9 Easy Things You Can Do To Boost Direct Mail Response
Mark Hale ‐ October 20, 2015
To have effective advertising it is more than having a beautiful ad, although that helps. But all the flashy creative designs does not mean a thing if the advertisement does not sell.
There are some basic things you can do to improve your direct mail response, and these things also carry over to other advertising you do as well.
#1 Targeting: The most basic element of any marketing program for any small business is figuring out and deciding who you want to reach. The basis of a successful direct mail program is the mailing list. You can get mailing lists from many places and the quality of the list will vary greatly. The best tip is to use a reputable marketing company and not try to cut cost by buying a mailing list online.
But before you can buy a mailing list for a direct mail campaign you have to know who you want to reach. Direct mail offers you the most direct way to reach an audience for your business. Sure it is not as glamorous as “internet marketing” but it is old school and it works. There are fewer things that can go wrong with a direct mail campaign than an Internet marketing campaign.
There are basically two types of lists you can get. The first one is your own database of customer who has bought from you. The second one is a new prospect list.
#2 Test your message. It does not cost a lot to send out a test of your mailer to see if the message is hitting the sweet spot. You can also take the postcard or direct mail piece and do a flash test of your customers to get their opinion of it. What caught their eye first? Did they want more information about what was being promoted? What impressed them the most on the ad?
The flash test can be more effective and give you a wealth of information. The only errors people make is not showing the card to enough people and not asking the same questions of everyone. If you survey 15 to 20 customers or prospects that should be enough for you to get a good idea what needs to be changed on the postcard or ad.
Also your employees and family do not count on the flash test. The only opinion that matters is your customers and prospects. Employees and family will have a different viewpoint of the ad than one of your customers.
#3 Choose the medium based on the recipient. There are several different types of direct mail you can use. The most basic is a postcard, but a postcard may not be effective in reaching a business owner. For that, you may need a sales letter or a notecard mailer.
Sales letters can be very effective. The message in the letter combined with the envelopes and reply form all work together to make the package work.
Notecard mailers can be very effective especially during the holiday season. A well-done note card mailer will look interesting to a prospect. An effective note card mailer is also a package mailer.
Why do letter and note card mailers pull so well? Mainly because these mailers look like a personal message from someone and invite participation on the part of the recipient. People still like receiving mail and letters and note card mailers do not look like your typical advertisement.
#4: Good copywriting. Do not over complicate copywriting. The most effective copy always revolves around the proper use of features and benefits.
#5: Always include an offer. A good offer is defined as one that will cause the prospect to take note and create a desire to buy now. Having said that any offer is better than not offer. Many business owners tend to skimp on the offer forgetting that they are basically buying a customer. The offer is how you buy the customer. Do you feel an offer is too good? That you cannot afford to do that? I am not telling you that you have to give away the store to get a customer. What I am saying is whatever your offer is, it has to be dramatic enough to get attention and invite action. This is where point two above on testing comes into play. Flash tests of the message with the offer to customers and prospects. Do they yawn? Or, do they start asking questions about the offer?
The entire direct mailer, whether it is a postcard or a package mailer, should sell the offer. Even the mentions of the product’s features and benefits are used to make the offer seem more valuable.
#6: Avoid clichés like the plague. The easiest trap to fall into is the use of clichés like “conveniently located” or “serving you for 25 years”. Advertising clichés instantly turn readers off because it identifies the entire message as advertising or junk mail.
#7: Hiding the best part of your message: Lead with the main benefit of the product or service. Put it in your headline. You have around 3 seconds to get the attention of the reader, now is not the time to soft-sell your message. The ad should hit them instantly with the main benefit and the second thing they should notice is your offer.
#8: Call to action: Any sales trainer will tell you that you have to ask for the order. You have a great postcard, but does the main benefit get the readers attention? The offer hits them between the eyes. Your call to action brings it home. You are telling them why they should call now. Expiration dates for the offer are very effective, but also added value they receive if they call now. And don’t forget the phone number and your web address.
#9 Follow up. If you do the above steps you will get a response. How are you going to handle inquiries? What about the failed closes? What is the plan to handle the prospects that called but for whatever reason did not buy? Look at it like this, the people who called in from your mailer and bought are the low-lying fruit of the campaign. They are the easiest to close. How you follow up with the people who called but did not buy is very important. Many people today procrastinate. As many as 40 to 60% of your responses will need some sort of follow up and if you do not have a follow-up plan, you are leaving sales behind.
The above points are the most basic things you can do to improve the response from any advertising you do. Teaming up with a professional company will save you time and money, but the response you get will be directly proportional to the data you provide the marketing company. Nobody knows your product better than you do, combine that with a company that knows marketing and you will see fantastic sales from a direct mail campaign.
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