Direct marketing is one of the best advertising methods and marketing plans available for a small business. The following direct marketing examples may inspire you to launch your own marketing campaign. However, we will first discuss what direct marketing is and what makes it such an effective tool for a small business owner.

What is Direct Marketing and What Makes it so Effective?

Direct marketing is simply a marketing technique that involves a specific and measurable call to action. This call to action can be any direct action that the customer takes such as clicking a link or calling a phone number.

Direct marketing must also be easily measurable, which adds to the effectiveness. Measurability allows you to easily track the effectiveness of the advertisement and this allows you to easily scale effective advertisements and cancel ineffective advertisements.

The ability to easily scale advertisements that work is the most useful part of direct marketing. Use the six examples listed below for inspiration for your next campaign.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is the most commonly thought of form of direct marketing. This marketing plan may include postcard mailers or even coupons and promotional correspondence. You can track your mailers by providing a unique trackable phone number for each campaign. If you decide to use coupons, then providing a unique barcode for each campaign works well too. Further segmentation can be done by providing each demographic with a different phone number or barcode. 

Run a Television Commercial

Airing a television commercial also works well for a direct marketing campaign. The ideal television commercial will follow the attention, interest, desire, action (AIDA) format. It should draw the viewer’s attention, state something that causes interest and excitement, make them desire the product, and finally provide them with the means to take action.

Typically, a television commercial will ask the viewer to call a phone number for a special promotion. However, many commercials will also ask the potential customers to visit the company website for a special offer. Both techniques work, but a website might have a better conversion rate because sites are so much more accessible.

Print Materials

This form of direct marketing consists of printed informational pamphlets and direct mail pieces that will have your website on them. A website actually works as a great call to action because you do not have to worry about answering the phone or arranging for a call center to answer the phone. Customers can simply visit your website, find out more information, and contact you through the contact form.

Some examples of print materials include doctor information found at medical offices. A direct-mail campaign may also include fliers attached to doorknobs, which are typically seen in the restaurant and lawn care business. In fact, many lawn care businesses have been built solely by placing fliers on doorknobs in different neighborhoods.

direct marketing examples

SMS Marketing

SMS marketing, also known as texting, is actually a great form of direct marketing and can prove to be a very successful strategy for a small business to utilize. Over 90% of texts are opened within 15 minutes of being received. That fact alone will increase the conversion rate of your direct marketing campaign.

Further, the requirements to send an SMS marketing message are quite restrictive and require the recipient to opt-in to the message. This makes it a great way to filter recipients that are open to receiving advertising messages and those that have no interest.

Some examples of direct marketing campaigns that involve SMS marketing are any of the marketing campaigns typically conducted by the major phone networks. They will all send out messages for new promotions and potential upgrades. A small business could utilize this form of marketing in a similar manner with an agency specializing in SMS marketing.

Emailing your Customers

Email marketing is another one of those direct marketing techniques that is often not thought of as direct marketing. It fits perfectly into the direct marketing framework as the ideal email will have a call to action that usually involves visiting the website.

Additionally, many tools exist that allow you to track the open rate of the email and the click-through rate on your links. This data can help you with developing a good subject line and writing good copy that makes your recipients want to click your links.

Just about every type of email can be turned into a direct marketing campaign. Some companies have a weekly newsletter delivered by email with the purpose of keeping their customers informed of the industry. Others will offer special promotions via email.

The type of email you will want to write will vary on the type of business you operate and your target audience. However, any business can utilize a direct email marketing campaign.


The final item on our list is telemarketing. This, often annoying, marketing technique still works for the right type of business. In fact, it works great because you can easily determine whether customers are interested or not in a relatively short period of time. Further, you can also track the performance of your sales representative by looking at their statistics.

Some telemarketing examples include an upstart auto insurance agency or life insurance office. They will collect leads for those interested in an auto policy or life insurance policy and then call those leads. You can then quickly determine the best source of phone numbers and scale the collection of those phone numbers.

Final Thoughts on Direct Marketing

All in all, many different direct marketing techniques exist that you can apply to almost any small business. In fact, direct marketing works best for a smaller business because it provides you with real and measurable results. These results can then be scaled up when they work and canceled if they do not work.

These six examples provide a good starting point for brainstorming a direct marketing campaign for your small business. Every industry has a particular way of reaching customers. A lawn care company might have difficulty with telemarketing while an insurance company will excel at telemarketing.

Likewise, a lawn care company will see excellent results with print materials, but an auto insurance company will probably not.

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