There are two broad categories of marketing you can use for your company, and it’s important you understand the difference. These two types of marketing are called brand/image marketing and direct response marketing. Although both can have a place in marketing your business, for small businesses one (direct response) is much more effective and efficient than the other.
Brand or image marketing works off the premise that you can create awareness for your business or products by building name recognition. As Wikipedia explains it, branding “involves associating a product name or image with certain qualities in the minds of consumers.” Successful brand marketing needs mass media like TV, radio, and billboards to push the message to a broad audience. For large companies with big ad budgets, this can be effective. Unfortunately, institutional marketing like this is difficult to track, making it hard to quantify a return on investment.
Fortunately for small businesses, there is a better way. It’s called direct response marketing, and it’s designed to generate an immediate response. This type of marketing has a message that — when delivered correctly — compels the receiver to respond by calling the business, walking into the business, or visiting the company’s website for a special offer.
Direct response marketing is typically delivered via print (catalogs, sales flyers, postcards, etc), radio, and the Internet. Ads are results-driven, so it’s easy to find out quickly if the campaign was successful or not. As a result, it’s much more effective for most businesses because it can be measured, tracked, and held accountable for its performance.
There are several effective direct response formulas. One of the most popular is: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA).
Attention is captured with a compelling headline. The best headlines focus on benefits to the customer.
Interest is generated by telling a story. Explaining the process and care that goes into each of your products is an example of content that can generate interest to read further.
Desire is created with a compelling offer.
Action is prompted with a deadline (time sensitive: respond by) and a call to action (call today, come by to redeem, visit the website).
Whatever the formula, good direct response marketing uses reasons other than just price to get customers to call or visit. Using direct response marketing to tell your company’s unique story is a powerful weapon to help you stand apart from your competitors and increase the effectiveness of your ad campaigns.