Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Direct mailing

Direct mailings are one way of many in order for a small business to win clients. As with other advertising campaigns, you have to remember the A.R.A.-principle (Action-Reaction-Action): your action will lead to a reaction in your client, which will then lead to your next action.

Direct mailings are relatively cost-efficient. However, you should not expect a high rate of response. Depending on the industry, the response rate should be between one and three percent.
Through exclusive campaigns and sweepstakes, you can try to increase the rate of response. Additionally, you can set a time frame for recipient to answer.

In order to run a direct mailing campaign, you need addresses of prospective customers. These addresses can be bought or leased. According on the target, addresses are available starting at around 30 cents per address. However, you can only use them once. That means, after the mailing you are not allowed to call up on people you sent the mailing to or put the addresses into your database.
A more cost-efficient method is to look for addresses yourself. This will need a lot of time, but at least you will be able to tell immediately with every address whether it is usable or not. On many events, such as fairs and congresses, you can meet people. You can also get addresses from professional organizations, journals, through competitors or chambers of trade.

You can hire an agency with running your direct mailing or you can divide the work and hire a graphic designer for the print material and send it out to peple yourself. Whether you decide to hire an agency or graphic designer you have to make sure that you hire people you will get a long with and you will be able to work with easily. Also, the agency/graphic designer should fit the size of your business. Make sure you don’t hire an agency that is big and expensive, if you are a freelancer yourself.
Once you choose an agency or graphic designer, make sure to give them a complete briefing. That means telling them the reason for your direct mailing, as well as the aim and when it has to be done. Provide them with all necessary information and answer in detail to any questions they might have. If your briefing is good you will save a lot of time and ÄRGER. If you don’t provide the agency with enough information, they will have to research facts and come up with answers themselves, which can be expensive for you.

Your direct mailing should contain the following elements: an envelope (you can have something printed on it to get more attention), a letter with information (should be personalized), an envelope or card for people to send their answer back, as well as a present (it does not have to be expensive, but it should have some use for the recipient). Let the recipient know what he or she has to do. Do you want her/him to call? Do you want him/her to send you an email? Or do you want her/him to send you the card back? Make it clear, what people are supposed to do with your direct mailing, otherwise nothing will happen.

When you write the text for your letter or have it written, make sure you already get the recipients attention with the headline and the introduction. This can happen through speaking to the emotions of the recipient. If the reader is bored, he or she will not continue reading. You should know who your target is, in order to speak to them in the appropriate language.
Also make sure that you do not praise your product or service too much, as this will make it sound implausible. Instead, you should emphasize the customer value. Additionally, your mailing should not have any spelling mistakes and all phone numbers should be correct.

To find out whether your direct mailing will be successful you can test it before. You can hire marketing research institute to test your mailing. Or you can run a mailing test with just sending out a certain number of mailings (for example with different gifts), to see how the target group like it.

For your direct mailing to be really successful, you should not just rely on the mailing alone. Instead, you will have to target your target market over and over again. Therefore, your mailing should be accompanied by an ad, a flyer or a special mailing. Of course, a consistent appearance is very important here.

Before running your direct mailing, you should be prepared for recipients to call you. Also, you should have a plan, as to what you will do after the mailing. For example you can call all recipients or send additional material if they do not react.

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