Tennis Industry magazine


Retailing 110: Direct Appeal

If you haven’t yet used Direct Response Marketing for your retail business, you’re missing a simple and effective way to bring in customers.

Direct Response Marketing often is misunderstood by independent specialty retailers, and as a result, this effective marketing tool is underutilized — or unfortunately not used at all.

There are three distinct and important differences between Direct Response Marketing (DRM) and all other forms of marketing.

Your list of existing customers, particularly if it is in electronic form, is more valuable than you may think. It represents the means for you to continue to build your relationships and to market your specialty tennis retail store and the tennis lifestyle products to those people who have already spent money with you, and are the most likely group to continue to spend money with you.

Acquiring lists of potential customers can be done by cross-marketing partnerships with other sporting goods and outdoor retailers and organizations in your community. Research shows that frequent tennis players also snow ski, run/jog, bicycle, golf, hike, fish, walk for health, use equipment to exercise, belong to health clubs and boat or sail frequently. All of the businesses associated with these crossover activities represent potential sources for your future DRM contact lists.

A Call to Action

By adding a call to action, like a coupon, promotional code or simply bringing the e-mail or ad to your store, you can turn all of your marketing into a form of DRM. According to the latest Tennis Industry Association Cost of Doing Business Tennis Retailers report, 70 percent of tennis retailers prefer to utilize e-mail more than any other marketing media or technique. About 50 percent utilize newsletters and 40 percent fliers, with 28 percent e-mailing or mailing reminders for stringing and 28 percent advertising in local publications. All of these can be converted to vehicles for Direct Response Marketing.

According to the data, 23 percent of tennis retailers report using direct mail, which can be as simple as a postcard turned into a DRM tool by including a special offer that a customer can redeem by bring the postcard into your store.

This leads to the last big point of difference between Direct Response Marketing and all other forms of marketing: You can measure the results. How often have you asked: “Did my investment in this ad actually bring me business?”

But put a coupon, promotional code, or offer in the ad along with a call to action, and you will be able to find out how effective your DRM effort was by simply collecting the responses brought to your store and attaching them to the resulting transaction — then adding up the transactions to figure out your ROI on the ad, newsletter or flier. E-mails are a low-cost way of reaching your consumer base, but the reason you want to measure the response you get is to find out what marketing message works, and what marketing message doesn’t work.

If you’re already doing some form of Direct Response Marketing, then you probably know how effective it can be. If you’re not yet into DRM, take notice of what other retailers — including big stores and supermarkets — are doing in this area. You, too, can reap the benefits — directly!

Making the Sale — Directly

For tennis retailers, Direct Response Marketing can take many forms. For example, in newspapers and magazines, the ad itself can be the call to action — “clip this coupon and receive 20% off…”

Direct mail includes coupons, catalogs, postcards, letters, fliers and newsletters. Send a postcard to your list, for instance, to invite customers to new product or apparel introductions: “RSVP by May 15 and get a free…”

Using the Internet for DRM opens up a whole range of opportunities. Click-through banner ads, identifiable discount codes and downloadable coupons are just a few measurable ways to advertise and to get the word out about special events you may have, such as a pro exhibition or demo day. For instance, many shops e-mail racquet restringing reminders, and that’s a great opportunity to add something like: “Print out and bring this reminder into the store and get 10% off your next restringing …”

Coming Up

Special event marketing.

This is part of a series of retail tips presented by the Tennis Industry Association and written by the Gluskin Townley Group (



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