They go on to say, "There are a variety of ways you can multiply your direct mail response. Using prepaid response cards can help dramatically, as can following up either with an additional mailing or a phone call." In fact, the most effective results come from combining direct mail with a telephone call.
You can use these mailings to tighten your relationship with existing customers. "Identify opportunities to start rewarding customers," says Skylar. "Department stores find this method very successful. Invite them to a customer-only private sale the day before the sale is scheduled to begin. It makes them feel special. All it takes is a postcard."
The authors of "Getting Business to Come to You" discuss variety. "Your current client list should be contacted on a regular basis by postcard, letter, a simple flyer, or a newsletter, perhaps presenting a special offer or promotion."
It might be a good idea to hire a consultant to help you develop your first materials. But with so many technological advancements, it can be as simple as investing in a desktop publishing program to create your own materials on the computer. Many laser printers produce professional-quality art. Also, be sure to ask your manufacturers for artwork, too. They often have line art and photography of the products you want to feature - for free or at a minimal cost.
If initially creating your own mailings seems too difficult or expensive, go back to your suppliers for help. Steve Dunigan of Dunigan's Outdoor Equipment in Jackson, MI, takes full advantage of the materials his manufacturers have to offer. He uses over-sized, 4-color postcards that boast commercial equipment to send to his landscape contractor customers. The cards are blank on the backside, allowing him to put his own message on them. He also uses as a mailer a pre-designed newsletter to commercial clients. The stories appeal to that audience. All Dunigan has to do is have his own "column" printed in the space allowed and - voila! - it becomes his own personal mailing.
And remember, timing is everything. Be sure to allow enough time before a sale or special event for both production and delivery of your mailing pieces. For instance, if you opt for bulk rate postage, it could take as long as a week for customers to receive the mailing.
The Ideal List
According to the authors of "Getting Business to Come to You," here are things to look for when renting or buying a mailing list.
- The names and addresses are accurate and current (many lists have 20-percent inaccuracy).
- These prospects need your product or service.
- They can afford to buy your product or service.
- They know or have heard of you, your company, your product or your service.
- They have a positive regard for you, your product, your service.