Business English. Learn Business English with a Business English Reading Prompt:  Business English Lessons - What is Direct Marketing?
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Business English. Learn Business English with a Business English Reading Prompt: What is Direct Marketing?


Answering Our Customers:

What is Direct Marketing and How do I do it?

Maybe some people as they begin a new business or have been in business for a while want to find new and better ways to reach their customers. One way to reach new customers or improve the relationship you already have with customers is through direct marketing. Direct marketing is a marketing concept or marketing tool that allows a business to reach new customers, improve the relationship you already have with existing customers buy communicating directly with them.

Many businesses these days, especially large and some medium companies use marketing middlemen to communicate to their customers. That can be both costly and time consuming for a small business. It also has the effect of being impersonal in that the business really doesn’t communicate directly with the customer. Small businesses need every marketing tool they can use to increase efficiency. Communicating directly with customers and allowing them to directly communicate with the business greatly increases customer’s sales and customer loyalty.

What are some examples of direct marketing? Some examples might include; direct mail, catalogs, interactive TV, kiosks, websites, newsletters, and lately, with the increase in PDA’s and mobile phones, direct marketing via these gadgets or devices.

For the small business some of these examples will be impractical and financially improbable. However some examples are very practical for a small business and probably a small business can benefit as much or more by using these marketing tools as would as large business.

Direct mail is a very practical marketing tool for a small business. One example of direct mail is mailing lists. Mailing lists are both legal and ethical. You aren’t stealing or infringing on people’s privacy by using mailing lists. A small business can buy a mailing list from a company that provides the information. There are companies in business that collect data on consumers that other companies can use. If you want a mailing list of people who have a certain income it is available, if you want a list of people who are a certain age you can get it legally and ethically. There are lists available for almost any type of customer or consumer that you can think of. You can then market directly to the people on the list and thus focus your marketing efforts. You can also begin to establish a relationship to those customers who buy or have an interest in your services or products by continually providing them with updates on new products or specials that you may have.

Another good tool for small businesses is a newsletter like the one that Biz-Methods sends out. The newsletter is a good way to personalize the products and services. The customer will get up to date information on what is happening before the general population will. The newsletter can also provide breaking news related to the company, product specials that may be in the future and so on.

Probably the most useful, if not the most practical direct marketing tool today is the website. Websites can reach into the homes and businesses of customers today that weren’t even possible ten years ago. With a website, a business can communicate directly with many more customers that a brick and mortar could. And even more important customers can communicate directly with the business through the website, especially if the business is an Internet only business.

The website can be a valuable tool for a business if it is done correctly. One example of direct marketing using the website is customer feedback. A business can set up a forum that allows customers to give feedback on the products and services that they may buy or want to buy. If a customer has some practical advice on how to improve the service or product then they have place to communicate that information. If they’ve had a negative experience then the business can get immediate feedback from the customer and the business can try to improve or remedy the situation. The business can also use the forum to test new products or services. Customers can give their opinions or ideas on the new products. If the response is favorable the company might introduce the new products, if not the company might ask the customers why they think the products won’t be successful.

Whatever direct marketing tool a small business uses the main focus is a better relationship with the customers. Direct marketing is not just getting a mailing list and sending a brochure to every person on the list. That isn’t direct marketing. That’s using what some call the “shot-gun approach”, hoping to reach a lot of customers without building a relationship with them first. More likely than not, you won’t get any sales from these customers and they will not think too highly of your business, more likely they will think of you as just another telemarketer or junk mail business. The key to direct marketing is relationships. The customers that you deal with directly and those you build a relationship with are the customers who will buy you products and services and they will directly communicate to their friends and associates about the quality experience they have with your business.

There are many other tools of direct marketing that haven’t been mentioned here. Be creative and you can come up with many more ways to ethically communicate directly with new and existing customers.




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