In order to execute an effective advertising strategy, it needs to be realistic for what resources you have available to make it happen. It's important that all customer segments have regular communication, however the timing can be staggered so that it's manageable.
- Try mixing up the formats for direct mail… this keeps the interest up and increases the probability that the message is processed.
- When planning a direct mail campaign for occasions such as birthday or anniversary, reduce the workload by batching all the recipients together and mail once per month.
Example of a 3 month advertising plan
|Advertising Method||Purpose||Month 1||Month 2||Month 3|
|Large Folding Card||Send to current customer base to announce new promotion.|
|Oversize Postcard||Attract new customers by targeting geographical area.|
|Standard Postcard||Send to current customer base with a referral request message, include a special offer.|
|Birthday Card||Maintain loyalty, encourage repeat visits.|
|Goal: 2 post/week||Encourage participation, feedback, communicate information.|
|POINT OF PURCHASE|
|Personalized Reusable Tote Bag||Sell at $2/tote bag to cover the cost, encourage plastic bag reduction, and create a walking advertisement.|
|Appointment Card||Reduce no-shows for next appointment.|
Tracking Results and Making Improvements
The key to a successful marketing strategy is setting clear goals for each initiative, understanding the effectiveness, and making notes of what to tweak for the future. It's important to keep in mind that you'll get different response rates depending on the type of campaign you are doing. For example, sending a promotion to a group of prospects will have a lower response rate than sending the same promotion to your current customers. This is because your current customer base already knows your business and is an active participant. However, this doesn't necessarily mean one campaign was more successful than the other; it just depends on what you're trying to achieve.
Follow these rules of thumb:
- Ask the question! If it's a new customer “So how to did you hear about our services?”
- If you want to track a promotion, either assign a promotional code that the customer needs to mention or ask them to bring in the postcard to redeem (this way they can only use the promotion once).
- Write results down. Have a simple system in place where you can record every time you receive a sale or new customer due to a marketing campaign. Don't just rely on your own memory, because you won't have accurate data to make informed decisions for improvements.
- Listen to feedback. When you start hearing the same comments from customers, incorporate that information into the next campaign. For example, if your business is hard to find… insert a map into the next postcard you send out.
- Don't make judgement calls after only one try. One of the most important elements of a marketing campaign is repetition. Setting the expectation that you'll receive a flood of new customers by only sending one mailing may be unrealistic. The more you get your business name in front of prospective customers, the easier it will be for them to remember your name when they need your services.