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Decision Making Made Easy with Direct Marketing Basics

By May 17, 2017January 13th, 2021Featured, Marketing

As an independent financial planner trying to do it all, you may wonder where to invest your effort in marketing for the best outcome and how to know if a particular outlet makes sense for your business. Make your decision easy by returning to the basic tenets of direct marketing.

The early days of my career began in New York City as an account executive at Grey Direct. We had major financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies work with us to develop their acquisition, retention, and loyalty strategies and execute their campaigns. Each new initiative began with a simple but fundamental question,

“What is your objective?”

In other words, what is it that you want this initiative to do for you to further your desired business results?

When you evaluate a lead generation or content sharing effort, ask yourself the same question, “What is my objective?” For example, do you want to build up your email list by 100 prospects, sign up 10 consultations, or reveal 3 viable partnership opportunities?

Whether you’re considering targeted facebook ads, speaking opportunities, or co-hosting a webinar, check in first with your objective. How well will this opportunity deliver on what you want?

If you believe this effort under evaluation can meet that objective, only then is it time to dig deeper. The fundamentals of direct marketing — where you request a specific action from a target audience member and can track the result — distill down to three elements to consider:

  • List – Who is the audience I want to receive my message and will this particular channel deliver to that audience? The more you can find other venues that have a following that matches your ideal target, the better the “list” element of a direct marketing effort. If you’re invited to give a speech, you can assume it is a worthwhile event if your target audience will be the attendees. If not, take a pass!
  • Offer – What are you providing in exchange for the effort you ask of the prospect? Is the offer relevant to the audience and valuable enough to warrant the action? If you are a guest blogger, share valuable, educational content followed by a low hurdle offer — Download Your Free Report: 3 Essentials Divorced Women over 50 Need to Know to Secure Your Retirement — in exchange for a name and email address. Save the consult for later after they get to know you.
  • Creative — What does the design of your web site, your video quality, your copy on your ad, and any other graphic or descriptive delivery mechanism look, feel, and sound like? The creative is the presentation of how you deliver the content, and it is the least important of the three elements; yet it’s the one where we often spend the most time. This is not an invitation for sloppiness or low quality work. You want to create consistency over time with a defined branding strategy; however, the exact way you present (the colors, tone, words, pictures) matters less than getting in front of the right people (the list) with the right content that speaks to their specific needs (including the offer).

While the marketing media has shifted since I worked in Manhattan, the fundamentals of direct marketing remain the same. Requesting and measuring response and engagement to relevant initiatives by your target audience has not only become mainstream; it’s essential to your online marketing success. But the decision of what to do doesn’t have to be hard. Answer one question and go from there.

Direct marketing strategy continues to work well throughout the full lead-to-client experience.  

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