National Mail Order Association
Opportunities in Direct Marketing!
Internet • Mail • Print • Broadcast

NMOA Direct Marketing Article
Marketing to Anyone
By Jeffrey Dobkin

One of my readers asked "How do I market a product?" Yea. It's just that simple. And here's your simple answer: Invest time, money or energy. Or just pick two. Or, maybe marketing is just that simple.

The first questions about marketing take into consideration if you are marketing a product or a service, if it's local (geographic marketing) or national; industrial, business to business; to a wide or narrow niche, or a retail product through wholesalers or directly through retail stores to consumers.

Also - how much does your product cost, what is the sales cycle, and is it need-driven? Impulse? Or seasonal? Is price important? Then, is whatever you are selling needed by everyone (marketing to everyone is difficult even with a large budget) or just by a few (a great plan can be to market to a narrowly targeted niche that you can identify and reach with a highly focused campaign). For maximum effectiveness all these different possibilities have different marketing campaign strategies.

The two most important questions I saved for last: What are your sales goals? How much do you want to sell in terms of number of units or revenue goals? And finally last but certainly not least, what's in the marketing budget? You do have a budget, don't you?

Sigh... Anyhow... Here's how every plan starts.

1. Identify your most likely prospects. This is the first step in any marketing plan. Go for the ones with waving money in their hands and are ready to buy, right now.

Find the magazines that go to these "likely prospect" markets. Look up their market classifications and the specific magazines that are sent to them in the magazine directories such as Bacon's Magazine Directory, and Oxbridge Communications Directory of Periodicals, found at the reference desk of most libraries.

2. For a broad market, start out with a coherent PR or press release campaign in newspapers and magazines. I'm not talking about just writing a press release and sending it, and hoping for the best. I'm talking about a series of press releases: a campaign sustained over time that's well thought out, yet planned and created up front. What is release number one going to say? Release number two? Three and four, also. Cover letters for each release are a must*. What are you offering in each release? What is your response going to be?

To increase effectiveness and make sure your release gets the most ink, make phone calls before sending each press release asking the editor "Are you the person I should send my release to?" This sets up a "Can you help me?" relationship with the editor or media person in 20 seconds, and then alerts them to be on the lookout for your release -- especially when your cover letter starts out, "Nice speaking with you..." even if it wasn't.

3. Create informational booklets to give away for free and offer them in your press release. Since the booklet title is totally responsible for the quantity and quality of the response, make it a great title using the Jeff Dobkin 100 to 1 rule: write 100 titles, go back and pick out your best one.

By offering a FREE Booklet you give consumers a non-threatening reason to call and something to ask for in return for raising their hand and saying they're interested. Once they call and you have them on the phone the release worked - it's up to YOU to determine their real interest and figure out how to sell them whatever you're selling.

4. Keep tight track of the response: where did it come from? Then take out ads in the most successful PR media placements.

5. For a narrow market, while the press campaign going on, start creating a mailing list of your top 250 prospects. That's right - start digging for names and addresses. Yea, it's hard work. Thankless, too. But your success depends on your mailing list.

6. Track everything carefully. Every call, every inquiry. Have a sheet of paper by every phone and ask, "And how did you hear of our company?" Write it down and put that slip of paper in a drawer. At the end of a few months count the slips for each, you'll know exactly what's working.

7. Create quality literature and cover letters.

8. Mail to your Top 250. Mail to your best prospects frequently, every 4 to 6 weeks. If you can't identify your market tight enough and make this mailing work, you're in trouble.

9. Test and retest small ads in various media. Don't forget to look at low cost unusual advertising opportunities such as association newsletters, church bulletins and so forth.

10. Keep marketing to wherever the best prospects and most sales are coming from. Clone your best customers: Figure out where they came from, what they like, why they purchase - and look for more of the same.

11. Buy my book, Successful Low Cost Direct Marketing Methods. Best $30 bucks you'll ever spend on marketing. Besides, I need the money.

About the Author:
Jeff Dobkin is a speaker and a marketing consultant (marketing plans, pr, market strategy, plan analysis: audits and review, media review) who happens to be an amazing writer (corporate literature, articles, brochures, ads, collateral, annual reports, technical material), specializing in direct-selling print and web (DR Ads, catalogs, TV scripts, web copy) and direct marketing material (letters, direct mail, mailing packages brochures, catalogs, web copy and did I mention post cards?) He's also pretty darn good at analyzing catalogs, ads and campaigns and direct mail packages. He has written over 250 articles and 5 books on direct marketing. He can be reached at 610-642-1000. Visit and for some of his other articles.

National Mail Order Association  |  2807 Polk Street NE  |  Minneapolis MN 55418
Email:   |
  Tel: 612-788-1673