Busines Promotion – How to make your business stand out from the crowd with direct mail
An article on the merits of using TARGETED BUSINESS PROMOTION, using a combination of advertising in one way or another, leaflet distribution and (most successful of all, for many) direct mail.
We all have to buy our customers, one way or another, so which way is the best value?
Whatever business you are in, you will usually be looking to increase the amount of
customers or clients that you have, by business promotion and branding. Most people in business find it fairly easy to actually supply or produce the product or service that they are offering, but many find it quite difficult to get enough people to buy it. This is where branding and promotion come into play. Business does not come from nowhere – you have to go and get it.
The obvious answer then, is to promote your business. To get your products or services in front of potential customers and to persuade them to buy. Whether you are a multi million corporation or a one man shoe repairer, your difficulty remains the same. How to get extra business without spending more actually getting the business than you will earn from it.
All businesses have to buy their custom, in one way or another.
Coca-Cola do it by spending millions on brand promotion. W H Smith do it by being in the right place – the High Street or shopping centre. B & Q spend millions on national newspaper and television advertising. Currys, Argos, Homebase, Morrisons and PC World take a full page spread in national newspapers, on a regular basis. This must work for them or they would not spend the money. The secret is to get maximum return on your business promotion budget.
If you have a shop or a market stall, you may feel that the very expensive rent and rates that you pay, along with a good position in the High Street or market, should guarantee you enough business. Unfortunately, your neighbours also feel that this should be the case, so you will have lots of competition for the fixed amount of trade that passes your door or stall. Likewise, If you employ expensive salespeople, you may feel that they should bring in enough business for you, but where do they get their leads?
Your local newspaper or radio station knows this problem well and will, sooner or later, gleefully approach you, offering a series of adverts. They will convince you that just one test advert will have no effect at all and that you must book a series to be successful. Unfortunately, for most businesses, the blanket coverage of newspaper and radio advertising means that you are almost certainly paying for a much larger circulation area than you need and that most of your advertising budget is wasted. Unless you have a very unique, specific product or service that will attract people from some distance away, or are a large company with an advertising budget of millions, local newspaper and radio advertising is much too expensive to be cost effective for most businesses. This is where targeting comes in.
The secret of successful business promotion is to spend as little as possible, while attracting as much business as possible. Simple really. Why spend more than you need? The first rule of business is to buy cheap and sell dear. This is where targeting comes in. Sadly, the flashy newspaper advert that you have just spent thousands of pounds on, was only seen by a very small amount of potential customers. Many readers never look at the adverts, most live in a different area to the one you are aiming at and unless you are one of the multi-nationals like Currys or Asda, will have minimal effect on your branding and success. The ONLY alternative is to target.
Targeting is truly wonderful. Immediately, you are only talking to people who may actually buy from you. Targeting is the difference between using a scattergun or a snipers rifle. The actual method of targeting, however, will vary considerably, depending upon what type of business you are in.
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Leaflet distribution or direct mail?
The choice between promoting your business via leaflet distribution or by direct mail is not a simple one. All businesses are different. Often a combination of the two is the ideal route to follow. Lets take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Leaflet distribution – the advantages
- Lower overall cost than direct mail.
- Relatively easy to organise. Just talk to CPM about design and print.
- No database required – just choose suitable postcode areas.
- Leaflets can be purchased at low cost.
- Easily repeatable and easy to target large sections of the community.
Leaflet distribution – the disadvantages
- A large percentage of leaflets can go unread as some people “shake out” inserts.
- Blanket coverage can only target a particular area – not individuals or their interests.
- No personalisation is available – one size must fit all.
- Many leaflets are wasted unless Royal Mail distribution is used.
- Your leaflet is often competing with others delivered at the same time and may be seen as “junk”.
Direct mail – the advantages
- Very easy to organise – just use a one-stop print and mail company like Centreprint.
- Accurate targeting direct to your type of prospect.
- No waste – the offer is seen by everyone that you choose.
- A wide range of suitable mailing lists are available. Accurate data profiles can be chosen.
- Responders grow your own database for future offers.
Direct Mail – the disadvantages
- The cost is higher than leaflet distribution.
- Mistakes are costly – it is always safer to test first.
- You’ll need professional help from a reliable mailing company.
- You need a suitable mailing list.
- Some mailing companies only want to deal with blue-chip clients – NOT the case with CPM.
There is, therefore, no definitive answer to which business promotion method to use. It all depends on your type of business and the type of customer that you need to attract.
Leaflet distribution may be for you if:
You have a business that appeals to an wide and easily reached section of the public, such as a restaurant, a pub, a hairdressing salon, a motor repair garage, a carpet cleaning business, sell double glazing, conservatories, garden services. These businesses attract almost all of the population, so can easily be promoted to everyone in a specific area. The best part about leaflet distribution is that you can turn new business on and off – like a tap. You can target exactly the areas that your potential buyers live in, as well as the standard of housing. The targeting in leaflet distribution is therefore by post code. Some people prefer to enclose the leaflet or letter in a printed envelope, addressed to the intended recipient, such as “The Householder”, “Car owners over 50” or whatever. This is, of course, a further form of targeting.
Direct mail may be for you if:
You need to reach a specific sector of the population, such as sub prime or non-status individuals who need to consolidate their loans, specific buyers of higher value products by mail order, or people who have an interest in a particular hobby or occupation. For instance, a leaflet drop by post code, offering a photographic holiday, would undoubtedly fail, yet a carefully targeted direct mailing on the same subject, to known keen photographers could do very well. If you already have a list of past enquirers or existing customers, then you MUST contact these by mail, with a personalised invitation to buy from you. Existing enquirers and customers are like gold dust, just waiting to be used.
The wonderful part of direct mail is that you can carefully hone data to cover exactly your needs, regarding age, sex, area, home ownership, hobbies and interests etc etc
The targeting is this case is by profiled individual, honing in on one name, in one household, who may be interested in your offer.
Business promotional gifts can be used in many ways. Branding is vital to all sizes of business. A very low value item, such as a printed pen can be freely given away as a printed advertisement for your business and is a useful way of getting your telephone number or website address to a wider audience. Printed note pads are guaranteed to be used and keep your name and contact details right in front of your customer or prospect. They are always very much appreciated. Gifts like printed mugs and rulers are vital as give-aways at business exhibitions, leaving a lasting impression in the mind of your prospect. Higher value printed gifts are often used as a reward for asking for a quotation or for agreeing to see a representative face to face. They may also be sold, having acquired an added value by being printed. Examples of these are the many and varied products in RNLI shops and the often over-priced items at rock concerts.
It is amazing that a customer will express delight at being given an item that is designed to promote your business – not theirs. We all like something for nothing and if the gift is useful as well, we’re delighted! If you give someone a tee shirt or sweat shirt, printed with your company details, they will surely wear it, proudly promoting your brand or identity to all. They will put your printed note pad in pride of place, on their desk or by the telephone.
Thank you for reading this article, which, hopefully has proved useful to you. If you would like further advice on any specific aspect of leaflet production or direct mail, please feel free to contact us.
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