I am asked most frequently if Direct Mail campaigns work. My answer is always rather long winded - because it is complicated. The answer is yes, but there are stipulations to making a campaign work. Small businesses have finite resources and often direct mail isn't my first recommendation, but if your business is attempting a direct mail campaign and wants to insure success there are steps that can be accomplished:
1. Use a list of clients/customers that you have gathered/maintained yourself. Every sale or inquiry is an opportunity to capture information. By asking to include your customer in your mailing list you are asking permission to market to them and that is the first positive step to getting them to recognize you in their pile of mail. * If you do not have a list you can purchase one - there are a number of companies ready to sell you a list that can be created with your guidelines. My suggestion if you are purchasing a list is to start small and target customers who are in line with customers you currently have. 2. Design a dynamic piece. Spending money on printing and mailing is not the time to have your cousin design your marketing. Spend the extra money by having a qualified designer design a piece that incorporates your branding, your marketing message, and a compelling offer. 3. Create a call to action that makes the receiver what to be part of your group. Don't send a postcard that doesn't require an immediate action - they are thrown away within a few days (a week if you are lucky). You need to tell them what you want them to do immediately after getting the information. "Call now, visit today, sale starts Saturday, etc." 4. Call - write or follow-up with your list. If you are not a store that is having a sale but rather a professional company offering a more complicated product you need to follow up with your list. * Call - after your initial mailing you need to call each person, I know that sounds daunting, but if you are going to send them a postcard you need to make the commitment to call them - you can hire a telemarketer or virtual assistant to make a percentage of the calls to offset your workload * Write again - follow up with your postcard and call with a longer sales letter that talks in more depth about the services you offer. This will allow you to share more details and send them to your website for further information or schedule a consultation. * Send another mailing with a promotional piece in the envelope - bumpy envelopes. I like to send things that will stick around (post-it notes, pens, office supplies, or products in line with your service). It is further evidence of your commitment to courting them as customers. This is when you can offer them an exclusive membership, email newsletter, etc. Let them become part of your inside scoop and give you further permission to market to them.
As you can see a direct mail campaign isn't just a postcard dumped in the mail with you hoping that customers will come flocking to your door - it is relationship building. You are cultivating a base of people who you want as customers and that commitment to them will, in the end, pay off.