Maximising the Marketing Communications Budget

Probably the hardest task that every senior marketing manager regularly faces is planning to maximise budget efficiency. Nowhere is this more challenging than when deciding on where to spend the marketing communications budget.

The exponential growth of new media covers every aspect of life from the second your (digital of course) radio alarm goes off in the morning through all the traditional offline media you’re exposed to over the course of the day. Once we go online and explore the huge demands on the budget related to email marketing, search engine optimisation, pay per click, web design and a plethora of other online marketing opportunities, the budget dilemma seems to become impossible. Various studies indicate the average person living in a developed country is exposed to anywhere between 3000 and 7000 differing advertising messages per day. If you’re targeting that person, then how do you choose the one or two messages that are going to grab their attention and generate the right response? Even for highly experienced marketers these are not easy decisions. Some will claim to take a highly scientific approach but in this article we will treat the budgeting exercise as a combination of art and science.

The answers can be found in a few key areas: The size of your brand and business, the nature of your target market, the relative size of your competitors, the level of experience you have gained from previous marketing activity and your personal predisposition to believe in a particular approach. I’ve packaged that into

Ten golden rules for planning an integrated advertising campaign:

1 Repetition builds awareness builds response

Don’t spread your budget too thin. It’s better to repeat your message three or four times to the same person in the same media than to spread your message to a wider audience that may only see it once or twice

2 Online marketing is fashionable but that doesn’t make it right for your business

If you know you can build your business by increasing your web visits then online expenditure makes sense. But if your business model is not dependent on your website be careful about throwing all your money online

3 The smaller your budget the more benefit Public Relations can provide

Public Relations takes time and effort but the results can be amazing and the monthly fee often equates to just one advertisement

4 The bigger your business the more important brand building

As a massive generalisation, small businesses need to focus on building response and every penny they spend on marketing is looking for a short-term return. In the long run it’s the budgets that invest in brand building that win but there’s no point in worrying about that when your budget is small.

5 Direct Mail and e-shots are the starting point for most small businesses

You can directly compare costs with return.

6 No more than 50% of your budget online

OK that’s not really a golden rule as some businesses can prosper never appearing outside the virtual world. But it’s rare to find a target market that is not responsive to offline communications and on average over 50% of ‘commercial’ web visits are driven by traditional media.

7 Information Is Power

Quite simply the more you understand your target market and their media consumption the better you can plan campaigns that connect with them. Also if something has worked before it will probably work again, but not in quite the same way. So learn from your successes as well as your mistakes.

8 Don’t swim with the big fish

If you’re a small fish then swim upstream or downstream of the big ones Taken from Adam Morgan’s book ‘Eating the Big Fish’ this rule simply says that challenger brands need to do things differently to the competition

9 Sponsorship is for laughs

If you have many millions of pounds or dollars to spend then sponsor a premiership football club. If your budget is smaller avoid spending too much money on simple brand awareness and make sure your brand values, unique selling points and call to action are built into your marketing communications

10 Integrated communications are impressive

Even better than repeating your message to one person in the same medium is getting that message across to that person through different marketing communications. A direct mail piece, an e-shot, a press ad combined with a PR article come together to make your budget look much bigger than it is

Finally, there’s an 11th rule too! If you can’t afford it then that rules it out. It seems obvious but a lot of highly experienced marketers make the mistake of wanting to try media they perceive to be prestigious such as National TV that soak up more than 50% of their budget and leave a lot of the more hard working, cost effective, demand driving media unaffordable.

To summarise, it’s art and science coming together, there are no definite right answers but there are a lot of obviously bad ones. If in doubt get an integrated marketing agencyto help you decide. Specialist agencies will always try to get as much of your budget as they can. An integrated agency might want almost your entire budget but it will work with you to maximise its effectiveness!

