Taking my struggling consulting business online and following the business model I now do turned everything around for me, financially and otherwise. So when I started hearing from my mentors that I might want to add some offline marketing tactics back into the mix, I was hesitant to say the least.
But then I started studying and learning more about some specific direct mail strategies, and recognizing the power they have, I started wondering if maybe I wasn’t missing an important piece of the puzzle to take my business up another notch.
Then I started seeing some amazing results from my colleagues who were using direct mail in addition to their online marketing efforts – things as simple as a postcard – and I decided I needed to get into this game myself.
How do you get started adding direct mail marketing to your mix? Here are 5 simple steps:
1. Start collecting physical addresses
You may have the addresses of those clients and customers who have purchased something physical from you already, which is a great start. But you also want to start collecting snail mail addresses from those people who sign up for your list. This way, when you’re ready to send a physical mailing out, you’ll have all the information you need. AND, if email deliverability gets muddier, you’ll always have this other option of reaching your audience.
2. Plan a campaign
I always tell my clients to plan an online promotion campaign when they are ready to market a specific product, program or service, instead of sending out a single announcement. The campaign I recommend typically includes a minimum of three emails.
Same goes for an offline mailing. You need to plan a campaign, with more than one mailing, in order to truly get and discern a return on your investment.
3. Go cheap the first time
Something I learned when I was the public relations/marketing director for a university was NOT to do an expensive mailing until we had cleaned our list. Peoples’ addresses change for a variety of reasons and you may not always have the most up-to-date ones when you’re ready to send your mailing.
So, here’s a tip to clean your list before you start investing in some higher-end mailers. Send a postcard that has your return address on it to your current list. Then update your list via the returned postcards you get. Then make sure you have your return address on every mailing you do to keep your list as up-to-date as possible.
4. Keep it simple
Do a postcard, which gets read right away, with a simple, direct, compelling message and an immediate call to action, with graphics that don’t distract but support your message.
5. Track your mailings
The easiest way to do this is to send your readers to a simple website address (URL) that you only use for the purposes of that mailing. All you have to do is redirect that URL to your existing web page (where your offer resides) using the tracking link feature in your shopping cart. That way you can tell how many people typed in the URL and how many people took advantage of your offer. This is how you measure your return on your investment.
Getting started with adding direct mail to your marketing mix isn’t difficult. And by combining your online strategies with offline ones, you’ll be gaining a lot more clients and customers and bringing in a lot more income.
I’d love to know your thoughts and if you’re already using direct mail marketing or if you’re ready to start using it. Please leave your comments below.
While the message and the market of your business may be different, there are some stumbling blocks that seem to pop up for even the seasoned entrepreneur.
Here are four of the ones that I’ve been coaching clients on during their private planning and strategy retreats lately:
1. Not moving ahead even when they know what to do.
Almost always, this is a fear-based immobility. Whether it’s fear of failure or fear of success (the later seems more prevalent for entrepreneurs, including myself). We come up with all kinds of excuses as to why something isn’t getting done, but most often it has nothing to do with anything other than fear of the possible result of moving forward.
If you’re afraid of failing, remember that in our online world, we get to test things out with very little risk. My favorite strategy is to ‘fail fast’. Put it out there, see what happens, tweak until you get the result you want.
If you’re afraid of success, then you need to take a look at your Big Money Why (BMW – see #5) to see how you can make it more powerful and motivating (tip: money is never enough of a motivator, believe it or not). And you need to put in place a process for how you will handle the abundance that’s too come.
2. Being self-disciplined enough to make and stick to self-imposed deadlines.
The wonderful thing about being an entrepreneur is that you’re your own boss. The tricky thing about that is most, if not all, of our deadlines are self-imposed. Which makes them very easy to move, doesn’t it? I know because I’ve struggled with this one more than once.
If we go back to knowing what your emotionally driven motivator is for the success you desire, you’ll be more likely to stick to those self-imposed deadlines – but only if that BMW is strong enough.
Here’s a simple but very powerful tip for you in sticking to your own deadlines: Make them public. When I launched my first info-product, I told my ezine list that they would be able to buy it on a certain date, which gave me about 3 weeks to get it done. And done it was.
3. Claiming leadership status and fulling stepping into the role of the CEO of your business.
Once an entrepreneur gets the foundational pieces in place for their business, it’s actually easy to stay in the start-up phase, because it’s comfortable. And because often they don’t know what the next step is, what the next layer of the business should look like, to take them to the next level.
