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Brand Guide

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05 July, 2011

is your business a stranger, an acquaintance or an invited guest?

We recently attended an event hosted by the City of Banyule at which Peter Alexander spoke about the success of his business, and the major role direct mail marketing played in turning the pyjama brand into a household name.

Peter’s internationally renowned business began years ago from his Mother’s dining room table, with very little capital. To attract more sales, he experimented with placing advertisements in fashion magazines and posting out mail order catalogues to the database he collated from responses to the advertisements.

As many businesses will know, utilising a database is fast becoming an integral part of all marketing strategies, whether it be through online or offline marketing. Peter got me thinking about how businesses should best approach their strategy to utilise their database for a direct mail marketing campaign by asking the question – “Is your business a stranger, an acquaintance or an invited guest into the home of your ideal customer?”

There are many ways to build a database, you may have a list of existing clients, you could have purchased a mailing list from a broker or you may have offered an incentive for people to sign up to your e-newsletter. After your investment of time to build your database, you can best tailor your direct mail promotions and maximise their effectiveness in the mail box through better understanding what type of relationship your business and potential customer currently have.

Is your business a stranger? Has the recipient of your direct mail marketing material met your business before? Like meeting a new friend for the first time, your marketing communications should introduce your business simply, mention key points, be engaging and put no pressure on your new friend to commit to you. If possible, give the recipient an opportunity to enter into the conversation with you to create a stronger relationship. Do you have a blog you could direct them to where they can discuss the issues that matter to them? By encouraging further conversation with them, they may formally invite you into their home in the future if they believe you are someone worth knowing more about.

Is your business an acquaintance? Has the recipient of your marketing material met your business before? Perhaps you met through another business? Like meeting someone for the second time, gently remind them of who you are, why you matter, and what you have in common with them. You could do this with phrases such as, “We recently met at…, My customer Wendy suggested I get in contact with you because…, We noticed you are in our area…,” etc. Once again, finish your communication by suggesting a way for them to enter into further conversation with you and work towards a formal invitation into their home.

Has your business been invited as a guest? Perhaps your ideal customer / client has heard about you, visited your website and signed up to your mailing list? You are old friends and can communicate confidently and freely with them, knowing they have requested your presence in their home. Like visiting a friends house, be respectful of what’s important to them and never overstep the boundaries by contacting them in an necessary frequency, or risk losing your new friend.

Treat your database as a valuable asset in your business and communicate appropriately to your list members, and you can noticeably improve the effectiveness of your communications.