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Direct Mail Promotions

Here is some copy from a classic business-to-business print ad from the late 1950s

An imposing looking executive sits in his chair with a scowl on his face. His hands are folded together in front of him, and his elbows rest on the chair. To his right run these eight lines of copy:

I don't know who you are.
I don't know your company.
I don't know your company's product.
I don't know what your company stands for.
I don't know your company's customers.
I don't know your company's record.
I don't know your company's reputation.

(Across the bottom, this single line of copy drives home the selling proposition)
Now -- what was it you wanted to sell me? Sales Start Before Your Salesman Calls

Salesmanship And Repetition

Anyone who has built the sales in a company knows gaining worthwhile new business takes a repeated and concerted effort and lots of contact with the decision-maker. This is all the more true with salesmanship in print (or across the airwaves, phone lines and other forms of modern communication).

Repetition is fundamental to the success of any advertising program. The marketplace proves out this fact, as does scientific research. Several years ago, a group of researchers at Harvard University was asked, "How many times must prospects see a marketing message to take them from a state of total apathy to purchasing readiness?" After a year-long study, the researchers responded with a definitive answer: Nine times.

Important note: Do not assume that your prospects will see, hear or otherwise experience your advertising every time you expose them to it. Ample evidence exists that in the din, noise and clutter of today's over-communicated world, your prospects will miss or ignore your marketing message two out of every three times you communicate it.

That's why, in print advertising, if you have the budget to run either six full-page ads or 12 half-page ads, it's almost always better to go for the 12 exposures. Another approach is to run a full-page ad in the publication's biggest, most popular issue(s) and smaller-size ads in other issues.

Cost-effective Ways To Use Direct Mail To Repeatedly Communicate Your Marketing Message

Direct mail's two biggest benefits are:

* Direct Mail allows you to pinpoint communication with your target market
* Direct Mail allows you to to deliver a full and complete sales presentation of any length

This makes direct mail a highly effective way to repeatedly expose your prospect to your salesmanship - the repetition requirement.

Here are three direct mail marketing strategies (as opposed to single-shot mailing ideas) that virtually any business can put to work to achieve results.

1. Hit ‘Em Again & Again
Repeatedly mail the same letter or direct mail package to the same people If your sales letter or direct mail package is generating an acceptable number of orders or leads, don't hesitate to mail it again and again to the same list. The basic premise for recommending this strategy can best be summed up in five words: "People quickly forget," and "Things change."

The average person is exposed to well over 500 sales, marketing, and advertising messages every day. And the vast majority of these messages do not even so much as register a blip on the mental radar screen. Of the handful that do register, most are forgotten within two weeks.

Your prospects' lives and the requirements of their businesses are constantly changing. The envelope they throw out today could be the one which is of great interest to them in a eek’s time.

How frequently should you do your mailings? Quarterly is probably a good idea to begin with. But, as with everything else in advertising, marketing and promotions, test to determine the optimum frequency and don’t be afraid to try something new.

2. Send a Series of Deliveries to the Same Prospects
Sales is a process of communication, not a single event. That's why it's a smart move to plan and budget for a series of mailings and factor this into your entire sales promotion and marketing efforts. In business-to-business direct marketing and "big-ticket" consumer purchases, a follow-up mailing program to prospects gained through your lead-generation efforts will help you convert a substantially higher number of sales and dramatically increase the return on investment of your mainstream marketing activities

Before starting a program like this, give careful thought to what you want to say and how you want your campaign to unfold. For example:

In your first letter, you might highlight the three biggest benefits of the product or service you are promoting.
In your second letter, take the strongest these benefits and amplify and expand on it, or focus on the benefit which would be of most interest to the recipient
Ditto, letter three

And don't stop with just three letters. Depending on your sales cycle, seasonality, how bad you want that business and the potential value of the client you may want to send an endless stream of communication including product reviews or magazine articles. With every mailing give a reason and a method for responding and ask for some kind of action.

As any successful salesperson knows you've got to stay in front of your prospect through repeated contacts. Whether that's in the mail, by phone, in person or, as is most likely, a combination of activities the more often you try the closer you are to success.

And direct mail is one of the most cost tools any business has at its disposal.