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The world is full of whacky products and services. And many a business owner has come to us looking to crack a market with their next best idea.

So when confronted by any product or service I always ask three questions.

  • Your market: Who are they? Be specific.
  • Your message: What problem are you solving? What’s the pain? What’s the gain?
  • The media: Can you get in front of them? And at what cost?

We’ve spoken about selecting your market here. We’ll cover how to craft your message in another article.

Today we’ll focus on media.

How you’re going to get your message into their hands. Is it email, physical mail, print advertising (newspapers, magazines), flyers in mailboxes, online search, social media sites, FAX, SMS… the list goes on.

Getting it right will make the difference between success and failure.

There are two ways to target prospects.

  • Indirect Advertising: They find you. Could be via a search engine, yellow pages, print ad, bill board, TV, radio etc.
  • Direct Marketing: You specifically reach out to them – individually. You send them a personalised email, letter, FAX, SMS, Linkedin message etc.

Which one (or combination) you choose depends on your market.

What do they read, watch, listen to? Do they search online for solutions? Would they even know such a solution existed – and search for it?

Spilled red wine on your carpet? Chances are you’ll Google for carpet cleaners. Or look in your local newspaper for ads.

Sell consumer items? Could be anything from electronics to soap. TV, print and radio ads proliferate.

These are all examples of Indirect Advertising. They tend to be mass market, broad reach and it is very hard to know what your cost per conversion is. i.e. Is your advertising effective? What your ROI is per dollar of ad spend.

While Direct Marketing can be used to sell any product or service, it is especially effective when selling high end, complex products or services aimed at specific B2B or B2C markets.

A client of ours improves leadership in Private High Schools. His clients are Principals. It’s a small, defined target audience. We could buy a list.

We instituted a direct marketing multi-touch, targeted approach.

Direct marketing using a combination of physical mail (including a book, white paper, case studies), email and FAX and phone follow up worked wonders.

At a conference in May 2014, a number of Principals actively sought out our client. One signed up for a major 3 year deal on the spot. Another couple are in the offing.

Another targets pharmacy owners with a line of generics. They use a combination of telemarketers, direct mail and FAX to get their message out.

And yes, it works for consumer products as well. We get catalogues from clothing companies personally addressed to us all the time. And we’ve gone into the stores and bought.

Using the right media will make all the difference between success and failure.

Many years ago we marketed an expensive package to plumbers. We advertised in plumbing magazines (indirect), bought lists of plumbers and called their offices, sent them emails (direct). Nothing seemed to get traction.

Until we had an aha moment. Plumbers are always on their mobile phones. So we used SMS to get our offer directly to them and had a 23.4% response rate! Which is massive in advertising circles.

A couple of additional points to note:

Know your maths!

All marketing costs money. If your cost per conversion is higher than your selling price, you’ll go backwards fast.

Once is never enough.

Whether you advertise, tele-market, go to networking functions, once is a waste of time.

No matter what approach you take – be it direct or indirect, most people give up way too soon.

A local newspaper editor put it best. You see an ad for something. It’s interesting. You throw the paper away. Much later on you think, “What was that product – who was selling it?”

If the advertiser never put another ad in, you’ll never find it and they miss out.

The same is true for direct advertising.

Ask yourself why American Express constantly sends physical mail to prospects. As did Reader’s Digest.

You don’t know when someone will be ready to buy. Your job is to be in front of them when they are. Therefore keep sending material.

And finally, use a combination of direct and indirect marketing if appropriate.

Use indirect marketing to “get your name out there” so prospects are familiar with seeing your wares. Then if possible, target them directly with offers.

It’s a combination one – two punch which can be extremely effective.

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