The worst of the many direct marketing mistakes you can make is to make assumptions and never test them.
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Rather than place large bets on a direct marketing campaign, a better approach is to make many small bets and then put more money into the campaigns that work.
Direct Marketing Testing Is the Key to Success
So why is testing so important?
Testing is every direct marketer's best weapon. It lets you determine what works and what doesn't so you can learn for the next campaign. In fact, every direct marketer should learn from every single mailing so each consecutive one becomes more successful.
Testing doesn't have to be difficult, or extensive.
Start by testing different audiences to see who the right target is for your product or service.
Once you have a good list to work with, test an offer to see if a discount works better than a free product offer.
Then, test the format of the piece to determine, for example, if envelopes work better than self mailers.
Once you've tested for the most effective, most reliable kinds of marketing programs, no matter how small, you can continue to roll them out time after time, stay on top of mind, and continue to generate business.
Keep It Going, Keep It Consistent
Remember that most consumers need to hear from a company multiple times before they buy.
Build a contact plan to make sure that customers see your message multiple times – focusing on the time of year when they are most likely to use your products. This will make it more likely that you are in their consideration set when they are ready to make a purchase.
Direct marketing is a tool that any small business can leverage. You don't need a lot of time or a big budget to do direct marketing campaigns.
And, if you do it right, you'll have a direct marketing machine that can turn on a dime and quickly and easily produce, test and deploy cost-effective direct marketing campaigns that make a difference to the bottom line.