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Direct Mail Marketing for Non-Profit Fundraising Events

Nonprofit fund-raising events are the hallmark of most nonprofit organizations and they often host these annual events in order to raise much-needed funds for their group. If these fund-raising events are successful the group can propel its work and help those people in need.

This brings us to the next point; publicity and public relations are a key for nonprofit group fund raising, but it is not always enough. Sometimes it is important to advertise the nonprofit group’s fund-raising events.

Of course one problem with heavy advertising for nonprofit fund raising event is that if you spend too much money you will take away from the money you earn during a fund-raising event. That means less money goes to the needy people that nonprofit group is trying to help.

This is why I recommend direct-mail marketing advertising pieces like you seen those little coupon booklets that come in the mail. If a nonprofit fund-raising event is to take place within two months it makes sense to send out these direct-mail marketing pieces with invitations inside to the event.

I recommend sending them each month that is possible before the date of the event. This will help get more people to the event and may also help you generate volunteers for your nonprofit organization. I hope you will please consider this in 2006 and I hope that the direct-mail marketing advertising company will give you a discount when you ask; since you are a nonprofit.

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How To Legally Deliver Timely Marketing Messages with Automated Voice Mail Marketing

The phone rang; it was the telephone company telling me that my new phone service was now active. The week before that a local bookstore left a very nice message on my voice mail that told me the book I had ordered was now in stock and ready for either pick up at the store, or delivery, whichever was most convenient for me. I wasn’t at home when this call arrived. Here is how it works: A voice message left on your phone’s answering machine can be a 35-second pre-recorded audio message that sounds like a live call. As the paying advertiser, you can choose the content of the call, the style, length and even the gender of the voice making the call. This is done with a combination of hardware and software utilized by a specific service provider of voice marketing services. Typically a voice marketing campaign is launched between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (when most folks are out) and can be targeted at a focused customer group or expanded to reach thousands of customers. If the call seems to sound realistic and being given by a live person, all the better. Marketers choose specific professional voices who “read” the copy so that it is what they call “professionally unprofessional sounding.” It sounds like a live person leaving the message. If the householder happens to be home (which happens in 20 percent of the cases), the sophisticated technology recognizes the algorithm of a voice owned by a human and immediately switches from a 35-second message to a shorter one, and quickly signs off.

Automated voice messaging has been around for while. This is not new; but in this new age of “Do Not Call” lists and fines for telemarketers, it has taken on a whole new meaning…and importance. It’s a cost-effective way to legally deliver timely messages about sales, service, new products/services, or upcoming appointments to name just a few. Of importance too, is that these messages are likely to be delivered when the home owner is not at home. The response to these messages is usually higher than with newspaper print ads and/or direct mail. ‘Less expensive too. The main thing to keep in mind in this instance, however, is that this is not a ‘mass marketing’ or even a ‘target marketing’ technique. It should not be utilized with anyone other than clients/customers you currently have a business relationship with. Do NOT send these messages to the answering machines of folks you have not done business with before. If you do, you’ll get severely censured…and fined.

Some marketers believe that a voice marketing campaign can outperform a direct mail campaign in both response rate and average transaction. The good news is that the average cost of direct mail is in the 40¢ to 50¢ range while the average cost for voice marketing (for national customers) is in the 6¢ to 10¢ range. If you were a local customer those rates would likely be higher, I expect. But still, even if they were as high as 20 cents, imagine how much more money you would have to put into other media, such as newspaper advertising, radio, or online to support your campaign.

The National Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry, which includes 44 states at present, says that: “Voice marketing is 100 percent compliant with the federal and state [Do-Not-Call] requirements.” So you likely won’t get in trouble using this marketing technique. But don’t take just my word for it. To cover your backside, check with the registry to make sure you’re in compliance.

My understanding is that this form of voice mail broadcasting is legal and permitted if there is an established relationship between you and the person being called. Only your existing customers should be called in this program. It’s a bit like the “opt-in” email lists online. However, in this instance, only those who have agreed to be contacted by you or have an existing relationship with you are legal for you to contact.

