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Harness the Power of Direct Marketing - More Small Business Power Tools


One of the most powerful tools available to small businesses is direct mail. By this I don't mean electronic, Internet-based mail, but the old-fashioned kind that requires a stamp and a trip to the post office.

Why is direct mail such a powerful tool?

It's a way for small businesses, especially retailers, to separate themselves from the big box stores such as Best Buy and Wal-mart, and to compete successfully with the Amazon.coms and Ovestock.coms of this world.

The power of direct mail, if done right, is that it's like getting a letter from your sister, mother or aunt. The postman brings it to your home. It's addressed to you personally. And when was the last time you received a letter from Best Buy, Wal-mart, Amazon.com or any Internet retailer? If so, it was undoubtedly via email and designed to be read by hundreds of thousands of customers - not much personalization there.

The first thing you need to do to start an effective direct mail campaign is capture the names and addresses of your customers. This is easy for service organizations like carpet cleaners, auto repair firms, instant printers, and the like. They already have their customers' names and addresses. All they have to do is put them together as a mailing list. Retailers such as jewelry stores, antique dealers, liquor stores, restaurants, etc. have a tougher time because they don't have an easy way to capture their customer's names and addresses.

There are a couple of answers to this. One is the old fishbowl gimmick, where you ask customers to deposit their business cards in a fishbowl with a prize to be given away in a drawing at some later date. I personally think this has been overdone. Plus, I have heard stories of unscrupulous sales people cleaning out the fishbowls themselves and using the business cards as sales leads.

A second alternative is to post a "guestbook" somewhere near your cash register with a sign offering a free newsletter to all those who register. To make this work, you and your employees have to be kind of aggressive in urging all your customers to sign up, and you can expect that many will not. However, persistence is a virtue and if you keep this up long enough, you will capture enough names and addresses to make the effort worthwhile.

I also like the idea of offering customers some small reward for providing their names and addresses. One version of this that seems to work well is a "frequent diner," "frequent buyer," or "frequent customer" card. Give your customers small, inexpensive cards that you can punch whenever they buy from you (or just visit your store) with the promise of a free something after 10 or 12 punches. Naturally, they have to register for the card and viola! You have their names and addresses.

Last, and most expensive, you can buy a direct mail list targeted toward your best prospects. Chances are, there is at least one company in your area selling lists of prospects by criteria such as recent home buyers, camera buyers, child care customers, etc.

Once you have captured enough names and addresses (maybe 100 or more) to begin a direct mail campaign, you have a couple of alternatives. One, you can input the information yourself. Or, two, if you're strapped for time, you should be able to find a local high school or college student to input the information for you. He or she can use either a word processing program or a database program to build the list. It's just simple data entry and you might offer $0.5 or $0.10 for each name/address input. I like to use a word processing program because once the list has been built; it's fairly easy to create personalized letters, etc. using the program's mail merge features.

What do you then mail customers? I like newsletters a lot. They can be as simple as a single page printed on both sides or as complex as four to eight pages. Another good alternative is personalized letters. Just make sure that whatever you choose to send your customers is important and meaningful and always include an offer designed to bring them into your store or to call you for more information or to make an appointment.

It takes time, money and dedication to develop and implement a direct mail campaign. But it's a powerful tool that can pay for itself in just a few months and then keep paying off for years to come.

For more information on creating an effective newsletter, be sure to look for my article, "Small Business Power Tool: Customer Newsletters."

Article by Douglas Hanna. Douglas is a retired advertising and marketing executive and long-time Denver resident. He is the webmaster of http://www.all-in-one-info.com, a free resource for information on a variety of subjects. Please visit his site to subscribe to his free newsletter, "Tips & Tricks to Save Money & Live Better."


Todays News by officejax free advertising and ad exchange solutionsMORE RESOURCES updated Wed. January / 22 / 2020

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Why VIZIO Is Getting Into The Advertising Business  Forbes

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Get Ahead of Competition With New SocialPeta Advertising Intelligence Database  Yahoo Finance

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How Advertising Technology Will Cement Streaming's Dominance Over Cable  Motley Fool

Gojek and The Trade Desk Launch Advertising Partnership in Indonesia - Yahoo Finance
Gojek and The Trade Desk Launch Advertising Partnership in Indonesia  Yahoo Finance

Out of Home Advertising Association of America Launches Biweekly News Service - Yahoo Finance
Out of Home Advertising Association of America Launches Biweekly News Service  Yahoo Finance

