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How Can You Brand Yourself?

Personal branding is important for any business owner or person who wants to promote their business, products or services. When the public views you as an expert, they are likely to trust you more and want to hear more about what you are saying about a variety of topics. They will buy from you more readily because they trust you as an expert.

Become an Author

Publishing a book as an author can open many doors, especially if the book is well received. Today it’s easier than ever to add “author” to your list of accomplishments due to Kindle Direct Publishing. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that it won’t work and it’s not a good way to become an expert. It does, and it is.

Become a Speaker

If you have a lot of knowledge about a particular topic, consider adding public speaking to your resume. Speaking to groups of people has long been established to advance expertise, and nothing has changed. After all, the audience members will automatically assume you know what you are talking about or you wouldn’t be talking.

Create an eCourse

Teaching what you know to others is a clear sign that you’ve mastered something enough to demonstrate and teach it to others. You can put courses on your own website, deliver them through email, or put them on a third party site like Udemy.com.

Blog Regularly

Don’t stop using your blog as a method to get your words out to your audience just because you move up in the world. Keep blogging at least weekly, but perhaps create longer content that is more authoritative in nature, providing a lot of in-depth information to your viewers.

Become a Regular Guest

You can be interviewed on radio, in print, and online by making yourself available. Contact your local press and let them know that if they do stories on your niche, you are available to speak to them. They are good people but busy, so they’ll be more likely to use someone who’s offered than to chase down those who haven’t.

Start a Mastermind Group

A private mastermind group is a great way to establish and build your personal brand. You’ll end up with a good solid fan base that knows your secrets and understands how you tick. They’ll become promoters of your work, and in the process you’ll earn some extra income.

Study Your Niche

Never stop studying. Time goes forward and things change. What was true just a month ago might not be true today. Don’t be afraid to change your opinions and ideas based on the information you learn. To stay relevant in a niche you have to stay connected enough to understand what’s new.

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How To Become An Email Marketing Expert

One of the best things that you can ever do for your online business is becoming an email marketing expert. By learning how to master email marketing, you give yourself an advantage that others only wish that they could have. As an email marketing expert, you give yourself the chance to achieve predictable results. You’ll be able to rely on your numbers and estimate how much money you’re going to make each month.

Some people tend to believe that email marketing is on the decline but I TOTALLY disagree. I believe this because I practice email marketing everyday, and believe that I am an email marketing expert myself. The first thing on my marketing task list everyday is to implement an email marketing strategy that will boost my conversions, boost my click through rates, and boost my leads to sales ratio. This is how I’m able to scale in my business each month.

So what kinds of things should you be doing and know how to do to propel your email marketing results right away? I want to give you a few tips on what you should be doing so that your overall online marketing efforts are balanced by the results that your email strategy is doing. Because once you master the email side of things, everything else in your business becomes a lot easier. Here’s one thing you can start doing to become an email marketing expert in a short period of time:

1) Track your link clicks

In most email autoresponder programs (such as Aweber, GetResponse, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc), you will have the opportunity to view how many people on your list clicked on the link(s) in your emails. All you have to do is simply make the decision to turn this option on or off. It’s that simple. And you want to do this because it makes a huge difference in email sequencing.

You don’t want to send out emails blindly without knowing what kinds of results you’re getting. Let’s say for instance that you’re getting 100 leads per day onto your mailing list, and it takes you an average of 10 emails to get a sale – when they’re spaced out 3 days apart. Here’s what you want to recognize, because it could alter the amount of profits that you make exponentially.

Regardless of how far apart you’re spacing each email out, if in the 5th email you send you realize from the numbers that 4% of your 100 new leads are unsubscribing in that email, but in all of the rest of the emails you’re getting click through rates such as 30% and you’re getting sales… this should be a clear indication that the email needs to be revised – or totally removed altogether.

By changing or removing that 1 single email, you could save yourself 4 leads – that could continue to stay on your list and even purchase from you in the future. And depending on your product price, and your cost per lead, this could be the difference between a lot of revenue for you – or mediocre to NO revenue for you at all. So as an email marketing expert, this is one of the things that you need to spot and take notice of so that you can make as much money as possible. Here’s another way to become an email expert in no time at all:

2) Only mail to good and qualified leads

Some people believe that all leads are good. You will find that some people generate leads in any way that they can so that they can feel good about themselves, and post pictures of their large lists in forums and Facebook groups. This is not a good idea. Only generate and put people on your email list who are interested in what you have to offer – or who have purchased something that is really close to what you have to offer.

