Direct Marketing Article
Direct Marketing Tips and Best Practices:
The NMOA sent out a request to all types of direct marketing experts to
submit their best tips and practices. This is the first series of the
replies. Headings in this article include: Copywriting, Direct Mail,
E-Commerce, SEO and Social Media, General Direct Marketing. If you find
these helpful, please share with a friend.
From: BuzzBee Company (Copywriting)
Copywriting Best Practices
When you're writing for a busy audience, you have a short amount of time and
often a small amount of space to demonstrate your value and accomplish the
goals of your message.
1. Short, Sweet, and Professional is Key. Read through the copy--can you
relay the same message in fewer words? Does your copy provide substantive,
2. Get to the Point Up Front. Unlike a novel or a good joke, your copy
shouldn't be a mystery or hold out on the punch-line until the end. What are
you trying to accomplish with your copy? Be sure to cut to the chase up
front, so that audience sticks with it.
3. Think about your audience. When writing for a global audience, it is
important to remember that some of your readers may have learned English as
a second language. Certain terms, slang, and jargon may be confusing or
portray an alternate meaning than what was intended.
SEO Best Practices
1. Always add alt text to images: An image can say a thousand words to the
viewer, but to a computer searching your site, it's just pixels. Say more
with your images by including alt text describing the content of the image.
2. Structure and format your code: If your webpage copy is formatted with
numerous levels of headers and page copy, including , , ...and a search
engine is better able to understand the content and importance of your site.
3. Keep people up to date with a blog: A blog hosted on your own domain is a
great tool to make small, but meaningful updates to your site. It's a venue
to share ideas, exciting news and a chance to position you and your company
as a thought-leader in the industry.
Bio: BuzzBee is a strategic marketing consulting firm that helps guide
companies in their efforts to take innovative technology products and
services to market.
From: Joy Gendusa (Direct Mail)
Direct Mail Postcard Marketing:
1. Benefits, benefits, benefits! One of the biggest errors people make in
advertising is stating features, rather than benefits. People want to know
"what's in it for me?" For example, a dentist should list "Saturday and
Evening Appointments" - that will get attention.
2. The more you repeatedly and consistently mail to your list, the better
response rate you see. I recommend mailing at least 3-5 times to the same
list. Ideally, every two weeks. There is no envelope to open, so your
message is more likely to be read (even if they throw it away!).
3. Only promote one main product, service or message on your postcard. Too
many ideas create confusion and it's too much effort for the reader to
figure out what you want them to do. If you are a landscaper promoting to
"winterize your yard" make that the main message on the front and bullet
point other services you may offer on back. Also, always tie in your offer
to the main promotion.
Bio: Joy Gendusa is an entrepreneur, business owner, author and established
speaker and philanthropist. She founded PostcardMania in 1998 with nothing
but a phone and a computer and zero investment capital. By 2008, company
revenues reached nearly $19 million. Visit
From: Sherri May (Direct Mail Campaign)
When putting together your direct mail campaign you must:
1. Target: Know who your most profitable customers are, identify their
attributes and prospect against those attributes to ensure you're mailing to
folks most likely to respond profitably.
2. Integrate: Don't assume all of your prospects prefer the same kind of
communication. Give prospects many ways to interact with, and buy from, you.
3. Less is more: Write tight. Stick to your most important messages and
invite the reader to your website for more detail. A mailer crammed with
information is scary and usually finds its way to the recycle bin!
Bio: Sherri May is an award-winning strategist, marketer and member of
American Marketing Association, Sherri May began Sherri May & Co. in 1997
after a 20-year corporate career. Reach her at
From: Philippa Gamse (E-Commerce, SEO, and Social Media)
1. Beware of experts who report from silos: If you hire an SEO company, then
they're going to tell you that you're #1 in the search engines for your
chosen keywords, and your traffic is through the roof! That's what you hired
them for. This may be true, but you must put this in context of whether
you're pursuing the right keywords and getting qualified traffic for your
business needs. How long do visitors spend at your site? What are your
conversion rates? How do your landing pages perform? Often, SEO companies
don't have access to, or properly analyze this information, so it's crucial
to ensure that you have this data too in order to evaluate the ROI on your
2. Qualify your traffic: It's really important to consider how you sell,
when you want people to contact you, etc. Most of us would say that we have
a better chance of selling if we can actually talk to the prospect, but it's
important not to spend time on people who can't buy from us. I recently met
a CEO who's website was attracting tons of search traffic, but their call to
action was to fill in a quote request form, and there was no detail of their
minimum order amount. Their sales dept was spending 25% of their time
telling people to go away - that's expensive!
