorporates a creche intended for young children below school age. Why? You want to appeal to busy parents who want to get fit and improve their physical & emotional wellbeing but find a lack of child care an obstacle to this.

How can direct marketing help you appeal to this niche audience?

By creating a leaflet using high-res images of parents enjoying time with their young children, coupled with propositional messaging which confronts the difficulties most parents experience when trying to get fit and improve their physical & emotional wellbeing - being unable to find child care and therefore being left unable to attend a gym - whilst presenting a solution, i.e. your child-friendly gym with secure cheche facilities in their area.

Direct marketing is another way to drive them to your website

Direct marketing in the digital age should always drive audiences to your website; whether by presenting them with a special offer (like a discount code) or a place they can go where they can read more and make their purchase or enquiry.

Direct marketing in the digital age needs to work WITH the digital world, not against it, to strengthen your results and drive audiences online wherever possible.

Pro tip:

Never use just your homepage as the URL on any of your direct marketing.

Always create a specific, hidden landing page on your website to accompany any direct marketing activity; a landing page that can only be accessed via a very specific URL. That way, you can track how successful your direct marketing campaign has been by analysing how many hits you’ve received on that page.

And if you fancy going one step further, also set up retargeting ads to appear whenever visitors to the landing page leave without making a purchase or enquiry, driving them back to your website.

Direct marketing is something different

Today, digital marketing is the norm and today’s consumer is more than used to seeing thousands of adverts online every day.

However, what today’s consumer isn’t used to anymore is receiving a leaflet or a personalised letter through their door. That’s why 36% of people under 30 look forward to checking the mail each day!

Yes, traditional direct marketing in the digital age provides a little of something different; a way for you to connect with your audience in an unusual way and help you stand out.

Pro tip:

Letters can be a really effective way of getting someone’s attention but only if they look and feel genuine. In fact, 76% of consumers trust direct mail when they want to make a purchase decision.

Try to address direct marketing letters to specific individuals - using first names where appropriate - and ensure they are signed by a real person within the business.

People buy from people and direct marketing is the perfect platform to address people personally.

Direct marketing is part of a wider campaign

We mentioned it earlier but it’s worth reiterating, direct marketing only really holds weight in the digital age if it’s part of a wider campaign.

Create a marketing strategy for your campaign and simply include direct marketing within it.

Consider:

  • Facebook/Instagram advertising

  • Email marketing

  • Organic social media activity

  • Press releases for local and trade media

  • Blogging

As well as leaflet dropping or sending out personalised letters.

Example:

When creating leaflets for the family run business in north Hampshire, we first worked to understand exactly what the client wanted to achieve with these leaflets.

Upon realising that the leaflets in question would promote a 14 day free trial of their services specifically to families in the area, we created a landing page on their website, alongside a series of highly-targeted Facebook adverts, presented to people with related interests who lived in the area.

The leaflets then included a call to action to ‘book now’ with a bespoke link to the landing page, where visitors could gain more information and book the service offered.

By combining traditional direct marketing and digital marketing, we were able to achieve over 13 enquiries in the first 3 weeks of the campaign.

Direct marketing IS digital marketing

Direct marketing in the digital age is digital marketing.

Yes, we know that sounds a little strange but, the principles are the same - direct marketing and digital marketing both use personalisation and audience targeting to promote your product or service directly to specific consumers. It just so happens that one is online, and one is traditionally known to be in the form of print.  

Pro tip:

If you’re a pro at direct marketing and haven’t yet ventured into the world of digital marketing, think of digital marketing as simply a higher form of direct marketing, taken online.

Digital marketing is also much less expensive and time consuming than direct marketing (direct mail), and will start to produce results far more quickly. Once you’ve got your messaging and graphics right, you can expect to start seeing results within a few hours of your digital marketing campaign going live.

And, a bit like direct marketing, you can create personalised, intelligent, and specific campaigns for specific audiences, but - due to the amount of data that can be collected online - you can take this to yet another level of specificity all together.  

NB: Digital marketing is measurable, traceable, and entirely driven by metrics so you can get really specific - it’s direct marketing on steroids!

How powerful is direct marketing in the digital age?

 

Direct marketing in the digital age is about combining all avenues of communication available to achieve the best results; to use the data we’re provided to help target specific audiences, and find a way to stand out above your competitors.

Direct marketing only really works in conjunction with digital marketing and, wherever possible, should lead audiences to your website.

What’s more, direct marketing is most powerful when it’s personal, specific, and feels genuine; glossy, high-quality letters printed on beautifully designed graphics just aren’t going to have as much of an impact as a plain, typed or handwritten letter, address to and from an individual.

In today’s direct marketing, less is more.  

 

Harness the power of direct marketing in the digital age, and discover how we can help you achieve the best results from your marketing campaign by contacting us today.

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