When you get a letter or flyer through your door, what do you do with it? Most of the mail people receive ends up in the bin – therefore the logic about direct mail among marketers is often that it is a waste of money. In reality, 90% of people may throw your mailing in the bin, but if 5% people glance at it, 5% more read it and 1% of your campaign results in a purchase, this may result in a profitable mailing campaign. Direct Mail is a numbers game and you have to enter into it in the knowledge that most of your mailings will probably go unread.
Large organisations, such as Sky, use mailings because they work.
These companies have spent large budgets testing and fine tuning their mailings to identify what works best for their organisation. But direct mail does not work for every marketing campaign. Below are some items to consider prior to using direct mail in your marketing campaign:
- First of all, the price of what you are offering plays a significant factor. If you’re selling CDs at £9.95 you’ll probably get a different response rate than if you’re selling million pound yachts
- Secondly, it’s not the percentage response that counts – it’s whether the mailing is profitable or not
- Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, nobody can ever predict the response from a direct mail campaign.
The third point above signifies that a Direct Mail campaign should never proceed without testing it on a small scale first because Direct Mail is statistically very predictable. For example, If you send out 2000 letters and get 20 responses – you can predict with some certainty that if you send out 4000 letters (to the target market group) you will get somewhere in the region of 40 responses. Equally, if you send out 2000 letters, get 1 response and lose money on the mailing, it is highly unlikely that a campaign involving 4000 letters will result in a profitable mailing experience.
Any mailings you consider will fall into two categories: The first is mailings to your existing customers. The second is mailings to potential new customers.
If you do not currently do much direct mail – and you have a list of past customers, you should start by mailing these existing customers. These customers are interested in your product and have experience in working with you, send them a letter and measure the response. If it works, mail them again next month and measure the results. If it keeps on working, keep on doing it!
Then there is using Direct Mail to attract new customers. Below is a list of some fundamental guidelines when using direct mail to attract a response from new business:
- Remember to Test all Direct Mail campaigns for new customers on a small scale prior to launching a full campaign.
- Always include a letter with any brochure you send, this makes the mail personal, will help develop a relationship with the receiver and may increase the response rate.
- Make sure that the contents of your mailing focus on the benefits of your product or service. You want it to be about your potential customer and what you can do for them rather than just being about you.
- Use direct mail in as many ways as possible, to sell a product, create awareness, to say ‘thank you’ to customers, to ask for referrals or to introduce your customers to a company you’ve partnered with. It’s only limited by your imagination.
- Test mailing postcards – they are cheaper than a normal mailing and in some cases will produce a higher response rate
- If you follow up a mailing with a phone call you can increase the response rate dramatically.