I just got back from CouponU – Valpak’s annual conference where we all gather to learn, motivate each other, celebrate achievements and get revved up to better serve our advertisers. It always reminds me why I love what I do: help other businesses in my community grow. I am grateful to each advertiser for putting their faith in us and enjoy watching their businesses flourish.
With that said, my customers have taught me a lot about what it takes to sustain direct marketing success. So, for any first timers out there, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned along the way.
Know your audience.
Who is the most likely to do business with you? Do you know where they where they live, what motivates them, their lifestyle and habits? Before you plan any kind of marketing campaign, you have to be able to answer these questions and define your best customer. Once you start here, you can identify the right mediums and the right message. With direct mail for example, this knowledge helps you better target the right people. For many retailers, the very best customers are in a smaller radius from your location. For destinations like a bounce house or zoo, you can expand your mailing area a little bit because people are willing to drive a little further to get to you.
Be prepared to test and adapt.
What works for one advertiser won’t necessarily work for the next. Your business and goals are unique. Be prepared to change up your offers, designs, and messaging. Stick with what worked and change what didn’t. Most of the time, you have to keep tweaking it until you get it right. Take advantage of the reporting available and do some of your own surveys and redemption tracking. It helps to have a marketing partner to help you figure out what works and which tweaks to make.
Stick with it.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Weren’t they talking about marketing when this phrase was coined?
Consistency and frequency are the name of the (direct mail) game. Make sure you have resources dedicated to stick with your campaign over the long haul. Marketing in any form is not a “one and done” thing – stick with it to see long term results.
Have a plan to keep your customers coming back.
Once the mailing does drop, be prepared for traffic. But don’t let the relationship with your customer stop there. Extend and strengthen that relationship in as many ways as possible. For example, give loyalty cards for customers who redeem their Valpak offer. Sign them up for your emails or ask them to become a fan on Facebook.
Practice the basics of good business.
You can have the best ad and the strongest offer but they don’t matter if the fundamentals aren’t there. A lot of us make business harder than it has to be. Some of the best success stories come from those who are really good at the basics of business – like practicing good phone etiquette, delivering great customer service, and treating employees like rock stars.
Supplement with social media.
Why not take advantage of these free tools at your disposal? Your customers are there and you should be too. Check out the 11 Things You Must Do Today to Market Your Business Online.
There you have it. Are there any burning questions still on your mind?
What about my long-time customers – what advice would you give to a new advertiser?