It's In The Mail - Direct Mail is Alive and Kicking!
Compared to a lot of companies in our field we do a lot of direct mail – postcards, sales letters, promotions, announcements, lead generation. Between client business and ours, we’re averaging one campaign every two weeks; about 1500 pieces per mailing. We’re planning expansion to over 2000 pieces per campaign and will increase mailings to once per week. One particular business interest will grow to 10,000 pieces a month. We’re constantly building and adding to our mailing lists.
We’ve learned a lot along the way. We develop the entire piece in-house and use printing services such as 48hourprint.com for production. We discovered bulk and presorted mail a while back and our costs dropped. We developed a couple in-house processes with staff to form a production-line approach to stuffing, sorting, and stamping pieces for delivery to the local USPS office. By producing the piece and mailing this way, our costs are low enough to make it affordable – we can recover costs with the first client project.
We don’t currently use email marketing, ezine or newsletter stuff in our business. We have an auto-responder solution that’s never been used. I’ll probably begin a newsletter of sorts and use the auto-responder in the not too distant future. But until then, we haven’t used those solutions in our own business. Direct mail is effective enough that we haven’t felt the need to do otherwise. But that will change with plans to expand our business.
Our direct mail campaigns are targeted to business leaders of all sizes, from venture backed companies to local small businesses and F500 executives. We’ve found the results to be about the same for all targets. Also, we’ve used direct mail in the public sector and have had great success in lead generation efforts to meet with elected and senior non-elected officials. We use Michael Bolyan’s Circle of Leverage technique and write copy using Doug Hall’s three pillar approach to customer communications. We shy from popular direct mail copy writing techniques that to me read like infomercials. Simple, to the point, and actionable – that’s about all we do.
For lead generation we integrate telephone follow-up, using the direct mail piece as a means to warm the cold call. Calling in follow-up is less painful than calling cold.
We write teasers on envelops, use Johnson boxes, and add the occasional PS, but none of them always and sometimes none at all; it depends on the piece, audience, and call to action. Overall we consciously stay sincere, direct, and offer compelling reason to take action. Some results are obviously better than others and everything must be tested continuously.
We often integrate a landing page with a marketing or awareness piece, keeping font, pictures, and copy consistent between the paper piece and the web landing. This transition the prospect from direct mail to the web is a seamless manner. Sub-domains are used to create unique URLs to market specific stories.
Direct mail has been very good to my buisness :-)
If you’re not using direct mail today, I urge you to try it. Use in-house resources to make the piece, find a good low cost printer for production, and leverage USPS bulk mail solutions to manage your cost. Direct mail is cost effective and it works.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Logan writes, speaks, and consults on the issue of revenue growth; working with clients to build their revenue the only three ways possible - getting more new customers, increasing the value of your average sale, and getting more repeat business. Jim can be reached at http://www.jslogan.com.