I know some people who love the idea of solo ads. Solo ad marketing is when someone has an email list, and they allow people to mail to their list for a fixed price. Then once the mailing is over, they allow somebody else to mail to their deadbeat list in all in attempts to con them on the idea that their list is golden and supreme. This is not at all true. You should never attempt solo ad marketing.

As an email marketing expert, the best kinds of leads to mail to are leads that you generate yourself. You typically do this via some form of display or pay per click (PPC) advertising, joint venture, viral marketing, or referral marketing campaign that you implement. But with solo ad marketing, how do you know how the leads where generated? Are you going by what the list owner has told you?

You don’t know this person. They could have bought a 100,000 email lead database from some bulk lead company for $10, and are charging you $80 for every 100 leads that they send your message to. Not only do they scam you and you get no results in the form of income, but you could also get your website blacklisted. An email marketing expert would know this and would stay away from this form of marketing – because they know it’s a waste of time and money.

To truly succeed online email marketing is essential, so becoming an expert is a necessity. Never rely on list brokers or buy email lists from someone. Generate leads from people who have sought YOU out, and know your conversion rates. When you have leads coming in from paid advertising and free marketing, you’ll lower your cost to get each lead, and you’ll be in control of what happens in your business.

Which would you rather have? An unpredictable email campaign or a predictable one? This simple factor alone will save you 5-10 years of heartache and waste of time. This is something that you truly need to consider. If you want the most success in your business as possible, become an email marketing expert starting today.

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Cooperative Entrepreneur – The Benefits of Collaboration

By now you already know how entrepreneurship is important. Small and medium enterprises are the key contributors to the growth of economy. These enterprises are mostly owned by entrepreneurs.

When an entrepreneur starts working on a business idea he is already optimistic that his discovery of the business idea or opportunity will succeed. This is because he has carried out a detailed investigation regarding the idea and therefore he is certain of its profitability.

By the way, will you venture alone as an entrepreneur or will you collaborate with another entrepreneur?

There are people who will not have the guts to become entrepreneurs. Some of the reasons according to them are as below:

1.) Entrepreneurship is not a lifetime career.

2.) A person is always bothered with fears of failure.

3.) A person is always living on the edge due to low profits or losses that occur.

4.) Entrepreneurship is not a sure thing. Due to changes in technology, a business idea or opportunity may become outdated. An example of this is Kodak films replaced by digital cameras.

Before you decide to become an entrepreneur you should be psychologically prepared to face all mind disturbing worries brought about by disappointments. These disappointments just happen any time. They do not happen because you’re negligent or not working hard and smart but they’re brought about by internal and external factors. Some of these factors especially the external ones are beyond human control. If you’re prepared psychologically, you’ll know how you’ll keep on going without doing something stupid.

Being psychologically prepared includes knowing that not all people will welcome your business idea. You prepare yourself that you may end up with a wrong impression of being a loser and lacking direction in life. It is a fact that it is more easy to attract many people in your life when you’re successful than when you fail, perhaps it is human nature and the law of attraction playing its role.

This article is not going to discuss about external and internal factors but it discusses about two or more entrepreneurs collaborating.

There are many types of entrepreneurs, namely:

1.) Social entrepreneur.

2.) Serial Entrepreneur.

3.) Lifestyle Entrepreneur.

4.) Cooperative Entrepreneur.

It is not always that it is a single entrepreneur who can venture in a business opportunity. Two or more entrepreneurs can come together to work as team in order to make a business idea successful. This especially occurs when an entrepreneur has a new idea or starts a business that is of cooperative in nature and requires variety of skills or a substantial amount of capital. A single entrepreneur will not be able to provide all the skills required or the substantial amount of capital required in running and financing the whole new business idea/project thus he has to team up with other entrepreneurs.

Before you decide to collaborate with another entrepreneur you should be careful because if you collaborate with a wrong entrepreneur(s), you’ll end up regretting. The business idea may be stuck when it comes to its progress of growing or its growth may be very slow.

Things to Consider Before Collaborating With Another Entrepreneur

1.) Willingness to take risks.

2.) Creativity and skills required to run the business idea/opportunity.

3.) Ability to contribute the amount of capital required. How profits, losses and responsibilities/work should be shared.

4.) Able to work hard and ability of organization.

5.) Is patient, consistent, persistence and able to overcome setbacks.

6.) Self-disciplined and encourages team work.