Factbox: How Social Media Services Handle Political Ads - The New York Times
Factbox: How Social Media Services Handle Political Ads  The New York Times

Instreamatic Partners with Triton Digital to Accelerate Voice-Driven Audio Advertising - Yahoo Finance
Instreamatic Partners with Triton Digital to Accelerate Voice-Driven Audio Advertising  Yahoo Finance

Kelley Drye Launches Advertising and Privacy Law Resource Center - Ad Law Access
Kelley Drye Launches Advertising and Privacy Law Resource Center  Ad Law Access

Advertising industry steering clear of political fray - Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
Advertising industry steering clear of political fray  Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

Hispanic Radio Conference - Radio Advertising: Dead Or Alive? - Radio Ink
Hispanic Radio Conference - Radio Advertising: Dead Or Alive?  Radio Ink

Proposed digital advertising tax bad for business | COMMENTARY - Baltimore Sun
Proposed digital advertising tax bad for business | COMMENTARY  Baltimore Sun

Brand advertising is broken. Here's why. - The Drum
Brand advertising is broken. Here's why.  The Drum

OUTFRONT Media Awarded Long-Term Advertising Contract By The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority - Olean Times Herald
OUTFRONT Media Awarded Long-Term Advertising Contract By The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority  Olean Times Herald

Longtime FTC Advertising Official to Leave the Agency - Bloomberg Law
Longtime FTC Advertising Official to Leave the Agency  Bloomberg Law

NBCUniversal Exec Touts Peacock Advertising Ambitions - Hollywood Reporter
NBCUniversal Exec Touts Peacock Advertising Ambitions  Hollywood Reporter

Walmart's ad execs to know, hot DTC companies, iHeartMedia breaks hearts - Business Insider
Walmart's ad execs to know, hot DTC companies, iHeartMedia breaks hearts  Business Insider

Netflix Needs Advertising Plus Subscriptions, Investor Says - Barron's
Netflix Needs Advertising Plus Subscriptions, Investor Says  Barron's

Netflix CEO Reiterates Zero Interest in Advertising Business: ‘There’s Not Easy Money There’ - Variety
Netflix CEO Reiterates Zero Interest in Advertising Business: ‘There’s Not Easy Money There’  Variety

Advertisers see early promise in TikTok’s self-serve ad platform - Digiday
Advertisers see early promise in TikTok’s self-serve ad platform  Digiday

Lamar Advertising Company Announces Conditional Redemption of 5 3/8% Senior Notes Due 2024 - Yahoo Finance
Lamar Advertising Company Announces Conditional Redemption of 5 3/8% Senior Notes Due 2024  Yahoo Finance

New agreement locks in 25 percent more revenue from WMATA's advertising network - MassTransitMag.com
New agreement locks in 25 percent more revenue from WMATA's advertising network  MassTransitMag.com

Former Trump Aide Named Advertising Agency CEO - Patch.com
Former Trump Aide Named Advertising Agency CEO  Patch.com

Merkle launches digital advertising solution for retailers to monetize their customer data - MarTech Today
Merkle launches digital advertising solution for retailers to monetize their customer data  MarTech Today

AET, Wizely say collaboration streamlines delivery of OEM-compliant advertising - Auto Remarketing
AET, Wizely say collaboration streamlines delivery of OEM-compliant advertising  Auto Remarketing

Lamar Advertising Company Announces Proposed Private Offering of Senior Notes - Associated Press
Lamar Advertising Company Announces Proposed Private Offering of Senior Notes  Associated Press

A New Decade Dawns – The Shaping of the Advertising Ecosystem - MarTech Series
A New Decade Dawns – The Shaping of the Advertising Ecosystem  MarTech Series

Spanish jeweller TOUS in false advertising probe - RFI
Spanish jeweller TOUS in false advertising probe  RFI

Some Super Bowl advertisers concerned Trump, Bloomberg ads could steal their thunder - CNBC
Some Super Bowl advertisers concerned Trump, Bloomberg ads could steal their thunder  CNBC

How Amazon, Geico and Walmart Fund Propaganda - The New York Times
How Amazon, Geico and Walmart Fund Propaganda  The New York Times

Advertising's Share of Time Spent With Media Continues To Erode - Editor And Publisher Magazine
Advertising's Share of Time Spent With Media Continues To Erode  Editor And Publisher Magazine

Facebook Stock Gets Price-Target Increase On Positive Advertising Outlook - Investor's Business Daily
Facebook Stock Gets Price-Target Increase On Positive Advertising Outlook  Investor's Business Daily