To learn more about this different and unique way of communication with your existing clients, I suggest going to Ask.com or Google and type in the words: “voice marketing”. If you have gmail with Google, send yourself an email discussing the concept of “voice marketing” and see what pops up on the right hand side of the page. I obtained the following potential suppliers: voicepunch.com, MarketingMessages.com, evoice.com, vofx.com and eWoss.com. The choice is yours; I’m not an affiliate; ‘Just passing ‘em on.

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How To Turn Your Direct Mail Campaign Into An Online Lead Generating Machine

Here’s a GREAT way for you to save time, save money, and increase your sales leads. Let me tell you a quick little story…

I have a client for whom I run a lead generation direct mail campaign. I’ve been trying to persuade him to move some of the campaign online in order to cut down costs and increase conversions. He’s been a pretty hard sell, but I’ve finally managed to convince him.

So, what was it that got him to step out of the Stone Age and into the 21st Century? It was simply a matter of running the numbers. Let’s take a look at some of the hidden costs of his direct mail campaign that he hasn’t been considering:

Additional Hidden Postage Fees

With the recent postage hikes, the additional cost of mailing is an obvious factor. But my client didn’t consider how his campaign was fully impacted by the rate increases. Now that shaped-based postage is in effect, his overall campaign cost is more expensive because he’s using the less expensive padded envelope. His campaign is already in need of an overhaul to maximize the savings that are available to him. So now is a great time to make the changes I suggested.

Man Hours

My client never realized how much time his employees are spending on packing and printing and shipping. He considers payroll as a human resources expense and never allocated a payroll line item in figuring out his direct mail ROI. When we actually sat down and looked at it, he was amazed at how many payroll dollars this direct mail project is eating up.

Storage Space

My client has tons of space dedicated to housing his cases of padded envelopes (which, by the way, take up a lot of room), video tapes (I told you he was in the Stone Age), audio CDs and the rest of the items for his campaign. Yet, when he hired a new administrative assistant, he couldn’t find anywhere to put her desk. (And, just between you and me, he did get in trouble once with the fire Marshall for having boxes stacked too high near the ceiling.)

Opportunity Costs

A lot of time and money goes into his direct mail campaign – time and money that could be spent elsewhere.

So he agreed to move the campaign on line. I suggested we start small and test it out for a few months. Here are the steps I followed that you can easily recreate with your own campaigns:

  1. Redesigned the ad that had been running in a specialized magazine. Instead of telling prospects to call a phone number to request a direct mail package, I sent them to a special landing page.
  2. Created a landing page to be used only for this ad. The page mimicked the look and feel of the magazine ad and focused strictly on the lead generation device. Check out my free report on maximizing lead generation for more details on how this works.
  3. Broke the direct mail package into several smaller steps. The original physical product contains a welcome letter, a brochure, an audio CD, a videotape, a checklist and several miscellaneous printed pieces. All that material can be overwhelming to a brand new prospect. I decided to deliver each piece individually, over time.
  4. Digitized each piece. The printed materials were turned into PDF files, the audio was turned into an MP3 file and the video was turned into a flash movie.
  5. Opened an autoresponder account. My client decided to use the same autoresponder service that I use in my own business because it’s easy to use and extremely cost effective.
  6. Created the autoresponder messages. Individual email messages were created to automatically deliver the pieces over time. This was much less overwhelming than having a huge package loaded with tons of materials land with a thud on the doorstep. And, because the email messages are very warm and personal, the prospect feels like he is really getting to know the company.

So, how did it all work out? Well, we’re still midway through our six-month testing period, but my client is already foaming at the mouth to move the rest of the campaign online. He’s noticed a huge increase in the conversion rate of the online prospects versus the direct mail prospects. His current direct mail process involves mailing out the lead generation package, then following up with the prospect by phone a few days later. Usually, that phone conversation goes something like this:

Company Rep: Hi, this is Jane Doe from XYZ Corporation. I’m calling to see if you received our super duper lead generation package.