7.) Ability to make decisions quickly.

8.) Self motivated and is able to motivate others.

9.) Always focused and able to work with minimum supervision.

10.) Confident and able to remain firm in decisions made.

11.) There should be guidelines to take care of issues such as death of an entrepreneur etc.

Benefits of Collaborating With Another Entrepreneur

1.) Risks are shared.

2.) Presence of new skills. Each entrepreneur possesses different skills which are essential for the growth of the business.

3.) The required capital is raised easily.

4.) There is the advantage of creativity from each entrepreneur.

5.) There is mutual support and sharing of information.

6.) Work is shared. Each entrepreneur is responsible for what he does.

7.) Achievement of goals is fast.

Although cooperative entrepreneurship has got many advantages, there is the downside of it. The downside is brought about by collaborating with an entrepreneur who is not suitable or compatible.

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How to Get Rid Of Household Mold – Mold Removal Tips

No matter how much hype the media delivers to frighten the general public; you don’t always have to turn to the services of mold remediation and/or removal specialists to clean up the mold problem that’s been taking over your home. Most mold problems require a simple process for household mold removal in order to be successful. Once you get rid of the mold in your home your family can get back on track to good health once again.

It’s important to remember that most of the mold in homes today is virtually harmless from a health perspective. Pink mold is a prime example. While you don’t want it hanging around in your home, it isn’t necessary to don full protective gear or call in a hazmat team to get rid of it.

In some cases, all it really takes is to empty out your refrigerator on a regular basis and remove the food that’s been sitting there for a little too long for comfort. If only all mold was that simple to get rid of, right?

Shower mold though is one that can be removed by dousing the area with a healthy does of mold removal spray. Then you simply allow the product to set according to the directions so it can do its heavy lifting and follow up whatever the directions order to removing the spray (rinsing, wiping, etc.).

There may be occasions when protective gear is necessary for getting rid of household mold. The common gear that is needed for this type of work includes: goggles, breathing masks, and rubber gloves. You should also consider wearing long sleeves and pants that you never plan on wearing again while doing this type of work.

These items are especially necessary if your home has been infected with black mold, sometimes referred to as toxic mold. If you are dealing with a black mold problem then the work involved is going to be much more involved than spraying cleaner and hoping for the best.

You’re going to need to completely seal off the area of the home that has been impacted by the toxic mold and engage in some super duty heavy lifting for your job of getting rid of household mold like this. Use plastic sheets to seal off the room and make sure that air vents are also sealed so spores don’t travel through them to other rooms during the removal process.

Find the source of the problem. It always comes down to water or moisture. Mold feeds off moisture and it can’t survive without it. Cut off the water supply and your mold problem won’t be coming back anytime soon once you get rid of it. Make the repairs that are necessary before taking one step towards the actual household mold removal process.

Once the problem has been repaired it’s time to spray the infected area with a mold spray designed to deal specifically with toxic mold. Different companies will require a different amount of time to set. Follow the instructions on the packaging and make sure you give your product plenty of time to do its important job before you wipe it clean (according to the instructions on the label as well).

After the mold has been removed completely, it’s time to turn your eye towards preventative efforts. Purchasing a dehumidifier for your home is a great first step. It might seem like a steep investment now but when compared to the price of going through the entire mold removal process or expensive medical bills due to prolonged exposure it’s really a small price to pay.

If that is out of the question though there other options to consider such as using blower fans, opening windows to draw out moisture, and wiping down walls in the bathroom following baths and showers. Exhaust fans are also an option to consider as well as worthy investments. The point is that you need to do whatever you can to minimize the amount of moisture in the air in your home.

When you go through the proper process for household mold removal, the odds are good that you won’t have to worry about this problem again in the near future.

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SEO Services Pricing – How Much Do You Have to Pay for SEO?

Preface to SEO Service Prices

In support of any business transaction or purchase, it is so realistic that you should only spend your money when you feel comfortable. And your comfort zone varies on so many dependencies such as how well you know about the business and its marketing system, especially internet marketing & SEO services etc. A quality SEO service is the combination of estimated time duration, dedication, effort, strategy, technique, method, skill, and experience. The reality is that generally it’s not a hard work, but doesn’t imply that it’s too easy.

Necessity of SEO Services

SEO services are generally can help your business to grow faster than any other medium or method. As per Google strategy, businesses that use the web are more likely to grow faster than any other businesses that don’t. Basically SEO is not a cost but an investment that will help your business using the web more effectively & efficiently and get a greater return from your online outlay.

