All successful direct marketing campaigns consist of five steps – all of which have to work in harmony 

I really do believe this – all successful direct campaigns consist of five processes which work in harmony.  Here they are…

  1. Having a product or service the customer can be made to want
  2. Offering it at a price the customer is willing to pay
  3. Getting your message to the customer through a variety of channels.
  4. Persuading the customer to buy rather than just be aware
  5. Persuading the customer to buy it from you, not someone else.

Now I am sure there is every likelihood that you might be about to turn away at this point on the basis that this is all fairly obvious.

But I would like to persuade you to hold on for a moment because, although most companies do feel that they meet all five points in their marketing campaigns, when it comes down to a detailed analysis, it often turns out that this is not so.

In short they have seen their advert so often and know the product or service so well that there can be a weak spot in the five point check list that is reducing effectiveness.

The reason for this is simple: if you are involved very closely in your product or service, it is often hard to see it from the outside: from the point of view of the potential customer.  That’s where the problem is most likely to lie, and that it is why Schools.co.uk exists – to resolve that very issue.

Now I am not going to deal with point one above, because obviously I don’t know your company and your product – but if you would like to talk to us about both, we’ll be happy to exchange thoughts.  No charge for a telephone chat, obviously.  And of course you can leave it until after Xmas if you wish.

But I would say a word about the price of a new product. I have always found it best to go in at a low price first, effectively the lowest you can offer while still making a profit.  If you don’t, and the campaign fails, you don’t know whether it is the price that is wrong or the advertising.

If, however, you have gone in at your lowest price, you know there is no further to go on that, so the only thing to change is something to do with the marketing. If the advert brings in sales however, you can then later experiment by putting the price up.

Point three is one that I have written about numerous times here – the need to use email, news services, PR, and websites. One medium is rarely enough.

The fourth point – persuading the customer to buy – is the most difficult one to get right. There are millions of ways of writing and designing adverts, and in many cases simply telling the person what you have for sale is about the least effective there is.

Indeed, if you are a regular reader of my ramblings you may recall that I have broken ways of selling down into five approaches: announcing the product, selling on price, selling on benefits, asking an interesting question, and being quirky.

That list is in an interesting order – because it starts with the most popular method of direct selling and ends with the least popular.  It also starts with the least effective method and ends with the most effective!

Of course, not every product or service is suited to (for example) being quirky, but it is certainly worth experimenting with to see if any of these alternative approaches might help generate more sales.

For some firms the final point – getting them to buy from you – is simple, because they are the only suppliers. For others, however, it is tough. Being “friendly”, being “low cost”, being a “small family run business”, having “won awards”, are all tried by many, but rarely do they make much difference. But there are alternatives.

You really do need a unique selling point about yourselves which is truly unique. But what that is, is not always obvious – which is why we offer the 4-Email and 6-Email campaigns at very low prices and with a free additional email if you book before Christmas.

For most products and services advertised one only needs to have one or two orders to pay for the advertising and cover the product costs.

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