If you operate a business using mailing lists, consumer mailing lists, opportunity seeker mailing lists or MLM mailing lists to target Opportunity Seekers, Business Opportunity Seekers, MLM Opportunity Seekers and Home Based Business Opportunity Seekers, you can benefit from reading this article.
7 DIRECT MAIL SECRETS GUARANTEED
TO CREATE A STAMPEDE OF NEW BUSINESS
If you think "junk-mail" doesn't work...you're absolutely right! However using highly targeted direct mail will almost always work. Maybe you've heard that 1% or 2% is the industry standard - well I'll show you how you can multiply that figure many times over.
A common story I hear is how they folks mail out thousands of glossy, beautiful brochures with pretty pictures, flowery text and everything looking absolutely gorgeous, but they get ZERO response. So they mistakenly believe direct mail does not work. What could be the problem?
You see direct mail when done wrong is almost always a huge waste of money. But when it's done right you can expect tremendous results and profits. That's why doing right only means only one thing in my book - getting RESULTS!
Direct mail can become the most predictable and consistent way to generate more customers, yet most businesses are guilty of doing it wrong simply because they've never been taught these jealously-guarded secrets.
With these 7 secrets your next mailing campaign will be a massive success.
Secret #1: Your List Is The First And Foremost Your mailing list is essential to your success. Let's say you were selling snow tires - you wouldn't want to send out your offer to people in Phoenix, right? Well as silly as this sounds, many people will make this same mistake. You cannot just pick a random resident list of nearby Zip codes to your office. What you need to do is consider who your ideal customer would be and then find a way to target your message directly to them. With direct mail, you're given the opportunity to use laser-beam, pinpoint accuracy to specifically target your message. And thanks o the growing direct marketing industry, privacy is dead in America. So if you told me your ideal customer is a man age 45-55, who drives a Chevy Chevette, who lives with his parents, who watches Pro Wrestling, and who goes bowling once a week - I can get you that list. It might not be that big of a list, but it is available. Now you probably don't need to be as specific as this but you can. There are two major types of lists available: 1. The first kind of list is simply compiled information, taken from directories, phone books, motor vehicle records, etc.
Probably the most common way of using a compiled list is to buy a geographic list, like all the residents around a 5 mile radius of your office. Usually this will not yield the greatest results.
Another way is to segment a compiled list is by demographics (that's the fancy term for age, sex, income, whatever). This is a little better way to target. For example you could specify you only want females, age 50-65, who earn $75,000 per year and above.
But there is an even better way is to combine them using "Geo/Demo" characteristics.
You can pick certain geographic areas and certain demographic characteristics that you desire. Think of your ideal prospect, the more you know about them the better-targeted lists you can purchase.
For most people a good starting point is to comb through your customer records to find common characteristics, like region, age, etc. Or if you sell business to business then you should try to look for common industries or SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes that a majority of your business comes from. Your goal is try to *clone* your best customers!
2. The second type (and much more valuable) is called a direct response list. These are lists of people who have bought or responded to direct marketing.
In some cases it will make more sense for you to buy a mail order list. The people on this list have bought something from direct response methods (mail, print ads, infomercials, etc.).
This kind of list is the most specific you can get. To get an idea of what I'm talking about go down to your local Library and ask the librarian for the SRDS (The Standard Rate and Data Services) Direct Mail List Source Directory, usually in the reference section. Or you can get more information on http://www.srds.com.
The SRDS is a huge, 4" thick reference book with nearly every public list available for rental -- it's the bible for direct mailers. Just glancing through this book you can find lists of buyers of almost anything that has some affinity to what you're selling. The best part about these lists is that you know these people have a high interest in whatever they bought. So if you're an Accountant, you could rent a list of people who bought tax planning information by mail.
Or maybe you're a dentist, what better list could you find for a teeth whitening offer than someone who just bought a tooth whitening product from an infomercial? What you want is a "starving crowd," somebody who has expressed an interest in looking better. Somebody who has paid money. And that's exactly who you can find using direct response lists.
But there's one more list that almost everyone forgets. It's literally a goldmine lying at your feet. And that's your own list! If you have not put all your customer's names and addresses into a database you're overlooking an incredible source of added business. This list will be the most powerful list and responsive list you can use for any offers because these people already trust you and like doing business with you. This is critically important. Especially if you're in a business that typically doesn't keep their customer names and addresses because you're missing an incredible amount of money. Maybe you're a retailer or a restaurant owner -- make it a habit for your staff to collect customer names! It is absolutely critical! I cannot stress this enough.
Secret #2: How To Get Your Letter Opened and Most Importantly, Read
The first thing you need to do is to get your letter delivered. I know this sounds silly, but it's more difficult than you think. Many consultants will tell you to save money by using 'bulk-mail' postage or as its now called 'standard rate'. Bulk rate is the dumpster rate. After taking the proper steps to get the best list, don't blow it by being cheap on the postage.
In fact, the Post Office freely admits that 20%-30% of all bulk mail gets thrown out for various reasons. The reason is simple; when your mailman's sack gets heavy, which letters do you think he would dare not deliver? That's right - bulk mail. So if something looks like it's junk mail it is more likely to get tossed.
So in order to get your mailings respected (by the post office and your recipient) all your mailings should go out first class and use a real "live" stamp. That also means don't use mailing labels or even worse than that, is a "postage indicia". All these smack of "junk mail". The closer you can make your envelope look like personal correspondence the better since people sort their mail over the trash can. That means you only have only a split-second for them to decide if they'll open your letter or not.
