How to Create a Successful Direct Marketing Plan

by Karen J. Marchetti

Anxious to get started with the copy (the words) and design? Before you jump into the details, take some time to do some higher-level planning. Effective Marketing and Direct Marketing programs start with a well thought-out plan — to act as a guide to help you (and everyone working on your project) achieve your goals.

When you’re talking with a direct mail marketing agency, be sure they focus on:

1. The LIST (single most important indicator of direct mail success)

2. How to get the package OPENED (44% are never opened)

3. How to get the package READ (do they have a plan for an effective Headline and Lead paragraph, along with the right EMOTIONAL DRIVER

4. How to get your OFFER acted upon?

Do you have a plan for your Direct Marketing program? When your objective is immediate sales, leads, or traffic (either to your retail location or your website), and you want trackable, measurable results, use Direct Marketing (or Direct Response). A Direct Marketing program can involve any medium. (We focus on websites, web landing pages, email marketing, direct mail marketing, social media marketing, direct-response magazine and newspaper ads.)

8-Step Direct Marketing Plan Outline

Step 1: Quantify your objectives

  • What are you trying to accomplish (number of sales, dollar sales, number of prospects or leads), within what timeframe, within what budget (if known)?

Step 2: Define your target audience and how best to reach them

  • What are the characteristics of your most profitable customers? Who are your best prospects? Which media can reach these targets most cost-effectively?

Step 3: Determine the appropriate sales process for your target audience

  • Can your product be sold in “one-step” (i.e., directly from your first effort?)
  • Do you need to first generate leads, and then take further steps to close the sale?

Step 4: Craft an irresistible Offer (“the deal”)

  • What will motivate your target audience to take action?

Step 5: Develop your main message or “positioning” statement

  • How is your solution different from what your audience now uses or what competitors offer? What are the key benefits you want to emphasize?
  • What key emotion will motivate your audience to take action?

Step 6: Select the appropriate format(s) for your message

  • How much space, time, and color (or direct mail package components) are needed to generate the sale, lead, or traffic?

Step 7: Test to maximize the value of your effort

  • Which are the most cost-effective media and mailing lists, the strongest Offers, the best headlines, and the most critical emotions with your audience?

Step 8: Run the financials to ensure the plan can realistically achieve objectives

  • What’s the expected gross profit per sale?
  • Based on the total cost of the program, how many sales are needed to breakeven?

Do you need a better plan for your direct marketing efforts?  We are a direct mail marketing agency with direct mail marketing copywriters in San Diego.  Contact Us