Targeting Through Direct Marketing: How to Reach an Audience that Wants to Hear from You

aerial view of a neighborhood

4 Ways to Use Customer Data to Create Marketing that Converts

If you’ve attempted direct marketing of any sort, you have probably learned the painful lesson of what happens when you market to generalized lists, rather than targeted ones.

Sending emails to random lists, buying up whole zip codes and blasting them with direct mail, advertising on social media to the broadest possible audience – none of this usually produces a return on investment, whether in immediate purchases or long term customer cultivation.

Purpose of Targeting

In direct marketing, the purpose of targeting is to help you effectively connect with potential buyers who are more likely to want and need what you sell. When you know who you’re marketing to, you can use language, imagery, cultural references, and design features that appeal to that target audience. You can appeal to the values held by the majority in the group.

The ability to get attention and engage a prospect increases exponentially when you’re able to speak to them at this deeper level in your direct marketing.

dartboard representing audience targeting

6 Types of Direct Marketing Targeting

You can target your marketing based on many categories all at once, or for just one or two in particular. It depends on how heavily you want to invest in developing your lists, which media you choose to use, and the advertising resources at your disposal.

Here are six types of targeting you can use in your direct marketing:

  • Geographic – you can target for cities, zip codes, street blocks, neighborhoods, even specific addresses
  • Demographic – includes things like age, income, ethnicity, education, and type of residence
  • Behavioral – how do people prefer to buy? Over the phone, by mail, in person, online? Do they prefer deliveries or pickups? These preferences shape your service and offers
  • Psychographic – interests, hobbies, values, political preferences, financial behaviors – these play a much deeper role in why people make the buying decisions they make
  • Media preferences – some people avoid traditional TV and radio completely; others still watch and listen to hours of it. Online breaks down into dozens of categories. Do they prefer video, social media (which platforms?), or search? How do they respond to email? Do they use mobile, desktop, or both? What about direct mail and front door marketing?
  • Previous customers

Of these six, which one is your best source for information about your ideal customers?

The last one.

Best Source for Targeting Insights for Direct Marketing

Your current and previous customers offer you the greatest insights into who buys your products and services.

For instance, one company we know was marketing through social media using methods that appeal to people in the 20s and 30s. But when they looked through their customer data, they realized their average customer was about 50 years old. Were they reaching their true demographic as well as they could? Probably not.

Improper targeting is the number one error made in direct mail marketing, according to this list of 10 common errors.

To solve it, begin by looking at your current customer information. How much from each of the targeting categories above do you know about them?

How to Use Customer Data to Target New Prospects and Market to Existing Buyers

Your customer data should reveal to you which types of targeting listed above will be most effective. And this is true for re-selling your existing customers as well as reaching new ones. Here are three strategies to focus on.

1. Use the Right Media

Do your buyers respond best to weekly ads found in the Sunday newspaper and delivered through the mail? Then you may be wasting money on social media campaigns.

Do most of your customers purchase online? Then TV advertising may not be a good use of ad spend.

Certain forms of media will be more effective with certain target audiences. But be careful here. If your competition is using media channels you’re not using and is getting results from them, you might need to use that channel to keep the customers you already have.

What does a campaign cost?

Get a custom-built sample campaign with real targeting data, ad creative, cost estimates, and distribution plans.

Use the Project Estimator

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2. Identify Common Features

If your customers fit specific demographic profiles, then tailor your marketing to fit their reality. Do most of your customers have kids? Then put more emphasis on that in your marketing. Do most of them live in multi-family units as opposed to single family homes? Use that to target your direct mail lists. Develop language that speaks to people in those environments.

Using language that connects with a prospect’s real life gets their attention, mainly because it hardly ever happens. You break through the clutter when you speak into their real life, and real needs. This goes way beyond price.

For instance, a telecommunications company might realize that many of their customers have families with kids and would prefer more lines, but it’s too expensive. They could then target families – even to the exclusion of people without kids – and make multiple lines a key feature in their offers. That carrier could aim to become known as the ‘family carrier,’ that has the best deals and service for people with kids.

Another use of common features is that it allows you to acquire more specialized mailing lists, whether in direct mail or email. Here’s an explanation of how you can use your data to get targeted mailings lists from big data agencies like Epsilon.

Best of all, when you have detailed targeting information in multiple areas listed above, you can then develop effective multi-channel marketing campaigns.

The truth is, most people need to be reached multiple times before they respond to marketing. Just sending out one mailing, one email, or one commercial doesn’t usually do the job. They have to see it repeatedly. And when it comes at them in multiple channels, the attention they give you compounds.

Each marketing channel offers its own targeting capabilities. For instance, on television, certain cable channels cater to very specific audiences with identifiable psychographic and demographic characteristics.

In front door marketing, which is what Power Direct specializes in, we use highly advanced targeting technology that allows you to focus your front door marketing down to specific addresses.

See 4 address-level targeting capabilities for front door marketing

3. Use Smart Direct Marketing

All the targeting in the world does little good if you don’t use it smartly. You could acquire a highly specialized list of addresses, and then just send them one direct mail piece and nothing else. That probably won’t provide you with ideal results. No matter what media you’re using, you must reach your prospects more than once.

Here are some other direct marketing tips to capitalize on your audience targeting:

  • Follow up after a purchase is made by using additional marketing – build loyalty
  • Create new offers regularly
  • Speak directly to the audience you’re targeting – do not keep your language generalized for a mass audience
  • Measure everything – know what’s working and what isn’t
  • Test frequently – compare headlines, images, offers, and any other attributes of your marketing you want to improve on

This is just an introduction to direct marketing targeting. And again, it will look different in every form of media.

Of all the forms of media, front door marketing offers you the most highly targeted, high-impact, high-visibility direct-to-consumer marketing channel in the world. Nothing gets more attention than an item on the front door. It’s guaranteed to be seen. No other marketing channel can compare in that metric.

To see if a front door marketing campaign might make sense for you, click the link below and find out more about our service, and how we have enhanced its effectiveness through highly sophisticated and technologically advanced targeting.

Tell Me More about Front Door Marketing and Targeting