A new year is the perfect opportunity to reassess your business growth goals and recommit yourself to marketing practices that will help you achieve them. With that in mind, I want to give you a really useful piece of content you can reference throughout the year to improve your direct mail campaigns.
And Thus I Give You… The 10 Direct Mail Commandments!
1. Thou Shalt Have a Unique Selling Proposition
A USP is a simple phrase that clearly explains why your business is a better choice than any of your competitors. By identifying and designating your USP, you give yourself a crystal clear benefit that becomes the focal point of all of your marketing, including your direct mail campaigns.
2. Thou Shalt Plan Thy Marketing Schedule
You want your mailing campaigns to go out consistently and on time, because consistency is critical to direct mail success. I highly recommend taking an hour and marking on your calendar every holiday/sale/event you want to promote in 2014. After you have done this, go back 6 weeks from promotion date and set a reminder to order the postcards. This pre-planning allows you to establish an effective schedule and remove the stress that comes with trying to throw a campaign together at the last minute.
3. Thou Shalt Target Thy Ideal Prospects
Do you know who your ideal prospect is? What does he/she do for a living? For that matter, are they a he or a she? Are they married? Do they have kids? What do they do for fun? Or if you are a B2B investor: What are the SIC codes for your ideal prospects? How much revenue do they generate annually? How many employees do they have? Where are they located?
You want to create a complete profile of your “ideal prospect” that includes even minute details about their work and personal lives. Of course, this is a hypothetical person or business, but the clarity you gain by working up this profile helps you intuitively understand what kind of marketing message your prospects need to hear. This is useful in SO many circumstances, not the least of which is choosing a mailing list and postcard design.
4. Thou Shalt Be Benefit-Focused
When it comes to marketing copywriting, you can focus on benefits or features. “Closes guaranteed in 7 days” is a feature. “Be stress-free and mortgage-free by next week” is a benefit. Focusing on features makes people think you’re trying to impress them. Focusing on benefits helps people understand how your product or service improves their lives. To sum up this commandment: Benefits sell; features do not.
5. Thou Shalt Not Make False Promises
Don’t exaggerate the benefits of your product or service. Don’t claim to have “the best customer experience in the universe.” Don’t say that you return calls within 24 hours if all you do is email them back with a time next week that they can call. When writing the copy for your postcard, be clear about what you’ll do for your prospects, how it benefits their lives, and what your commitments are once they choose to you. Hype and unmet-expectations simply do not reflect well on your business.
6. Thou Shalt Always Call Prospects to Action
The goal of a postcard is to have prospects read and then take action. To accomplish this, you MUST spell out exactly what they need to do next. You cannot assume they will figure out what the next step is. People are just too busy to take the initiative. If you don’t tell them exactly what to do, it is highly unlikely that they will end up doing it. A Call to Action (CTA) can be as simple as, “Call today for a FREE mortgage review and market assessment.” Short and to the point.
7. Thou Shalt Be Consistent with Thy Mailings
Repetition is key to direct mail marketing success. For most postcard campaigns, my company’s research shows that 3-5 mailings is ideal. For example, if you order postcards to promote a Labor Day special, you want recipients to receive that card at least three times before the sale. This ensures that you produce an optimal Return on Investment (ROI). On top of that campaign consistency, you want to be consistent in terms of how often you mail postcards throughout the year. That is where pre-planning becomes critical.
8. Thou Shalt Follow Up with All Leads
Following up with prospects through channels like email and phone does not directly impact your direct mail response necessarily, but it absolutely affects your ROI. The more leads you close, the more revenue you make off of your campaign. The more revenue you rake in from direct mail, the easier it is to be consistent.
9. Thou Shalt Build Relationships with Thy Current Customers
If an individual has a relationship with you already, it’s likely that he/she is a prime target for further marketing. Don’t neglect all of that work you did to turn them into a client! Mailing postcards to your current customers can build a strong relationship that turns one-time customers into a great source of referrals or maybe even an investor!
10.Thou Shalt Prepare for a GREAT Year
Lastly, get ready to have you best year ever! If you abide by the nine previous commandments, that is the end-goal. Obviously, success doesn’t come overnight. However, by steadily employing these bedrock direct mail principles, you will see consistent growth every month – and that really adds up!
Best of luck to you in 2014! (But if you abide by the commandments, you may not need LUCK!)