Sorting Through the Mailer Maze
All too often, business-to-business marketers get caught up in the details of direct mail marketing, rather than concentrating on the important things: the list, the offer and the results.
One client, for example, worried about whether it was better to use gray paper or white for his direct mail campaign. It doesn’t matter what color paper you use—if you’re mailing the wrong offer to the wrong people, your campaign is going to fail.
For instance, try sending a mailing about graphic design software to chief financial officers, or sending a mailing about financial forecasting software to design professionals. No matter how appealing the direct mail marketing offers are, you’re betting against yourself.
When planning a direct mail campaign, first determine the objective, whether it is trying to generate leads or moving prospects along the buying cycle. The letter should support the objective.
Next, consider the direct mail marketing list. When choosing a list, focus on important things such as results rather than
worry about less important details, including undeliverables.
Another client was concerned by the high percentage of undeliverables from a direct marketing mailing list she rented. However, when I reviewed the overall results, I realized the same mailing list generated more leads and sales than any of the other lists she tested, resulting in the best overall return on investment. When considered from that perspective, the list was a winner.
The best way to boost direct mail response is to have a strong offer (i.e., a targeted one that will entice prospects to respond). Don’t make the mistake of offering something “cool” like an iPod. Yes, you’ll get a high response rate, but those responses will be from people who want an iPod, not from people who want your product or service.
In B-to-B, educational direct mail marketing offers work well for getting people to “raise their hands” and express interest. These types of offers include how-to guides, buying guides, reports, white papers, articles, case studies and invitations to events, such as webinars, presentations and seminars.
Make it easy for people to respond. The response vehicle should include the various ways people can obtain the offer—fax, Web URL, e-mail and toll-free number. It should also include questions that elicit the information needed to determine whether respondents fit the definition of a qualified lead.
Successful direct mail marketers understand that campaign success relies on the list and the offer. Determine why you’re mailing to people, and then ensure the list and offer support the objective. The response rate will be much higher in terms of “qualified” inquiries.
BY M.H. “MAC” MCINTOSH, CBC
M.H. “Mac” McIntosh, CBC is a business-to-business marketing consultant and publisher of “Sales Lead Report,” a newsletter focusing on sales leads. McIntosh also teaches university-level courses in sales, marketing, direct marketing and telemarketing, and conducts seminars and workshops for leading corporations and associations around the world. He can be reached at (800) 944-5553, email@example.com and by visiting www.sales-lead-experts.com.