Famous Last Words: Direct Mail Adds Up
They are tired and distrustful of the continual invasion of their privacy and avalanche of useless messages perpetrated by greedy online snoops and spammers from around the world.
One Huge Advantage of
Direct Mail: Secrecy
Direct mail is the not-so-secret weapon for direct mail testing. Make a wee drop of 20,000 pieces in Tucson and another 20,000 in rural North Carolina and only two people will know what you are up to—yourself and the U.S. Postal Service.
If the test works, step up 10 times to 400,000 mailing packages around the country and potential thieves and competitors still won't catch on. If the second test confirms the results of the first test, go for 4 million. A couple of pieces might fall into the hands of a competitor, but at that point you are way ahead of the guy. If the 4 million-piece drop reconfirms the initial results, shoot the moon and leave the potential copycats eating your dust.
However, take caution:
1. Direct mail is expensive. The takeaway here: only deal with knowledgeable, experienced direct mail professionals.
2. Arithmetic is the end-all and be-all of direct mail. At $700 per thousand, or 70¢ a pop, it doesn't take many mail pieces sent to the wrong people or with the wrong offer before money starts cascading through the floorboards and you lose big time.
Consider the chart to the left: If you spend $7,000 to test 10,000 pieces, you need 175 orders, or a 1.75 percent response, to break even.($7,000 / $40 = 175 orders). Note: Profit is considered a cost.
In short, know your arithmetic or stay out of direct mail.
Denny Hatch is a freelance direct marketing consultant and copywriter, and author of the Business Common Sense e-newsletter. Visit him at www.businesscommonsense.com or www.dennyhatch.com, or contact him via email at email@example.com.