By many people criticized as an ineffective tool. Yet, it is the most widely used promotional instrument. And there is a reason for both. Those who criticize the instrument say that the response rate to Direct Mail is very low. That is correct. It differs per sector, but generally one can say that the response rate of Direct Mailings is around or even below 1 percent. That is not an encouraging figure, so why is it then that still so many companies use it?
One of the reasons is that it is a relatively cheap way of promoting a company and its products or services. Another reason is that companies accept the low response rate and send out such volumes of promotional letters that they will eventually end up with a relevant number of business leads. Yet another reason is that the response rate can be increased by applying some rules and tricks.
One of the rules is that the more targeted or customized your mailing, the higher the rate of success. So narrow down the number of recipients of your mailing, only select those which you have scrutinized. So don´t just collect names and addresses from business directories, but learn more from those companies by visiting their website or browsing through their brochures, so that you will be able to make a customized promotional offer. The key to success is in knowing your potential customers and in knowing their needs.
In Western Europe , retailers (but also airline companies, car rental companies etc.) are nowadays able to make customized promotional offers to their customers because they know their buying behaviour. That is because all the details of the purchases of the customer can be logged and labelled in a computer database through the use of customer loyalty cards. To marketers this is an enormous blessing. The customized offers are a great success. Imagine your liquor store making a personal offer because of your birthday and offering your favourite (most often purchased) wine at a discount of 50%….
Apart from customizing your mailings, you also have to be creative. Due to the enormous flow of direct mail that companies receive, a lot of mailings end up in the waste bin without the envelop actually opened. So there goes your customized offer…. The hurdle to be taken is to get beyond the waste bin stage. The envelop has to be opened. That means that the attention has to be triggered. Somehow, the secretary should be curious to open the envelop….. Small gifts (consistent with the desired image, and reflecting some creativity to get that smile on the recipient´s face…) inserted in the envelop could do the trick.
Some other important issues for running an effective DM campaign:
- The mailing should be impeccable, neat and consistent with the desired image
- The addresses should be checked
- The heading of the introductory letter should clearly spell out the benefit to the recipient: why should he/she become engaged in doing business with you, what is your added value, what is your unique selling proposition..?.
- Apply the KISS principle: That does not mean that you should end the letter with “.,.,.. hugs and kisses from ….”, but that you K eep I t S hort and S imple! Short sentences (max 15 words) and paragraphs (max 5 lines) and the whole message preferably on one A4 size page.
- Always follow-up on the mailing by telephone.