Direct Marketing 101: Steps for More Effective Marketing Campaigns


Share on LinkedIn

In order to better understand direct marketing, Neolane has put together “Direct Marketing 101,” a comprehensive list of steps marketers can take to make their campaigns more effective. The following syllabus offers tips and strategies for direct marketers to consider:

I. What Is Direct Marketing?

From the Direct Marketing Association – “An interactive process of addressable communication that uses one or more advertising media to effect a measurable sale, lead, retail purchase, or charitable donation with this activity analyzed on a database for the development of ongoing mutually beneficial relationships between marketers and customers, prospects, or donors.”

II. Direct Mail

Although direct mail is considered a traditional form of marketing, it remains one of the most commonly used by companies. The following tactics can help you get the most out of your direct mailing campaigns:

  1. Act as if you are the recipient of the mail: Think like your prospect.
  2. Make sure your mailing package flows: Material should be put together in an organized fashion.
  3. Make your mailings “pop”: Give the recipient a reason to open the envelope in the first place.
  4. Be specific to the individual: Your prospect should feel as though the mailing is directed toward his/her needs.
  5. Use supplemental materials to support your product and show why the prospect should do business with your company.
  6. Offer a clear, simple call to action with your reply page.

III. Email Campaigns

Email marketing has been around since the inception of email services, with businesses sending out electronic messages to prospective customers to offer their product or service in a personalized message. Emails also provide the opportunity for businesses to maintain contact with customers or to begin a relationship. In order to maximize your email marketing campaign, keep the following techniques in mind:

  1. Define a specific angle to use in every email.
  2. Take the view of the recipient: Make sure to offer the benefits of your service or product, not just the features. Answer the question: “Why do I need this?”
  3. Keep the email concise: Customers don’t have the time or energy to weed through unnecessary verbiage.
  4. Offer a catchy subject: Without it, your email may not be opened.
  5. Include a simple, to the point call to action.
  6. Measure the effects of your campaign: Sign-ups, purchases, click-throughs, etc.

IV. Social Media

Mobile marketing has recently emerged as a power player in direct marketing, with the adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices by consumers. Unlike email and direct mailing campaigns, mobile/social media platforms are communicating directly with “warm leads,” as the recipient of a message may already have some interest in the product or service.

Statistics about mobile and social:

  • 40 percent of consumers access social media via mobile
  • 62 percent (ages 25 – 34) own a smartphone
  • 65 percent of adults (18+) use a social network

Social media helps foster a relationship with the consumer to keep your product or service fresh in their mind. Some social media tips offered by Facebook include the following:

  1. Build a strategy that is social by design: Social should have its own segment of your marketing plan; it should not be added at the end or on the side of another campaign.
  2. Create an authentic brand voice: Facebook is a social site where people are straightforward and open about who they are. Be the same. Create an authentic and clear voice to develop brand or product awareness.
  3. Make it interactive: This might be the most important social tip available. Make your content a two-way street. People utilize social media to be conversational and share information. Use this outlet to create content that is share-friendly and easily interactive.
  4. Nurture your relationships: Just like in the real world, use social media to slowly build long-lasting relationships with your customers or “friends.” Reward the most loyal customers or buyers with deals or special offers.
  5. Keep learning: Social media outlets give customers and buyers an opportunity to offer immediate feedback or suggestions. Be open to these suggestions and learn from customer comments on your pages to better your brand.

These tips are for the most part interchangeable among social media outlets. These are not “Facebook exclusive” tipsthey can be applied on Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn, or most any social media outlet.

V. Telemarketing/Tele-prospecting

While today’s telemarketer must battle against the emerging marketing channels mentioned above, telemarketing separates itself from the other forms of direct marketing by offering a more personalized form of marketing. With telemarketing, messaging must be delivered over the phone using words and tone of voice as the only tools to market a product or service. To stay one step ahead, successful telemarketers should practice these helpful tips:

  1. Make a good first impression: The first few seconds of a phone call are the most important because they alone determine whether or not the call receiver will stay on the line.
  2. Be professional: Use a script but don’t read directly from it.
  3. Track your leads: Keep a database of warm or cold leads. Tracking warm leads will allow your direct marketing team to pursue this lead through other channels.
  4. Don’t try to sell your product on the call: Treat the calls as a way to nurture a relationship or to build a new one.

Direct marketing offers professionals various ways of communicating with a prospect or buyer with minimal interference. Each of the above mentioned sections can help focus the direct marketing efforts within your company. We hope you have found “Direct Marketing 101” helpful and that you’ll use it as a reference for future campaigns.

Let us know what you think. Should we add anything to our syllabus?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kristin Hambelton
Kristin Hambelton is responsible for all marketing efforts for Neolane including corporate communications, branding, product marketing, demand generation, partner marketing, and operations.


  1. Great article, I would agree that you need to give your customers a reason to open the mail, something that will benefit them. However there is one point I would like to add regarding direct mail, and that concerns contact addresses. Time and effort is wasted optimising the content if it fails to reach the intended audience in the first place. One way you can tackle this is using address auto-fill to ensure that all addresses are entered correctly at the point of entry. I often find that capturing prospect's addresses is a timely, error-prone task. Using auto-fill technology minimises these errors leading to improved response rates.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here