Direct marketing has been around for ages. It is one of the oldest types of marketing out there that is still successfully used today. After years of use, we have learned that there is a science to direct marketing. Instead of mass mailing lame, generic postcards, marketers want to use enticing direct marketing to catch their audience’s attention and get a response. Used properly, direct marketing still proves to be an effective marketing tool, but starting a campaign with something boring and cheesy can be annoying to the customers and costly to the marketer. Here are 5 common direct marketing mistakes that can be traps to unsuccessful campaigns, but we have provided you with ways to escape them!

1. Targeting too Broadly
When your targeted audience is too broad it results in wasting marketing dollars. Not properly targeting your audience hurts your brand when customers receive irrelevant materials. It is important to identify and target your ideal prospects by delivering your marketing message using the right channels at the right time. For example, if you are targeting audience in the 13-30 age range, Facebook is probably a good place to find them. If you are after slightly older, techy males, then Google+ is a good idea. If you are using direct mail and/or email marketing, make sure your mailing list or email list is clean and up-to-date. You should know who your audience is, what they value, what they want and how you can help them before you do anything at all.

That is how you design a successful campaign, and those are the prospects you are aiming for. Once you understand your customers you can use this information to build a targeted list of potential new leads. The old formula for direct marketing success was mass marketing: “Mail to everyone! Someone ought to be interested!” However, this is costly with paper and postage costs. With the help of precise lists, you will save money and will be targeting those who have the highest chance of responding to your direct marketing.

2. Poor Creative and Content Quality
Attention spans are dwindling… People do not immediately start reading the “meat” of an advertisement. Marketers and advertisers only have a few seconds (approximately 8 seconds) to make a lasting impression. The first impression is made with your ad’s visual presentation, the second with main words or phrases that pop out. Once the consumers get through these steps, they might then read your ad copy if they think it could be worth their time, but they will never get there if those first two elements don’t make a good impression. Make sure your ad is visually appealing and has slogans, titles, or words that stand out. When you have a design or copy that is boring, confusing, or does not solve a problem for your target audience, people are likely to toss it before they get to your offer. When developing your copy, use trending words, and ask relevant questions. Grab attention by eliciting an emotional response. Also, if your direct marketing piece has poor grammar or typos, the consumers are less likely to respond.

3. Weak Call-to-Action (CTA)
A prospect needs a nudge to remind them what you want them to do next. Do you want them to email you? Call or text you? Buy something? Make it clear what they should do or they won’t. A good call-to-action stands out and is designed to convince people to take immediate action. Some marketers save their strongest sales pitch for last, starting slow and hoping to build to a climactic conclusion; wrong. The typical prospect reads for a few seconds (remember what I said about attention spans?) before they decide whether to continue reading or put it in the trash. So, start with your strongest points. For tips on how to write an effective CTA, read our past blog post here.

4. Forgetting to Follow-up
As simple as the concept sounds, following up is often forgotten or ignored. Many businesses worry about drawing their customers in, but they sometimes do not think about what happens to those customers after they have been intrigued to buy. Great customer service extends to customers even after a sale is made. It is important for businesses to realize that following up with the customers is necessary to build a long lasting relationship with the prospect.
Following up is not only important after someone has purchased from you; it is also important after you have sent your direct marketing campaign. Prospects need to see your message an average of 7 times before they will buy from you, and follow-up during the sales process is a key component of that. Do not sit there like a waiting duck and expect them to call you. The chances of your campaign turning into return sales and referrals are much higher if you follow up, both before they buy and after. Not only is it good customer service, but it also shows that you appreciate and care about them.

5. Taking Shortcuts
There are a couple of things that make a direct marketing campaign successful, such as the right list and an eye-catching design. If you don’t have much graphic design experience, you might want to thinking about hiring someone to design your creative.. It is important to present your message in a clear and organized manner that is easy to read and captures the audience’s attention, so investing a little more in your graphic design usually pays off. The list is another very important aspect of your direct marketing campaign where you shouldn’t cut corners. The right custom mailing list will yield exponentially better results than a cheap or poorly targeted list. It can be tempting to purchase the cheapest list available, but keep in mind that a cheap list usually means poor quality data, with contact information that is often years out-of-date.

Here at US Data Corporation we can help you avoid the direct marketing mistakes mentioned above. We will work with you to make your marketing campaign experience successful. If you have any questions, please call us at (888) 578-3282.