written by john c ashworth
Often, you'll hear people say that direct-mail is dead. That it's 'old-school' and that no one reads their mail anymore. First, it's not true. And even if it was, doesn't this create a real opportunity for YOU to show-up in people's lives in a place where you might be one of the only ones there speaking to them?
Even more often, the same people telling you direct-mail doesn't work, are the same ones who are doing it the wrong way.
There are many ways to do it wrong.
Today I'm focusing on just one of the most common mistakes.
To create impact and drive response, especially through the mail, you MUST have repetition. Madison Avenue, along with your local sales reps who stop by your business to sell you ads in local publications, believe that repetition means slow and patient plodding. Ads that run over and over again inside their publications with the idea that it takes time to build 'awareness' about your business and the products and services you offer.
This is not only ineffective for a small business owner, but very very expensive. And a stupid waste of money.
When I ran my own fitness business, I used a lot of direct-mail very effectively. On the front end, investing $3-4K in one 3-4-step mail sequence would scare-off most small business owners. Which makes sense, because if it doesn't work, you're out some serious needed cash for your business. But when done right, they do work. And once you have campaigns that work, you can use them over and over again because no matter how much you spend, you know you're going to get a positive return on your investment.
Direct-mail campaigns should run on tight, timed sequences of 30-60-days. They should have strong irresistable offers, and clear deadlines. It was always amazing how the deadlines in my mail sequences drove even more response toward the end of each campaign. Deadlines really do work.
Think about the stuff you get in the mail. Especially the stuff you get that might even interest you a little. You pick it up, open it, look at it, maybe even read a little bit of it, but then, more often than not, you're on to something else more important in your evening and even though you may have set that piece of mail aside for further review or action, it's easy to forget about it. But not if you get another related piece of mail in that same sequence 10-days later. And another, and another...
Over the course of each sequence, and the course of time committed to targeted direct-mail efforts into the right lists in your local communities and your targted prospect lists, you are in fact capable of creating brand and message recognition in addition to significant and immediate response that will bring you a positive return on your investment.
It was not uncommon for me to run into local business owners and others in the community who had been receiving my mailings, and discover that these people really were interested and excited to see me, the guy who had been sending them all this cool and interesting mail. Often, these same people had also seen my on TV where I had a regular running health and fitness segment on the local NBC affiliate.
Direct-mail is powerful.
Direct-mail is effective.
Direct-mail should be done in sequences.
STOP the 'One-Shot Mailings'!
You're wasting your money and opportunity.