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Do You Know How To Make Direct Marketing Work For You?

Aug 17, 2007
It's tough for any business to do without direct mailing these days. You might mail prospective customers using the Internet or maybe you prefer to rely on the postal system. Maybe you use a combination of both. Whatever your preference, the writing on the wall for any business is clear: you need direct mail. Used effectively, this is your trigger to sales.

How do you go about it? You need lists. Maybe you already have one. Use it as a first phase to tell your customers about what you have for them that's new. If you don't have anything new, set about correcting that. Whatever it is - a promotion, free offer, discount, - use direct mail to make sure your customer knows about it. Your product, your company name, must be top of mind for him. This will only happen with reminders.

Are emails effective for direct mail? Not always. Thanks to the huge amount of spam mail pouring into people's email boxes every day, chances are your promotion email might also get relegated into the junk folder. Yes, it's a cheap method of mailing but is it effective? The problem is, you never know for sure. It could get deleted without reading or it could get read right through.

Mailing works better. Once you have a customer's postal address, you can cross-check to see if there is a spurt in sales soon after you mailed to that particular area. Or you could work the other way around. If you find that one area has more people buying, send more mail there with offers and special schemes. You cannot do this with just an email address.

If you do have a response form that has to be sent or given back, don't tire the customer out, or worse still bore him with long forms to fill out. Just his name, address, phone number and email address should do. Information gathering should be quick, easy and pleasant, not seen as a chore. You can always fill in another form if you need more information. Here, too, do it bit by bit so it does not seem like some kind of cross-questioning which puts most people off. It sometimes even intimidates them. Don't ever ask for anything too personal.

Like we said, inform your customers about new promotions or offers or products through direct mail. Don't waste his time if there is nothing to say. It might just rebound on you if you waste his time on what he considers unimportant and uninteresting.

If you are doing a cold mailing exercise to companies, do remember to put a name on it - not something impersonal as 'Supervisor' or 'Manager'. Find out from the web or from a directory what the relevant person's name is and address the mail accordingly. If you have huge mailings, a business directory could be just the thing you need. Get one that has all the companies you deal with listed. Having it all in one place is time-saving even though business directories can cost a bit. This would probably take you ages if you were to compile it from the Internet. Unless of course you get lucky and an online directory that suits your line of business happens to be listed!
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