Prospect: Yeah, I got it the other day, but I haven’t had time to look through it all yet.

Company Rep: Well, I’m sure that after you’ve reviewed it all, you’ll agree that we offer the best widgets on the market. So please give us a call as soon as you’re ready to make a purchase.

Prospect: OK, sure. Goodbye.

Not very productive, is it? With the new online system, I was able to totally revamp that process. Now, a company representative contacts the prospect personally only after all the individual messages and pieces have been delivered. By this time, the prospect has been receiving several personalized email messages and he’s already warmed up to the company. Plus, because the pieces were gradually delivered over time, the prospect has had time to review them all. The follow up phone calls are warm and friendly and the conversion rate has increased dramatically.

Action Item – Follow the steps above to convert your own direct mail campaign into a cost-effective, online lead generating machine. Request a copy of my free report on maximizing lead generation for tips on setting up your landing page.

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Is ACN a Pyramid Company? A Review – Direct Selling at Its Best

ACN is a revolutionary company that has expanded into a global market for telecommunication services and products. They have achieved success through an innovational process known as direct selling. Direct selling can seem like a complex process, but once broken down, it’s relatively simple. ACN is known for the tactical employment of this method of advertisement and sales division throughout the world and for a good reason. Is ACN a pyramid scam? ACN does utilize a type of employment pyramid, but it is a legitimate way for hard workers to earn a living working for a reputable company.

Direct selling refers to a method that is becoming more widely used thanks to the influence of ACN and its co-founders. Many people in the job market are also turning to this kind of work to have a flexible schedule and make an optimum amount of money. Direct selling utilizes independent representatives by letting them market a company’s products and services. These independent representatives are trained to know the ins and outs of the relevant industry. The independent representatives then use communication of various types to convince others to join. The representatives work on commission, so there are always several incentives to draw more customers to that company’s products and services.

This is also an effective marketing tool for those businesses that don’t want to spend a lot of money on advertisement and want to offer plenty of incentives to employees. ACN began as a long distance service provider. They used direct selling to grow their product and company name. As the years progressed, they added different aspects, services, and products to the company. They combined great advice for independent representatives and excellent customer service to ensure that their business plans were solid. Now, they are able to hire frequently and offer great jobs to people. ACN truly is a revolutionary company.

Their main focus now is technological advances in the field of telecommunication. Perhaps their most famous device and product is the Video Phone. The Video Phone allows users to see the person that they are communicating with on their phone. This is completely changing the way people talk to their contacts and the way the world sees telecommunications. ACN even has the backing of a fellow successful business man who has gained in monetary value the past three years. Donald Trump is now a backer of the ACN company and business ideas. So once again, is ACN a pyramid scam? I think not.

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Direct Mail and Direct Mail Marketing for Golf Cart Repair Services

One of the best ways to build up a golf cart repair business is to find areas where golf carts are very prevalent near golf courses. Find out all the ZIP codes in the area and send out direct-mail marketing coupon packages to them.

Also ask the direct-mail marketing coupon package advertising representative to give you at least 1000 extra coupons or fliers. These can be handed out at the local golf clubs, Pro shops and gated community golf course homeowners association meetings.

Why does direct-mail and direct-mail marketing for golf car repair services work so well? It is because golf cart repair services often put coupons in these packages which allow people to bring their golf cart in for a free service evaluations and a discount on cleaning.

People who own golf carts know that they must clean the dried grass off the bottom of a golf cart or they could catch fire. Additionally they know it is important to upkeep the maintenance on the batteries and keep all the terminals clean.

By offering discounts on routine preventative maintenance or free service evaluations golf car repair services can draw in new customers using direct-mail and direct-mail marketing advertising. Please consider all this in 2006.

