So, direct mail marketing doesn’t make money for small businesses. And believe it or not, it’s a sentiment I’ve seen expressed by many a business owner who really ought to know better.
But the experience of my clients is…
Direct Mail Marketing Is VERY Effective
In fact, direct mail advertising and direct mail marketing are tremendously effective, with the caveat if you don’t follow the rules, it’ll bomb. Another caveat I’ll make is you almost certainly won’t get the astounding results you’re perhaps used to seeing claimed by the pro copywriters. They sometimes lie, usually exaggerate, and almost never tell the entire truth.
Even so, direct mail marketing is an easy way to make money with paper, ink and envelopes.
The reasons for it not working for many small business owners are generally the same reasons email marketing appears not to work for them: they’re sending out the wrong kind of messages, and often they’re targeting the wrong market.
What’s a ‘Good’ Direct Mail Response Rate?
Any response rate making you a positive ROI.
It really is that simple and direct mail marketing is most definitely a game of numbers.
Don’t let yourself be misled by the percentage points, because with the right offer and price direct mail can make you an indecently big ROI on a minuscule conversion rate.
A client and I recently did a 30,000-piece mailing of a 22-page sales letter for an expensive training course earlier in the year, and even though the conversion rate was under 1%, the ROI was measured in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.
But let’s take a wider view and think about two very quick, simple and easy direct mail marketing campaigns you can try right away.
Direct Mail Campaign No.1: Your Best Customers and Clients
Just make a list of your most profitable, and highest quality customers and clients and mail them an offer. I know, you were expecting something a bit more complicated… but you really don’t need it.
A simple one- or two-page letter saying how much you are grateful for their business and so you have created a special offer they can benefit from as long as they respond by the deadline (say a couple of weeks from now) is fine.
One of my clients did exactly this in his carpet cleaning business, sending the direct mail letter to his top 50-odd customers. The first time he sent it he got about 7 conversions out of it.
So I told him to send the letter a second time.
He did… and got about the same result.
So I told him to send it a third time, and to keep sending it until responses tailed off.
By the time he’d done, I think his ROI was ridiculously high, somewhat over 6,000%.
Direct Mail Campaign No. 2: Generate Some Leads
This is much more speculative than the first direct mail marketing campaign and entails, I’m afraid, more effort too. The temptation is to miss out the first bit but if you do, then you will almost inevitably find your results suffer. Only you can decide whether you want to invest the time and money on weeding out the prospect list or on postage. Like I said: direct mail is a numbers game.
First, you need to paint a picture of your Ideal Customer or Client.
The simplest way to do this is to think about your current customers and clients, and decide whom you like the most.
Who’s easy to deal with, pays well and quickly and doesn’t come to you complaining all the time?
My guess is you’d be rather pleased to get more people like those in your business.
Secondly, once you know the kind of people you want, you can begin looking round to see exactly where they are and how you can reach them.
And, thirdly, once you have a likely list simply mail them a postcard asking them to visit a web-page where they can leave their details in exchange for something of value. I recommend you test a free teleseminar, since almost no one is doing those outside of my own industry and they really are tremendously powerful in the main.
The teleseminar will then serve three purposes:
- You will undoubtedly get some new sales because of it.
- You will have their email addresses so you can send them marketing emails.
- You’ve now got content for all kinds of uses.
The idea that direct mail marketing advertising is ineffective for entrepreneurs comes down to one thing: small business owners are simply doing it wrong.
Making a profit with direct mail marketing is not hard, but you do have to follow a surprisingly small number of equally surprisingly powerful rules.