Direct Marketing Consultants
Direct marketing consultants can be a key resources for a company wishing to wage marketing war on consumers for its share of the business marketplace pie. Direct marketing is defined as straight to the customer advertising attempting to get the attention and sale without a middle man such as a retailer. Or it may be a retailer that goes hard at the customer where he lives, not waiting on the consumer to actually come in the store. Direct marketing is the arena in which snail mail, emailing and telemarketing plays each day. It's the advertising that drives consumer crazy with phone calls at dinner time, junk mail that crams mailboxes and three hundred spam emails over night in the inbox. But it can also be effective if developed correctly.
Many small business owners have attempted one of the direct approaches on their own and the results have usually been shockingly pitiful. This is due to the fact that going directly at consumer takes some research knowledge as well as being abreast of the current promotional trends. Experienced direct marketing consultants that are on top of their game can offer that very experience and in that process can help a small business add to its bottom line substantially. There is a stark reality embedded in the "straight to the customer" approach of product and company. The response rate in a general marketing canvass, defined by the customer clicking, opening or not hanging up on the senders of these messages is very, very low. In fact they are pitifully low, typically hovering around one percent. Then the actual conversion rate, defined by the sale that is made from those responses, is usually around two percent.
That means that the final result of a straight to the customer approach to promotion can be around .002%. Two out of every thousand are typically converted to sales, so these statistics don't take rocket science to figure this all out; it's a numbers game and the client that is using this kind of advertising better stuff every mailbox in the city if anything is going to happen. If no statistics change in this scenario, the merchant will have to really figure out if the return on investment (ROI) is worth the expense of the effort. If the merchant is selling Bentleys, this could be extremely lucrative but three dollar coat hangers-not so much. But there is some hope in all of this. If the direct marketing consultants are listened to and their advice is heeded, then the response rate may to lifted to three or four percent, making the conversion rate .006 to .008% and then the ROI may be favorable.
In today's sophisticated advertising world, the presence of highly focused recipient lists is of supreme value. In fact, the most important linchpin in the whole "straight to the customer" plan is that recipient list and for the small business, that list will probably have to be rented or purchased. Direct marketing consultants will all agree that while their high quality mailing lists are good, the finest mailing lists are those compiled by a business over time. Buyers, window shoppers that are better known as "lookie loos and repeat customers can form an incredible mailing or calling list for a small business. But that prime list takes sometimes several years to comprise and there may not be the luxury of time for some small businesses. So the direct marketing consultants used in a particular campaign can offer a potential client quality mailing lists...maybe.
Now every firm of direct marketing consultants is going to tout their email marketing list as being washed, germ free and thoroughly vetted. By that they will mean that their Internet mail lists have been formed by a trusted relationship with the recipient. All three forms of straight to the customer promotion can be quite discriminatory in who they call or contact. Databases can be delineated by age, gender, income, residence location, education, hobbies and occupation. But email marketing has become a permission based field of play in which recipients can actually say yes to receiving emails that would otherwise be viewed as spam. Do you have a relationship with God that allows you to say these words with conviction? "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever; with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations." (Psalm 89:1)
Because "straight to the customer" types of campaigns typically have low response and conversion rates, more and more companies are turning to email as a low cost way of contacting customers. Direct marketing consultants can show potential clients how successful they can be in a highly focused and permission based advertising campaign. With a permission based campaign those very low numbers can be turned into just low numbers, and since the email method costs are extremely low, the choice of advertising method may come down to the email genre. However, mailboxes are still flooded with direct mail efforts and while telemarketers have been effectively reined in by the no call lists, the industry still exists and is profitable for some companies. So choosing the right advertising advisors will be important in the success of a small business marketing campaign.
When interviewing direct marketing consultants, make sure to ask hard questions. Get lists of former customers and ask them the consulting firm's success rate. Ask whether that company would hire them again. Find out the consulting company's reputation from the Better Business Bureau. The lowest priced consulting firm may not be the best return on the dollar. Ask whether the mailing lists are opt-in lists or opted in lists. Stay away from the opted in list providers.