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Direct Marketing System – How to Create One

The competitiveness in all industries today is quite large. You have to be one step ahead of the competition in order to make profits. Thankfully the marketing strategies are developing and you can readily use the innovative techniques and solutions to improve the performance of your business. It is essential for you not to rely on the standard mass advertising which is highly ineffective these days. The use of a direct marketing system is crucial for success. You simply have to target each and every one of your potential customers personally.

The first step for the creation of a direct marketing system is the determination of your demographic target group. The experts recommend marketers to imagine the ideal customer that will be attracted to your product. It is best to relate its use and features to the specific age, gender, profession, education, place of residence and even character of this perfect consumer who will go immediately for what you are offering. It is also a good idea to rely on statistical data and analysis as well as on your creativity and forward thinking.

The next step involves the determination of the methods which you will use for direct target marketing. There are some really cost effective techniques with high return on investment. Email marketing and online marketing in general are the most popular ones of these. You can readily use more technologically advanced techniques. The mobile marketing is an excellent choice as it offers a wide range of target promotion opportunities. Event marketing is extremely effective as well.

The third phase of the direct marketing system is the creation of the actual promotional messages. They have to as personalized as possible. You really have to use the analysis you have made in the first stage in order to come up with attractive messages. It is important to know your product extremely well too. You have to be able to convince each and everyone of your potential customers that it is the best one.

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Targeted Direct Email Marketing

Is targeted direct email marketing worth it? What benefits can you get from it? Is all the effort worth it? How often do you hear these questions? The funny thing is, they never come from real internet marketers, only from those that play at it; those who aren’t really bothered about making real money. Why do I say that? Here’s why!

To make money with targeted direct email marketing you need customers. OK, I have heard all the arguments about a website being like a shop on a street that everybody in the world walks along, so you have millions of potential customers. The trouble is, these streets you are talking about are monopolized by the Marks and Spencer’s, Woolworth’s and Macys. The K-Marts and Wal-Mart’s. Nope! You need something different and that’s where direct email marketing comes in.

Of course any discussion about targeted direct email marketing is incomplete without a SPAM warning. Penalties can be severe; be sure you know the law before you begin.

The real marketers in targeted direct email marketing know this and if there’s one thing you must learn in this internet world it’s that you do what the experts do. The experts use mass direct email marketing techniques. All of them: every single one. Are they wrong? You can bet your life they are not. So what does this email marketing thing bring you? Customers, that’s what. Nothing but plain money-spending customers. The life blood of all companies, internet or not. Without customers you may as well shut up shop and sell off your domain name!

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Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Self-Direct Your Retirement Instead Of Investing In Mutual Funds

There are thousands of so called financial advisors that tell you that you should invest in mutual funds, money market accounts, stocks, bonds and life insurance policies and diversify your retirement portfolio. This is some of the worst financial advice you can get and the general public has been duped by the large investment companies like Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and the large banks for years. These so called financial advisors that work for these big companies have very limited to no training and are not incentivized in the right ways. They make so much money off of trading fees and annual fees that you can never get ahead even if they could outpace inflation in the first place with their investments. Well you do not have to put up with this theft anymore. There are retirement vehicles and custodians out there just like the Fidelities and Charles Schwab’s that enable you to self direct your retirement into almost any investment options you want and control your own financial future instead of handing it off to one of these so called financial advisors. What is a self-directed retirement account? It’s an account just like what you would have in Fidelity or a similar company but you can invest it in pretty much whatever you want instead of being limited to what the Fidelities of the world allow you to invest in, that they make the most fees on. So you can open an IRA, 401k, Roth IRA and HSA (Health Savings Account) that you can actually make decisions with and invest with. Here are the top 10 reasons you should self direct your own retirement instead of giving it to one of these large companies that basically steal your money in fees.

(1) Self-directing your retirement account is the only way to protect your own retirement. If you do not take control of your own retirement investing and educate yourself on alternative investment options you will lose purchasing power and your retirement accounts will probably lose another 30% – 40% like we just saw with some of the major economic problems we are seeing. Massive inflation is looming so you have to invest in assets that produce a higher return.

