Kicking it old school: Getting results from direct marketing

Direct mail can be a very powerful medium for promoting and growing your business, but it’s a medium that for some, gets mixed results.  If you’re throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what will stick (ie offering to be “all things to all people” or targeting the whole world with your solutions because “everyone needs them!”), direct mail definitely isn’t for you.  But it can be … if you get clear on what you offer, who you serve best, and how they want to buy or be served.

Consider that poor direct mail results can typically be traced to one of a three basic problems:

1.  Your mail isn’t getting to the decision maker. If your mail is being intercepted by a gatekeeper and isn’t reaching the decision maker, you’re dead in the water.  There are a couple of ways of combating this problem, but the BEST way is getting on the telephone.  Most direct mail campaigns start with a list of business owners or associations, and that list may or may not have up-to-date information.  A quick 2-minute telephone call to find out who makes the decision for _______________ [fill in the blank with your service offering / qualifying statement] and confirmation of the mailing address will go a long way–and save alot of mailing dollars–to ensure that your mail gets to the right person.

2.  Your direct mail piece doesn’t promise a solution or give an offering that your prospects are looking for. This is huge.  If you haven’t mastered your positioning (attraction strategy)–you’re ability to connect with your prospects, who know nothing about you, within 15-20 seconds to elicit a “Tell me more …”–direct mail is likely a pre-mature strategy for you.  It takes some introspection, trial-and-error, and practice to hone in on the key frustrations and needs of the market you’re targeting and to connect your solutions with that need.  Hint:  It’s not about you, your process, the features of your offering or the strategies you use to get results.  It’s all about them and the key solution you provide to solve their problem.

3.  Your strategy lacks consistency. It takes 5-7 touches in a relatively short period of time to garner top-of-mind awareness in the minds of your prospects.  I typically encourage people to space their first three mailings 14 to 21 days apart, and hit your prospects every 4-6 weeks via direct mail after that.  If, during this time period, they come across your ads or read your articles in relevant publications, see you a convention or trade show they’ll be attending, and / or experiences other touches via phone, email, or word-of-mouth, you’ll boost your positioning so that they’ll think of you when they have a problem.  It takes time for people to “remember” who you are, to trust your information, and to need what you offer.  Keep your name in front of them and trust the process!  The ones who are attracted to your message will contact you when the time is right.

Another tip: Start out with a pure list (qualified prospects who are your ideal client because they’re likely experiencing the problem you can help them solve) of 150-200 people.  After you’ve tested your attraction strategy and you know this group of people are drawn to it, translate it into your direct mail campaign.  You should get a few inquiries (at least 1 or 2) with the first mailing.  If you mail twice and still don’t hear a peep, begin trouble-shooting your campaign.

Once you see that your strategy is getting results, you can double, triple or quadruple the size of your list and expect to see your results expand respectively.

If you’re stuck, we can help!  When you’re ready to develop your marketing gameplan, zip me an email and I’ll give you a free Strategy session.

The Secret Sizzle for Making Your Customer Curious About Your Business

The purpose of business is to create a customer.
–Peter Drucker

I was talking to a colleague the other day who is struggling to take his business to the next level.  He’s an IT guy who helps companies “maximize their technology dollars.”

“I know when I stand up and say that I work with technology, 80% of the people in the room turn their brain off,” he laments.

Ew!  I think I might be one of those people.  Talking about technology, to me, is stressful, frustrating, and frankly, B-O-R-I-N-G!  This guy’s service offerings really are fabulous; he’s a best-kept secret because people “don’t want to talk about it.”  Been there?

So what do you do when your prospects, though they NEED you, don’t want to think about the problem(s) you can help them solve?  In the new book I’m finishing (details coming soon!), we talk about this in detail:  Before you can package your offerings, determine your marketing strategies or develop your promotional tools, you must know who your customers are and how to connect with them.  When we take our clients through this phase of the marketing-development process, there is travailing and gnashing of teeth; figuring this out can be tough.  But when the finally light dawns (and it always does), they have a born-again experience!

The first step in the sales cycle is ATTRACTION.  You MUST position yourself in the marketplace so that what you offer is attractive to your prospects.  You do this by understanding your prospects’ frustrations and pain, and showcasing your solutions to connect with them (leave out the “icky” details for now).  You are their RELIEF. Once you’ve connected with a customer’s pain and they’ve said, “Tell me more!”, you can schedule a follow-up “consultation” to provide more information.

