Direct mail. It sounds old fashioned. Burdensome. Some people think it's ineffective and expensive, too. However, in Good Seling!SM The Basics, Paul H. Green encourages merchant level salespeople (MLSs) to consider using direct mail to generate sales leads. The reason? It has "proven to be highly effective in the payment services industry in general, and in the sales of bankcard and check services specifically," he wrote.
Despite attractive alternatives available through the Internet, social media, mobile platforms, email and more, it remains true that when done correctly, direct mail via "snail" mail is an effective prospecting tool.
According to a recent U.S. Postal Service Household Diary Study, 42 percent of people read or scan direct mail pieces they receive. Indeed, Carolyn Goodman, President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners, wrote on the Target Marketing blog that if you design your campaign properly "with a strong and relevant offer/call-to-action, you might achieve a 1 percent, 2 percent or even 14 percent response rate (yes, I've achieved that!)."
She contrasted those results with digital ads, stating that digital ads "are lucky if they get a 0.14 percent ad clickthrough rate — and then, once they get to the landing page, you'll be lucky if you convert 2.35 percent." Goodman drew these stats from Dave Chaffey's research at Smart Insights, www.smartinsights.com/internet-advertising/internet-advertising-analytics/display-advertising-clickthrough-rates/.
Furthermore, Green estimated MLSs should be able to close 50 percent of merchants who respond to their direct mail pieces. The trick is to learn how to plan and execute an effective campaign.
To do that, determine who you want to reach and use a targeted list. "The great thing about direct mail is that you can still rent or create a highly targeted list of prospects relatively inexpensively, as there is no wasted circulation," Goodman wrote. "You're only sending your message to prospects who meet your criteria."
Next, craft a message that works. Green advised MLSs to check with their ISOs because they often have professionally crafted direct mail pieces you can use free of charge. The Direct Marketing Association, https://thedma.org/, also offers numerous resources for direct marketers. Then it's a matter of applying your finely honed relationship building skills to turn new contacts into loyal customers.
You needn't rely solely on snail mail direct marketing, of course. In "Five ways to fix your marketing problems," The Green Sheet, July 23, 2012, issue 12:07:02, Nancy Drexler, President of Acquired Marketing, wrote, "Aim to touch prospects from many angles. Mix approaches from direct mail, advertising, public relations, digital media and cold calling, making sure your messages work together in concert. Choose the activities that cater specifically to your target market, and then create a program schedule that ensures the right level of coverage across the multiple channels. Then be patient and let them work."
Strategic Marketing founder and principal Peggy Bekavac Olson concurred and offered the following strategies in "Marketing your business in 2013: Do you have a plan?" The Green Sheet, Dec. 12, 2012, issue 12:12:01: "Construct buyer persona, service positioning and messaging, and value proposition statement; develop marketing collateral and sales aids, and update website; issue press release for service launch; conduct email cross-sell campaign for existing portfolio merchants; promote via direct mail; run sales incentive contest; and create initial sales testimonials for further promotion."
Now go forth and market like the pro you are.
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