Beware Of The Temptation Direct Selling Brings

Direct sales business offers a lot of things that other businesses normally cannot offer. Be your own boss and determine your own salary. Set your own schedule and earn as high as you want. Drop your day job and earn millions instantly.

Really… who wouldn’t be tempted with all these, right? A lot might even actually quit their day jobs without even thinking twice!

If all of these truly apply to everyone, imagine how the rest of the world will just quit their jobs and start venturing on direct selling! Wouldn’t everyone want to be their own boss, drive a new car they didn’t have to pay for, and work only at the time they want to and still earn the income they desire? Who in their right minds would not go for such?

Well, let’s admit it. We would all want that for ourselves, but we have to be reminded of what they say, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Thus, before we take the power of freedom to choose our own schedules, income, and everything that goes with it, we must be reminded of the responsibilities attached to it.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

o Success doesn’t come to the impatient. This goes out to all the businesses out there as well. Success, for sure, doesn’t happen overnight. You just can’t expect to sleep over an idea or a task and wake up with six figures in your bank account when you wake up the following day. It takes more than just hard work. It takes a lot of time and dedication, too.

o Customers are not easy to find. It takes beyond just establishing who your potential customers are. You have to actually reach them. What better way to do that than REALLY finding them? That’s what advertisement and phone calls in the world of business are for. If you don’t like the extra effort of doing that, you might want to look for another job because this surely isn’t for you.

o You need to have a system of keeping your records. Good record keeping skills are necessary. Records need to be organized right at the very start. You should not put it off at a later time, delaying will cause you more headaches than you think. So if you’re not in the habit of keeping records, you either ask for help or start a new habit.

o There’s more to direct sales than just holding parties. Whoever said that parties are the only time you have to work at your business certainly just wants to recruit you only for their benefit and not yours. Just like any other business, direct sales need hard work and time. Holding parties is only a part of direct selling and not the whole of it.

Normally, one will be tempted to purchase and have every product the company offers. If you’re a big fan of perfume and eventually become a rep for a perfume company, you will typically be allured to have every single scent there is. Although it is true that you do have to know your products and you have to know them well, you do not have to spend your income just to do so. Companies do have their samples to be given away. You have to take advantage of that instead of buying every scent you would want for yourself.

While it is realistic to assume that you can quit your day job anytime and work fulltime on a direct sales business, you might not want to do it as soon as possible. You can do it EVENTUALLY, when you have already made your business stable and profitable enough to make you want to quit your job. In the mean time, you might just want to use only your spare time to make your business grow. And when it does, that might be the highest time for you to bid you day job farewell.

Having all these in mind, never be blinded with the false offers you just might want to believe in. Everything takes time and won’t happen in an instant. If you want to be part of a direct sales company, it’s not just important to start now, it’s more important to start right.

Direct Mail Marketing: Is It Now Obsolete?

Direct mail marketing has been one of the most effective marketing tools among merchants. But with the emergence of the new technology and its advancements, businessmen have developed a misconception that direct mail marketing is now useless and obsolete.

Marketing outlets like television, radio, and print are boasting that they are a more effective marketing tool and more beneficial to the success of the company. They emphasized that at some point of the day, an individual really watches TV, listen to the radio, or read a newspaper or other form of print media. Well, this fact might be true, but there’s a kind of misconception or flaw to this kind of promotional logic.

The first flaw is the broad spectrum marketing that is used by the modern marketing media. When you use television, radio, and print media to advertise your business, you are not targeting only to your prospect clients. You are paying advertisers to make your products and services be known to people hoping that there will be some of them who might be interested to your product. Yes, your business might be known but it doesn’t mean that you can boost your sales because of this kind marketing strategy.

Another thing, when using this kind of marketing it will really cost you a lot compared to direct mail marketing. While direct mail marketing on the other hand, is very flexible. You can utilize broad spectrum marketing or you can focus specific individuals to market your business which couldn’t be done by modern marketing techniques.

The second flaw of modern marketing is the time that the promotion or the advertisement might be broadcast or printed for the masses to see, listen, or read. A kind of marketing that relies only to chances that an individual might watch or listen to a certain TV or radio program, or might read the magazine where the ads are printed can be called a foolish promotion or a big nonsense.

