Like it or not your good marketing has the ability to move people through your sales funnel, it offers everything that you need to educate, justify and cement relationships. Albeit through a number of specific steps and stages.
Firstly lets take a look at the various stages in a sales funnel
This is the moment you first catch a consumers attention. This could be from any one of your marketing activities, or even a recommendation. In a nutshell, your prospect becomes aware of your business and what you offer.
Your prospect is now researching their options looking at what’s around in the market.
Your prospect is now ready to buy, there may be two or three different options on the table, hopefully yours.
This is the final stage of the process, and hopefully results in a purchase. From here on in you are focussed on retention, making sure that the customer comes back over and over again.
How does Direct Mail fit into the mix?
It’s hard, really, really hard to make sure that your business sits at the top of the Google rankings for any product or service. There’s hundreds of competing routes to market and you get 5 slots on the single most popular search engine in order to get the attention of somebody searching the web, if you don’t you’re already out in the cold.
Direct Mail can be used as a tool to assist consumers to skip the initial search steps, or at least short cut them. A well written letter and case study for example may well give enough information to start a thought process which kicks off the sales funnel.
Being the ‘educator’ is the first stage of making your offering the stand out option.
So, your prospect now has interest in your solution, so much so that they start to look around at the options that are on the market. If the chemistry is right your customer might miss this stage altogether and jump to the action, but it is an unfortunate fact that the likelihood is that they will research the market and look for other options.
Now is not the time to blast your prospect with offers though, this will simply turn them away and put you on the back foot. Instead, you should now be trying to educate your prospect even more, offering them help and advice.
Give them the tools they need to make a decision that is positive to you, try fact sheets and white papers. Physical reading items, but stay away from out and out selling.
Here we go, your prospect has the need and desire to place the order, now is the time to blast them with offers. Little things that may well push them onto the action stage of the process and make a decision in your favour.
Postcards work well for this step, maybe you could offer something that your competitors can’t do. A bonus product, some additional services from your professional services team, free shipping if you have physical product to send.
You could even offer a bonus product of discount code.
Here you go, you’re at the bottom of the funnel and your customer has placed the order, it’s been hard work so far – but that’s only just begun. You need to change this customer from a single order into many, many more orders.
Arguably this an even harder process to go through, keeping your customer loyal and happy. In a competitive world ongoing Direct Marketing, you could be sending postcards and leaflets with new products or offers – extending your reach within a business with new ideas and concepts.
Communication is the key, and timings are critical to ensure maximum effect.
Prospects and Clients alike tend to forget their suppliers, or at best pigeon hole them into specific areas of supply. Having used the power of direct mail to move your target from prospect into client you will have created a bond that you cannot create using digital means.
Now you need to exploit that, memories and loyalty offer you a platform to build on.
In my view, Direct Mail as part of the Marketing Mix is powerful, extremely powerful and possibly the most important part of the mix.
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