Internet Advertising ConsultantAn Internet advertising consultant can be a tremendous resource for a small business owner who is desirous of increasing profitability and company recognition on the Internet. There are an estimated five billion pages on the Net so it is an actual jungle of twists and turns that any business can get lots in without a guide. An Internet advertising consultant will help a small business owner get a handle on the many ways his website can be a more popular place to visit and an efficient profit making business tool. This advisor will become a student of the small business owner enterprise, and suggest the best ways this particular company can use the Web to its best advantage. The services of this advisor will not be inexpensive, but can make a huge difference in the life of the company's pursuit of growth and recognition.
When a small business owner comes and meets with an advisor for the first time, the Web advisor will want to look, if there is one, at the already existing website. Ideally, the advisor will be able to assist in the crafting of a website from the ground up. But if one is already in place, the Internet advertising consultant will look at its format, appearance and other elements to gauge the site's effectiveness in customer appeal. The advisor will look at whether or not there is the balance of enough information on the landing page of the site to entice the viewer to stay or not enough and be frustrated for five seconds and leave. He will look to see if there is too much flash and animation for type and business and look to gauge the search engine optimization of the site.
Search engine optimization is the complex task of readying a website for optimum results page ranking from search engines. Search engines use a number of factors in deciding how a website is ranked. And if you don't think that is important, keep in mind that over sixty percent of all viewers never go beyond page one in the search results in their hunt for whatever they are looking. For some businesses, being on page two or three is unacceptable in their quest for instant brand or company recognition. The content of the website must have enough keys to trigger recognition by the search engine as deserving of a high results ranking. The search engine uses complex algorithms to produce its formula and the Internet advertising consultant will be able to either work on that or point the small business owner to a resource that can.
Once the website has been constructed or perhaps reconstructed, the advisor will turn his attention to the marketing opportunities on the Web through the use of the website. Affiliate marketing will most likely be one of the first methods used by the Internet advertising consultant for increasing his client's Web presence. Affiliate networking goes like this: Company A joins a network of perhaps hundreds of other websites of companies that are related somehow to company A in product or service. The rest of the affiliates agree to host company A's ad on their website and if a viewer clicks on that ad and is taken to Company A and its site and makes a purchase, the hosting company gets a commission on that sale. That is the most likely scenario, but there are other types of commission structures for affiliate marketing that might be used. Jesus once told a parable about a business owner paying the same wage to a new worker as to one that had been there for a while. His point was that God does not look upon our accomplishments as a yardstick for getting into heaven. "So the last shall be first and the first last; for many are called but few chosen." (Matthew 20:16)
Making the website fly will require a number of components that include a newsletter and blog. An online newsletter takes a great deal of time and effort, but is intended to provide customers and marketing leads with information on industry changes and trends that will prove useful in their own business practice. Of course, the small business owner may not have the time to construct such a newsletter and often generic newsletter can be subscribed to that enable the placing of company ads in it. Just as important these days is the personal blog and the Internet advertising consultant will explain how powerful a blog is in marketing. Since a small business owner does have expertise in at least one area, he or she can write short, personal but helpful articles that people really want to read. The Internet advertising consultant will teach the client that the blog is not a time to sell, but a time to give back to others, but of course an invitation to visit the website is certainly in order.
The consultant will discuss the importance of using viral marketing on the social networking websites. Face book, MySpace and YouTube are perfect launching pads for visitors to pass along something they like to others like the hot potato among first graders. No longer are the social networks just the hang outs of teens and young adults; they are becoming fertile ground for exciting viral marketing opportunities. But the Internet advertising consultant will also talk about the need to launch some large but highly targeted email campaigns. Emailing is also an art unto itself and much needs to be learned by the business owner before ever attempting a campaign alone. The Internet marketing advisor can certainly help the client learn all that is needed to make best use of the effort and expense.