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How to choose a direct marketing agency

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Ever wish you could just cut all the middlemen out of marketing and get straight to the point? Direct marketing is your answer.

As the name suggests, direct marketing is a means of marketing directly to your customers via multiple channels. Direct marketing campaigns target people who are most likely to be interested in your offer.

This means avoiding the prohibitively expensive ‘spray and pray’ approach to advertising that often brings in minimal results. However, as with most things in the advertising world, the type of direct marketing that will work for your business depends on your budget, your industry and the consumers you want to target.

One of the best features of direct marketing is that it gives you a straightforward way to speak to a highly bespoke target audience. However, just because there aren’t any ‘middlemen’ in direct marketing doesn’t mean that you have to figure everything out on your own.

direct marketing agency can help you to understand which form of promotion will work best for you, and how you can find the custom audience you need to target.

What is a direct marketing agency?

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Like all marketing campaigns, the ultimate goal of direct marketing is to make as many people as possible aware of your business, your products, and your services using a variety of communication methods. The goal is to elicit enthusiastic responses from your customers by creating personalized offers that are custom-tailored to their preferences and sensibilities.

That’s where direct response marketing agencies are valuable to your organization. Customer outreach, while an incredibly important aspect of any customer-based business, can be time-consuming and costly. For that reason, many organizations tend to outsource their direct response marketing practices to an agency the specializes in this form of marketing. At its core, direct response marketing is predicated on making customers feel special and creating custom-tailored solutions for their needs.

But the execution of this basic principle also matters. Generally, direct response marketing includes incorporating effective calls-to-action, contact forms, cultivating strong customer relationships, asking for customer feedback, providing customers with convenient forums to ask questions and leave comments, and so much more. Depending on the type of business you’re in and how much of your organization’s success depends on in-depth customer interactions, you can employ direct response marketing in different ways.

Types of direct marketing

One of the earliest forms of direct marketing was the targeted sending of store catalogs (direct mail campaigns). Stores would send mail order catalogs to people who lived too far away to purchase from their physical location, but who still fit the prime demographics for their products.

Today, direct marketing is most commonly done via curated emails. Direct email marketing messages are tailored to the demographics, needs, and preferences of specific audiences, rather than being sent out en masse. Some direct marketing emails are even focused solely on one customer, with specific product recommendations curated to that customer.

Direct marketing can also be done through other company-owned channels, like snail mail (direct mail marketing), phone calls (telemarketing), or SMS. And even though a company doesn’t own a social network, their social media marketing is still considered a direct marketing effort. After all, a company has control of their own social profile, and uses it to address followers without involving a middleman.

Why hire a direct marketing agency?

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Direct marketing offers plenty of advantages over campaigns that involve a third party. The main benefits of direct marketing are personalization for an audience segment and control of your data, but they don’t end there. Here’s a detailed overview of the main direct marketing advantages.

Direct marketing is a highly segmented strategy. Compared to a generic campaign, targeting your marketing to a narrow audience often yields better results. You can create extremely detailed messages for a segment based on age, location, interests, browsing habits, and more.

The personalized messaging makes that audience segment more likely to perform the action you’re promoting. You can also choose an audience you already know is interested in your product, rather than wasting time and money on irrelevant eyes who likely won’t be interested in the offer.

Direct marketing helps build relationships. The personalized messaging of direct marketing, and the fact you deliver this messaging right to the customer, helps you build customer relationships and increase customer loyalty.

Plus, the information you gather from this personalized campaign can help you refine other messaging targeted at key existing customers. For example, the response you get from your direct marketing campaign can help you understand what rewards and messaging will motivate your customers most for your loyalty program or referral program.

Direct marketing usually allows you to launch a campaign more quickly. After all, you don’t have to depend on a third party to craft your message, ask for them to share it, or wait for their feedback. Some direct marketing campaigns that involve digital marketing, like email and social media ones, can be built and launched within hours.

Direct marketing is cost-effective. You don’t have to worry about paying a middleman (such as a TV network or influencer) to create or distribute your message. You’re in total control of your campaign budget.

If you make use of the data you collect and carefully personalize your campaign, you’ll be able to achieve results at a fraction of the cost of third-party advertising. Direct marketing is especially advantageous for smaller companies who can’t afford mass media coverage.

