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. And feel free to download my in-progress book, Your Marketing Gameplan: Getting Unstuck and Growing your Business.