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.
THREE KEYS TO DIRECT MAIL CAMPAIGN SUCCESS
Customers have come to expect different things from different sales media. You know that your salespeople can't just repeat your marketing message to every customer. Similarly, successful direct mail is not just a clone of your print advertising. Here are Three Keys To Direct Mail Campaign Success. For many companies, direct mail represents one of their most powerful lead generation tools. Direct mail allows you to send highly focused messages to a selected list of individuals and to generate a high level of awareness and interest in you and your company. Direct mail can also be one of the most costly lead generation tools, in terms of both dollars and labor. Receiving an appropriate return on your direct mail investment calls for great care in the way it is developed and implemented. This article discusses three critical aspects of managing your profitable direct mail campaign.
Direct Mail Key 1: Treat Every Prospect As A Potential Home Run
I recently joined a friend at a Boston Red Sox game. Now, the Boston Red Sox haven't seen a pennant in many a moon. And the day I saw them play, they were soundly drubbed. But they taught me something that has helped my sales game. I was sitting in the bleachers, where home plate was a million miles away, but I had a great view of the outfield. And here is what I noticed. The opposing team was at bat, and every time a new man came up to hit, each of the Boston outfielders adjusted his position in the field. Why? Because they know that every batter hits a little differently, and you're not going to catch a line drive or low fly ball unless you start out close to where you expect the batter to hit. Of course, major league players get to watch videotapes of their competitors, so they know something about how they usually play. (Don't you wish you had a video of your toughest competitor?)
The Boston outfield did this repositioning for every batter that came up, regardless of his strikeout record or batting average. Their reasoning was clear. Although some batters are more likely to hit the ball their way than others, every batter had at least some chance of a hit, and any hit had at least some chance of reaching their part of the infield. If Boston were to have any chance of winning the game, there were no opposing hitters who could be ignored. There were two sales lessons to me from this experience. The first was that although some prospects on my mailing list have a better chance of turning into home runs than others, every one has at least some chance of buying something from me. So I'd better treat every one of them as if they are important. The second lesson is that every prospect, whether large or small, is an individual. There may be a lot of similarities from one to the next, but there is always something different. And the better I do my homework, the better prepared I can be to be in the right place when the action starts.
There was another thing the Boston outfield taught me. Just as the Boston pitcher wound up for each pitch, each outfielder got into a ready-to-run crouch and riveted all of his attention on the batter. Now, the odds of any given pitch resulting in a hit to a particular outfielder are not that great. But the attitude of each fielder was that every pitch counts. And since you never know which one will produce a hit in your direction, treat every pitch as if it is the most important one, not only of the game, but of the entire season. Since that game, I have never let myself go on a sales call or touch base with a prospect by phone without being full prepared to field a hit. Since I never know which prospect will close when, and which deal will make my month, why not treat every one of them as if they were the most important of my year. Before I leave the ballpark, let me share one more lesson I learned. Remember, I was sitting in the bleachers - the cheap seats. On my left was a very drunk fellow who somehow managed not to throw up on me, but did manage to spill beer on my shoe. In the row in front was a person of vague gender who was wearing 5 layers of clothes and seemed to have other possessions in various bags. And behind me was a guy whose entire vocabulary seemed to consist of fewer than 60 words, most of which were used to deride a particular pitcher. This was a group, I decided, that was lucky to have room temperature IQs. Then a funny thing happened. Between innings, there was a trivia contest. You know: What left-handed pitcher from North Carolina who started in a Texas farm club hit 12 home runs on Tuesdays when games were called for rain in the eighth inning? And everybody around me knew the answers to all of the questions: the drunk, the bag person, the foul mouth -- everybody. That reminded me: everybody is smart about something. And since everything reminds me of selling, it reminded me to listen more carefully to everybody in my prospect companies, no matter how far down the decision ladder they may seem to be. They just may know something important about their company's real needs that the big executives don't. So, now I know that I must treat every prospect company as a potential home run, and every person in that company as if they are holding the winning game ball.
