If you are working to grow your business, you are likely using direct marketing. Your direct marketing efforts may include the Internet (online); telemarketing; direct mail; or even direct response.

As you know, the Internet has dramatically changed the landscape of direct marketing. With online marketing, we can quickly create and launch campaigns, leverage channels such as social media, and conduct transactions and measure results in near real-time.  This is all very exciting stuff for marketers.

So has the internet changed all the rules of direct marketing? The fact is, the maxims that have helped marketers drive success in direct marketing with traditional media still hold true.  As a business leader in today’s digital age, you disregard these maxims at your own peril…

Direct Marketing Maxims

Make all direct marketing elements work together. If you do only one element well – whether it be design, copy, targeting and placement – you might as well do none well.  All the components need to work – and work together – to make a successful campaign.

Have a unique offer and make it simple and clear. The target must be able to view your offer and quickly begin to answer the question, “what’s in it for me?”  Of course, a unique offer depends on a compelling product.  The right product, persuasively marketed to the right target, at the right time, delivers a powerful result.

Implement a crystal-clear call to action.  There must be a clear call to action and a path to conduct that action in a logical way.  If the goal is to introduce a new product (or service), drive the user to a landing page that features the product and then steers them to make a purchase or register for more information.  I’ve seen too many compelling ads that then direct the user to a generic website home page. What is the user supposed to do next?

Conduct A/B testing of different ads and offers. Direct marketing pros consistently test different ad placement, designs, offers, promotions and target lists. The pros track results and use the data to conduct the smartest campaigns possible.

Aim, Fire, Adjust!  By measuring your results – both good and bad – you will gain valuable insights to increase the odds of executing more successful campaigns.  How many people viewed your offer?  Responded? Purchased (conversion)? Requested information? What was the cost of each lead? Each new customer? Can you segment these people?

Also, remember to measure what may be the most important transaction of all – the second purchase a customer makes.

The goal of direct marketing is to not to be clever, funny or cute; it is to generate sales and acquire and retain customers.  Keep this goal in mind when you plan and execute your direct marketing programs. Force the campaigns to justify themselves.  Remember the old school ‘classic rules’ of direct marketing and you will be more likely to build winning campaigns.


 “Money coming in says I’ve made the right marketing decisions.”
 – Adam Osborne

This ad on Facebook caught my attention – attractive design, short, direct copy, and clear call to action (note – I didn’t win).