Start Digging Your Well Long Before You Are Thirsty

‐ May 25, 2023

You buy a direct mailer to promote your business and it seems not to work.  What happened? You mailed 5,000 pieces and got one phone call and no leads. It failed  – I agree. But what went wrong with the direct mailer for your business?

What went wrong is you started digging your well after you got thirsty.

The two biggest challenges you face when trying to get new customers for business are:

  1. They don’t know you.
  2. People procrastinate.

 (Assuming your mailing list was good, you mailed enough pieces out and the postcard or flyer you mailed was designed well.)

“One or two mailings and your done” type of direct mail campaigns (or any other advertising you do) to try it out, seldom, if ever, work.  You did not mail the mailing list long enough and people did not get familiar enough with you. And by the time they got around to buying, they did not remember you because you only sent them one mailer.

Rule of thumb: people will buy from a business they are familiar with over a business they just heard of…100% of the time! Even if you have a super low price and a great deal. One exposure to your mailer is not enough to work.

Your prospective new customers today always procrastinate.

Why? People do not want to spend the money and will put off buying bigger ticket items as long as they can. This is especially true during times of economic strain.

And they want to make sure you are reputable and will stand behind what you sell.

Which brings me to the title of this article. “Start Digging Your Well Long Before You Are Thirsty”. All advertising takes time to get traction. This is why you should never do short-term direct mail campaigns. The only way to win at marketing your business is to market regularly and consistently. Marketing should be treated as a fixed cost just like your payroll. I would dare say marketing your small business is even more important than your payroll because marketing is what makes your business known and brings in customers and money.

How long will it take for a direct mail campaign to work?

Generally, it will take at least 4 to 6 mailings to a specific, defined mailing list before your campaign starts to get traction.

Why does it take 4 to 6 mailings to see any appreciable return?

The first time someone on the mailing list sees your postcard, they may not need what you are selling. Or they have not thought about buying what you are offering.  Your postcard goes in the trash with a yawn. But two things happened: 1) they saw and touched your ad and, 2) your postcard made an impression.

The second time they receive your postcard. They noticed it and start thinking about if they need what you’re promoting.

The third time they receive your direct mailer they Google you and check out your company. They are becoming more familiar with your company.

The fourth time they receive it, now they are closer to being in the market. They have been shopping around online, and maybe read your reviews.  But they put off buying for another month.

The fifth time they receive your postcard mailer they are ready to act and call or come in your store. They have decided they need and want what you are selling and they take action.

We have had clients who called our office to buy something from us that have a stack of our postcard mailers on their desks. If we had stopped mailing them after one mailing we would have lost the opportunity to earn their business.

Direct mail is the only form of advertising that puts something directly in the hands of a potential new customer for your business and is one of the only marketing tools where you can target almost exactly who you want to reach.  Direct mail is tangible.

In this age of digital marketing, it is vital to use a form of advertising that is tangible and can be held onto. With digital advertising, your prospective customer is gone with one mouse click.  You also have bigger and more competition on the internet than in the mailbox.

I hope this article answered some questions you had. If you need anything else please give us a call.

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