Using Direct Mail Marketing

You might think that direct mail marketing is an old approach to marketing. Back in the day, you would buy a list of names and street addresses based on ZIP Code and you would mail out thousands of cards to those recipients. Back in those days if you got a two percent response rate you were lucky. Are you still using direct mail the old way? Is using direct mail cost effective? Are you looking for a better way of connecting with potential customers?

The secret to success with direct mail is starting with a good mailing list. What exactly is a good mailing list? How do you get one? What are your options?

Today there are so many options. You can dial in your mailing list to target specific potential customers. If you know the demographic and the psychographic of your customer, you can order a mailing list of very specific people to whom you should send your marketing materials. Your psychographic is most likely “homeowners.” The demographic says they have incomes above $50,000 and they’re more than likely 25 years old or older.

Did you know the big companies that keep mailing lists also maintain about 100 or more points of additional demographic information? If you knew that the majority of your customers drove BMW or Mercedes Benz cars, or if you knew the majority of your customers were married and had children, you could filter your mailing list with that information. If you knew that 80 percent of your customers came from high tech industries, you could filter your mailing list with that information. On the other hand, if you knew that 70 percent of your customers that bought a geothermal unit from you also replaced a propane furnace, you get a more useful mailing list if you selected people that have houses heated with propane furnaces.

Companies like PrintComm can help you access such detailed lists. If you don’t want to get too in-depth with your data sets, other online companies will let you select your mailing list data points such as psprint.com. Psprint.com will let you select from the following data points:

• Adult Age (2-year Increments)

• Estimated Income - Narrow Ranges

• Gender

• Marital Status

• Presence of Children

• Homeowner/Renter

• Dwelling Unit Size

• Length of Residence

• Home Market Value

• Mail Order Buyer

• Credit Card Users

• InfoBased Networth Indicator

• Mail Order Donor

• Mail Responders

• Children Age Ranges

• Head of Household Education

• Software Buyer

• Real Property Real Estate Buyer

You can purchase a mailing list with 65,000 names on it for $.042 each for a one-time use or you can purchase the list to use multiple times during the year for $.063 each. If you plan to do multiple mailings, and I would counsel you to do so, it pays to purchase the use of your list for the year. If you are the do-it-yourself type, this could be a good fit for you.

However, while the mailing list is very important, having an eye-catching marketing piece is also critical. In addition to including your branding and messaging, a good direct mail piece will also include some type of hook, a free gift or cash back offer. A cash offer is preferable to a discount because it’s easier for the customer to relate to a cash offer.

You need a strong call-to-action. Have you ever received an advertisement that was nice but it didn’t tell you what to do? It may have said things about the company and it may have even had a phone number or website listed but just stopped short of telling you what to do next. That’s where the call-to-action comes in, it tells the reader to do something next. As an example there is the old tired and worn out phrase, “Don’t delay call us today!” You could say something like, “To receive $50 off you next service call, call us today to register your discount.” The point is you need a strong call-to-action or you are just wasting your money.

Never miss an opportunity to test your message. If you’re mailing 30,000 postcards, divide them into three groups and create three different but similar cards in order to determine which one produces the best results. As you tally the results, keep notes on what worked and what didn’t. If one produces a great response, send it out to the remaining 20,000 addresses to get even better response from your mailing. Testing makes direct mail marketers very successful.

Starting with the next article, I’ll answer your specific marketing questions. Send your questions by email to [email protected] and I will answer them in this space.

My website contains links to all the articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you want your marketing efforts pay big dividends, contact a marketing professional. I’m available to assist you in all of your marketing efforts. If you need a branding consultation or a complete strategic marketing plan, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, PR, social media, and lead generation strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and startup companies find their voice in an ever increasingly crowded market by doing more with less($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the website www.fracicaenterprises.com.

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