Customer engagement is of critical importance for the growth of any business. It’s virtually impossible to build loyalty with disengaged customers, which means that if you fail to engage your audience in a meaningful way and establish emotional connections with them, they’ll churn very soon.
For example, a Gallup research study has shown that companies which engaged their B2B customers managed to reduce customer attrition by 63% while increasing their share of wallet by 55% and boosting productivity by 50%. But the trick is to find a way to spark engagement.
Enter direct marketing. This strategy can do wonders for connecting with your customers on a more profound level.
Benefits of direct marketing
Although some marketers believe that direct marketing is the relic of the past, that’s a far cry from the truth. It can be extremely effective but only if done properly. As its name says, this type of marketing allows you to directly communicate with your target audience and deliver a targeted and personalized message.
When paired with loyalty strategies, direct marketing goes beyond a business relationship and allows a more personal approach to keeping in touch with your customers. For example, birthday cards, messages, and discount coupons show that you care for your customers and that you don’t observe them purely as a means to make a profit. Another perk of this strategy is the ability to target your ideal customers with tailored messaging through variable data instead of wasting your budget on reaching out to a mass audience non-selectively.
This strategy requires you to accurately identify your customers and research their needs and preferences so that you can direct your marketing efforts at them. Social media channels, questionnaires, and website forms can help you with that, but online paid surveys can provide you with the most detailed insight because people are more likely to share personal information when they’re incentivized.
Pick the right channel
Multi-channel communication has become a must these days, and although it goes without saying that you need to take advantage of different outreach tactics, it’s essential to find out what your audience prefers and focus your marketing efforts (and budget) on these particular channels.
A good way to start your research is establishing whether your customers are predominantly contacting you through your website, email, Facebook chat, phone, or Twitter direct messages. Another method is to test how different types of direct marketing perform with your audience. Make sure to try out the following strategies:
- Telemarketing has earned a somewhat bad reputation due to the fact that companies have overstayed their welcome and become too pushy. Namely, according to some stats, telemarketers make 148 million junk calls a day, which results in approximately 18,000 complaints a year. But, this practice can be effective if you have a well-crafted plan in place. It’s crucial to create relevant, high-quality scripts, set rules about the number of calls a day, as well as establish how many times a number can be called.
- Direct mail can be very effective when it comes to reaching out to certain demographics. It may come as a surprise that people aged 18-34, that is, Millennials and Gen Zs, who are the first digital generations, are very responsive to this kind of marketing. But if we remember that their email inboxes are swamped with spam and all kinds of promotional messages, it’s only logical that to a certain extent they’re tired of digital marketing. So, catalogs, postcards, hand-written thank you notes, and brochures successfully capture their attention. On the other hand, people aged 65 and up still prefers physical mail despite the fact that some of them use digital technologies.
- Email marketing is among the most popular and cost-effective strategies. Thanks to different email automation tools, it can be used to target different segments of your audience and avoid the trap of generic, bland mass emails.
- SMS and IM marketing allows you to reach a large number of people and send them a message about upcoming discounts, delivery reminders, or important information about your company. Since many people check their smartphones on a regular basis, you can be sure that they will see your message almost immediately, and act upon it.
How to make it work?
Just like with any other type of marketing, the first and most important step is to get to know and understand your audience. Being honest and sincere with your audience is an equally important factor. In other words, never promise something that you can’t deliver and make sure to meet every deadline. This will help you build loyalty and credibility, and surveys say that loyal customers are 5 times more likely to forgive if a company makes a mistake.
Last but not least, make your message relevant as this will boost your retention rates. Your emails and other content should revolve around your customers’ pain points and offer a practical solution. Don’t be too salesy in your approach, and don’t send your audience only promotional materials which they can’t use. Go the extra mile and surprise them with free merchandise or coupons, and they’ll return the favor with their loyalty to your company.
Direct marketing might be an old-fashioned strategy, but it’s extremely useful when it comes to engaging your customers.
Guest Blogger – Emma Miller
Emma is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and the latest business trends.