All effective direct marketing methods seek to optimize the beneficial characteristics of direct marketing. A primary characteristic is the traceability and measurability of the responses to the marketing communication and customer engagement efforts. Another prominent feature of direct marketing is that the communication is framed such that it seeks to mobilize the target audience to take some action, such as call a toll-free number or send an SMS or visit a website. The following direct marketing methods enable direct marketers to engage their customers such that the customers may revert without hassle if they so wish.
Direct email marketing
As the name suggests, email marketing communication targets the inbox of customers who comprise the mailing list database of a manufacturer, service provider, or marketer. Direct mail marketing method is among the most popular and preferred methods as it is relatively inexpensive and mail marketing campaigns are easy to design. Marketing mails can be sent any time and they can stay in the inbox of the target customer for a long time. The biggest concern of this method is evading the SPAM folder but there are various email marketing tools, extensions, and plug-ins that help email marketers achieve this.
One of the oldest and most common methods of direct marketing, telemarketing is done by calling up existing and potential customers on their phone numbers and informing them of one's product, service, or event and related offers. A telephone database is maintained for this purpose and cold calls are made by marketing representatives of the organization. Telemarketing is especially benefit for generating leads which may later be pursued via other marketing channels to convert into customers. The idea is to create and maintain a database of 'suspects' and call them with the intention of converting them into 'prospects'. The biggest hitch to this method, besides the possibility of non-conversion, is the presence of 'Do Not Call Registry' and similar outfits. Any customer number subscribed to this service falls out of telemarketers' target range.
Text and Voicemail Marketing
Also known as SMS marketing and mobile marketing, text marketing is similar to telemarketing insomuch as the marketing communication is sent to customer's mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Unlike telemarketing, the marketing communication of text marketing has a greater shelf life and better chances of being received by target prospects. While a customer may disconnect a marketing call, it is not possible to dismiss a marketing SMS the same way. However, similar to telemarketing, text marketing communications may also be limited by the likes of 'Do Not Call' registries. Voicemail marketing is an extension or variation of telemarketing and text marketing. This type of marketing communication is targeted towards the personal and business voicemail boxes of the customers in a marketer's database.
Direct Response Marketing
We have all seen the infomercials and teleshopping programs that give the audience a detailed overview of certain products and related offers, followed by communicating the seller's contact details and directions on how to place order. Similar infomercials are also broadcasted on radios and can be seen in print in magazines, newspapers, circulars, catalogs, etc. This form of marketing communication has a wider reach as they are communicated via mass media channels such as newspapers, television, radio, etc. Such infomercials also equip the audience to directly contact the seller of a product without involving retailers, stockists, and other commercial intermediaries.
Community marketing is ideal for local businesses or local franchises that intend to target and attract customers from local and nearby communities. The marketer hires people to distribute flyers, leaflets, and business cards door to door. Local restaurants and eating joints, beauty salons, dressmakers, etc., who wish to set up business among small local settlements usually employ this method of direct marketing. There is no wastage in resource or efforts when going about this form of marketing as the communication is meant for a specific and finite customer base. The area of coverage is also predetermined.
Online Direct Marketing
Social media marketing is a great way to directly approach customers with offers relevant to them. It is easy to gage the interests of a person who is active online and has a social media presence by way of using various Web search and page hit analytics. This data is used by marketers to identify people with online presence who may be interested in their products and services. Relevant marketing communication is then flashed on such potential customers' social media profiles and may be displayed on the sides of websites these people regularly visit.
Apart from the above methods, there are insert media methods wherein a marketer inserts a marketing communication in the form of coupons, leaflets, etc., inside magazines and newspaper supplements, announcing offers and the like. Another direct marketing method, which has become almost obsolete in the present times, is broadcast faxing which used fax messages to reach multiple customers. As is true for every other form of marketing, direct marketing has its pros and cons and there are ways in which this form of marketing can be used optimally to reach out to the customers without overdoing it.