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Direct Mail or Email - Use Your List

Aug 21, 2008
I was recently asked the question, "Who Wins? Direct Mail or Email?" by a student of mine. This was my answer -- and I want to share it with you: It all depends on your *list.* And, very importantly, how often you "touch your list".

The better the list you have, the better the results you will get. I define a good list as one that contains customers and clients who you have marketed to several times at the very least. Of course accuracy is important, but updating your list happens in the natural course of marketing if you are diligent about updating your records as you receive new information.

Some experts suggest that you touch your list about 30-50 times a year in multiple mediums such email, direct mail, telemarketing, in person, etc. I agree with this advice. You are building recognition.

Yes, another thing to keep in mind is that a hand-built or an opted-in list is better than a purchased list. But, if you do buy a good list, there is no reason why you couldn't use it as a foundation for your eventual in-house list. Your continually updated list is your key to more sales and ongoing relationships. Keep it progressing, keep it updated.

Here is an example we experienced recently. We purchased a list for a client project and conducted a telesales phone appointment campaign. We generated about 23-24 appointments. To our client's credit, they next wanted to immediately follow up with a webinar on the same solution we had focused upon during the phone appointment campaign.

The results?

We generated nearly 40 new prospects the second time around! These respondents were interested in the solution. I credit this to the fact that we touched our list several times. The people on our list were already "warmed up" to my client's (actually, our team's) call.

Now, there are differences to direct mail and email. Yes, email is less expensive but, quite frankly, there are deliverability issues. This can be overcome by having an opted-in list. (The people I know who can absolutely get in are those "adult" and pharmaceuticals emails -- but they aren't technically playing by rules that we can follow.)

On the other hand, I think, when done correctly, direct mail can be incredibly effective. Don't underestimate the power of a message arriving through a different medium than phone calls, voice mail and email - direct mail still has a powerful impact. Just ensure that the direct mail campaign clearly stands out as *not* a type of "junk mail" to be discarded without reading.
About the Author
Ramon provides more marketing information, especially created for the IT VAR industry but also applies to everyone who wants to improve their sales. Stay up-to-date at StreetSmartVAR.com and while you're there, don't forget to sign up for Ramon's popular, no-cost online marketing course!
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