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This posting is intended to teach you how to create and send direct mail advertisements.

So, hopefully this posting teaches you everything you need to know in order to create, maintain and perfect direct mail campaigns aimed at propelling your sales.

What is Direct Mail?

Direct mail is an advertising outlet that is generally used to convert the recipient into doing what you want. This may be:

  • Increase awareness of your brand
  • Drive recipient to call your company
  • Drive recipient to join your newsletter (usually through contest or other incentive)
  • Drive recipient to attend an open house event
  • Drive recipient to sign a petition
  • Etc.

Given the cost of direct mail is relatively low, versus other forms of advertising such as radio or print ads, direct mail is a great low cost advertising alternative for small business.

Cost of Direct Mail

The cost of direct mail, including design, print and postage is usually around $1 per piece. Conservatively you should figure a 2-5% conversion rate. That means for every 1000 direct mail pieces you send out, 20-50 will become qualified leads. So, if your company's lead-to-customer/client conversion rate is 80%, that means you will easily convert 16 of those leads into sales.

So, say you sell a mentoring program worth $500/each, your return of investment will be $7,000. Now you see why direct mail is so popular, and profitable.

Now, in order for direct mail to be effective, you must do a good job of:

  1. Quickly grabbing attention with your headline
  2. Inspiring interest, curiosity and demand with your body content
  3. Driving action with an empirically guided call to action

A Quick Guide to Headlines for Direct Mail

Fist and foremost, a headline should be written with your customers' problems in mind, and how you can solve those problems. People are thinking one thing when they look their mail: Do I need this or not? So, why do they need what you are selling? Hopefully you've already done a great job of building your own mailing list built organically that you can use. Of course, you can always purchase one as well.

So, here are a few types of headlines you can use to generate interest in your stuff:

  • If You Are ___ You Can ___
  • ___ Ways To ___
  • Could It Really Be this Easy to ___
  • How To ___
  • Did you ___, Then You ___

Remember that your list lets you know something intimate about the recipient, so use that information to make the mailer as valuable as possible in the interest of showing them you understand their problem, and can improve their condition.

Remember that the headline is critical for getting their attention and interest, so make it good!

Body Content

The body content of the direct mailer should be aimed at creating demand for your product/service while creating interest and curiosity. This is the section you really need to make the value of your product sing. The way to do this is by doing the following:

  • Make it clear you understand the recipient's problem
  • Make clear the benefits of your product, and how it will eliminate the recipient's problem
  • Show a clear pathway between them picking up the phone, and you eliminating their problem

Images

All too often we catch our clients wanting to use images they think are compelling without thinking about what will resonate with their target market.

For example, Moms love pictures of kids, kittens and housewares, and Dads love images of the great outdoors, tools and sports. The bottom line is you can leverage all sorts of images to inspire your recipient to read your direct mailer.

Last year we did a direct mailer for a music shop who sold music lessons for kids, and the headline was "Did You Get an Instrument for Christmas?" The subtitle was, "We'll Teach You How to Play It." The picture was of a kid scratching his head with a curious look, because the ad was gauged for moms, after all. The ROI for that campaign was 480%. Needless to say, the client was happy.

A/B Split Testing

A few years ago we did direct mail for an artificial grass company, and so we targeted beach homes with a household income of $250,000+ in 3 separate shore towns. What we did was use a different headline for each shore town to measure the effectiveness of each respective campaign. Once we determined which was most successful, we then ran that headline to all three shore towns two more times, and it showed a response rate of over 22%. This is why you always need to be measuring the effectiveness of everything you do.

Do It More, Not Less

Direct mail is a great way to drive sales, but just remember, consistency is the key. Instead of sending out 1000 pieces of mail one time, I'd rather send 100 pieces of mail 10 times. Just remember that the more you advertise, the greater the ROI will be overtime. This is because the more people are exposed to your message, the more they will get to know, like and trust you before finally contacting you. Good luck!

Don't compete — DOMINATE.

 

Matt Steffen

"Don't compete -- DOMINATE!"

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