Institutional type advertisements have a fatal flaw. They do not direct the reader or viewer into any actionable changes. Even if the prospect is interested, there is no direction that is charted out or pointed out for him.
Hence, many critics believe in direct response advertising only.
What is Institutional Type Marketing?
Institutional type marketing refers to marketing in an attempt to showcase your product and services. This form of marketing is the most common in paid advertisements. The goal of this form of marketing is to strengthen the company’s brand image in the public’s eye.
This can be a form of a PR campaign, community involvement project or a sponsorship. Most of the time, institutional type of marketing does a lot of “show and tell”, where the company’s products and services are being promoted and made aware to the general public.
A toilet company might sponsor a renovation project for an old folk’s home that is being constructed. A gaming company might be hosting a giveaway for any interested participants. A fashion brand might be taking part in the latest environmentally friendly practices. The focus is usually on promotion, rather than education and information.
It is not to say that institutional type marketing is bad. Some forms of it are extremely helpful, such as pre-eminence marketing. However, the same trick might not work for all companies.
What is Direct Response Marketing?
There are several types of direct marketing. Direct-response advertising’s name is self-explanatory. It is designed to evoke an immediate response or action. This can come in the example of an appointment booking, a phone call, a blog article read or a social media following.
Direct-response advertising aims to tell a complete story. It presents factual, specific reasons why your company, product, or service is superior to others, why it is different from others. It lays evidence for prospects to judge and believe in.
It differs from the conjecture of institutional advertising, where information is thrown and displayed, but with the lack of a coherent purpose.
Instead of a sponsorship for a renovation project, a toilet company might instead expand upon its industry’s knowledge, by suggesting to the public the reasons they need a toilet upgrade and the benefits of one. Instead of hosting giveaways, the campaign might be paired with the benefits of the promoted product. Instead of promoting an apparel’s shop latest efforts against global warming, they might be launching more blogs and videos about how the community can partake in these efforts.
Direct-response marketing steers towards content marketing, where you help your customers make more informed decisions. Not just purchasing decisions but decisions that affect your community and target audience’s lifestyles.
Direct-response advertising is a salesmanship sharpest tool. It aims to overcome sales objections by answering major questions and promising performance or results. More often than not, it usually brings out a risk-reversal wild card and backs the promise with a risk-free warranty or money-back guarantee.
Benefits of Direct Response Marketing
Direct-response advertising compels your prosects to take action. When used effectively, direct-response advertising has the capability to bring in high quality leads, in quantity. Coupled with effective and convincing copywriting, you will be able to hit higher conversion rates.
Furthermore, due to the wide array of trackable metrics that you have, you can analyse profitability and performance of all your direct-response marketing campaigns. Institutional type marketing carries no such benefit.
By providing information that is helpful for your prospects, you educate your prospects more. You make them interested. This can range from blog articles that addresses commonly asked questions or a complete guide ‘How-to’ article to help your clients with a common issue. This way, you convince your prospect that you know what you are doing, further boosting the value of your product or service. Direct response marketing has always worked effectively due to this aspect.
It works even better when your prospect knows little to nothing about your business and your motivations. Your prospects only care about how your product/service can affect them? How will you help them save time/money/effort?
How can you add value to them?
This is why information is so important.
Tell your readers what action to take, what information to process. Share with them how you can get them more business, reduced problems, saved time or a better lifestyle. Reduce the risk on their end with risk-reversal proposals. Remind them of your company’s guarantee and best of all, tell them what they can expect from owning your product.
By switching your marketing approach to be more akin to direct-response advertising, you should improve your effectiveness many times over.
Examples of Direct Response Marketing
Direct response is used by all types of businesses and professions, and it brings plenty of measurable results.
Direct response augments your other marketing campaigns. It provides you with market research and analysis to help complement your other marketing channels. For example, a social media giveaway campaign and help with your ongoing PR campaign. Your email marketing outreach can also help you to promote your latest content creation endeavours. It saves you from doing double work and can allow you to have a better insight and understanding of your customers.
Direct response marketing allows you to target specific tiers and segments of your customer base. It’s an indispensable tool for reaching people or businesses outside your general market area you wouldn’t normally be able to access, such as overseas prospects or a community that is usually out of your reach.
Due to the response that they provide and the metrics that you can track, it allows you to tier your customers and target audience into different segments and tiers. For any business, customers exist in varying tiers of interest. Some may be a one-time customer, while a premium few are your loyal supporters and long-term returning customers. Marketing strategies for these customers would hence have to differ. Your marketing team needs to convince your one-time customers more often, just like how prospects that have never purchased anything from your company will require more convincing.
