Posts Tagged ‘direct mail strategy’

Much of What I Know About Direct Mail, I Learned in High School

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Some of the best training I’ve had for becoming a direct mail copywriter came when I sold magazines door to door as a teenager.

I quickly learned that not every homeowner welcomed me. Some would not even come to the door, some would close the door in my face and others would listen but not buy.

Soon, I learned to how to better my odds. Each time I approached a house, I gathered all the available information on the homeowner and developed a plan before knocking on the door.

My marketing “data” came from what I could see in the homeowner’s front yard. Were there toys in the yard, indicating children lived there? Was a newspaper (more…)

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How a Guarantee Builds Direct Mail Profits

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Value of Direct Mail Guarantee

When it comes to decision making, I have a simple approach. If I believe the outcome might be something I wouldn’t want my mother to know about, I don’t do it.

And when creating a direct mail offer a similar rule applies. If you can’t provide a meaningful guarantee, don’t promote it.

You have two reasons to offer a guarantee:

First, it’s the right thing to do. A meaningful guarantee shows that you believe in your product. And, when you’re asking for someone else’s money, you should believe in what you’re selling—if not, don’t do it.

Second, you’ll want to offer a guarantee because it can build profits.

Buyers, whether online or traditional direct mail, have plenty of reasons—real or perceived—not to respond to your offer. After all, whether we’re fundraising or selling a product, we’re asking the prospect to trust us to do what we promised. (more…)

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17 Ways to Improve Your Direct Mail Offer

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How improve direct mail offer

Simply put, your direct mail offer is the “deal” you promise the recipient. It’s what you promise the reader and what you ask in return.

Your offer needs to be specific and to clearly state how it benefits the prospect. It includes the product—or for a fundraiser, the organization’s mission or project—the price or asking amount, terms, incentives, guarantee, etc.

And, of all the components of your mailing—other than the list—the offer is the most important element of your success. If you’re looking for breakthrough results, here are 17 quick ideas to consider: (more…)

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21 Basic Rules for Successful Direct Mail Testing

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We all know the importance of direct mail testing, but too often money is wasted on unproductive and unwise tests. Here are 21 basic rules worth reviewing to get the most from your marketing dollars:

1. Before you start production on any test, do the math first. How long will it take to recover your test costs, and what increase in results will you need to beat the control? Proceed with the test only after showing that there’s a reasonable chance that it can economically increase response.

2. Don’t test just because you’re curious to know “what if.” Have a solid plan of how you’ll turn the test results into a profit before you invest in the test.

3. Be sure you test a sufficient quantity to obtain reliable test results.

4. “Replicate” each test when possible—rather than mail one test cell of 10,000 names, split the names into two equal groups and mail the same test to two groups of 5,000. (more…)

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The What, When and How of Direct Mail Testing

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What to test

In his book, Secrets of Successful Direct Mail, Dick Benson states, “Any idea you honestly believe can economically increase response is worth testing.”

The key words are “economically increase response.” But what is economical? Typically, the more dramatic a change you make in a package, the more dramatic the difference in results.

For example, when you need a breakthrough, test the components that have the greatest influence on the mailing’s success—lists, offer, format and copy. Forget about testing minor changes on page three or the color of the return envelope. Test big things for big results.

However, for clients mailing larger volumes, “tweaking” the control for incremental gains often makes sense.

For example, Client A and Client B both have an average response rate of 1%, with a $25 average transaction. Both test a new package that lifts results by 10%. The only difference is that Client A has an annual (more…)

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Direct Mail Testing and
7 Costly Mistakes to Avoid

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J. Paul Getty once said the three keys to wealth and success are, “Rise early. Work hard. And strike oil.”
Direct Mail Testing
That may be good advice. But for those of us who must depend upon something other than striking oil, I say the three keys to success for a direct marketer are to TEST, TEST, and TEST!

But before we test, we must recognize that not all tests are productive or cost-effective. My next post will be “What, How and When to Test” but in the meantime, here are 7 costly mistakes that you’ll want to avoid when testing (more…)

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The Cost of Giving Direct Mail Readers Too Many Choices

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One thing we can do to improve the profitability of our direct mail is to learn the lessons of a famous jam study.
Direct Mail Offer Choices
That’s right. Jam. The stuff we spread over our toast.

In a gourmet market, Professor Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University and her research assistants set up a booth offering samples of Wilkin & Sons jams.

Every few hours, the researchers switched from offering customers a selection of 24 jams to offering a group of only six jams.

Each participating customer – regardless of the number of selections offered – received a $1 savings coupon and tasted an average of two jams.

Here’s the interesting part. (more…)

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18 Ways to Increase Readership of Your Direct Mail Letter and Achieve Greater Response

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Direct mail isn’t a complicated business. If you can get more people to read further into your letter, you’re going to achieve a greater response.

Increase Direct Mail ReadershipSuccessful direct mail is a conversation that motivates the reader to take a specific action. If we can get the prospect to listen more, or in our case read further along in our letter, we’ll have a greater chance of getting them to take the desired action.

Here are 18 proven ways you can increase readership of your direct mail letters and (more…)

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Why Test Premiums
and 3 Ways to Make Them Work For You

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Testing Direct Mail Premiums In my last post, I talked about when to test direct mail premiums. Now, let’s discuss 3 different types of premiums, why you’ll want to test each one and how to make them work for you.

First, let’s acknowledge that when we test a premium, we’re testing a change to our offer and nothing, other than list selection, will have as great an affect on our results.

We use premiums to motivate the reader into taking a specific and desired action. It isn’t to reward, inform or thank the reader but to promote response and increase the (more…)

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There Are Only Two Occasions and One Reason to Test Direct Mail Premiums

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There are only two occasions when you should test direct mail premiums.

The first is when you’re not using premiums. If you’re not, you should test them now. The second occasion? When you are using premiums, you need to continue testing new ones.

Many organizations hate premiums. But most donors and customers love them and since this is a customer-driven business, I suggest you test them now.

Premiums don’t have to be expensive gifts. Often the best ones are unused merchandise sitting in a warehouse or the nearly forgotten informational pamphlet that’s begging to be used.

Countless organizations have enjoyed huge success by offering address stickers, note cards, decals, bumper stickers, iron-on patches, certificates of recognition, membership (more…)

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