The sooner they can take on the leadership role, by becoming the CEO of their business (even if they don’t call themselves that), the faster the growth of both the entrepreneur and the business.
One of the ways you can step more fully into that role is by delegating. So if you’ve been in business for a couple of years and you’re still doing too much of the managing of it, and especially if you’re doing all the admin work, and you haven’t hired an assistant yet, it’s time. Start with one small project and add from there,
For every task in your business, ask yourself, “Is this something I should be doing?”
Because remember, even if you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
If the answer is no, then pass it off to a capable assistant.
4. Having an emotionally driven motivator for your Big Money Why (BMW).
This is probably the most important one. Money is NOT enough of a motivator, no matter how much you want it, or are attached to the ‘6-Figure’ or “million-dollar’ mark. There has to be a reason behind wanting it, something that is so strong that it drives you and the business forward, no matter what.
If you find things aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like, or it feels too hard much of the time, or you just aren’t using your time and talent effectively, take a look at your Big Money Why. And if you haven’t done this before, then that’s your coaching homework.
In as much detail as possible, write out why you want the financial success you do. Is it to give to your family, is it to give to others, is it to create a charitable foundation, is it to take care of elderly parents, is it to enable your children to get the best education you can give them, is it to travel and expand your world view, is it to buy a nicer home for your family, is it to give experiences to those you love – they are a thousand reasons why, but you need to be very clear of what they are for YOU before you can make them happen.
I’d love to know your thoughts and which one of these four resonates with you the most. Please leave your comments below.
Over the years, I’ve developed very strong boundaries in my business, which have contributed to its quick growth, and I coach a lot on setting and standing strong in boundaries with many of my clients. I wanted to share some of the ways I’ve created and strengthened the boundaries within the way I run my business so you can do the same.
Here are 4 ways that you can gracefully set boundaries in your business:
1. Have a policy page
For every product, program or service you offer, someone is going to ask you to do something different for them. It could be to offer it in a different format, at a different time or day, with a payment plan option, or dozens of other scenarios than I can’t possibly cover here.
As a general rule of thumb, don’t accommodate. Yes, there will be times when you make a different decision, but most of the time, stick to the parameters you created in the first place. You can’t please everyone, and every time you accommodate someone, you a) typically un-accommodate someone else who was just fine with the way your offer stood in the first place, and b) attract more people who will ask you to bend things for them in the future.
What do you do with the requests you get? Create a policy page from each and every decision you’ve made on how you will or will not run your business. Then when the next person makes a similar request, you simply send them to that page that explains clearly what your policy is, and that the policy applies to everyone. It takes the edge of it feeling like saying ‘no’ was a personal decision as much as it makes it super-simple for your team to handle these requests.
2. Be fair to ALL your clients
Being fair to all my clients is one value that I hold that makes it easy for me to be clear about the boundaries I have in place in my business. If you remember that it’s NOT that you aren’t willing or don’t want to be accommodating, but that it simply wouldn’t be fair to the rest of your clients and customers by doing so, it makes it much easier to say no graciously, and it keeps your integrity intact.
3. Have a buffer
Having someone on my team who manages these requests is imperative. First, as the business owner and leader of my company, it’s not the best use of my unique brilliance to be dealing with these requests personally. Second, my team is quite capable of knowing when a request may require my attention, and I trust them to let me know. And third, it makes saying ‘no’ less personal and much more graceful and respectful to the person making the request when they get an answer from my team instead of from me.
4. Be willing to let go
Ok, this one used to pop up for me a lot when I still struggled with a tendency to over-explain. I liked to craft just the right words to make sure someone understood my decision about something. I’ve realized that in doing so I wasted a lot of time, energy and emotion. So I stopped doing that for the most part. Once in a while when I found myself back in that loop again, and when I realized how much of my team’s time I was wasting, it bopped me over the head and I instantly went back to my short-but-sweet way of responding.
Here’s the thing: there’s always going to be a tiny percentage of people who want you to customize and accommodate them. But let them go play somewhere else. Because what happens when you stick to your guns is that you honor your value, your time, and your self-respect. You attract more clients and customers who are ideal and who are respectful of you and your team as well, and your business runs more smoothly and more joyfully.
Which one of these boundaries can you set in your business today?