This can be the most difficult, frustrating puzzle to solve in your business.  But solving it is CRUCIAL if you want to connect with qualified prospects.  No matter how difficult this conundrum seems to be, there IS a way to strengthen your position of power.  You can, and you must!

Speakers & Coaches: Setting Goals in the New Year

I attended a Tennessee Coaches Alliance meeting today, where the topic of the luncheon was (fittingly) goal-setting for the new year.  I’ve been working on lining up my goals for the last several months, and something about this meeting really inspired me to make sure that I’m framing my goals for the year in terms of the results I want to create.

It’s so easy to make lists and keep ourselves busy, yet busyness doesn’t necessarily translate into growing our businesses.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen speakers and coaches arbitrarily filling their schedules up with busyness that “feels” productive; yet they aren’t seeing key results like more clients and more income (which is what most of us ultimately want!).

Tony Robbins is probably the master, in my book, on teaching you how to leveraging time to create the specific outcomes you care about most.  As you contemplate the results you want to achieve this year in your business, make sure you are framing them as specific, measurable outcomes.  You might have a goal of generating a $250,000 income in your business, for example.  Working backwards, you should be able to determine how many clients you’ll need in each profit center, and how to best execute your marketing strategy to produce those clients.

Also, consider that for speakers, authors, coaches and consultants, a solid Marketing Gameplan is built around the Marketing Triad:  three primary strategies (Networking, Visibility and Grassroots Marketing) designed to help us: attract prospects [Marketing Mavens (sign up free!) can review the Marketing Triad here; you can also learn more about the Marketing Triad in the How Should I Market Myself program], fill our pipeline, and convert prospects to customers.

Once our Triad is established and well-oiled, we can support our efforts with Stacking Strategies to supercharge our campaigns.

As you create your goals this year, consider the quantifiable results you want to achieve, and break these results down into specific, executable tasks:

  • Speaking twice a month to an audience of decision-makers (the Marketing Gameplan program calls this a Visibility Strategy).
  • Execute 5-step autoresponder to event attendees offering both free advice / support and promoting our coaching / new book / mastermind programs (Grassroots Marketing).
  • Execute promo plan to fill our group coaching program with XXX participants (Grassroots Marketing).
  • Turn live training sessions into a multimedia program that we can sell online to generate $XXXX in passive income.

My good friend Scott Jeffrey is one of the most amazing Results Planners I know.  He suggests a few key questions to get you focused on the results you want to create:

  1. What does the end picture look like?
  2. What are the necessary conditions to realizing the end picture?
  3. What results-driven activities are needed to satisfy each condition?  Instead of asking, “What do I need to do next?”, ask “What is the result I’m after?”

According to Scott, “It takes time to develop a results-oriented mindset because we are conditioned to think in terms of activities and to-do lists.”  As you think about your goals for this year, use the New Year’s energy to frame your goals in terms of RESULTS rather than busy “should-dos.”

Email delivery issues? Here’s how to fix it.

I’m not sure if there’s something in the water in Cyberspace, but whatever it is, it’s been hassling my email lately and I’ve had random delivery problems galore.  We aren’t blacklisted, but we’ve had problems with emails bouncing back, emails not getting through but no bounced message, and more.

And to my chagrin, it seems that nothing we try fixes the problem.

Rather than bore you with all the solutions we tried that failed, or explain to you why we were having these problems in the first place (we aren’t alone … because of the increase of SPAM, incoming mail servers are getting pickier and pickier about how the email they accept must be set up, blacklisted or not), I think we’ve found the solution:  www.dnsmadeeasy.com.

These people are dedicated to making sure your email gets through … and they’re some of the most respected email delivery experts in the industry.  They offer a lot of services that can be confusing, so here’s how you find the service that I’m talking about:

From the home page menu, click “Mail Services.”
SMTP Services > Read More

You’ll learn more about what the service offers, and the best part is it’s only $14.95 /year!  A major bargain.  If you’ve been having email problems and you’re interested in giving them a try, they offer a free 30-day trial; You’ll have to call and talk to a live person in order to set up an account (a minor inconvenience … they want to make sure spammers aren’t trying to utilize their service and they’re very easy to work with; no high-pressure sales).  They’ll email you further instructions as well as your trial access information.

Let me know how it goes!