Why Audio Ads Should Be a Part of Your Advertising Strategy in 2020 - MarTech Series
Why Audio Ads Should Be a Part of Your Advertising Strategy in 2020  MarTech Series

Can Basic Attention Token (BAT) Solve the Traditional Advertising Problem? - CryptoTicker
Can Basic Attention Token (BAT) Solve the Traditional Advertising Problem?  CryptoTicker

Presidential candidates spend millions on social media advertising - KCAU 9
Presidential candidates spend millions on social media advertising  KCAU 9

With an influencer advisory board, Clorox is changing up its YouTube advertising strategy - Digiday
With an influencer advisory board, Clorox is changing up its YouTube advertising strategy  Digiday

Female-targeted advertising, UW-Madison drinking culture factors in high female alcohol death rates - WAOW
Female-targeted advertising, UW-Madison drinking culture factors in high female alcohol death rates  WAOW

Programmatic Advertising Is Driving Rapid Growth in Mobile Video - eMarketer
Programmatic Advertising Is Driving Rapid Growth in Mobile Video  eMarketer

With Impeachment in the News, Ads Are Staying Away From Politics - The New York Times
With Impeachment in the News, Ads Are Staying Away From Politics  The New York Times

11 key Walmart executives who are leading its advertising business - Business Insider Nordic
11 key Walmart executives who are leading its advertising business  Business Insider Nordic

The latest YouTube brand safety ‘crisis’ shows advertisers are taking a more nuanced approach - Digiday
The latest YouTube brand safety ‘crisis’ shows advertisers are taking a more nuanced approach  Digiday

Direct-response advertisers report some early success with Snapchat’s dynamic ads - Digiday
Direct-response advertisers report some early success with Snapchat’s dynamic ads  Digiday

Sign spinning isn’t just about advertising, it’s a sport too - WBTV
Sign spinning isn’t just about advertising, it’s a sport too  WBTV

How the BBC is setting the bar for creative outdoor advertising - Econsultancy
How the BBC is setting the bar for creative outdoor advertising  Econsultancy

Advertising As We Know It Is Dead - Forbes
Advertising As We Know It Is Dead  Forbes

If You Had Bought Saylor Advertising.Inc (TYO:2156) Shares Five Years Ago You’d Have Made 33% - Simply Wall St
If You Had Bought Saylor Advertising.Inc (TYO:2156) Shares Five Years Ago You’d Have Made 33%  Simply Wall St

Is the Viral Non-Ad Ad the Future of Advertising? - The New York Times
Is the Viral Non-Ad Ad the Future of Advertising?  The New York Times

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Programmatic Display Advertising Market 2020 World Trend, Segmentation And Opportunities Forecast To 2025 – Dagoretti News  Dagoretti News

Advertisers beg Google not to kill Chrome cookies without a plan B, warning it could hurt start-ups - CNBC
Advertisers beg Google not to kill Chrome cookies without a plan B, warning it could hurt start-ups  CNBC

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Spotify's New Podcast Advertising Tool Had 'Major' Results for One Early Advertiser  The Motley Fool

Amazon's Expanding Its Video-Advertising Business - The Motley Fool
Amazon's Expanding Its Video-Advertising Business  The Motley Fool

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Advertisers Revolted Against Firings In Des Moines  Radio Ink

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YouGov Brand: Chipotle Winning The Advertising War  Benzinga

Your Digital Detox May Be Toxic for Advertising - The New York Times
Your Digital Detox May Be Toxic for Advertising  The New York Times

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Lazy Advertising Thinking Is A Deadly Sin  Forbes

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Pharmaceutical and life sciences advertising to healthcare professionals - guidance from the courts  Lexology

Amy Kean's nine advertising predictions for 2020 - Shots
Amy Kean's nine advertising predictions for 2020  Shots

YouTube overhauls advertising, data collection on kids content - The Washington Post
YouTube overhauls advertising, data collection on kids content  The Washington Post

Zara is advertising jeans that look like they are being modelled by a ghost - Metro.co.uk
Zara is advertising jeans that look like they are being modelled by a ghost  Metro.co.uk

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Uncertainty is the new digital advertising reality  The Drum

What Amazon Advertising Will Look Like in 2020 - Adweek
What Amazon Advertising Will Look Like in 2020  Adweek

Inside the Biggest 2020 Advertising War Against Trump - The New York Times
Inside the Biggest 2020 Advertising War Against Trump  The New York Times

