Direct marketing is a powerful tool when combined with the Internet.
Direct marketing is a marketing technique in which purchases are encouraged through a "call-to-action", and rely on the responses of the consumers. One example would be mailing out product catalogues, with postcard inserts for the consumers to make purchases by sending back the postcard. This technique can include any type of medium; if the advertisement asks consumers to take certain actions such as call a toll-free number, mail a letter, or visit a website, it can be considered a form of direct marketing. The trick of direct marketing is to get the consumers motivated, and this is usually done by invoking some form of initiative through the advertisement. The emphasis is placed on the consumers-action, and they are encouraged to act now.
One important aspect of direct marketing is that the responses of consumers are usually easily traceable, so that the effectiveness of the marketing campaign can be determined quickly. For instance, the effectiveness of a mail-out campaign can be expressed as the ratio of returned postcards versus the total number of packages sent. For a television advertisement that encourages viewers to call a toll-free number, the initial investment of placing the ad versus total purchase made by callers would be a way to determine effectiveness. Like many other marketing strategies, direct marketing has been adapted to the online world, and has become part of Internet marketing.
Online direct marketing can simply involve urging the consumers to visit certain websites, where potential purchases will be made. This can be done, again, via any type of medium; and nowadays many companies include their websites in advertisements as a de facto feature, which can be a bonus initiative for consumers viewing the ads. One other popular online direct marketing technique is via email, whereas the links are included within the body of the message. Since unsolicited emails are often deleted as spam, this technique is more powerful when used in combination with a mailing list with which the users have voluntarily registered. It is often used effectively in fundraising organizations, and are especially in favour now since email is paper-less and produce zero waste as opposed to traditional mail-out packages.