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Preparing A Direct Mail Campaign

Oct 12, 2007
Direct mail continues to be one of the most effective forms of marketing available. I know it sounds crazy but it's true. Just look in your mailbox and you'll see proof. I'm sure you get at least a dozen pieces of direct mail every single day and reason is that it works, at least in some situations.

There's no question direct mails is better suited to some businesses than others. In particular, any business where timing is a factor in the purchase decision is a good candidate for direct mail advertising because you need to stay in front of those prospects so they'll think of you when the timing is finally right.

This alludes to the most important point. Direct mail is only useful if you do it on a regular basis. And by saying that, I'm not talking about sending your marketing piece to different people each time. No. I'm saying you have to send your marketing piece to the exact same audience, over and over and over again. The key to a successful direct mail campaign is repetition.

Companies who do direct mail spend millions of dollars each year analyzing their campaigns and how to maximize the returns they get. In fact, this area of marketing is probably studied more than any other area. And the consensus is that an average person doesn't even realize you exist before they've seen your marketing piece at least seven times.

This is an amazing reality and many would argue it's a function of being over-marketed in our daily lives. Let me say it again. The average person doesn't even realize you exist before they've seen your marketing piece at least seven times. Seven times! And there are some who estimate that number is actually much higher than that.

As a result of this reality, there's absolutely no point in doing a direct mail campaign unless you can afford to run the mailer at least seven times before expecting any results. Seriously. If you can't afford to send your marketing piece to the same audience at least seven times, don't even bother because you won't get a proper gauge of whether the campaign will work or not.

You also want to consider a two-step approach. That means the initial marketing piece invites recipients to get more information by taking some predetermined step. They might be invited to call an 800-number and hear some pre-recorded information. They might be invited to request a free information booklet or they might be invited to visit a website with additional details.

Two-step marketing is a great way to pull prospects into your sales funnel. By giving them an opportunity to get more information for free, you invite them to take action. You also have a way of getting their contact information so you can follow-up afterwards. And lastly, you give yourself a second opportunity to earn their trust by providing valuable information. All three dramatically increase the odds of making a sale.

In order to implement a program like this effectively, you'll need to decide on a value item before you get started. What additional information will you be providing? Whatever it is, it should be something your ideal customer would really appreciate. Think about what information your target market really wants. Think about what would make their lives easier. Then put it together before you even design the direct mail piece. Doing it this way will add focus to your marketing piece and save you time along the way.

Direct mail is still an effective way of touching new customers but it won't deliver any results unless you send your mailer to the same audience consistently. You'll get better results if you use a two-step approach, giving recipients a way of getting more information painlessly and the best way to prepare for the campaign is to create the information piece first. Give it a try and let me know how it works out.
About the Author
Tactical Execution with Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a strategic company focused on growth marketing and program implementation across business markets. Visit the website for more specific tips to start generating revenue today.
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