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Hypocrisy is at the heart of Facebook’s refusal to ban false political advertising  The Guardian

Super Bowl 2020: the ins and outs of the big game's advertisers - The Drum
Super Bowl 2020: the ins and outs of the big game's advertisers  The Drum

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Microsoft Advertising to deprecate average position after all  Search Engine Land

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Study: Tinder, Grindr And Other Apps Share Sensitive Personal Data With Advertisers  NPR

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Experiential Advertising Agency Services Market is booming Globally with Deutsch, Televerde, Ansira, Antiantiand Forecast 2020 To 2027 – Dagoretti News  Dagoretti News

Facebook Revises Rules On Political Advertising - NPR
Facebook Revises Rules On Political Advertising  NPR

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Did you know how to get rid of annoying advertising on Apple TV?  Industry Global News 24

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Windstream Pushes Misleading Advertising Claims Against Charter  Wall Street Journal

NBC’s Peacock Enlists Advertisers and Cable Companies in Marketing Push - Wall Street Journal
NBC’s Peacock Enlists Advertisers and Cable Companies in Marketing Push  Wall Street Journal

Digital Advertising and Data Privacy Regulation Debate - The National Law Review
Digital Advertising and Data Privacy Regulation Debate  The National Law Review

Statement from the Publisher: TFWA advertising - The Moodie Davitt Report - The Moodie Davitt Report
Statement from the Publisher: TFWA advertising - The Moodie Davitt Report  The Moodie Davitt Report

Spotify to Suspend Political Advertising - Wall Street Journal
Spotify to Suspend Political Advertising  Wall Street Journal

Microsoft Advertising launches sweepstakes for advertisers - Search Engine Land
Microsoft Advertising launches sweepstakes for advertisers  Search Engine Land

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Dr. Oz: Don't Eat Breakfast, It's an Advertising Ploy  Newsmax

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Diversity, A Banned Word Love Poem  Chicago Reader

ANOTHER OPINION: Facebook enables disinformation with advertising policy - Goshen News
ANOTHER OPINION: Facebook enables disinformation with advertising policy  Goshen News

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Company pitches real revenue from virtual advertising  My Citizens News

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New Subway boss John Chidsey seizes control of ad budget  New York Post

Facebook Says It Won’t Back Down From Allowing Lies in Political Ads - The New York Times
Facebook Says It Won’t Back Down From Allowing Lies in Political Ads  The New York Times

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New advertisement policy in pipeline for Noida  Hindustan Times

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Microsoft Advertising’s PromoteIQ integration for retailers, brands is now in beta  Search Engine Land

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Television’s Biggest Advertisers Spent Almost $10 Billion in 2019  Adweek

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YouTube advertisers blindsided by climate change denial videos  The Verge

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The Pitch: Advertising and marketing news for 1.14.20  RichmondBizSense

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Land Rover Evoque PHEV Spied Advertising Upcoming Powertrain  Motor1

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Vibrant paintings inspired by advertising and cartoons from The New Yorker in the 1950s  Creative Boom

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CenturyLink Settles a Case for Deceptive Advertising  Cord Cutters News, LLC

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Standard text ads will live on a bit longer, Microsoft Advertising says  Search Engine Land

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From internet to billboards, Ukraine's advertising market continues to grow  Kyiv Post

Maryland French Tax on Digital Platform Advertising - The National Law Review
Maryland French Tax on Digital Platform Advertising  The National Law Review

Foxtel Media to continue representing sales for NBC Universal in renewed advertising agreement - mUmBRELLA*
Foxtel Media to continue representing sales for NBC Universal in renewed advertising agreement  mUmBRELLA*

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Zee Entertainment Q3 Results: Profit Misses Estimates As Advertising Revenue Falls  BloombergQuint

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Spotify will use everything it knows about you to target podcast ads  The Verge

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‘Arrogant’ crack and heroin seller jailed after advertising drug business on T-shirt  Metro Newspaper UK

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ADVERTISEMENT: Remote Removal of Ayin Hara -over 65 Yeshuos Seen!  Yeshiva World News

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TikTok explores curated content feed to lure advertisers  Financial Times

How data can put the emotion back into advertising - CampaignLive
How data can put the emotion back into advertising  CampaignLive

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Dating apps need women. Advertisers need diversity. AI companies offer a solution: fake people  Seattle Times

Tourism advertising needs thought: Expert - The Weekly Times
Tourism advertising needs thought: Expert  The Weekly Times

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