Estimating Response to B-to-B Direct Mail
But, if they are already predisposed to buy the product—e.g., if it's something they're familiar with and don't have to be sold on its merits—then a self-mailer, featuring a photograph that readily identifies the product being sold, may do as well or better.
As stated earlier, the specific offer being made in the mailing can make a big difference in response rates.
One area of indecision among mailers is whether to use the popular "free booklet strategy." In this type of mailing, the reader is offered an incentive—a free booklet, report or other helpful information he will receive for responding.
Usually the booklet or report offers how-to or technical information the reader can use on the job. For example: "How to Improve Direct Mail Results"—from a firm offering direct mail services.
These offers can boost response and are especially effective in markets where prospects are flooded with direct mail offers or are not excited about services and products and need an extra incentive to take action.
The key is to know how to introduce the booklet offer without overstressing it. If the whole mailing is based around the booklet offer, you will get a high volume of low quality leads—people who just want a free booklet but don't want to hear about your product.
A better approach is to talk about the reader's problems and how your company, service or product can solve these problems. Then bring in the booklet offer as an extra sales incentive, without putting complete emphasis on it. Experiment with copy approaches until you achieve the right balance between quality and quantity in your response.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.