Direct Mail Solutions
Direct Mail, Drip Marketing and the Bogus “Law of 29”
|According the the US Postal Service, over $71,000,000,000 (yes, that’s 71 BILLION) dollars was spent on Direct Mail last year. And still, 99% of the mail pieces sent did not produce a RESPONSE.
Do you hear that crackling sound? Those are the screams of $70,290,000,000 US dollars being burnt alive by ineffective marketing campaigns each year.
What type of research and tactics can be deployed to save some of those dollars & increase response rates?
Here’s an example: We see both long form letters and oversized postcards with strong, researched offers outperform the industry standard anywhere from 200%-400%. It’s not magic, it’s science. Do the research, follow the system and you’ll get results. Simple.
On average, the direct mail industry sees a 43% increase in response when followed by a Telemarketing call. Based on these numbers, it’s easy to see that buying a mailing list without phone numbers is absolutely insane. If the campaign fails don’t you want to call a sample and find out why? If it’s wildly successful, don’t you want to penetrate the portion of the list that does not respond to direct mail but appreciates a personal call?
Direct mail can be used effectively in two ways: to generate a response from a prospect or customer, or to maintain awareness and build brand through "drip marketing."
Drip marketing is the process of delivering a connected group of promotional mailings over a defined period of time. Drip marketing was a response to the "Law of 29," the belief among some marketing pros that it takes 29 "hits" for a marketing message to successfully turn a prospect into a client. The “Law of 29” is a direct testament to the billions of unprofessional and poorly designed mail pieces that go out each year. Even in the sea of mail reaching consumer and business owners every day, a researched message with a strong offer will out-pull the competition by as much as 400%!
T-3 Direct follows the “Law of 7”
With the right research, strategy and tactical deployment, you can put the the ”Law of 7” to work for you. If you could reduce needed contact from 29 to 7 while increasing your response rate 200-400% isn't that something you’d investigate?
Equally important, you want your readers to feel that you know them and understand their needs. You do this by your tone and look, but most importantly by ensuring that the product or service you sell is one that they need. Standard direct mail differs from drip marketing in one significant way: Rather than slowly and steadily building awareness and recognition, direct mail is used to generate a response.
So the first step, of course, is to determine what response you want. Remember that direct marketing should be used to generate leads, not sales. The purpose is to open doors, gain share of mind and, hopefully, access. So decide if you want your reader to call, return a card or fax, agree to an appointment, request more information or even opt out of your mail program.
Following are our thoughts about maximizing the potential of direct mail marketing:
It begins and ends with the list
No matter how effective your communication is, or how great your offer, nothing will happen if you don't reach the right people. It's not enough to pull a list of companies from the Yellow Pages; you need to find the ultimate "purchaser" of your service.
And you need to know as much as possible about your group of decision makers, because your direct mail has to speak directly to their needs.
Plan your approach
Wouldn't it be lovely if we could say something once and get our point across? But as any parent knows, it's not likely to happen. Direct mail, with its standard response rate of less than 5%, requires a series of carefully timed communications with a consistent look and feel.
Create a mailing calendar that spaces mailings from three to 10 days apart, making sure they don't arrive on Mondays, or immediately before or after holidays.
Get past the gatekeeper
I don't know about you, but when a package of mail lands on our desk, the first thing I do is "toss the junk." Not the bills, but everything that looks like a mass mailer and doesn't immediately capture our interest is history. Trash.
And in some companies, where decision makers have the luxury of a secretary or executive assistant, promotional mailings never even get as far as your prospect's office. So...
Disguise yourself. Send a box with a gift or premium item enclosed. It's unlikely that it will remain unopened.
Make sure a relevant benefit is immediately visible. In fact, make it hard to miss.
Choose postcards over letters. They're cheaper, for one thing. And you can make them oversized, brightly colored, artistic, creative, or any other kind of eye-catching thing you can think of.
Do anything you can to make your mailings look personal, rather than mass-mailed. Hand address or hand stamp them, even write a personal note on each card. You want your readers to feel that you are speaking only to them.
Make your point
At the beginning, in the middle and at the end, tell your readers what's in it for them. Keep it short, simple and clear. Speak in terms of benefits. Your readers don't care how many features you offer, what your company culture is, or why you think you do a better job than anyone else.
They want to know how your service can make their business lives easier, more effective and more profitable. Keep your tone personal and conversational, but be clear and to the point. If you confuse, you lose. If readers have to "focus" at all to get your point, consider them gone.
Do the little extras
These are not things that will make or break a deal, but every little bit helps, and the following have been known to make a difference:
Use white space. If readers see too much copy, they'll put the piece aside. Bullets, spacing, indented paragraphs and short sentences all help.
Use the postscript (P.S.) if you're sending a letter. Understand that the eye will go to two places: to the bold, indented words or paragraph, and to the P.S. Use this space to reinforce a main benefit or make clear the required response
We call it the "call to action." It's the place where you tell readers what they should do and when and how they should do it. Typically, it's the last paragraph before the signature, and is often reiterated in a P.S. Just remember to KISS: Keep it simple, stupid.
If you include a return card or envelope, stamp it.
Certain keywords are usually effective in direct mail: "no-risk," "free," "one-time offer" and "guaranteed" are among them. You get the idea.
Testimonials from well known people in the marketplace lend credibility. Remember: Like every other form of marketing, direct mail speaks to your professionalism, leadership and level of service. Even if you don't have a large budget, you can still create a professional mailing piece. Design simply and maturely. And of course, proofread!
EXTRA CREDIT: It’s more than just going “postal”.
Let’s give a round of applause to the US Postal Service.Nothing is perfect, but since enacting strong internal reform 5 years ago they have seen increased growth and profitability and will end this fiscal year with over a one billion dollar surplus. In fact, US Postal Service has reduced their debt from ELEVEN billion to TWO billion and it appears they will reach the black very shortly. How many government inspired institutions can you say that about?
The US Postal Service was founded in 1775.
It is an independent federal agency that visits 142 million homes and businesses every day and is the only service provider delivering to every address in the nation.
The Postal Service receives no taxpayer dollars for routine operations, but derives its operating revenues solely from the sale of postage, products and services.
With annual revenues of more than $69 billion, it is the world’s leading provider of mailing and delivery services, offering some of the most affordable postage rates in the world.
The Postal Service delivers more than 46 percent of the world’s mail volume - some 206 billion letters, advertisements, periodicals and packages a year - and serves seven million customers each day at its 37,000 retail locations nationwide.