Set Yourself a Realistic Marketing Budget and Goal

Don’t think you will pay $100 and overnight you will make thousands. Instead, create a logical budget depending on your marketing strategy, competitive industrial environment, project outline, and a length of time. It is forever that “cheaper does not always mean better”.

Most of the SEO service providers & engineers are not going to be cheaper, but well worth in every dollar spent. In case of other marketing and advertising platforms, such as television broadcast advertising, print advertising, large trade show or fair booth advertising etc., search engine optimization is one of the most efficient and trustworthy methods for the development of your business. Prices of SEO services in between $4,999 to $24,999(varies on place to place), which is far more economical and cheaper than any other marketing & advertising platforms. Now it comes out on top position in every step when it compared to other advertising platforms.

SEO Payment Models

If your business is online traffic based, you must deal out more money for search engine optimization to get more profit; how much you will pay for SEO services and to get this point, there are three different pricing models as to buy these services which is shown below:

• Hourly Consulting

• Project-based Pricing

• Monthly Retainer

SEO Services per Hour

Hour based SEO service is the most admired pricing scheme. You can pay the SEO Company or consultant in a fixed rate which goes from $19.99 to $199.99 per hour and it varies depending on number of factors such as region, size of the company, promotions etc.

SEO Services Per project

The project fees are same to contract services with some exceptions that they are custom projects created particularly for a client but pricing varies in accordance with the project. Generally there is a 30-40% down payment and the rest in predefined milestones. This method is better in cases where you are actually not sure that how many hours are needed for the given task and it is also preferable for budgeting purposes.

Monthly Services

The most successful & popular SEO campaigns are not enlarge over one month and you should agree on a monthly charge. The frequent monthly range is from $499.99 to $1499.99. In this model, clients pay a set fee for each month in exchange of a group of services. IT is the most common payment model, because it provides the greatest return on investment (ROI). Monthly retainer planning usually includes with regular analytics reports, on-site content improvements, press releases, link building, keyword research, and optimization etc.

Company Services

Company is now a growing organization for Internet Marketing & SEO services. Like other SEO agencies it also uses all of these payment models with an affordable price where client satisfaction is the first priority.

At the End

At last it can be said SEO services is not an expensive service. If you take into account the benefits of it & the high return on investment, it would be clear prices are not too much and basically it varies for different reasons.

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How to Get the Most Out of Video Marketing

Video Content Marketing Trends & Tips
In the past few years we’ve seen a massive increase in video content popping up online, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.

From creating webinars to putting short clips in emails, a video marketing strategy is a must if you want to truly engage with your audience in order to improve brand awareness and boost leads and sales.

According to Wyzowl, a company that creates animated explainer footage, 83% of marketers say video helps them with lead generation, and 87% say it has increased traffic to their website.

Some other benefits include:

  • It’s good for SEO. If your stuff is compelling enough to attract views and shares, your Google search ranking can improve.
  • It’s a timesaver. It doesn’t take long to create short yet engaging clips in comparison to writing an article or blog.
  • It’s affordable. It can be more cost-effective to create a short clip vs. producing an ad or a blog.
  • It gets attention. People may scroll through written words, but most will at least give a glance to interesting footage.

As we head into 2020, here are three video content marketing trends you can expect to see going forward.

  1. Vertical videos. Just when everyone seemed to get the memo that horizontal filming is best, vertical videos come along! This is because consumers watch a lot of things on smartphones.

Instagram and Snapchat were the first to utilize vertical videos in Stories, and Instagram Television (IGTV) was next.

Even Netflix uses vertical digital marketing videos to showcase previews.

  1. Live streaming. This refers to anything that is recorded and broadcast in real time. People like to feel like they’re being spoken to directly and authentically, and live streaming is also a low-cost way to produce collateral.

We’ve seen more and more social platforms implement this functionality, including Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Twitter Live and LinkedIn for a select few.

  1. In-video shopping. So far, it seems to be largely clothing retailers who are leveraging this tactic. How it works: Users can click on a section of the screen (say, a skirt on a model) and be directed to the link to buy the item.

A recent survey by Brightcove revealed that 23% of consumers overall and 30% of Millennials want links that let them directly purchase a product.

Now that you’ve got an idea of what’s going to be popular in 2020, here are some ways to incorporate engaging footage into your campaigns this year.

