For a moment, I want you to remove your local business owner hat and put on your average consumer hat. Now I want you to imagine yourself going to your home mailbox and pulling out all the envelopes, flyers, and postcards stuffed inside.
Like you, I get all kinds of “junk mail” that I never knowingly signed up to receive. Nevertheless, all of the offers and advertisements you receive in the mail are a form of direct marketing.
But without getting into why you receive certain types of mail, I want you to next imagine seeing a coupon from your favorite restaurant among the pile. It says, “For your next visit, buy one meal at regular price and get a second meal for 50% OFF! – Thanks for being a great customer.”
Now, I’m not big on clipping coupons. But when I see an irresistible offer like that, I’ll take full advantage. And guess what? Millions of people are just like me, and perhaps you, when it comes to certain deals.
My point is this. I retrieve mail from my mailbox every two or three days. But I check my e-mailbox several times a day. Most people are the same way. This is where direct email marketing and the following tips can be a boon for your business.
I’m not talking about spam which is unsolicited email that is spewed out to every email address that spammers can get their hands on. Direct e-mail marketing is all about reaching the right consumers who are ideal matches for your offers. You can buy direct e-mail lists for your area or you can create one from your existing customer base.
For direct e-mail marketing, all you have to do is sit down at your computer, type your offer into a pre-designed template, and send it out to a targeted list of potential patrons. In most cases, you can have everything done in 10 to 15 minutes. Of course, you can surf the Internet and purchase a do-it-yourself emailing program (such as eliteemail.com) that make this a snap or hire someone to do it.
What’s even better is that the cost of sending direct e-mail is nothing even remotely close to what’s involved with direct mail. Think about what it takes to send out a printed offer. You have design and printing costs, envelope stuffing, and postage. It can be an expensive endeavor, especially when you consider that 1% or less of the recipients will take you up on your offer.
Now, I know that restaurants are an easy target when it comes to who should implement a direct emailing program. But every business that wants to increase its sales and profits should have one.
Let’s take a look at another “not so obvious” business that could benefit from direct emailing. For my local area, here’s a Coral Springs dermatologist website that’s nice looking and offers a wide variety of skin care services.
You’ll find things such as Botox injections, chemical peels, laser hair removal, etc. Given that I live in sunny South Florida, I’m sure they are doing pretty well. But I suspect they could do even better. Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say that they ask every patient they treat (or that makes an appointment) for their email address. It’s easy to get this information. All they have to do is tell the patient that the email address would be helpful for follow-up and feedback, appointment changes, and discounts that may be offered. I have no doubt that more than 90% of the patients would gladly hand over this bit of information.
With the email addresses in hand, the dermatology office has a world of options. For example, the dermatologist could email patients an electronic coupon that offers a 25% discount on Botox injections if an appointment is made within the next 14 days. The email could also include a refer-a-friend link that increases the discount to 50% if the customer brings in two or more of their friends.
And here’s where direct emailing beats the pants off of traditional direct mail marketing. Most quality emailing programs come with a back-end infrastructure that allows you to see all kinds of statistics related to the email. For example, you’ll know who opened the email and who didn’t, the date and time the email was opened, number of people who clicked on the refer-a-friend link, and more.
With this key data at your fingertips, you’ll be able to determine the effectiveness of your campaigns and refine your process accordingly. As an example, for the patients who took the deal, you’ll be able to segment them into a new emailing bucket and extend additional offers that are similar or related.
And if your campaign was not as successful as you had hoped, you’ll be able to narrow the reasons. Was it the wrong day of the week to send out the offer? Was the email not opened by many people because of a poor subject line? Of course, you won’t have all of the answers until you test several different offers, but the possibilities are endless.
Over time, you’ll gather enough data to determine which offers are worth repeating and which are a waste of time. You’ll also be able to identify minor tweaks that can make a huge difference. Forget testing minor tweaks with printed offers unless you have major bucks to spend.
Think about how this can affect your bottom line in a positive way. You’ll be able to quickly get a cash infusion into your business during slack times or slow days. And the best thing is that you can do it without all the cost and hassle involved with direct mail.