Marketing Examples: Direct Mail Tips

Recent Gallup polls found that direct marketing was the most common communications medium during the late 90’s. Direct marketing refers to direct mail, mail order, coupon advertising, telephone marketing, direct response tv, door to door salesman, web sites, or any other method of marketing that aims to make a sale right then and there.

89 percent of marketing directors use direct mail to generate leads, while 48 percent use it to generate sales Direct mail is very expensive and should never be tried without the help of a marketing company. But as always it is best to be informed before trying any new marketing medium.

How you can gain information on how to set up a great campaign is to take a look at the best in direct mail.

Successful Direct Mail Marketers:

  • L. L. Bean
  • Lands End
  • Hammacher Schlemmer
  • Brookstone
  • Fandom

Online internet stores are considered a new form of direct mail as well. The best quite simply is Amazon. Other great sites include:

  • Yahoo
  • EBay
  • L. L. Bean
  • Lands End
  • American Outfitters
  • Abercrombie and Fitch
  • Delia

In a future article I’ll take a look at why these sites and many like them are successful, but for now I’ll stick with more traditional direct mail.

Direct mail advantages

  • You can achieve more accurately measured results
  • You can be give as much or as little information as you wish
  • You can zero in on your target market
  • You can personalize your marketing as much as you wish
  • You can expect the highest of all response rates
  • You can use unlimited opportunities for testing
  • You can enjoy repeat sales to proven customers

How to Boost Response

  • You must have a good list of leads
  • Make it easy for the customer to buy
  • Include a personalized letter
  • Send to people who have bought using direct mail before
  • Do anything you have to, to get that envelope opened
  • You must create a database to track customers
  • Testimonials boost response
  • Tell the customer what to do next
  • Red with black are the best pulling colors
  • Use red for highlights only
  • The most important elements are the leads, the offer,
  • the copy, and the graphics

Packaging Tips

  • Brightly colored envelopes gain attention, the hottest colors are red, blue, yellow, and orange
  • Oversized addressing will give the customer the pleasure of seeing there name in print
  • A business sized envelope with first class stamp and no return address will stimulate interest

Tips on the enclosed letter

  • Use to follow up on salesperson call
  • Set up an appointment
  • Compliment the reader
  • Recognize an anniversary or birthday
  • Celebrate holidays
  • Solidify telephone contact
  • Thank your customer
  • Thank customer for their time if they didn’t buy from you
  • Mention you saw someone in the news
  • Send get well notes
  • Announce a new product or service

More Direct Mail Tips

  • The worst months for direct mail are June, March, and May.
  • The best are January, February, and October.
  • January through March are the best times for business direct mail
  • Give free gifts for ordering, include a picture of the product on the envelope, or a free trial
  • 10 percent of addresses go bad each year on mailing lists
  • Offer a guarantee, special payment terms
  • You should have twice as many “you’s” in a sentence as I’s or me’s
  • Write about your customers hopes and dreams and then list your products solutions to those problems
  • Write your letter then let it sit and rewrite it until it is as short as possible
  • Don’t send envelopes with address labels instead type directly on the envelope and for personal or feminine
    causes hand write the address
  • Use a teaser on the envelope such as Free or ask a leading question that will perk their interests to open the envelope
  • Write information on the back of the envelope
  • Include something bulky in your envelope such as a free gift
  • Use a P.S. maybe hand written to motivate to take action, reinforce your offer, emphasize a bonus, emphasize
    the price, introduce a surprise benefit, stress tax deductibility, highlight your guarantee
  • Put a time limit on the offer
  • Allow customer to check bill me or use a credit card
  • Place ad for mail order information on the back page of a magazine or newspaper
  • Send a postcard instead of a direct mail letter

Tips Marketing Catalog

Your Marketing Catalog must have the proper positioning, the right merchandise, the right graphics, the right use of color, the right size (32 pages is standard), the right headlines, subheads, copy, and order forms. Here are some more tips you should follow to the letter:

  • Before thinking about printing catalogs you should have 25,000 customers and the money to afford printing 25,000 plus catalogs
  • If you don’t have 25,000 customers you can start by printing a gate fold catalog of six or eight pages
  • You will need to sell over 30,000 dollars worth of merchandise just to break even if you plan to sell by catalog
  • Mail your catalog before Christmas
  • Your copy should be a mini ad for each product your selling and yet concise
  • Offer a discount for buying more than they normally would
  • Look at catalogs put out by Abercrombie and Fitch, L. L. Bean, etc. and use there format
  • Preplan all elements of your catalog before going into production such as products, prices, fulfillment, etc.
  • If possible group your offerings into clearly defined groups so that your catalog is easily used and understood
  • Your layout must be organized, logical, and pleasing to the eye
  • See if your manufacturers will provide for you pictures of models using those products for which you wish to display in your catalogs

Personal Experience in Direct Mail

I’ve personally been involved in 5 major direct mail campaigns ($300,000 + Campaigns). 4 with major corporations and one with a medium sized corporation. I’ve also run countless small business campaigns. In 3 of the large campaigns I used manufacturers photos in cooperation with my own layouts and in the other 2 I took the pictures myself.

All 5 campaigns were successful in that inventory sold out. An average of two weeks to a month was invested in each campaign which included in all cases the following:

  • Personal Letter
  • 6 page gate fold catalog
  • Customer database, set up as described earlier
  • Order sheet
  • Online store
  • Tele-selling by 2 to 4 full time sales people

As with all other forms of marketing direct mail has both its positives and negatives. With those tips listed above and the help of a marketing company with experience in direct mail I believe it may be one of the best ways to market. You can now get good cheap results with a great lead list, email marketing system and great copy writing.

I hope this helps you move product with Direct Mail marketing or avoid it all together because you now know how much it costs. If you have any questions leave them below.

Till next time…

18 Responses to “Marketing Examples: Direct Mail Tips”

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