If this is the first marketing article you are reading, go find some other more basic articles that I have written and then come back. This data is for the intermediate to advanced marketers.
I want to go over a three-step outline for your marketing which are:
Marketing surveys save you from flying blind in your business marketing strategies and are the best way to find out what you should be offering, to whom and how. When you don't really know what to put in your direct mail marketing it's because you haven't done your research.
In order to get the response you would like on your direct mail marketing campaign, one area you need to look at is whether or not you are using a survey to find out what to say to your public. You may immediately answer "No - I don't survey." But truthfully, it's very possible you do and just don't realize it….read on.
You know your market quite well because you already sell to them. You're unwittingly surveying all the time. Take this example:
An optometrist has an optical boutique. He knows that the biggest market for his eyewear are women from the ages of 40 to 65 years old. How does he know that? His frame inventory is constantly being restocked fives times more than his men's frame stock or even children's. And the types of women's frames are ones compatible with no-line bifocals. Interesting! Let's look at what else this optometrist knows. He knows that these women pay a higher price point for their eyewear because the products he keeps reordering are from the more upscale designers so these women probably have more discretionary income. That is what I mean by surveying unwittingly.
Now let's take an example where you are sure you have no data:
You are a mortgage broker and you don't know what to say to people to get them to refinance their property, yet this is the area you specialize in. You assume that the best deal will attract more customers. You conduct a marketing survey, or get a marketing survey conducted for you that asks people indirectly for their attitudes and emotions concerning refinancing and what would be the advantages and disadvantages. You find the majority of people would like to refinance but think it is a very complicated procedure and so they never try. From this information you are able to determine what the tone and message of your advertising should take.
So, what should your promotion say? How about "We'll take the hassle out of refinancing for you. Find out how." You will get a response. You could send out thousands of promotional pieces telling your prospects that you can get them the lowest rate, but that isn't their concern. Their concern is that it's too complicated. Do you see how you could miss? A survey is the answer.
It is smart business to design a survey (or have one designed) to send out to your past customers that will keep you in the know, and not in the dark.
Now let's go into the next logical sequence of how to break the first barrier of getting attention, so the "button" you found from your survey hits them before they throw away your promotion before ever even reading it.
Ditch the Envelopes!
The most common question that is asked when dealing with direct mail is "How do I get their attention?" This is a major problem because, no matter what you do to them, most envelopes look basically the same. Print on them in color, make a window, stamp it urgent - your customers have seen all these tricks before. They get thrown away before they're even opened. They can tell from the outside that it is a sales pitch and they just get rid of it. This causes you to lose sales because of assumptions made before you even try to get your message across, when if you had the chance to let the customer know what you were offering they might have gone for it. Plain and simple, the easiest way to get around this is by using postcards.
Not only does the full color aspect of postcards attract more attention than all of the envelopes in any given day's stack of mail, but it will allow you to get your message across while recipients are making the decision of what to read and what to throw away.
Let's use this example:
You are sitting on the subway and the guy next to you leans over and says "I have something I would like to sell you and it's under my trench coat, are you interested?" So as any sane person would do, you move to the furthest seat from him so not to be bothered.
As you now sit in the farthest seat from the untrustworthy freak in the trench coat you are approached by a smiling little Girl Scout who holds out a box of cookies and says "Would you like to buy a box of cookies? Everyone loves the Thin-Mints!" So this time you pull out your wallet and plunk down the $3 for a box of delicious cholesterol and sugar.
See the difference? Don't hide your message behind a trench coat. For all we know the "untrustworthy freak", as I have affectionately named him, could have had a box of Thin-Mints under there.
We may never know, and neither will your customers if you don't stop stuffing your promo into bland looking envelopes.
Now, make the final step easy and take out the hassle of direct mail.
It's one thing to get postcards designed and printed. It's another to get them into the hands of the recipients rapidly, efficiently, as inexpensively as possible and without too much hassle. You have the choice of doing it yourself in house or getting someone to do it for you.
The apparent advantage of doing it yourself is that you don't pay someone else what they charge to do it for you. The disadvantage of doing it yourself is that it's going to cost you more in the long run.
Normally your postage for a 4.25 x 6" postcard is 23¢. Direct mail companies can lease special software from the USPS which reads the addresses and barcodes them. The post office gives a significant discount for bar-coded mail. Updating this software often (every three months) ensures that the addresses you are mailing to are good. If the person is not longer at that address then it's a waste of your money to mail to them.
Because of the high tech equipment and software direct mail companies use, you can sometimes save as much as .04 cents per card. And you don't have all the hassle of getting the mailing out yourself.
I call it a no-brainer: a technical term for saving money and hassle by getting someone else to do your mailing for you. If you have been doing it the hard way, switch over to a direct mail marketing company. I am sure they will be glad to help you save money, time and trouble.
About the author
Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998; her only assets a computer and a phone. In 2004 the company did close to $9 million in sales and employs over 60 persons. She attributes her explosive growth to her ability to choose incredible staff and her innate marketing savvy. Now she's sharing her marketing secrets with others. For more free marketing advice, visit her website at www.postcardmania.com.
Author: Joy Gendusa
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