Secret # 3: A Letter Means Action
Brochures and self-mailers do not work. What do you do when you get a brochure in the mail? Most people will either toss it out or file it away. Hardly anyone gives it more than just a casual glance on the way to the circular file. What you need is an action device, and that's what a letter will give you. You need to take advantage of the greatest benefit direct mail has for you - personalized, intimate conversations. A letter allows you to "talk" one-on-one to your prospect. That means you should use "I" and "me" and "you" freely in your letter.
Don't use the corporate sounding "we". Remember just one person is reading your letter at once. So don't write in the plural, even if your mailing is going out to thousands and thousands of people. Just sit down and write the same way you'd talk to a friend over dinner explaining the advantages and benefits of the product or service you're offering.
Start your letter with a compelling, benefit-driven headline.
Prospects will decide to continue reading by the headline. If your headline fails to capture their attention and keep them engaged, your letter will quickly end up in the trash. The most common mistake you can make is to put your company name, big and bold on top of the letter. This is the worst thing you can possibly do. You see, every person is concerned with one thing:
What's in it for me?
Your company name does not show what, if any, benefits, the prospect will get from your letter. So put your company name at the bottom of the page where it belongs.
Secret #4: No offer = No Response
Without an offer, your letter is doomed. It is not enough just to send out a mailing hoping people will call if they're interested. You've got to tell people exactly what next step they should take, and if you don't, your mailing has failed. The best type of offer is something that is non-threatening and completely irresistible. If you can offer anything for free this works best. Such as a free educational report, tape, seminar, consultation, service, etc. Try to come up with such an irresistible offer that anyone would be foolish not to take advantage of it. Plus by making a compelling offer you can then keep track of how many people responded to your mailing.
Secret #5: Continuous Mailings
Why do people believe they can send out one mailing, one time, and all of a sudden become bombarded with new customers?
It's ridiculous to believe any one shot mailing is going to uncover *everybody* interested in your service or product. Think about your own life. You've probably received some offers that you were interested in but you never acted on. Perhaps you put it aside for a phone call or maybe one of your kids came running in and distracted you, or any number of other reasons. Your prospects are the same way. To overcome this, you've got to create a plan for multiple contacts. Also, this way you can take advantage of the "moving parade of life". You are not selling to a standing army, but rather a moving parade of prospects. People will move in and out of different needs and wants as they go through changes in their life.
Here's an example: Let's say you're an owner of a furniture store and you sent me an offer for deeply discounted furniture. Well, you probably wouldn't have much luck because my house is full of furniture. But what if when your second (or third or fourth) offer came, my fiancé had left me and taken with her all our furniture. Now, all of a sudden, I'm a very eager customer.
That's why using multiple mailings often leads to double-digit returns.
Secret #6: Testing
With direct mail you have the precision to test any offer on a small group before mailing on a massive scale. Even if you think you have the greatest idea in the world for a letter, you can still test it to a few names, instead of mailing to 50,000 people. Then if you get a good response you can move on to mail a higher number of pieces because with a high probability you know it will work again. A reasonable test is about 2,000 to 3,000 names, depending on how many names you have on your list. You can even test with as little as a few hundred -- but you won't get a statistically valid response. However, you will get an indication of the letter's success. But don't make the crippling mistake of mailing out tens of thousands of pieces unless you can afford to lose everything. Once you've created a letter that works well this is called your "control" and now you can use testing to see if you can do better.
Here's how: On your next mailing you change only one element like the headline, offer, pricing, etc. and then you split your list in half. One half gets letter#1 (your control) and the other half gets letter#2 (the test) then see which one does better. And I guarantee you will see changes in results once you start testing.
However, in order to accurately measure your test you've got to follow secret#7...
Secret #7: Tracking
John Wannamaker (and then later P.T. Barnum and William Wrigley), said that 50% of their Advertising was being wasted -- but they didn't know which 50%.
But now each letter campaign you send out gives you the ability to precisely track what your return on investment is. This way you know to the penny if your marketing is working or not. Unlike many other forms of advertising you do to just get your "name out", direct mail gives you an easy way to track your returns. Subtracting your expenses (cost of postage, printing, and list rental) from how much business your direct mail campaign brought you gives you your profits. You must keep track of each and every prospect calling from your letter and responding to your specific offer (secret # 4).
That's why you'll want to assign unique priority codes, extension numbers or fake employee names for each promotion. Each letter you send should have a unique code. Then you will be able to credit that letter with the inquiry or sale. So you know what works and what does not. Many times I'll use a priority code at the top of the letter. When prospects call in your staff should be trained to ask for the priority code.
Or you can use extension numbers like this:
Call 713-XXX-XXXX, Extension “F05”. This way you know this code (the extension #) stands for an offer you made F (February) 05 (2005).
Or if you do face-to-face business, an easy way is require people to bring the letter with them/or present it to your staff in order to get the special offer. Tracking is critical or else you'll still be flying blind. Now you can track your revenues and results from each mailing. Plus, you get a clear handle on where your business is coming from and which promotions are working. Adding direct mail to your marketing is a surefire way to produce immediate results for your business. And by applying these seven little-known secrets, your next mailing can't help but be more profitable and successful.
Consider implementing these tips if you operate a business using mailing lists, consumer mailing lists, opportunity seeker mailing lists or MLM mailing lists to target Opportunity Seekers, Business Opportunity Seekers, MLM Opportunity Seekers and Home Based Business Opportunity Seekers and want to make more money than you are currently making.
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