With direct marketing, you either try to sell your product or service directly, or you can generate leads. There are pros and cons to both strategies. In this article, we will analyze both options, so you can decide what strategy is best for you.
Advertising for the Direct Sale
Going for a direct sale simply means that there is no means of capturing any contact information, except for when the prospect purchases. All advertising is geared toward selling the product or service.
If you choose to go for a direct sale, there are several ways to do this.
- You mail a direct mail package with a sales letter to your prospects and to purchase they can either visit a webpage, call a toll free number, or mail an accompanying order form.
- You have that exact same direct mail sales letter on a webpage and then you direct prospects to that page, where they can order online.
- Instead of having an actual printed sales letter you can have a video of a sales letter that makes a presentation and then gives the prospect the opportunity to purchase the product or service online.
- You can send traffic directly to an online catalog page, where the prospect can purchase the product. This can be like using Facebook ads to send prospects to an Amazon product page.
Direct selling advertising can be an effective way of selling your products offline and online.
Disadvantages of Advertising for the Direct Sale:
If prospects do not purchase, then you have lost the opportunity to market to them in the future.
Advertising is expensive, and if the prospect does not purchase immediately, then the advertising money cannot be recouped.
One of the solutions for not wasting advertising money is to make the sale at least a two-step process and generate leads instead of going for the direct sale.
Lead Generation and Lead Magnets
Lead generation is all about growing a list of prequalified prospects that you can build relationships with and market to in the future.
One of the most effective ways of generating leads is to offer a lead magnet. A lead magnet is simply giving something of value in exchange for the person’s contact information. At the minimum, you should ask for a name and an email address. You can ask for more contact information such as their address, phone number, etc. but keep in mind that the more information that you ask for, the fewer the number of people will optin to your list. Remember, the more compelling the lead magnet and offer then the more people will opt-in.
For instance, if you are offering a free report that you are mailing prospects, then the mailing address would be a necessity for the prospect to receive the information. But if you are asking for full contact information and then delivering the report over email, then the mailing address would not be a necessity, so the number of prospects that opt-in will be lower.
So, remember to ask for only what you need to ensure the highest response rate.
Remember, a lead magnet identifies the problem and then offers solutions to learn more or purchase a product to solve the problem.
What types of items can you offer as lead magnets?
There are some items that you can offer that have stood the test of time, are inexpensive to create, and can be delivered inexpensively. Here are a few items you can offer as lead magnets.
Free reports and whitepapers are classic lead generation items. Both have stood the test of time. One of the best aspects of free reports is that many people do not delete them. This means they are sitting on the person’s hard drive to be rediscovered in the future. Plus, reports and whitepapers are like magazines in that they have a high pass along rate. This is my favorite method for lead generation.
Videos are the newest form of lead magnet and are the most dynamic and interactive. Lead magnet videos can be a variety of different formats from information videos or personal videos of the person delivering the content. This can build the trust factor faster than other mediums.
MP3’s are great for lead generation, although they are less common today. They can be in the form of interviews or from a single person’s perspective and deliver content. MP3’s also offer a fast way to create a lead magnet. You only need a computer and a microphone.
Spreadsheets and software are also good for lead generation. They provide value and help the prospect solve a specific problem. The next step of the system could be offering a paid product to show how to use the spreadsheet most effectively. For software, often trial versions are offered with a paid premium upgrade.
Developing Follow Up Systems
When you implement a lead generation strategy, the follow-up system is critical. If you are generating leads than there must be a follow-up system in place for you to be able to convert the leads into customers.
Here are different ways to follow up with prospects.
This is used in all forms of direct marketing advertising from radio, print, television and on the Internet. It is normally used in conjunction with a call this number, visit this website, etc. to claim your free information. Once the information is sent then the company has the contact information of the prospect to follow up with direct mail to build a relationship and make offers.
Email delivery is one of the easiest ways to deliver a lead magnet to a prospect. Once the person opts into your list, an email is automatically sent with the promised content. This allows you to follow up with additional emails to make the sale, offer other products and ultimately build trust and relationships with your prospects.
In conclusion, whether you go for a lead or a direct sale, often depends on who you are promoting to and what you are promoting. Personally, being advertising is expensive, I normally, prefer going for the lead when advertising to prospects who do not know me. Current customers offer a better opportunity to go directly for the sale. So, I normally send direct promotions to current prospects and customers, who are familiar with me.
So, remember when you are advertising make sure you know what strategy you are going to use and have the appropriate follow-up system to create valuable customers.
Are you building your email list?
Today, when it comes to building your audience one of the most profitable marketing channels is email.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing yields a 4,300% return on investment for businesses in the United States.
ExactTarget reports for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $44.25.
One of the most profitable ways to build your audience is to increase the size of your email list.