8 Tips to Improve This “Old Fashioned” Direct Marketing Idea

By Suzanne Doyle-Ingram

Do you Consider Postal Marketing Old Fashioned?

While I certainly don’t think that direct mail is an “old fashioned” direct marketing idea, I know there are a lot of people who do. What with all the Twitter-ing and facebook-ing and Squidoo lenses and everything in between, it can be hard for business owners to decide what to do with their marketing. Direct mail tends to be pushed by the wayside in favor of the more trendy new marketing gimmicks.

But the bottom line is that direct mail marketing, while it may seem old fashioned, it works. Just ask Dan Kennedy.

If you send a well written postcard with a strong offer to 5,000 prospects and you get a 2% response… that’s 100 sales. What is the value of what you are selling? $50? $500? You can do the math on your ROI but the fact remains that direct mail works.

Here are 8 Tips that will improve your direct mail campaign:

1. Only mail to your pie-in-the-sky

Let’s say you are an interior designer. You would target your direct mail piece to your ideal prospects, such as:  women, aged 40-60, married, with a household income of $100k and higher… Then rent a mailing list of exactly those people. If you do an untargeted mailout, and 50% of your recipients are male, you’ve just completely wasted an opportunity to make sales. Not to mention the wasted postage, printing costs, and your time. (I am using the women-only example simply to illustrate my point. I’m sure there are actually plenty of men who hire interior designers.)

2. Use oversized postcards or lumpy mail to get their attention

One of the reasons direct mail marketing has a better response rate than email marketing is because direct mail pieces have to actually be handled physically by the recipient. It’s much easier for a person to simply delete an email. With a large, eye-catching postcard, people will often put them on their fridge to “deal with later” or pop them in a drawer. The same goes for lumpy mail. Let’s use the example of the interior designer again. If you write a letter and place a blank key inside the envelope, with a catchy headline like, “Are you Holding the Key to your new Dream Home?” not only will they find this amusing, entertaining and memorable, but this mail tends to get opened at a much higher rate than a regular envelope.

direct mail

3. Mail them a coupon with an offer they’d be crazy to refuse

If you know the lifetime value of your average customer, you’ll know what you can spend to acquire a new customer. If you’re a carpet cleaner, why not mail them a coupon for a $1 carpet clean?

“That’s right, for $1 we will professionally clean one room in your house. No strings attached. No other fees.”

Obviously you would do such a wonderful job that they would hire you to clean the rest of the house, right? (If you came and cleaned my living room, the rest of the carpets in the house would look terrible, compared to the one clean room! And I would have to hire you to finish the job.)

4. Mail your offer to your list of targeted prospects again. And again.

Your list of 5k contacts should last you a good while. (Make sure when you rent the list from your list broker, you specify that you need “multiple use.” This emans that you’ll be allowed to use it more than once.) Instead of chasing after other shiny marketing ideas, concentrate on that one list of prospects and mail your offer again and again. You WILL see results.

5. Practice edu-marketing

You are the expert and you know your industry better than your prospects do. Be prepared to educate them with your marketing so that when they are ready to buy, they choose YOU. You could offer a list of tips, what to avoid, how to, how not to, a free workshop, a webinar, a free CD, the list goes on.

6. Don’t forget a Call to Action!

In your direct mail piece, you must tell the prospect what you want them to do. Call Today! Order online. Download our coupon. I highly recommend Call Today. This is a hot prospect and once you talk with them on the phone, you can book the appointment or make the sale. The worst thing you can do is mail out a boring postcard that says:
Bob’s Roofing
972-123-4567

7. Solve Their Problem

Figure out what is keeping your prospects up at night and offer to solve that problem for them.

  • Leaky roof and you think you can’t afford to fix it?
  • Is your dog’s barking driving your neighbors crazy and making you an outcast?
  • Is the blue toilet in your bathroom embarrassing you?
  • Get ________ with a free trial

8. Hire a telemarketer to phone each prospect after they have received the direct mail piece. 

If you have never hired a telemarketer, I recommend that you hire two or three initially and give each of them a small list to work with. (You can find hundreds of them on www.elance.com). Perhaps give each one 100 names. Hire them on a contract/trial basis. Have them keep notes in Excel and ask them for a full report at the end of each day. You will find that most of them don’t work out, but one of them likely will. Whichever one is best, hire them on an ongoing basis and let the other ones go. By following up each mailing with a phone call, you will see better results than only mailing. Touching each prospect on the list two ways is very effective because some people may respond better to direct mail, while others may respond better to a phone call. Some others may just need reminding of their problem and the solution that you offer.

If all the above sounds expensive, keep in mind that you do not need to mail all 5,000 prospects at the same time. In fact, we recommend that you split the list into smaller groups and test a few different direct mail pieces and calls to action. While many of our large corporate clients rent mailing lists of 100k names and more, most small business owners are on a budet and need to start smaller. That is perfectly understandable, and we are here to help.

Call us today at 1-888-848-1215 so we can help you reach your ideal customers.

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