Relationship Marketing Made Easy

Direct Marketing – Do you use it ??

Direct Marketing and in particular Direct Mail is a modern day solution for small business to stay front of mind with their customers. 

About 35 years ago, one of the most efficient ways to get your message across or out to your customers was with the use of direct mail. Direct marketing especially for smaller operators was a whole lot cheaper and more effective than mass media like radio and television and more than held its own compared with newspaper and magazine advertising.

Back then one of the key advantages of this form of direct marketing was that the majority of mail was opened and read. The type of direct mail I am speaking about was delivered personally addressed and usually in a plain envelope with a stamp. Because of the cost advantage a lot of mail was delivered “To the householder” or “The business owner” or something similar. Even this generic mail had a high open rate, making it quite worthwhile and cost effective.

Personally addressed mail could be economically used to maintain contact and develop relationship, launch a new product, or introduce a sale or promotion. It was a very popular and effective means of communicating.

Direct Marketing

Around this time a new phenomenon was taking hold – electronic mail or Email as it became popularly known. It was new and novel, it captured our imagination and the best thing from a marketer’s perspective – it was FREE. It takes a lot to beat free.

Business was quick to embrace it, but due to the low numbers of early adopters on the internet direct mail was still holding its position. Naturally as more people moved onto the internet, business found it hard to resist free and increasingly popular. In fact they even released a love movie around the theme of it in 1998 called “You’ve Got Mail” starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

Seventeen years on from the movie and we have a different story. The vast majority of people and businesses today are connected to the internet. We have witnessed the development of social media to the point where many find it hard to forgo their daily dose of Facebook or Twitter. The bulk of business and even corporate have moved their direct marketing efforts to at least one if not all of these electronic media.

Electronic media has taken centre stage, the masses are there, it’s still free but increasingly to make it work, we have to adopt the paid version. And here we are just seventeen years after the movie and it is losing its shine. Back in 1998 close to 100% of emails were acknowledged and read. Today 67% of emails slide through the system totally ignored, no acknowledgement what so ever. Less people are looking at their Facebook feed and it is reaching fewer than ever, unless you opt for paying to increase your reach. In 2014 it was reported that more than 11 million young people have fled Facebook since 2011.

All the way through this time some smart marketers stayed with direct mail as the proven system of communication. Those who stayed and those adopting it now are enjoying a welcomed reception and are standing out from the crowd who deserted to electronic media.

Amazingly if you post a letter or a card to someone today it has a better than 99% chance of being opened and read. So, it stands to reason that those involved direct marketing or any business person for that matter wanting to reach out to his customers or some other audience would be wise to use Direct Mail. It is proving itself to be the modern day solution for small business to reach out and stay front of mind with their customers. 

direct marketing

Today there are many cost effective ways of getting your message economically delivered by mail and the one I recommend is  

Ron and Sue

Communication – How are YOUR communication skills standing up?

How are YOUR communication skills standing up?

Just like in dancing – are you doing the Tango or the Mis-fango?

This is something to seriously consider! Earlier I wrote about people not responding to modern communication systems in my piece “Are you getting through?” where essentially it was revealed that most people are just not responding to your phone calls and emails etc.

Are you one of the guilty ones and what is this costing your business?

This is a sample of some of my attempts to communicate over the last couple of weeks.

I phoned a friend and associate to give him a red hot lead and got his answer machine, where I left a message to give me a call. I’m still waiting and the red hot lead has gone elsewhere.

Contacted a company with a question that when answered would in all probability result in a sale. Since I contacted them (coincidentally?) I have received two sales prospecting calls from them, (where I deliberately did not restate my question) but I am still waiting for someone to contact me with the answer to my question. Some other company it seems will soon be getting some business.

My second car runs out of rego shortly and I have decided to retire it from service. I have rung two local wreckers who advertise in the local rag wanting to buy old cars. Both went to answer machines and both still have not returned my call. On a second call I hung up before the machine cut in to cause a missed call message. Still no answer.

I have attempted to follow up four new contacts from a recent networking event. I have left phone messages and emails asking them to make contact with me. None have! Do you think any offer of a future JV might be forthcoming?

I ran into one of them yesterday and mentioned my messages. Boy was I surprised at the reply. “I have better things to do than chase after people trying to sell me something.” I thought I was making contact to help build a relationship and sure it would be great if it lead to a sale.

By the way, perhaps I should mention that other calls have been responded to with generally a good result for both parties.

It is true that sometimes calls etc being made to us are to try to sell us something and sometimes this can be frustrating, even for those of us who make our living selling, which really is everyone in business. But as you can glean from my examples above none of them were actually sales directed, in fact in one case it was to put an easy sale in his lap.

See what I mean, if your end of a communication is not happening, it could be costing you dearly. Just like in dancing – it takes two to Tango!


Ron and Sue

Email – Are you getting through??

Email – Are you getting through?

It seems electronic communications are dying out, even to the point of plain not happening. This is definitely having an impact on and making it harder to do business.

Recently I was sitting in on a sales and marketing training webinar and the speaker was making quite a to-do about how people these days are not responding when you are trying to contact and connect with them.

He pointed out that a large number of emails get delivered to the junk mail basket and are never seen and over 60% of emails that make it through are either totally ignored or just not responded to.

Most people are choosing not to answer their phones, preferring to let your call to go to their answering service, where they will listen to your message and decide if they want to respond or not – then they might ring you back or text you.

He then pointed out that most preferred to simply text and leave it at that. (Texting a longer message is cumbersome and lacks any emotional overtones that could cause your message to be misconstrued).

He was teaching that today you need to skip straight to the text, if you want to make contact, especially as at the moment 95% of people almost immediately respond to a text message. But I wonder how long this will last, especially as the quantity increases as more turn to texting instead of other means of communicating.


Everyone used to and they still do—open their mail. Nearly everyone used to answer their phone and answer their email and before email no one could ignore a fax.  So where to from here?

Why don’t we improve the situation and make the most of the action most people still engage in, and that is to go to their letterbox and open their mail. (And what’s more, today they are actually looking forward to and enjoying the experience.)

When they do, you still need to grab their attention and make an impact, so you don’t want just a boring letter, or even an envelope that looks like it could be a bill, nor do you want an envelope without a real stamp on it.  Why not take advantage of the latest technology like Send Out Cards utilizes and send them a full colour, personalised greeting card, conveying your message and sentiments. Best of all, you can get your customised and individualised card into someone’s letterbox for under $2.00, including the stamp! Even if it’s just a one-off! 

Digital electronic communication has held centre stage and while it may be dirt cheap, it has had its day.

The past is returning to the future, the letterbox is reclaiming its role as the entry point into the hearts and minds of our existing and potential customers. How long is it going to be before you start using it and getting your message through?

Ron and Sue