Direct mail…with today’s technology and Internet capabilities…you would think it’s dead or dying right?
It’s not. Not by a long shot, in fact, there are some direct mail marketers (even in the Credit industries) that say direct mail works even better than some online methods.
As an aside, anyone who tells you any marketing method is “dead” or “dying”, will simply put together a combination of stats to “prove” their case…but they usually have something to sell you (the better mousetrap they came up with). I’m not saying what they have may not be valuable, but if you spread your marketing efforts out too thin, well, you’ll end up trying to do way too many things at once.
And that comes from someone who has done exactly that in the past (tried too many things at once).
On to our topic today…
If you’re using direct mail to market your credit business, it’s important you do everything possible to get maximum return on your investment. The 7 ideas in this article are the main leverage points for increasing the response rates of your mailings. And by the way, I’m using all 7 of these ideas in my own direct mail efforts, so you can be assured these aren’t theory, they’re proven and tested.
Let’s get started…
- Create an irresistible offer.
This is a tough pill to swallow for most credit business owners (hell, I even had trouble with it in the beginning years ago). There are no shortcuts here; the perception must be that you’re delivering way too much value for the price you’re asking with your offer, even if it’s free. That’s right, even if you’re offering a free package for responding to your direct mail piece, you still must deliver the perception your offer cannot be passed up…or your direct mail piece will end up in the round file.
An irresistible offer contains some key elements you need to be aware of:
- The quality of the offer. Don’t put anything but your best foot forward here, remember the consumer has plenty of choices when it comes to choosing who they do business with, and your offer must deliver the perception you aren’t afraid to share your best information or services initially (and don’t fake it either, you must deliver quality if you say you’re going to).
- The perceived value of the offer. Even if you’re making a “free” direct mail offer, the recipient of your direct mail piece must get the impression you’re delivering a TON of value. Then, the most important part is you MUST deliver that value…never over promise and under deliver “just to get the sign up” or sale.
- The “instant gratification” factor of the offer. Even though a person is responding to a direct mail piece, that doesn’t mean you can’t deliver something of extraordinary value instantly, even if what you’re selling is a service or physical item. People want “something” NOW, and using the Internet, you can deliver that something instantly…even if you’re shipping something as well. This fills the void someone feels when they order something, and they have to wait for delivery of what they order.
There are other elements to an irresistible offer that you might be interested in (like offering a 2nd helping, etc…), I suggest you pick up a copy of Mark Joyner’s “The Irresistible Offer” from Amazon to find out more.
- Targeted mailing audience.
So you offer a free initial credit consultation, worth $199.00 to anyone who responds to your direct mail offer. You want to send this offer to anyone and everyone possible right?
Wrong answer, thank you for playing our game.
You want to set up a “perfect client profile” first, and mail to a list of people who fit most closely to that perfect client profile. The list will never be perfect, but get your target mailing list as close as you can for best results. If you’re offering the above consultation for example…you don’t want to mail to a list of people who have credit scores above 750 right? They really don’t have a need for your services.
You DO want to mail to a list of people who just been turned down for a loan, or perhaps just got a credit card targeted to the subprime credit market (see http://www.referenceusa.com for one example of how to obtain a list like this). But who is your perfect client? Who is most likely to need everything you have to offer?
That’s for you to decide…then market to, write direct mail to, and make offers to that ideal client.
- Hire a professional direct response copywriter.
I know, I know, hiring a professional copywriter can seem expensive…at first.
But hiring the right one will ensure you are working with someone who can not only write persuasively, but also help you target and test your offers as well…saving valuable time and money while increasing your potential response rate. Copywriting is a skill you could learn on your own for sure, but investing in a copywriter means two things for you:
→You don’t have to learn copywriting, which can take months to years.
→You’re investing in a shortcut to direct mail profits when you select the right one for your business.
TIP: For my personal recommendation in hiring a professional copywriter to work with you (one who has worked with me on several projects), send me an email at mike (at) disputesuite (dot) com.
- Use different sized direct mail pieces.
Testing different methods and approaches to your marketing, no matter what type of marketing you’re doing, is absolutely critical to your success. Anybody who tells you there is “only one way that works” or “ehhh, you don’t need to test” have no clue what they’re doing.
This also applies to direct mail marketing.
One of the things you can test is the combination of sizes you use in your direct mail marketing series. Postcard sized may be the least expensive from a ten-thousand foot view, but overall may not generate the best response. So test and combine different sized direct mail pieces with your message over your entire series of mailers.
Visit http://www.usps.com/directmail/ to learn more.
- Mail more than once…develop a series.
Direct mail marketing is a process, not an event.
Go figure, right?
But what’s really sad, many people take the following WRONG steps when trying direct mail:
→They haphazardly write a message for the direct mail piece.
→They find someone who prints and sends the direct mail piece to a list (and no, not a very targeted one).
→They get a crappy response on ONE mailing…say “this direct mail stuff doesn’t work anymore…” and give up.
So sad… if direct mail was this easy folks… everyone would be running a successful business and stop using all the other methods of marketing.
But it’s a process, not an event. You must develop an entire series of direct mail pieces to consistently mail to a list. One mailing to one list, with no further testing, will NOT – repeat NOT – get you the results you seek.
So mail consistently, so you can get all the follow up responses to your offer that you can from one list.
- Effective and simple call-to-action.
Please read the words in #6 again…I’ll wait.
Did you do it? Come on, really read them again…
Ok, notice #6 says “effective and simple”, and here’s why…you can have a simple call to action, but if it doesn’t move the prospect forward or closer to the end of your marketing process it isn’t effective. You can have a very effective call to action that does move a prospect deep into your marketing process, but if the prospect has to “figure it out”, or has to take too many steps to complete your call to action…you’ve shot your business in the foot.
So you have to have both a simple call to action…and an effective call to action.
An example that illustrates this:
Direct Mail Piece A has the following call to action:
If you would be interested in our free credit repair consultation valued at $199 but yours absolutely free, call us at 1-800-COMPLEX and give us the following 24 digit code so we can send it free: IUIUNLGDH*YUHHLSKHHJDJJKLLJHJLKKJKJKJLKJ or visit us on the web at http://www.complex-call-to-action.com/uglylink1-holy-smokes-offer-response
Direct Mail Piece B has the following call to action:
To claim your free credit repair consultation valued at $199 but yours free, call us at 1-800-EASIER-ONE ext. 123
or visit us on the web at http://www.easy-call-to-action.com/easy
Which call to action are you most likely to respond to? Yes, this is an extreme example to prove the point but not far from the truth compared to what I’ve seen out there.
Here’s the last method to improve your direct method response for this article…
- Different types of mailers in the same direct mail series (bubble mailer, postcard, lumpy etc…)
Different from mailer size, direct mail type also needs to be tested to increase your response. From using “bubble” mailers, to using lumpy mailers (mailers that contain a gift, are a gift, or other odd item)…you need to involve more than just a standard 4×6 in your direct mail series.
(here’s a Google search on “lumpy mail” if you want to research)
Yes, there can be more expense involved with mailing different styles of pieces, but if all you do is mail standard postcards, and your mail gets lumped in with all of the other mail a person receives…you’ll be out of luck for sure.
So mix it up a little, and get testing!
These 7 tactics for increasing the response rate of your direct mail campaign can provide you a solid foundation for future success. Feel free to use only one, or all 7 (recommended), but in any case it’s time to get to work.