(2) Self-directed custodians typically have fee structures that do not completely deplete your returns like the traditional IRA and retirement companies. Typically you have much smaller transaction fees, much smaller annual fees and you can find ways to cut down on fees even more as a percentage of your retirement account. You want to keep the interest and returns you make, not pay them back in fees which can significantly hinder your retirement’s growth.

(3) You can build your retirement a 1000% faster by self directing your retirement than not. If you are investing in traditional investments like mutual funds and stocks you are only going to make the long term historical average of those investments at best depending upon the economic stability of the market. The long term historical averages are close to 8% – 10%. With inflation historically at 3% – 3.5% and even higher inflation expected that is not a high enough return. By investing in alternative investment options like real estate you can make 15%+ returns on your money without even using leverage. You can even leverage real estate (get a loan for real estate) inside your own retirement account increasing your returns to 20% plus. Now that is power especially when you can do it safely with the right risk mitigation techniques in place.

(4) By self directing your own retirement account you can actually actively control your investments. When investing the traditional way you have absolutely no control and have a significant amount of risk when investing in mutual funds and stocks. You are at the mercy of what the market does. When you self direct your own retirement you can control the assets inside your account. You can structure the investments so that no matter what the market does you are making residual cash flow inside your account so you do not have to worry about market fluctuations. You also have the power to increase the value of the assets inside our account. Also, if you buy discounted real estate inside your IRA not only can you then go sell for a huge profit but you are building your retirement account tax free.

(5) Tax free investing is one of the largest benefits of investing in a self directed IRA. Can you imagine buying a rental property worth $100,000 for $75,000, renting it out for $1,000 per month, having all of the income going back to your retirement account tax free and then when you go to sell the property for $100,000 the $25,000 in profit is tax free also. No capital gains taxes and no taxation on the rental income. This can compound the growth of your retirement accounts at an amazing pace.

(6) Building an annuity inside your retirement account is crucial to your retirement plan. For example, if you need $5,000 a month to live on during retirement and are able to make a conservative 10% on your money inside your account you need $600,000 in your retirement account in order to retire and NEVER deplete your principal. If you leverage your investments and make 15% on your money inside your retirement account you only need $400,000 in your retirement accounts. So unlike what most financial planners will tell you, you don’t need $10,000,000 dollars inside your retirement account to retire. Now keep in mind if your expenses are $5,000 per month, you want to be making $7,500 per month passively so that you can continue to build your income and protect yourself from the loss of purchasing power due to inflation.

(7) Current tax planning and saving on current taxes is a huge advantage for self directed investments. If you invest in an IRA your current contribution limit is $5,000 and $16,000 for a 401k. This can bring a big tax advantage because the contribution directly decreases your taxable income dollar for dollar. If you setup a solo (k) plan or pension plan you can contribute close to $100,000 per year and reduce your taxable income by $100,000! This is unreal. You are saving $35,000 per year by doing this if you are in a 35% tax bracket. Tax rates are rising because the government and states are broke so it’s even more crucial to plan for taxes. You can then go take that $100,000, invest in passive cash flow investment property right and have the income making you 15% plus on your money. With both combined you just made $50,000 ($35,000 tax savings + $15,000 interest) on your $100,000 that year. Now if that is not going to get you to your goals I don’t know what will.

(8) Self directed investing increases your education and ability to protect yourself instead of relying on someone else for your retirement. By self directing your retirement you are now taking control of your own retirement. With that comes the need for you to educate yourself on additional investment options and the risks and rewards of those options. This education is going to be key to your future financial success and stability. The more you educate yourself the more stable you will be because as economic changes happened you will be in a better position to protect yourself and adjust your retirement portfolio according to those changes.