3. Don't be seduced by big numbers: In all of my experience, very few
companies (especially SME's who are my target clients) are deriving
actionable intelligence from their analytics. Most of them don't go further
than looking at the dashboard - and if the number is bigger than last time,
they assume things are good. This isn't true - in fact, sometimes, bigger
numbers can be a sign of problems. I've reviewed over 5,000 websites, and
95% of them were leaving money on the table, sometimes a lot of it, and
their owner usually had no idea! Use the analytics to look for places where
you're leaking revenue, losing sales opportunities, or wasting money on
Bio: Philippa Gamse is a web & social media strategy consultant and speaker,
with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. Selected as the sole
expert for the Fall 2009 cover story on effective Web strategies of UPS
"Compass" magazine which has a circulation of 1 million business customers.
www.WebsitesThatWin.com Twitter: @pgamse
From: Joe Erfe (SEO)
Whether you manage a small-midsized business or just starting up,
understanding what the overall goals are for campaigns should always be
addressed. Whether you're trying to generate more leads or you're trying to
create some brand awareness, understanding SEO basics for your site can help
increases your presence on search engines. With SEO, you're always trying to
improve you're rankings on search engines. So it's important that you want
to get a lot of targeted traffic. You want to make sure that your
website/landing pages are relevant, and you want to make sure you track and
analyze your data. Here are easy steps to incorporate SEO strategies with
1. Make sure you research your keyword. Search engines, especially Google
disclose the volume of searches. For a free tool, use Google's Keyword Tool.
It provides users with data of how many searches are done monthly for any
2. A good rule of thumb when starting your SEO goals is to have the proper
landing page associated with your keyword. Make sure that you properly
organize your site so that it's easier to eventually track and analyze data.
Search engines and humans both like easy to read URLs, make sure that rather
than having a string of letters and numbers, you incorporate your keyword
with the landing page URL. So instead of domain.com/gusl123hKOLe34?.html,
make sure that you have domain.com/keyword. Make sure you have relevant
content on your site tied to your keyword as well. If you're selling
"Halloween costumes" the landing page title, content/copy should be about
"Halloween costumes" and not random products.
3. Add an analytics tracking tool for your site. Omniture and Google
Analytics are some of the best web analytics tools around. I highly
recommend Google Analytics for start-ups to medium sized companies; it's
free and very user friendly. Having an analytics tool can help track and
measure site visits. Once you compile information from your web analytics
tool, you should be able to find out what the key drivers are for your main
keyword. Using the Halloween costumes example, let's say that your store was
in California and that your campaign targeted the whole state. With a web
analytics software tool, you can then find out where the site visitors are
coming from. Are the visits coming from San Francisco? Or are the bulk of
the visits coming from Los Angeles? If so, with the right targeting, you can
then create new extremely focused SEO campaigns based on the data you've
gathered, and you'll be able target longer stringed keywords (long tail
keywords). Just make sure you have targeted landing pages for those as well,
Bio: Joe Erfe is the Vice President of Silverback Strategies, one of the
leading Online Marketing Firms specializing in SEO Management, Pay Per Click
Management, Web Design/Development, and Social Media Marketing (Facebook
Advertising Management, YouTube Advertising Management).
From: Samir Soriano (SEO and Social Media)
1. Grab the customer's email address at the beginning of the checkout
process. Send follow-up emails if the customer abandons the shopping cart.
2. Ad retargeting is another great way to stay in front of those who abandon
their shopping cart. This serves ads specifically to people who have
abandoned their shopping cart. The ads can be seen almost
anywhere on the web.
3. Make the checkout process painless and simple. Put a step timeline that
highlights how far along the customer is to checking out. Also, make each
1. Backlinks are the best way to build your page rank. Spending the time to
build relationships and write guest posts is definitely worth it.
2. Meta keywords don't work anymore, so don't waste your time.
3. Wordpress is NOT SEO friendly. Spend a little time to research some of
the SEO plugins that are offered on Wordpress.