Direct marketing is data-driven. Since you’re constantly tracking your campaign’s success, you can rapidly check results, make educated campaign decisions in real time, and quickly pivot if the metrics aren’t meeting your goals. You’ll be able to refine future campaigns and messaging based on what has proven to deliver the best results.

Direct marketing campaigns also make it easier to gather and track this all-important data, because all the data is within your brand’s control. You don’t have to worry about getting the data from a middleman or getting third-party approval to change the campaign – you can instantly access and act on the data whenever you want.

Choosing the right direct marketing agency

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Although customer service and maintaining strong customer relationships should always be one of your organization’s top priorities, it can get extremely time-consuming and difficult to manage on your own. As your business continues to grow, you’ll inevitably acquire a larger customer base, which means you’re going to need more support to manage the influx of customer interactions.

With that in mind, here are some great tips for choosing the right direct response marketing agency to help you manage your customer interactions.

Plan a budget

Having a strict budget in place is extremely important because it’ll help you keep track of all of your marketing spending and stay within the appropriate financial parameters for your business. No matter what stage you’re in or how much success your business has already achieved, budgeting can help you stay on course without exhausting all of your resources.

How much are you willing or able to spend on an effective marketing campaign? Take into account additional costs like content creation, generating qualified leads, back and forth communication (phone, email, live chat), as well as social media comments.

All of these forms of communication require special attention. A direct response marketing agency will closely track each and every customer communication avenue you choose to participate in and guarantee that all questions and concerns are addressed within a timely manner.

Screen a shortlist of agencies

Choosing a direct response marketing agency to work for you is a lot like interviewing new job candidates. You wouldn’t hire just any candidate without first doing your due diligence, would you? The same principle can be applied to direct response marketing agencies.

To ensure that you’re hiring the right one, make sure to research the top agencies in your area and then work your way down the list. Contact each of them using various platforms and methods. Test how long it takes each one to respond to your request and then carefully analyze their responses to your inquiries. Consider the following factors:

  • Quick response times
  • Courteous responses
  • Informative responses
  • Clear and concise responses
  • Convenience

Think of the process of finding a direct response marketing agency almost like a litmus test. The agency that produces the best results during your search will ultimately come out victorious.

Look into their credentials

Credentials and a strong track record also matter when hiring a direct response marketing agency to work for your organization. You want to make sure that the agency you eventually choose will always put their best foot forward in helping you meet and exceed your marketing objectives.

Outside of performing your own tests, try to see if you can contact some of the other organizations that they’ve represented to get some personal performance feedback. Or, you can directly ask each agency for references.

What does a good direct marketing agency look like?

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A few important qualities you should look for in a reputable direct marketing agency include:

  • Experience. How long has the agency been in business? How many representatives do they have? How are their employees trained to handle customer complaints and questions? What customer relations tactics, techniques, and platforms do they use? What customer support methods and practices does the agency promote?
  • Customer Satisfaction Rates. A great way to determine whether a marketing company is achieving its goals and performing well is by conducting customer satisfaction surveys. These surveys give customers opportunities to provide direct and honest feedback either anonymously or publicly while also highlighting areas of improvement for businesses.
  • Attention to Detail. Marketing professionals of all calibers need to pay special attention to minor details their customers provide because these can be used as key selling points later on. Customers appreciate when the businesses they support take the time to offer compassionate, personalized services.

Using Creativepool

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Creativepool has hundreds of direct marketing agencies ready and waiting to help bring your ideas and your brand to life.

Finding a web design agency that fits your needs on Creativepool is simple and effective.

You have 2 main options. Search and contact or post a studiobrief.

1. Search and Contact

The Creative Services Directory is the place for you to be able to search and select the company that best serves your needs. 

After using the search bar, you will be able to view the profiles, case studies and information about each company listed.

When you find a company then you can contact them directly. This is the most effective way for you to be in control of who you work with

2. Post a studiobrief

The second way that you can use Creativepool to find a company that meets your creative needs is to advertise your brief.

Doing so is completely free and to help you along you will be assigned an account manager. Once you have posted your initial brief, they will be in contact with you about what you are looking for and help you amend your brief (if needed) and send it out to the most relevant companies on the platform.

Once posted you will receive applications from companies directly and you can then discuss your needs with the company in more detail.

Posting a studiobrief is by far the easiest approach, free and you are under no obligation to hire any of the companies that apply. It's a flexible and powerful approach to finding a new agency partner that does most of the hard work for you.

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