Lorraine Ball, the owner of Roundpeg, helps small business owners learn the secrets of big company marketing.

With all the emphasis on social media, Twitter, Facebook and Internet marketing, it is easy to assume traditional marketing is obsolete. But that is not true. For most small business owners, the best results can be found by combining on- and off-line elements. Direct mail campaigns, done correctly, can be a very powerful tool for small business marketing. The problem is most business owners don’t take the time to do it right. Here are five simple steps which can significantly improve your results.

1. Select a Target:1,000 postcards sent to the right people will deliver far more results than 10,000 cards sent to anyone. Spend a little time and money to define your ideal client, and build a narrower, more targeted list of high quality prospects.

2. Good Design:Direct mail is like a billboard coming to your door. You have about the same amount of time to catch someone’s attention as you would if they were driving by at 60 miles an hour on a highway. So keep it simple, eye catching, and to the point.

3. Create Urgency with a Strong Call to Action:Tell your prospects what to do next. Include a strong incentive for your prospect to contact you and begin the process of getting to know, like, and trust you.

4. Test, Test, Test:Your instincts on what will work may be all wrong. Instead of sending out one huge mailing, send out some smaller test batches with different layouts, messages, or offers. Find the most successful one and send that one to your complete mailing list.

5. Use a Two- or Three-Pronged Approach:It is not enough to send one batch of mail and then stop. To be effective, you need a multi-part strategy. Since few people will come to your shop, your Website is the ideal center point for your marketing. Drive visitors to your site from social media and direct mail. Offer opportunities to schedule appointments, request quotes, and more information to make your marketing more interactive. As you add additional mailings, social media, and telephone calls to the mix, you will see your results multiply.

Sounds like work? It is. But without a bit of planning it can be a huge waste of time and money.

How does direct mail fit into your marketing plan? Do you have a marketing plan?

Want a copy of Lorraine’s simple outline you can use as a starting point for your marketing activities, simply drop her an e-mail at lorraine@roundpeg.biz or call 317-569-1396.

Publication date:04/26/2010