1. Once your brand has an active presence on any social presence, it's
important that your brand stays active. There's nothing worse than staying
silent for two weeks - it makes your brand look like a ghost town.
2. Use retargeted ads to encourage the visitors to your website to Like you
on Facebook. From there, you can use a different retargeting campaign to
activate those users across and into your other marketing and sales
channels. Facebook fans tend to be more active with brands than the people
who simply just visit the brand's website.
3. Engage with your audience and continuously find ways to improve your
Bio: Samir Soriano is the Director of Marketing at ReTargeter. He was
previously a marketing coordinator at Sportsvite, and has a lot of hands-on
experience with many top-of-funnel marketing tactics and their complements.
From: Christian Arno (Global Translation)
1. Be wary of dialectal differences
When translating your website for a specific target market, it's important
to remember that even if various countries share a common tongue, the
dialects may be different - and this should be reflected in your text. For
example, if you're selling computers to Latin American countries, the word
for 'computer' is _computadora_, but in Spain the word is _ordenador_. There
are many other examples from across the various Spanish, French, Portuguese
and even English dialects of the world.
2. Multilingual SEO: Don't translate keywords
The one golden rule of multilingual SEO is NEVER translate your keywords
directly from English. Even a professional, native-speaking translator won't
know what keywords people use to search for products/services locally - so
even a correct, dictionary translation of a term might be well off the mark.
For example, 'l'assurance automobile' is a correct translation of 'car
insurance' in French. But in checking Google's keyword tool in France, it
soon become clear that people tend to use variations of the term to actually
search for car insurance, such as 'assurance auto' or 'assurance voiture'.
And the same is true across all languages - people may use abbreviations,
acronyms or synonyms to search for products and services online, so you have
to incorporate properly researched keywords into your website for each
3. Domain names
If you want to rank highly on local search engines around the world e.g.
Google.fr, Google.de, Google.ca, ideally you'll need a locally hosted
top-level domain WITHIN each country. So if you have mycompany.com for the
US, then you'd want mycompany.fr, mycompany.de, mycompany.ca for specific
countries. This is because search engines use this information in its search
algorithm, to ensure searches deliver as local results as possible. It's
important to note that the website should be HOSTED in the target country
too, as search engines also know the location of a server and uses this
information to compile search results.
Bio: Christian Arno is founder and Director of Lingo24, a global translation
company that specializes in website localization_. It has 140 employees
across three continents, and a network of 4,000 translators. Its projected
turnover for 2010 is $7m USD.
From: Dale Furtwengler (General Direct Marketing)
The key to any effective marketing message is to make the customer the hero
of the message. All too often companies' marketing messages talk about what
they do instead of what the customer is going to get. If you want to get
prospects to call, talk about them and what they're going to get and provide
your contact info. Don't tell them anything about your company. They'll love
you because you're demonstrating an interest in them. They'll also have
their curiosity piqued and want to know more about you and what you have to
Bio: Dale Furtwengler helps companies get higher prices regardless of what
their competitors or the economy are doing. He's the author of the
internationally-acclaimed book, Pricing for Profit.
From: Leslie Linevksy (Catalogs and Customer Service)
1. Answer your phones with impeccable customer service and real smiles -
just because you are doing business on the internet, it is imperative that
you do not loose touch with the human element in negotiating, client
relationships and customer retention.
2. Get rid of automated answering machines. They are too impersonal.
3. Constantly tweak your website. Make sure that it is functioning
correctly. Periodically TEST your shopping cart all the way through complete
4. Invite 5 strangers for a short focus group to evaluate how well your
website explains your company and what you are selling (product or service.)
At Catalogs.com, we do periodic focus groups (we offer $50 plus lunch!) and
always get great participants. A focus group lets you list to an average
consumer who is not already immersed in your business. You get fresh ideas,
a different take and can identify areas of confusion.
5. The old proverb is SO true: you must spend money to make money. Identify
a realistic marketing budget and stick to it. Tweaking based on ROI is
important, but hold fast to your budget so that you can continue to bring in
6. Don't forget to email existing customers frequently to stay in touch and
remind them who you are.
Bio: Leslie Linevksy is co-founder of Catalogs.com, a premier shopping
portal with more than 650 niche and brand name retailers in 35 categories,
and 950,000 online visitors each month. She holds an MBA in international
business from University of Miami with over 20 years experience in direct
marketing, cataloging and online retail.
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