(9) Additional investment options are needed in order to secure your future. There are so many investments that produce additional returns. You can still invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds like traditional companies allow you to invest in but you can also invest in real estate, promissory notes secured by real estate, tax liens, businesses, syndicated and structured investments and much, much more. Your options are limitless.

(10) Your piece of mind knowing that you have been able to structure yourself to protect against economic fluctuations is HUGE. Now you can rest easy knowing that you have educated yourself correctly, have invested in vehicles that can give you higher returns, and have the power to control your own financial destiny is the best benefit you can ask for. Most people have little to no financial knowledge and that is why most people are broke. The more you educate yourself the more successful you will be.

There are many companies out there that can help you self direct your retirement account and many companies out there that can help you structure your self-directed IRA into multiple cash flow streams. Learn from those companies and push yourself to take action on your own financial future instead of relying on so called financial advisors to do it for you, but are failing at an alarming pace.

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A One-Two Punch: Direct Mail and Telemarketing

Telemarketing is often viewed as a marketing tactic in and of itself without being integrated into a full campaign. That’s why there are many call centers that specialize in being the one-stop shop for generating sales leads and converting leads into actual sales.

But most marketers realize that is a narrow view that ignores a great business opportunity. Telemarketing combined with direct mail, for example, offers a richer experience for your audience. With direct mailing appealing visually and telemarketing appealing audibly, the recipient receives your message in different forms, on multiple occasions, enabling a relationship to form. This combination – when executed strategically – is a one-two punch that can be very effective within your marketing plan and for your business.

Using direct mail to make a warm lead warmer

A university’s annual fund campaign is a great example of integrating direct mail with telemarketing to bring in sales (in this case, donations) from their target audience (alumni). This is how it worked in one case study:

The challenge with telemarketing as the sole sales tactic is the inherent lack of trust the recipient has with the caller. Even with a great deal of training and a warm lead – as leads would be with a university’s annual fund campaign – it’s not easy to evoke trust during the call. First-time encounters on the phone simply have natural limitations. A One-two Punch: Direct Mail and Telemarketing

Telemarketing is often viewed as a marketing tactic in and of itself without being integrated into a full campaign. That’s why there are many call centers that specialize in being the one-stop shop for generating sales leads and converting leads into actual sales.

But most marketers realize that is a narrow view that ignores a great business opportunity. Telemarketing combined with direct mail, for example, offers a richer experience for your audience. With direct mailing appealing visually and telemarketing appealing audibly, the recipient receives your message in different forms, on multiple occasions, enabling a relationship to form. This combination – when executed strategically – is a one-two punch that can be very effective within your marketing plan and for your business.

However, it also isn’t realistic – nor an effective use of marketing dollars – to create face-to-face opportunities to speak with the university’s entire alumni base. With these challenges at hand, the university created a sense of trust and cultivated the relationships prior to the call so that the phone conversation was a winner. How? Through direct mail.

The university created a series of mailers that were sent during the months leading up to the telemarketing campaign. The mail came in the form of letters, postcards, and tri-fold mailers. Though the recipients – alumni of the university – were already familiar with the sender, often they did not know the most recent university news, research or updates.

Over a few months, alumni read student profiles and reflected on their memories of student life, got excited about the football team, and were proud of the cutting-edge faculty research being done as well as the great network of alumni that they were a part of. They ultimately felt more connected to their alma mater.

Enter the telemarketing phase

The scripted student dialed the alumni and referred back to the touch points sent via direct mail. The result was a large increase in alumni feedback and annual fund participation. Alumni commented that they felt more connected to the university and more engaged. Additionally, many alumni who ended up not contributing funds during the phone call asked how they could help with volunteer work or other contributions of time and talent. For the university – who needs volunteers and wants to continue engaging their alumni beyond their financial contributions – this was a huge win and added to the success of the campaign.

That’s the power of combining direct mailing with telemarketing. A cold call is never easy or comfortable. But with direct mail, you can make a cold call warm – or a warm call even warmer. That makes your telemarketing campaign all the more successful.

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