How to Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Marketing Lead Generation

If your sales team often complains about the leads they receive from your direct marketing campaigns – or if you’re frustrated with lackluster lead follow-up and low conversion rates – you may be unwittingly committing one of the seven deadly sins of direct marketing lead generation.

Here are the common mistakes business-to-business marketers make with lead generation and tips on how to avoid them:

1. Leads are not qualified.

Problem: All responses are sent to the sales force regardless of their potential value. Sales reps waste time chasing weak prospects because they don’t have the information to distinguish good leads from bad.

Solution: Ask questions on the direct mail reply form, the web response form, or via your call center to qualify prospects by their level of interest and authority to purchase. Share this information to help sales reps prioritize their efforts.

2. Leads are from the wrong prospects.

Problem: The mailing lists you used in your direct marketing campaign didn’t reach the right decision-makers, so responses came from people who probably can’t or won’t become buyers.

Solution: As you develop your direct marketing strategy, ask the sales team to pinpoint the demographics of an ideal buyer. Choose mailing lists to reach these decision-makers and add selection criteria to narrow the list down to people who most closely resemble your best customers.

3. Leads are too old.

Problem: It takes so long to forward leads to sales that prospects lose interest in the offer or forget they responded. By the time the sales rep reaches the prospect, the lead has gone cold.

Solution: Assess your lead distribution process from top to bottom to find out what’s slowing things down. Eliminate unnecessary steps or revamp the system to get leads to reps as fast as possible.

4. Lead data is sloppy.

Problem: The lead data you send to reps is incomplete or riddled with errors.

Solution: Set stricter guidelines about what information must be required before a lead is sent to a rep and review the data input process to assure data quality.

5. Too many leads are sent at once.

Problem: The sales force is overwhelmed with a large volume of leads they can’t efficiently handle in a reasonable timeframe.

Solution: Test your direct mail to a smaller list to gauge likely response. Plan the execution of the direct marketing campaign in stages to create a steady flow of leads rather than a flood.

6. Sales reps don’t know about the promotion.

Problem: Leads are sent to the sales team from a direct marketing campaign they know nothing about.

Solution: Get reps on board early in the process by alerting them to your upcoming direct marketing initiative. Seed them on the mailing list so they receive samples when the direct mail drops.

7. The sales team doesn’t have the right tools to follow up.

Problem: Responses come in before the proper sales demonstration materials have been created or sent to the sales team. While sales reps wait for product samples, sales collateral, or sales presentation kits, prospects may be hearing from your competitors.

Solution: Plan for the development of sales demonstration materials when creating your direct marketing strategy and don’t drop the mailing until reps have the tools they need to convert leads to sales.

Offline Businesses – The Most Effective Online Marketing Uses Direct Marketing Strategies

Direct marketing in the offline world has grown to huge proportions, becoming a very professional industry in which the biggest players are immensely successful. And these same direct marketing strategies and techniques are the hallmark of the most successful Internet marketing businesses, etc. In fact, every direct marketing professional should consider Internet marketing as a career or at least a sideline for additional income streams.

Direct mail pieces in the offline business world become email blasts online – and with more and more email programs now HTML capable, can be just as glossy and heavily designed as their offline counterpart. And just as direct marketers buy targeted leads or use location-based mail drops, Internet marketing pros rent email lists, buy solo ads and buy leads.

Direct marketing techniques also include classified ads and TV infomercials – online there are a number of classified-ad sites, some international and many based on certain locals. And video sharing sites are perfect for displaying TV-style commercials, infomercials, product demonstrations, etc.

And the ‘golden lists’ or the big Direct Mail houses, those lists of targeted leads that buy from them regularly, are no different than the customer lists online. Just as direct marketers have a pre-written series of e-mails and offers that go out to their previous customers on a regular basis, so too do online marketers who use pre-written autoresponder series to follow up with each purchaser.

If you own and/or operate an offline business in direct marketing, learn all you can about the strategies, tools and techniques being used by successful Internet marketing pros and use that knowledge to increase bottom line profits considerably. While some online regulations, like the anti-spam laws, make parts a little trickier in compliance, it’s more than made up for by the low cost of email blasts, the lack of lead time required for printing, and the free video hosting the video sharing sites provide. Start by putting every commercial and infomercial in your current library online at sites like YouTube, Viddler and Daily Motion and you’re already well on your way.

And if you’re currently working in the direct marketing industry with no equity in the company that employs you, consider starting a part-time job in online marketing and building it into your own full-time Internet marketing or affiliate marketing business. You have the skills so start investigating this low-startup-costs online industry for your own future today!