Whereas, if you use direct mail marketing, you don’t depend on chances, your clients can literally hold the promotional material in their respective homes creating the most direct and most efficient way of advertising your business. To run a very effective and efficient direct mail marketing campaign, just see to it that you can access to the best resource available. Try to get the best lists from reputable brokers so that you wouldn’t be sending mails to those individuals who are not actually interested about your business. Make your mails also as personalized as possible for you to attract clients’ attention.

Modern technology can surely help in opening doors and new opportunities for your business but the effectiveness of direct mail marketing should not be set away and just taken for granted. Direct mail marketing is not obsolete even if how modern things are nowadays and it is still one of the cheapest and most effective ways of advertising the products that you are selling and the services you are offering. It might be traditional to send posts but if people still respond to it, why wouldn’t you do it?

Cost Effective Small Business Marketing Strategies and Tips – Part Four

In my Part 3 article on Marketing Strategies for your Business, I discussed Marketing Research and Targeted Marketing and how the two work together. In this article, I will show how the Mass Media can be effectively used, even on a tight budget. Let’s get to it!

Using the Power of Mass Media

Why use Mass Media? Well, it gives you a wide spread identity and recognition, which in turn, makes your Targeted Marketing more effective. It helps you establish and maintain a brand. Mass Media is far less expensive now, and it now targets small businesses.

MASS MEDIA OUTLETS

Newspapers

While Online Marketing is really giving newspaper advertising a run for its money, you will find that newspaper ads are getting cheaper and cheaper as a result. Moreover, a newspaper can add flexibility and can be quite targeted if necessary. Always test your ads by including codes so you know which ones are most effective. Narrow your ads to the most effective papers by contrasting ads and gauging the differences.

–Send in good artwork and confirm with the production department that your Ad will print well.
–I like to run smaller ads in different sections with tracking codes to determine your best as placement.
–I like the Classified Section Ads because this is where serious buyers go.
–Always point to a specific Sales Page on your website which is designed around the Ad you place.
–Always ask about volume discounts and reduced ad rates when testing the paper’s effectiveness. Everything in Advertising is negotiable!
–Offer something for FREE (Bold it & Capitalize it).
–Use a Graphic or Logo to increase the effectiveness of your ad by 30%.
–Repeat your message three times in a small area by using a Logo, Headline and Copy that relate.
–If you advertise on the TV, using one frame from the TV ad can increase the print ad’s effectiveness by 40%.
–A good ad can make good circulars and help brand your name / product.
–Newspaper advertising requires consistency to get any traction or ROI but make sure it is working for you before committing to a long run.

Magazines

I like Magazine advertising as it is Regional and National in scope and you can target your audience effectively. I like to test classified ads in different Magazines to see what works then I consider Display ads (and keep the classified ad).

–Magazines lend credibility
–You can use your Ad effectively in a Circular or other company medium. Always say, “As Seen in Entrepreneur Magazine (insert the magazine the ad appeared in).” This gives you instant familiarity, credence and credibility with the reader.
–Consider running a low cost classified Ad in a multitude of Magazines which target your prospect verses running a Display as in a couple. Your ROI for dollars spent will typically be much better.
–A prospect reading a classified as will think you are cheaper than the advertiser with the expensive Display Ad. If you aren’t selling a luxury product, this can be a great start to communicate with a price conscious prospect. They think money is being saved even before they call you and discuss price. What a win-win for both the prospect and the business owner!
–Multiple Ads run through a Ad Media Company in several magazines can get some great discounts. If your credit is decent, you can be extended payment terms which correspond with your Ad ROI. Therefore, no money out of pocket until revenue is generated from the Ads (if timed correctly). Powerful!
–Take advantage of Split Runs with Magazines to see what Ad works best, in what section of the magazine. Great way to test a Headline or Copy.
–Magazines are more targeted for the type of reader verses a newspaper. A newspaper is more geographically targeted. Using the two in conjunction can be powerful!
–If your product or service is business oriented, consider advertising in a Trade Magazine.
–MediaFinder.com is a great way to find the Trade Magazines to advertise in.
–Magazines lend themselves to color. Use it!
–Magazines life cycle or longer. People go back to them over and over, as well as, hang on to them. Your Ad has a chance of being read multiple times.
–Organize your Magazine Display Ad with Boldface sub-heads. These will be read first, should grab attention and get the reader to either read more or act. No more than 50% of a Display Ad should be text.
–Consider blowing up your Magazine Ads into posters and mount them strategically around and outside your business, with the Headline: “As Seen in Entrepreneur Magazine….”
–Ask the Ad Space Rep to call you when remnant space is available. You will save big bucks!

