Growing BusinessMARKETING

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  • What is Direct Response Marketing?

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    Direct Response Marketing Channels

    Direct response techniques can be applied across many marketing channels, including:

    • Online. The Internet is the great marketing leveler, allowing small businesses to reach global audiences at low cost with minimum effort. Leads and sales can be made through your own website or e-store, paid online advertising, either in the form of display ads, promoted social media tweets, and Facebook posts, or sponsored content on a relevant blog or website. Customers are directed through a sales funnel that leads to your order page.
    • Email. Email marketing generally is most effective when sent to people who have already expressed an interest in your product or service. Emails should be clear and concise using copy that focuses on benefits rather than features. Be sure to format your emails to display correctly on different types of devices, including different brands of smartphones.
    • Direct Mail. This “pre-Internet” channel is still utilized, although the rise of digital media has rendered it less attractive. It includes catalogs, one-sheets, postcards, and other printed materials sent through the Postal Service. With the cost of postage and mailing materials increasing, and so much direct mail heading directly into consumers’ waste baskets, you’ll want to maximize your direct mail investment by identifying and focusing on key demographics such as geography, age, gender, income, or other factors specific to your business. Make sure you are offering something your recipient wants and needs.
    • DRTV. Direct response television—commonly known as infomercials—can be an excellent way to reach people who may not spend as much time online. Producing television spots does require significant up-front investment, however, and airtime can be considerably more expensive than online advertising space. As with direct mail, it’s vital to identify your target demographic and buy media intelligently.
    • Direct Sales. Selling directly to consumers through one-on-one sales calls or in-person group demonstrations can still be a valuable approach for certain types of products. For example, Vitamix does a good job with their in-store demos where the host blends and purees all sorts of veggies and makes drinks that can be tasted right on the spot. You don’t get the wide reach of mail or online messaging, but you can capitalize on the emotional connection that can be made by a good spokesperson actually using the product and showing off its benefits. You can hire and manage your own direct sales force, or design multi-level marketing (MLM) systems, in which associates earn a small percentage of each sale made by other associates they have recruited.
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    • offers a collection of articles and videos about online selling, including optimizing your ecommerce site for holidays, how to write product descriptions that sell, and how to make your website more click-worthy, among many topics.
    • This article, also from, lays out seven steps to getting a direct mail campaign up and running, and then offers tips for producing the various components, including envelopes, letters, fliers, reply cards, self-mailers, and postcards.
    • If your business relies on direct sales, you can find resources, education, research, and industry events by exploring the Direct Selling Association’s website. The same type of information but centered on online direct marketing can be found on the Direct Marketing Association’s website.
    • To learn more about direct response television, this page from Direct Marketing News offers links to numerous articles and case studies.