Because the cost to obtain a potential lead is low, direct response marketing allows you to scale your marketing efforts much easier. It is easy to make a profit from these marketing campaigns due to the low cost and high potential returns.
It is a productive way to constantly communicate with your audience, enabling you to build a healthy client-seller relationship while making a profit in the process. This makes it easier for future sales and “upsell” of your product or services, as your customers are already convinced of your value.
Direct-response marketing is a good resources/inventory balancing tool that businesses can use. Adding direct response advertising to your arsenal of marketing approaches grants you the flexibility and ability to optimise and balance your inventory and resources. Suppose that you are a hairdresser who has weekends and weekdays evening fully booked. Those are the times which working adults would visit you. This leaves majority of your morning and afternoons on weekdays empty. Your store is empty, your employees are too free. It is a severe waste of resources.
Enter direct response marketing, where you can use it to target your active customers and prospects to filter them towards these ‘empty and free’ timeslots.
You can use social media or direct messaging to stimulate business activity. Offer them a promotion, free gift or discount to sweeten the deal. More often than not, you will be able to get more people towards these timeslots. And that is already an improvement for a cold and empty storefront.
This sale strategy can be used to clear outdated stock or apparel that is out of fashion. That is why there are usually great sales and one-for-one promotions. From a business point of view, unprofitable lulls in business activity can be nullified by an active, direct response program.
Every business needs to employ these tactics aggressively to keep sales up and prevent erratic business volumes.
How to Do Direct Response Marketing
Stay in Touch
Direct response marketing is all about keeping in contact with your customers. This form of contact forms the foundation of your marketing strategy. It can range from once a month to every quarter, to every six months, or even on a yearly basis.
The key thing is that regardless of the frequency of your updates, you outreach to your prospects with a gift or promotion.
Of course, humans are naturally suspicious of advertising. They tend to suspect. But the sooner you state your intentions, the better. Give your prospect reasons to believe that it is not a bait-and-switch marketing gimmick.
“We are looking to have you back as a regular customer.”
“We are passing on the cost savings we enjoyed over the calendar year to you.”
“We are hoping to raise awareness on this issue and..”
Have a Procedure
Set up a procedure on how to process purchases. Automate your sales system. You can do it through an emailing application or have a manager handle your sales team. You want to be able to have a group of trained staff members who facilitate your customer’s journey throughout the company.
For example, after their first purchase, it would be nice for your customer to be greeted with a warm welcome and thank you as they enter your company’s ecosystem of newsletter and updates.
After a week or two after their purchase, you can add to your customer’s post-purchase experience by checking in with them, in a less intrusive way such as an email or message, to find out how they feel about the product. Not only will this show that you care about them, but it will also let you capture any glaring mistakes or defects that your company is responsible for.
Take note of your client’s birthday and send them greeting cards. This trick will also work on festive seasons, which is a great opportunity for you to give out company products, such as calendars, planners, name card holders or souvenirs with your company’s logo on it.
Have something that they can use in their daily lives or place in their home to remind them of your company.
After you have had this system running for a few months, start to categorise your customers. Are they active customers? Are they inactive prospects? Do they reply and answer to your calls and emails? There are many ways you can do so, but the most vital piece of information is their size and frequency of purchases.
Using that piece of information, you get to know your customer base, as a whole, better. What are your hot periods where your shelves get cleared out? What are the items that your customers purchase the most, and hence you need more stock for those items? How often are these purchases made? Just because your customers buy them today does not mean they will buy them again tomorrow.
This can help you, save cost from not overspending or underordering and help to optimise your company’s business and operations.
Direct response marketing is a strong tool. It helps to optimise your business, promote your products and foster a connection between you and your customer.
However, you need to master other marketing strategies as well. You need to convince your customers by lowering their risk, you need to make a killer offer, and value-add services. You need to give them lesser reasons to say no to you.
It is important to remember that your marketing campaigns can launch simultaneously. The best way to achieve quality leads is through multiple channels and deep diving into optimising each of those channels individually, over time.
One of those ways you can optimise your marketing efforts is through Search Engine Optimisation, which involves Google Searches and a solid searchable website. To find out more about SEO in general, you can read up on our SEO guide. If you are interested, you can even contact us and we can provide you with a free SEO analysis of your company.