Direct Mail Statistics – How to Test Direct Mail Without Losing Your Shirt

At some point most small or new businesses decide to try a direct mail marketing program. Direct mail is one of many ways for a business to market their product or services. One of the first things you need to consider are the Direct Mail Statistics and before you embark on a direct mailing campaign you need to estimate what your typical response rate should be.

It can be very hard to estimate what the response rate might be on some campaigns, so it is helpful to keep in mind what the industry average is. The industry average response rate is around 2.6%. Keep in mind though that is just an average. If you count on getting a response rate of 2.6% you might be really disappointed when your response rate is possibly as low as.2%. Also take in to account your product or service. If you have a high-end product or service then a.2% response rate might be average for your industry and still a very good response rate. Keep in mind that these Direct Mail Statistics are the industry average.

A good way to figure out what kind of response rate your looking for is to figure out what your break even point is going to be. This is the percentage of sales achieved from the direct mail campaign that will be needed in order to cover the costs of the mail campaign. If your break even point is too high you might want to reconsider doing the campaign or maybe changing things to make it cheaper.  Direct Mail Statistics won’t help you figure out your own break even point, but they can help you decide if your campaign might be close to the goal of breaking even.

Direct Mail Statistics can help you to decide whether a campaign will possibly work, but sometimes it is best to just try out a small campaign to see If the smaller campaign works well then try increasing the size of it. If it doesn’t, then try making some changes before deciding it isn’t working. No matter what, always keep your expectations on the outcome at a reasonable level. It is better to underestimate and do better then you think you will, then to overestimate and do worse.

Small Business Internet Marketing – “It Ain’t Easy”

Small business owners have the difficult challenge of not only managing their day to day operations to ensure their customers are satisfied, but also deciding how to best market and advertise their company to attract new customers. Before the Internet arrived, the choices were primarily limited to print media such as yellow pages, newspapers or local magazines. Perhaps we all yearn for a simpler time, but you can throw that notion out the window in our 24/7 new media tsunami.

Local businesses need to be highly efficient with their time and money to be successful in today’s challenging economic environment. Larger companies may have the luxury of hiring an advertising agency or employ full time marketing staff that are tasked with implementing a cost effective marketing plan. The typical local business does not have this option and often times the founder or owner is solely responsible for the marketing direction of the company. Owners face the daunting task of navigating through a constant barrage of marketing advice, new services and fancy jargon and trying to determine what makes sense for their company and budget.

All too often, local business owners end up trying out a variety of marketing services that are sold to them by companies using aggressive sales tactics. The local business owner may try out a service for a few months and if they do not see immediate results, they can become frustrated and stop using the service. When the next marketing company comes along touting their service is different and special, the small business owner may decide to try them for a while and the cycle continues.

This “hit or miss” mindset is not a winning formula for the small business owner, as effective Internet marketing plans encompass a few basic areas and can take time to yield results. Many marketing companies that sell services to local business owners typically focus on a specific marketing expertise or service (such as Pay Per Click, SEO, Email software, Directory, Leads, etc,) and either do not offer a full service option or such an option is too far out of reach of their budget.

As a result, it can be extremely difficult for a small business owner to make informed decisions and attempting to research all of this on their own would be too time consuming. A balanced marketing plan that includes a website that converts browsers to potential customers, a steady stream of targeted traffic to your website and web listings around the web and a methodology to consistently communicate and cultivate your existing customers and prospects. It should be easy, but the problem is the tools you need to pull this off are scattered around the web.

The one thing that every business owner should do, even if you do not have a website, is take control of your local business listings on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other directories and review websites. Local Business listings on the Internet can generate traffic and attract new customers. Business owners can claim and manage their listings on most major sites at no cost. Recent estimates suggest that only around 10% of local business owners have claimed their business listings on Google, so there is a significant opportunity for local business owners that are willing to invest a hour or so of their time.

There are four categories of websites that local businesses can get free traffic from:

  • Search Engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
  • Local Internet Directories: Yellowpages.com, Superpages.com, Citysearch.com
  • Review Sites: Directories that have developed a reputation among users to be a good source of consumer reviews. Yelp, Citysearch, InsiderPages, etc.
  • Niche Directories: Websites that are authoritative resources for your particular industry

What exactly is a Local Business Listing or “LBL”?

The LBL is a listing that contains the basic information about a business. Information can include the business name, address, telephone number, business category and other information. All of the above mentioned sites are really just big online directories, databases full of business information. The LBL, simply defined, is your business page or listing within these big directories. Local business owners may not realize that their business is probably already listed in some of these directories,especially if the business was formed more than a year ago. These sites collect information from a variety of sources and information can find its way into these sites.

How do Local Business Search Results work?

All of these sites operate in a similar manner. A user types in a few keyword for a particular location or city and clicks search. The site will display a page listing the results of the businesses that “best” match the search request. Then a user will review the results and may decide to click on one to view additional information. This will take the user to a page dedicated to the specific business.

Business owners can increase the number of times their business is discovered by web searchers by claiming their business listings. There are also many simple things that can be added and edited in the LBL that can dramatically help increase the ranking of the listing for various search terms. The bottom line is these listings can help create a steady stream of potential customers for your business and is quickly becoming a primary source for potential customers to check to see if your business is reputable.

It’s a good idea to have a say in how they are judging your business!

Scalping The Forex Market

Scalping when used in reference to trading the forex market refers to a method of arbitrage of small price gaps created by the bid-ask-spread. It specializes in taking profits on small price changes, right after a trade has been entered and profited from. This scalping method requires a forex trader to have a very strict exit strategy, because if the trader incurs even just one big loss they loose all of their small gains. Having the right tools for scalping is a big part of the equation, a very fast internet connection is worth its weight in gold. A live feed or direct access to a broker and of course the will to place as many trades as possible to make the scalping work.

Scalpers play the spread, and that means to buy at the bid price and sell at the ask price, to gain a big/ask difference. Scalping, unlike some other techniques, can profit even when the big and ask don’t move at all, as long as there are forex traders who are willing to take market prices. Like stated before, it involves entering and exiting a position very fast, within minutes sometimes seconds.

Scalping is based on an assumption that stocks will complete the first stage of a movement (as in the stock will move in the direction you want for a small period of time but where it goes is uncertain); some stocks wont move at all and others will. The main point of scalping is Lessened exposure to limits risk (margin call) – a brief exposure to the market eliminates the probability of running into a forex margin call.

The ask prices are immediate enter prices, usually the prices of the market for the quick buyers. Bid prices are for quick sellers. If a trade is entered at market prices, exiting that trade immediately without queuing would not get you back the amount paid because of the bid-ask difference. The spread can be viewed as trading bonuses or costs according to different people and different techniques. One one hand, traders who don’t want to queue their order instead of paying the market price, pay the spreads. And traders who wish to queue and wait for execution receive the spreads.

A change in price is the result of imbalance of buying and selling orders. Most of the time, prices stay stable, moving within a small range. This means neither buying or selling power can control the situation. There are only a few times which price moves towards a certain direction…and thats when the selling or buying power controls the market. It requires bigger imbalances for bigger price changes. Scalpers like the smaller moves and avoid the bigger ones altogether.

The liquidity of the forex market affects the performance of scalping, each currency pair within the market receives a different spread. The more liquid the market and the pairs are, the higher the spreads are. Scalpers like to trade in a more liquid market since they can make thousands of trades a day to add up their small gains.