Direct Mail Key 2: Repetition Is Essential
A small company that sells exclusively to businesses hung out its shingle and decided to use direct mail to generate leads. In the first month the president, Ralph, sent out 1,400 letters. He got 8 responses, leading to one prospect that finally closed. The next month, he sent out letters to 400 new names and received three responses, none of which were qualified. Over the next two months, he sent a new letter to all 1,800 prospects. Meanwhile, he placed calls to a few of them and followed up on other opportunities. The second mailing resulted in 12 leads and two deals. Ralph kept up his mailing campaign, sending nearly 2,000 letters every two months. Each letter was similar, but focused on one new issue that he thought would capture the interests of his prospects. One of Ralph's concerns with his letter campaigns was that recipients might become bored with them. He expected his response level to fall off with time. But it didn't. Halfway through his second year of steady mailings, Ralph was still getting a response between 1/2% and 1% from every mailing. Eventually, he found out why. Ralph was in the habit of always asking every new prospect who called how they heard about his company. When he asked one of his prospects, Larry. Rogers, Rogers told him: "Oh, I've been getting your letters for a long time. And I read every one of them. In fact, I've got a little file of your stuff. I just wasn't ready before. Now I am." A few weeks later, Ralph spoke with another new prospect who responded to one of his letters -- Jim Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz didn't have a nice neat file, and he didn't remember any of the previous letters. What he said was: "Well, I was looking for a company that does what you do, and I've seen your ads before so I assumed you were good. Then I got this letter." Now, Ralph had never run any advertising. And the fact is, Mr. Schwartz didn't know where he had heard of Ralph's company. All he knew was that Ralph was an apparently credible supplier. Why? Because he had seen Ralph's company name repeatedly over a long period of time. So, in every mail campaign you run, part of its job is to reach new prospects who have never heard of you before but who need your type of product or service now. Part of each mailing's job is to start some people building a file on you which they may eventually refer to when they get around to needing you. And part of each mailing is to build your reputation among people who may never remember where they heard of you, but who will become aware of your name and begin to think of your company as a player.
Direct Mail Key 3: Measure, Measure And Measure Some More
Every year before Christmas, Time Inc, the publishers of Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Money and other magazines, sends out millions of subscription solicitations to current subscribers, past ones, and lists of new potential subscribers. Now, Time has been doing this for decades. And if anyone knows about generating responses from direct mail, it's Time Inc. Which is why it is interesting to take a closer look at what they do as part of those mailings. For every single mailing (there are different ones for each different kind of list) they always design at least two, and usually more, different mailings. They take a particular list, randomly divide the names into groups, and send a different mailing piece to each group. Then they sit back and observe what happens. Inevitably, one of the mailing pieces produces a better response than the others. So, if they have more names to mail to, that's the piece they use. But, since the best mailing piece is still not necessarily "The" best, they test some more. They use the previous best piece on most of the next list, and try a new idea on the rest of the list. In the long run, their mailings just keep getting better. You probably don't send out 10 million mailing pieces at a time, but you can use many of the same techniques as Time, Inc. to measure your mailings and make them work better and better for you: Make every mailing a split test.
With every mass mailing of 5,000 names or more, split the list into two groups as randomly as possible.
Try different ideas on different parts of the list to determine which one works best.
Running a split mailing testYou've probably had plenty of debate in the company about what to say in your mailing. A big one is the offer or the price. Make the two mailing pieces identical, except for one variable - the price, the free gift, the promise of what literature you will send, your 800 number vs. your regular phone number.
Be sure to pick some variable you can measure. Merely changing some of the copy in one of the pieces may make it more effective, but you'll never know this unless the piece with the new idea leads to an action you can measure.
Send both mailings at the same time, to make sure it is a true test that is not affected by seasonality or the actions of your competitors.
Carefully track all responses by asking every new lead how they heard about your company and having the first person who speaks with each prospect keep a log. To verify other variables, you can put a code on each mailing piece and have your staff ask each respondent to read off the code.
After the majority of the responses are in, look at the log to determine which piece pulled better. If the response was about the same for each variation, and you're satisfied with the response, go with the one that is most profitable: highest price or lowest cost to follow up on.
If the response was greater for one mailing piece, and you didn't have to give up too much profit to get the higher response, make that piece your new standard.On your next mailing, use the successful piece as your standard. If you have a big enough list, try changing another variable.
Why do most direct mail campaigns fail?
Very few companies do a good job of measuring results from their direct mail (or any other) lead generation campaigns. Unless you track the source of every lead, there is no accurate way to measure, and learn from, your mailings.
Some companies try split tests, but they change too many things from one piece to the next.
Each split test tells you a little more about what your prospects want and what they don't. Launch a mailing campaign that is very different from the last one, and you lose the benefit of what you have learned from the last one.
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.
Back to Library Page of Article Titles