Direct Mail Strategy: Mind the Gaps
Happy New Year! With 2008 budgets in place and sales goals set, it’s time to think about using new tools to increase response and strengthen customer relationships, whether you use direct mail to sell direct, generate leads, or drive Web site or retail store traffic.
With continuing changes in technology lowering costs and expanding capabilities, shifting audiences (today’s 65-year-old baby boomer female is not the same 65-year-old you wrote copy for 15 years ago) and the contents of mailboxes constantly morphing, direct marketers have more opportunities than ever for jump-starting mail response.
Some of the ideas I offer may not seem new. How many times have we all heard the dreaded comment, “We tried that before, and it didn’t work”? However, that doesn’t mean it won’t work now and won’t be a breakthrough in 2008.
Caution: Don’t try something just because it’s new or clever or your printing salesperson says it’s a great idea. Always have a strategically sound reason for what you do and test against your control to confirm. With this in mind, here are eight retooling ideas to consider in the new year:
1. Prospect within your house list. It never ceases to amaze me how many organizations do not have systematic referral programs. Customer-referred prospects convert at a higher rate with a higher average order than most first-time “triers.” Referral programs are a must for B-to-B, B-to-C and nonprofit mailers. If you don’t have one, put this on your to-do list for 2008. Along the same line, it’s also cheaper to reactivate inactive customers than to prospect for new ones. And how about those leads that didn’t convert? Test formats, offers and benefit messages to see what it takes to turn them into customers.