A Successful Direct Mail Campaign

I was talking to a member of a forum and he was very upset that his direct mail campaign didn’t produce the results he wanted. He came to me with one question, “why?” He had spent a few thousand dollars to have a direct mail campaign put together. He felt it was a real winner; it had enticing packaging, compelling copy, and a great theme to tie it all together. He sent it to hundreds of businesses and only a handful of them responded. So why did he not see the results he was promised as he shelled out thousands of dollars on a direct mail campaign? He blamed the agency that put it together. I told him he only had himself to blame. 

The agency had done its job; it had produced a noteworthy campaign. But the disgruntled gentleman I am talking about forgot the most important step of a direct mail campaign; the follow up. Follow up accounts for 80% of the success in implementing a direct mail campaign. Expecting a business to respond to a direct mail campaign on their own is expecting way too much of them. I told my angry friend, if you want more customers, you need to go to them. Luckily it had only been a few weeks since he sent out his direct mail campaign and I advised him that the entire plan could still be salvaged if he was willing to pick up a phone and call every business he had sent a direct mail piece to. 

The lesson learned here is that a direct mail campaign cannot open and close a deal on its own. A direct mail piece should be used to open the table for discussion; to give a potential client something to look at when you make that call. Think of it as a friendly introduction and not a mini-salesperson.
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Now this post is geared towards a business-to-business direct mail piece and while many things in it are universal like; designing enticing packaging, writing compelling copy and utilizing a clever theme, it may not be possible to follow up with the people you are sending it to.

If you are using a direct mail campaign to send out post cards with coupons here is the trick to running a successful direct mail campaign for retail.

Send out a post card to your list of people informing them of your products/store/service/benefits… whatever. Offer them a small discount on what you do let’s say 5% off when they bring the post card in to your store. When they bring it in don’t throw it away keep it and start a database of all the customers that responded to this, their names and addresses are on the post card already so creating the database is almost done for you. This is your gold list of customers; they are the ones willing to spend as close to retail as possible.

Remove the names of the people that already redeemed their coupons from the original list and send out a second mailer offering a larger discount. Repeat the same database process as above.

Do this over and over again, each time offering more of a discount, eventually you will find out which discount generates the most response and that list should be guarded with your life. When this all over you should have two very strong databases the first is your gold list, a list of clients willing to pay retail and the other is a list that will generate a large amount of traffic to your store. Of coarse you will have a database of who responded to what and you can use those lists as you like.

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~ by BRANDED Solutions on September 17, 2009.

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