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Top Tips For 'Spot-on' Direct Marketing

Nov 23, 2007
Successful marketers establish who their best customers are and focus their database marketing efforts on companies which fit a similar profile, for optimal results.

A popular cause of grief among businesses which count on direct response marketing is paying top dollar for printing and mailing of bundles of color print catalogs and mail pieces, to reap just a one percent rate of reply. They may begin to wonder if there's a better way to contact the desired market. My customers have discovered that an excellent area to start changing their direct marketing practices is by determining what makes a good customer and going after others who fit this profile. In order to do something similar, the first action should be to evaluate and rank existing customers in several criteria:

1) How much total income do they generate for your company?
2) How profitable is each of these individual businesses for your company?
3) How good is the fit between what your company offers and what this business purchases?

The customers which stand out at the tops of all three of these lists are your best customers. Next, you'll want to find out the characteristics of these primary customers, and look for identifiable similarities between them. What size are these businesses? In what geographic location are they situated? Who are the top decision makers at these organizations, and what titles do they hold? Using this info, you can evaluate your database to discover similar organizations - and begin to add them to your direct marketing wish list.

The existing marketing resources can also be annexed by paying for additional lists of companies which fit the profile of your preferred target. It's especially important not to overlook the businesses which made purchases in previous years, but not lately. At times only a little rekindling of contact can bring these latent customers back. You can take the opportunity to express gratitude for previous business, even noting that you've noticed they haven't purchased in recent months. You can inquire if they experienced some type of problem or if there's any action you can take to bring them back on board. By extending a 'return customer discount,' you can offer a discount for future sales to get them back spending with you again.

Another area to direct your marketing efforts is toward those potential customers who have asked about your company and its offerings in the past, but haven't closed a deal with you yet. About 75% of those who inquire have to satisfy a long-term need. By maintaining contact with these people as they go through the process of buying, you can develop a positive and profitable relationship with them. Direct mail doesn't have to be costly. I know of one computer software business which just sends out two color post cards monthly to all who inquire, just to keep in contact with these potential customers. The cards gather a reply from a great percentage of those who inquire, especially when they are finally prepared for the next purchasing step.

By focusing your marketing efforts with these strategies, you will improve the quality of your direct marketing campaigns.
About the Author
M. H. "Mac" McIntosh is described by many as one of America's leading business-to-business sales and marketing consultants and an expert on the subject of sales leads. Visit: http://www.sales-lead-experts.com for more info.
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