  1. Use your landing pages.

A survey by marketing technology company Eyeview showed that video on landing pages can increase conversions by 86%. It’s a great way to increase search rankings, as Google’s algorithms are increasingly prioritizing websites with this type of content.

Other advantages: It can lead to more social shares, build trust and awareness and reduce bounce rate.

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Starting Your Model Car Collection With Style

It is a human desire to embrace speed and drape themselves in style. When looking at this through the acts of human nature, purchasing luxurious homes, fast cars and wearing bling is what makes us feel we belong. In many homes however, affording the fancy clothes and the fast cars is more of a financial dream than it would be a reality.

If this sounds like you and you have champagne tastes on a Pepsi diet, then there is a solution. For those who like the fast cars and the nice things in life, collecting model cars is a solution that can fit into your budget. When it comes to model cars, Porsche diecast models are possibly the first in the series you should collect.

When it comes to collecting model cars, we are allowing ourselves to expand our imagination as well as hold on to a piece of our dreams. Even though we can’t in most cases afford to purchase and maintain a Porsche, purchasing Porsche model cars is the next best thing.

Creating a collection

When it comes to these and other cars, it all comes down to creating a collection. When we put together a collection of different objects such as cars, we can tailor our likes and passions into a specific set. For example, is you like a specific year of model car you can focus on those. If you prefer a specific manufacturer, size, colour and more, all of these can be addressed when working on your model car collection.

Sharing your collection

Sharing your collection is a great way to enjoy your collection. When sharing your collection, you can do a wide range of different things. First of all you can create a room that is filled with what you collect. Your Porsche diecast models can be displayed on shelves, in glass cases and even placed in scenes that depict a great moment in your life or accentuate the model.

Telling stories

Most collectors will have a reason for their collection. The majority of people will want to tell stories of their past. For men, it is all about helping their dads work on similar cars when they were younger. For women, it may be a remembrance of their brothers or boyfriends who had one of these cars or even their own favourite car. Telling stories is a great way to have a visual to add to these stories as well as a constant reminder of pleasant events.

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4 Marketing Strategies for the COVID-19 Crisis

How to Market During the Pandemic

From connecting in our relationships to running our small businesses, COVID-19 has transformed the way we live, work and socialize. I do feel fortunate that my family and I are healthy and safe, and I’m trying to find the positive opportunities in all of this.

That’s why I recently shared an article called “How to Pivot Your Small Business Strategy During the COVID-19 Crisis”, on our website.

I am also hearing from many small business owners who are wondering whether or not to stop marketing during COVID-19. That article showed entrepreneurs how to market during the pandemic, including ways to create a crisis marketing strategy and to:

  • Help customers rather than simply selling to them
  • Focus on online events and offerings
  • Plan for future growth
  • Empower employees

As we continue self-isolating to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, I wanted to follow up with some other effective ways to keep your business running smoothly and successfully.

Here’s 4 marketing strategies to consider:

1. Focus on Digital Campaigns

With the shutdown or slowdown of most brick-and-mortar businesses, entrepreneurs are relying more than ever on digital strategies. A big part of brand marketing during this pandemic and into the future is going to be shifting most (if not all) of your small business online.

In fact, Larry Kim from Mobile Monkey just wrote, “One new customer closed their brick and mortar locations nationwide and found web traffic is up +150%.”

According to Klaviyo, an email marketing platform that taps into a network of 30,000 businesses for insights, 22% of brands said they’re spending more on ads. And 66% of brands that are spending more on ads are also seeing increased efficiency, with a reduced cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) and cost per click (CPC).

If you’re wondering how to market during the pandemic, consider using Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Instagram for Business or LinkedIn Ads to direct traffic to:

  • Well-researched and useful blogs and videos
  • Online products with free shipping
  • Virtual services you can offer, whether that’s financial therapy or online music lessons
  • Gift cards that can be used now or in the future

That said, don’t be afraid to pause campaigns that aren’t relevant right now, or that you think may turn your customers off.

Part of brand marketing during this pandemic is knowing when to re-strategize and pivot, rather than continuing with an ad campaign that’s not going to resonate with-or even offends-your target audience.

2. Update Your Google My Business Listing

Your customers and potential customers are counting on you for the latest information about your small business. If you’re closing your company temporarily, whether you’re changing the hours you’re open, or offering curbside pickup right now, you need to let people know.

Using Google Posts can be a great way to update people on everything from reduced hours to gift card purchases. Here’s some guidance from Google on how to best change your profile.