Radio

I like Radio when it’s a Question & Answer type scenario; ask an expert show; something which sets you up as an Expert. You can negotiate the price as it provides the public valuable information, which is the mandate of Radio. It’s an Ad disguised as a Resource! A Win-Win for you and the radio station. Make sure to give out a short website address and phone number. Make both easily memorable. Track the results!

–Another strategy is to run cheap, short ads on less popular stations, bundled for maximum savings but make sure you test and track them to ensure a good ROI. Cheap isn’t good unless you get viable, profitable results.
–Be sure to personalize your Ads and you do the talking. This is a great opportunity to connect with your prospects.
–Partner up with other strategic businesses to offer complete solution radio talk shows, like a panel of experts to give out advice. This is important: Have the moderator give out one website address and one phone number and the prospect can choose the company (or better yet companies) to follow up with. You can offer discounts for combined services and meet the customer as a dual solution. A marketing fulfillment company can help you set up and maintain a coop partnership. For instance, a Landscaper can partner with a Landscape Designer, which are two services that can be combined for a total solution for the customer. You can coop the cost with your Strategic Partners. You can kill the competition with this strategy! Make sure you choose your partner(s) carefully.
–Put your Ads on the website for people to listen to, especially your Q & A Expert Sessions.
–Interviewing the President of the company can be a great way to start, giving you plenty of material to draw on to make a variety of Radio and Online Ads. This is a very effective use of your Ad dollars.
–Consider the afternoon for peoples drive home for your radio ads, you’ll have their attention.
–Always mention your website and an easy to remember number. 9 times out of 10, if the website is easy to remember, the listener will find it.

TV

You can cost effectively target your audience. The average U.S. Household watches an average of 8 hours TV per day, with the average viewer watching 41/2 hours per day. With Cable, you can cost effectively target an audience.

–TV is a great set up for your Sales Page on your Website.
–Avoid prime time and take advantage of fringe time. Consider a media buying service to really save on your ad times; they often buy unsold TV time for pennies on the dollar.
–Consider hiring an inbound telemarketing cal center to take the calls off your ads, no matter the hour of the day. If you use a different phone number from channel to channel or ad to ad, you can easily track them.
–Direct Response TV can offer your prospects the entire sales process. This is a powerful system! Some direct Response advertising can be bought on a per inquiry or sales basis, taking a lot of risk out of your capital outlay.
–The TV station can provide all the Production services, saving you thousands. However, with a good marketing consultant, you should write the script. I like a Storyboard because it helps you visualize the Ad. Save money by having a pre-production meeting to ensure things run quickly and smoothly on production day. The less the editing, the more economical your ads will be – plan ahead! You normally can create three good ads in one production day – good planning can help you achieve this great use of time and money, which brings your production cost per ad to about $300. Shoot in digital so you can replay it immediately and quickly make any fixes.
–Concentrate on 30 second spots. Direct Response sales ads should be about 2 minutes and keep the phone number visible during the entire ad.
–Show your product or service in Action. This is the real advantage to TV ads.
–Don’t make the Ad more interesting than your product.
–Remember a TV’s volume may be muted so tell your story visually!

Outdoor Ads

I really don’t like Outdoor Ads because most aren’t visual enough or have an ad conducive to someone driving by it at 55 mph. If your Ad tells someone to Exit Now; has a big arrow; something very Visual, and your Ad is in a good location, then maybe it might be worthwhile. Things like Next Exit or Two Miles Ahead work, while being a constant reminder to commuters. An Outdoor Ad can establish an Identity for your business. However, these ads can be very expensive depending on the location.