5 Ways Mobile Direct Marketing Differs From Traditional Direct Marketing

Mobile direct marketing is more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and has response rates that will blow your socks off. Here’s how mobile direct marketing differs from traditional direct marketing.

1. A mobile direct marketing campaign is a piece of cake to implement. However, while traditional direct marketing can start with simply buying a list of prospects or buyers for your product or service, mobile is 100% opt-in. You cannot buy a list of mobile phone numbers and blast out your message.

2. While traditional marketing typically starts with a list, an SMS marketing campaign starts with a campaign offering something your target audience would find valuable. This could be updates about your product or service, alerts or a coupon giving purchasers a discount.

There are a number of ways to publicize the existence of your campaign; many simply are integrated with traditional advertising channels with a call to action to text a keyword to a short code. Acting on your call to action, your SMS message requires the person to opt-in to your database in order to take advantage of your offer. This is the basis of SMS marketing and how your mobile list is built.

3. Mobile direct marketing is both efficient and eco-friendly. Traditionally, a company would spend money having flyers or mailers printed only to have 90%+ travel directly from the mailbox to the trash can.

Since a mobile list is built with opt-ins, any marketing message subsequently sent is to people who have requested information on your product or service. In many cases, the consumer is actively waiting to hear from you. And, of course, since marketing messages are delivered via text messaging in most cases, there are no design, printing or mailing costs.

With regard to coupons, how many times have you been at the checkout counter rummaging through your pockets or purse for that coupon you just know you have? Since a mobile coupon lives in a mobile device that is usually never more than three feet away from its owner, it’s kind of hard to misplace.

4. One of the biggest differences between traditional marketing and mobile direct marketing is the conversion rate. Usually if a direct marketing campaign gets better than a tenth of one percent conversion rate, it’s cause to break out the pizza and beer. It is not unusual for a mobile SMS campaign to have a 20% conversion rate.

5. Traditional marketing campaigns can put a web address in print, on TV or mention it on the radio as well as on many other advertising channels. However, there is a time lag between the consumer receiving the message and their ability to take the next step. More times than not, the initial message is forgotten or never acted upon.

A mobile direct marketing campaign, by contrast, provides the means for the SMS advertising recipient to immediately take action and respond to the message. With this ability, response rates are much higher.

Analyze This – Why Using Analytics With Direct Marketing is a Smart Idea

Does your company gamble with your direct marketing strategy? Do you have any idea if you are connecting with the right customers or is it all a crap shoot? If you are not sure exactly how your direct marketing idea is working, implement an analytics program.

Web analytics requires a long view providing a memory of how your site performed on a given day. Precise, proficient analysis of your web presence is essential to be competitive in your specific market. The association between your website and a search engine must be measured and re-measured against strategic performance indicators. Direct marketing benefits from using this tool.

Web analytics is the process of tracking and improving the measurable results of any website marketing program. The idea is for analytics in helping to understand where traffic comes from, where they go, and more importantly the company’s return on investment (ROI). Otherwise you are simply wasting your money.

The Getaway Bed and Breakfast is a perfect example of how to use analytics to direct their marketing in the most efficient way. At first the idea of spending a lot of time going over even more reports was crushing to the management of the organization. Unfortunately for The Getaway, previous marketing campaigns had lukewarm results at best. Something needed to be done.

Their direct marketing was based on informing all and sundry about the amazing amenities and plentiful services the B&B had to offer. That type of marketing only succeeded in information overload. Instead of concentrating their advertising efforts on one or two areas at a time drawing in the most reservations, The Getaway tossed it all in the air hoping something would come up a winner.

After instigating a proper web analytics program, management found that the web page visited most frequently concerned romantic weekend packages. Repeat visitors were more apt to be from the northeast. Keyword searches were practically non-existent indicating they were choosing the wrong ones. Click-through rates were a shocking.08%. All this information and a lot more confirmed that the direct marketing The Getaway was using was ineffectual. They needed new ideas.

By combining testing and analytics, The Getaway was eventually triumphant in seeing a profitable return on investment with their new direct marketing ideas. They were no longer gambling with their marketing budget but instead using every cent wisely.

When it comes to implementing a marketing campaign or strategy, marketers want to know if the websites being used are attracting visitors and whether or not the investment is paying off. With web analytics, you can identify website trends and direct your marketing ideas with the right course of action. You will also understand how visitors interact with your website. You can identify the navigational bottlenecks that prevent visitors from completing your conversion goals.
Successful analytics happens only with careful planning, timely execution, persistent monitoring, and ongoing improvement of the results you achieve.

Next time you set up a website, remember not to gamble your company’s future business like you would a game of chance. Guarantee yourself a win by using analytics software.