And don’t worry about SEO implications when you’re editing your profile. For example, marking your business as temporarily closed will not affect your search ranking, and Google will still display you in the search results.

If you don’t immediately see the changes that you make to your Google My Business profile, don’t panic. Google has said they may review updates for quality before publishing.

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Empathy-Based Marketing

Ways to Use Empathetic Content Marketing

When I say the word “empathy,” what do you associate it with?

Kindness to a family member going through a hard time? Supporting your partner when they’ve had a bad day? Or, does a business-related example come to mind?

I’m going to guess that many people don’t associate “empathy” with buying or selling.

Unfortunately, many brands don’t either!

But as we move forward from COVID-19, empathy-based marketing isn’t just the right thing to do, your customers now expect it.

Many studies done during the pandemic are showing that people want brands to be more empathetic and aware of the long-term impact it will have on their lives.

Hopefully, you communicated authentically and empathetically with your customers during this time, and you’re going to have to continue to do so!

So now that we’ve established that being empathetic is important, let’s define exactly what it is.

Basically, it’s putting yourself in your customers’ shoes to better serve them. And unlike sympathy, which is feeling compassion, empathy means imagining yourself in another person’s situation.

Examples of Brand Empathy

Let’s look at a real-world example: IKEA recently created a video using footage shot by employees, capturing moments at home.

By thinking like their customers, the company showed solidarity and connection during the COVID-19 crisis⁠-and reminded people that maybe they should spruce up their space!

Here are a couple of ways a small business owner could use empathetic content marketing:

  • Make a DIY blog or video to show people how to create something using your product. Whether it’s growing herbs, updating their wardrobe with a few key pieces, doing crafts, or tracking their finances, this could be a good way to provide something useful to customers or social media followers who are spending more time at home.
  • Give a portion of your proceeds or donate products to a charitable cause. During the pandemic, one of our clients, Malarys, was very active in the community, donating a number of face masks to health workers. People are going to be looking to brands to continue these charitable efforts post-pandemic.

No matter how you approach empathy-based marketing, make sure you’re offering something of value to your audience.

According to 65% of consumers say they already get too much material from marketers, and nearly that many think they’re getting useless content.

Being empathetic isn’t your excuse to peddle fluff or lose sight of providing people with an actual solution.

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Direct Mail: An Old Marketing Tool With New Power

Looking for a better way to connect with customers and prospects in this technology-rich, multi-channel environment? Would you think I was crazy if I suggested using a channel that was developed in the early 20th century?

That channel is direct mail. And while many of today’s marketers may dismiss it as a quaint relic of days gone by, it’s actually more powerful than ever before. Surprised? If you understand the factors behind the effectiveness of direct mail, you won’t be.

There are two reasons direct mail is a wise choice in today’s market. First, fewer companies are using it, so the handful that know how to employ it effectively have a much bigger opportunity to be noticed. Three decades ago, your mailbox may have been full of letters on any given day, but how many do you receive now? Finding a letter (especially one with a real stamp) is something of a novelty these days, so instead of simply tossing it aside, people are more likely to read it.

“Well, I don’t read junk mail,” you insist. Neither do I. But effective direct mail and junk mail are two entirely different animals, and that’s where reason number two enters the picture. The key to effective direct mail is making sure you put the right message into the right hands, and today’s combination of powerful technology and big data makes that easier to do than ever before.

Junk mail is the stuff you don’t want. You’re not interested in doing business with the sender, or it’s a product you’d never buy, so you chuck it into the recycling bin. If you’re sending the wrong messages to people who have no need or interest, you’re wasting your money on junk mail.

But if you’re sending relevant messages and offers to a tightly targeted group of recipients that meets specific criteria, you’re engaging in effective direct mail. You have the opportunity to “talk” directly to someone who is likely to be interested in what you have to say or offer. Even better, you’re doing it in a place where they’re comfortable at a time when they’re comfortable. Many forms of marketing communications are interruptive. For example, phone calls always come when you’re doing something else. But most people have some sort of routine when it comes to reading their mail.

Now, about that tightly targeted group I mentioned. I’ve written a lot of effective direct mail packages over the years, but I’ll be the first to admit that my brilliant words aren’t the primary reason those efforts achieved success. Direct mail experts will tell you that the writing and design of a direct mail piece or package accounts for less than 10 percent of its effectiveness. How do they know that? They’ve tested millions of pieces of mail over the years, making slight modifications to pinpoint what works best.