–Use no more than Five Words; use one large Graphic; make sure it is well illuminated.
–If it is a Digital Board, make sure your Ad stays up long enough for passer bys to visually take it in and act on it.
–Consider sharing the Billboard with another business in your Office Park or Retail Center and / or have your Office Park or Retail Center mentioned for even greater cost savings!
–Consider other less costly alternatives like bus, taxi or bus stop Advertising if it serves your market well.
–Remember, an Outdoor Ad should be clear from afar as prospects will be viewing typically from a moving vehicle.
–Be careful to design your sign with the character and taste of your community in mind.

Direct Mail

Generates leads that can lead to a sale. Direct Mail sets up your leads.

Advantagesof Direct Mail:
–Measure results immediately
–Can target your audience
–Can be personalized
–Receives some of the highest response rates of all media
–Great for repeat sales
–Important Elements of a Successful Campaign:
–Ask the reader to take Action
–Find recipients who have bought via mail before
–Include a testimonial in your letter
–Ask for the business in your first headline
–Use Black and Red color types. Red for important words or headlines
–Have a good logo or graphic
–For success, repeat your mailings with different content

The Numbers on Direct Mail:
–90% chance of reaching your targeted audience
–60% read the letter
–50% make it to the decision maker at a business
–60-30-10 Rule: 60% of your Direct Mail success depends on the right list; 30% of it depends on the offer; and 10% depends on the Creative.

Direct Mail Tips:
–Oversize the Addressee’s Name
–Consider putting no return address on it to increase curiosity
–Use mail as a follow up for:
–Sales Call
–Appointment Confirmation
–Bad Customer Experience
–Recognize Achievement
–Introduce a new team member
–Holidays
–A Thank You for a demo, presentation, sale, no sale, referral

Note: If possible, I prefer Direct Email over Direct Mail because it is instant, automated, easily tracked and cost effective. However, obtaining good email lists without violating Spam Laws can be a challenge. Always consider using Direct Mail with Email or Point to a Website with Direct Chat to enhance the dialogue and personalize your campaign.

Resource: Consider getting the Magazine Direct Marketing to learn as much as possible about the art of Direct Mail.

More Direct Mail Tips:
–Keep a detailed database and manage your mailings with a Customer Contact System.
–Repeat important items / benefits
–Photos are good and increase response rates
–Best individual Direct Mail months are January, February and October. Best business Direct Mail months are January, February and March.
–Offer a Free Trial or Free Product
–Bundle your Product and Service Offerings
–Offer payment terms, discounts and a guarantee
–Address the reader / audience directly and personally
–Keep your wording short and concise
–Provide a list or Problems, Benefits and the corresponding solutions
–Test Mail until you have all the kinks out
–Repeat mailings combined with email and phone really increase your odds of success
–When marketing to Business Owners or Executives do not use labels. And follow the mailing with a handwritten note.
–Consider putting a Teaser on the envelope and don’t forget that a great Teaser location is the back of an envelope
–A handwritten P.S. gets people’s attention – use it wisely. I.e. Call to Action, an Added Benefit, a Bonus, Discount, etc.
–Toll Free Phone Numbers can triple your response rate.
–Treat every Direct Mail order as a Rush Order.
–Test, Test, Test to ensure your Direct Mail will work. Your goal is to break even during the testing period.
–Include publicity about your Company on your mailings
–Test many different lists to find the best ones
–Check out Direct Mail News

Post Cards

I like Post Cards over a letter. Why? No decision whether to open or not. Costs 1/3 less. Easy and quick to print yourself. Post Cards force you to be concise, which can be the main reason they are so effective.

–Consider using Email Audio Post Cards

Combine Direct Mail with Email

The combination of mail and email can double your response rate. You can send out mass emails and then mail a postcard to the ones who actually opened the emails. You can alternatively send a post card introducing your company and benefits, then follow with a more detailed email that calls for action and points the prospect to a web sales page (by the way, a phone number and web sales page should be included with the postcards for Your “hot” prospects).

Catalogs

You need @ 25,000 customers for this to make sense. @ 30 pages is the optimum length. 40% of prospects save their catalogs – this is the primary benefit.

–Needs to be well organized, indexed and have categories.
–Too cost prohibitive for you now? No problem: put it up on the web and grow your catalog customer base organically.

In the next article (Part 5) I will discuss Marketing Tactics, The Customer and Essential Marketing Elements.