Does Direct Mail Marketing Work?


Hawk's Eye on Business

Hawk's Eye on Business

Last night I had an interesting discussion with my MasterMind Group where the topic for one member was on direct mail marketing and how to make it effective.  There are a number of areas that need to be addressed when considering a direct mail marketing campaign.   

Here are the items that need to be addressed:  

  1. Target Market:  Before you write your sales letter, you must first understand specifically who you are writing the letter to.  Do not scrimp on this issue.  The more specific the target market the better the mail piece can relate to that market.  If your target is too broad, your mail piece will be too general and when your market reads the letter, it will not hit any hot buttons or the hot buttons will not appeal as strongly to the reader, giving them no reason to take action on your mail piece.
  2. Write an effective Marketing Piece:  I use the IEEO method taught to me by one of my coaches for Writing Ads, Flyers and Emails that Sell.  The acronym stands for Interrupt, Engage, Educate and Offer.  I have a complete module on my products page that explains how to construct effective print marketing pieces where I provide you with all the tools to construct your effective piece using both IEEO and the AIDA methods.  AIDA is Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. 
  3. When to mail the letter and how many:  When to mail your marketing piece will depend on how long it takes your postal service to deliver the piece.  More important than when to mail the piece is when you want it to arrive at the target’s desk.  The best results are when the piece hits the target market’s desk on Tuesday or Wednesday.  This is because on Monday’s the target’s are usually putting out fires that sprung up on the weekend.  Thursday’s don’t give you enough time to follow up the mail piece before the weekend.  Friday’s are about preparing for the weekend for your targets. 
  4. Following up the mail piece:  Studies show that mail pieces get between .5% to 2% response rates.  So for every 200 mail pieces, you can expect 1 to 4 responses from it.  By following up the mail piece with a phone call, you can increase those responses by 200-300%.  So now you can have between 2 to 12 responses to your mail piece.  This is because those people who thought your mail piece carried some merit but got side tracked can be brought back to the topic when you call.  Other’s may not have understood what you wrote or may not have been able to understand the benefits to them of your offer.  Therefore, never mail more pieces out than what you can follow up on with a phone call before the weekend.
  5. Test and Measure Everything:  Test small samples of different headlines, offers, and benefits in your mail piece and record the results.  Keep track of demographics, responses, etc.  When you find a mail piece that works in a specific demographic then you can blow it up into a larger campaign.  One of the single biggest mistakes is that a business will mail 5,000 pieces out and get not one response and then complain about how direct mail doesn’t work.  No follow up, no testing to find a piece that worked, no clue about what they are doing.  If you are going to throw money away doing this type of marketing I have an address for you to send your check to, mine.  Sending me your money will have the same effect as not testing and measuring.

Things to consider for your mail piece are:  

  1. Be specific with the benefits of your offer to your target.  Too many mail pieces are heavy on features of the business, the service or the product and not on what the benefit is to the customer.  Don’t make this mistake as it will be the most costly mistake in direct mail you will ever make.
  2. Include some item that makes the letter stand out to your target.  If you are a CPA, put a couple of $$$ sign confetti in the letter, or if you are a landscaper include a couple of magic bean seeds in the letter.  The reason you want to do this is so that when you call, you can say “I’m calling about a letter I sent you (today or yesterday), the one with the magic bean seeds in it.  Do you remember receiving that letter?”  Now the conversation is started.
  3. Sell the next step harder than the end result.  In your mail piece, be very clear what result you want out of the letter.  For instance, a consumer can not buy a washing machine as a result of your mail piece.  They have to come to the store.  Some people can buy directly off of a mail piece but you probably have to have a trust relationship built if your product is a high dollar item.  In this case, you might want them to take a smaller step in your sales process by downloading a money magnet from your website.  Money Magnets are low risk items that potential customers can download from your website to get introduced to you, your service or product.  For more information on money magnets, visit my products page.
  4. Ensure that your marketing pieces are always promoting your Unique Selling Proposition  (USP).  By promoting what makes you unique, you take your competitors out of the equation.  This allows you to charge a premium for your service or product as opposed to constantly cutting your margins and competing on price.

  To schedule a 30 minute complimentary call with Roger to discuss your  plans, visit this site and pick a time, slots are limited:      

Other resources are:
Growth Club
How Healthy is Your Business – Business Health Check
Cash Flow Pamphlet
14 Most Common Business Owner Frustrations & How to Fix Them.
8 Biggest Sales Mistakes Small Business’ Make and How to Fix Them      

Roger Hawk Business Coach

       Roger Hawk is the host of “Hawk’s Eye On Business: KBOI News Talk AM670” and has been coaching, teaching & consulting Businesses for over 18 years. He’s been seen in Who’s Who, Virginia Tech’s Scholar Library, Eagle informer and various social media forums. He serves on Eagle’s transportation committee, and has created numerous support tools to help Business Owners become financially successful.        

    Give your Business a Free Health Check here:  Health Check     
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