Strategy: Direct Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
Many business owners (or mid-sized business marketers) are always aghast at the budget required to market their products/services. In direct marketing in particular, ever-rising postal costs, printing and even data management sticker shock can stop a project in its tracks.
The question is: How can you best use your precious marketing budget to accomplish the most? The answer is to work smarter, not harder:
1. Segment Your Customers and Your Messaging
Stop thinking about your customers as one homogenous group of people or businesses. If you're in B-to-B, segment your customers by vertical industry (if you don't know what industry they're in, a reputable data broker can append that information to your customer file). Then select the top three to five industries you serve and use industry-specific messaging to that segment.
For example, if your company sells bookkeeping services and you want to cross-sell tax prep services, position it as "Tax Preparation Services for the Hotel Industry." Highlight your knowledge of their category by using language or industry terms most familiar to them. Prospects want to know that you understand their businesses and the issues they're facing, so include quotes from customers who are in the hotel industry to add credibility.
If you're in the B-to-C space, a little data enhancement can help you segment your customers into life stages.
For example, if you own a bicycle shop, have a little data appended to your customer file so you can reach out to families with young children and promote free classes on how to attach a child carrier, or a session on how to choose and fit the best helmet. Meanwhile, singles would be more interested in a group bike outing, comfortable bike clothing or a bike tune-up.
Customer segmentation strategies can have the biggest impact on your results; no one wants to be treated "like everyone else." If you're having a sale, invite your long-standing (or more recent) customers to come the day before to a "pre-sale"—add a little wine and cheese and turn it into a customer appreciation event. Use a postcard to invite them (it will garner a better response than an email). But also advise them that they're welcome to bring a friend (after all, who wants to shop alone?).
A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.