Eight smart ways to find new customers now!

Get the most from your mailings to potential customers using tips from a direct-marketing pro.) What does it take to get someone to buy a car? A perso…

Get the most from your mailings to potential customers using tips from a direct-marketing pro.)
What does it take to get someone to buy a car? A personalized letter promising a $1,000 discount can go a long way. That’s what I discovered years ago in Canada when I worked on a direct mail campaign for Ford,Eight smart ways to find new customers now! Articles promoting Lincoln’s Town Car, Continental and Mark VIII. We told recipients that all they had to do was visit a dealership, negotiate their best price and then produce the letter to save another $1,000. Sales took off.

Consumers are bombarded these days with advertising messages. Direct marketers like me are part of the reason. For 12 years in New York and now in Hollywood, Fla., I have run Lois Geller Marketing Group, a marketing advertising firm with big clients such as J.P. Morgan Chase, as well as other large companies.

Sending an offer by mail can cost anywhere from $1.00 to $150 for each prospect, depending on the different components of the campaign.

For the most part, direct mail is more expensive than advertising, or e-mail or social media, and it can also be much more effective in the long run.

How do you get the most out of the money you invest in your direct mailings, whether you handle them in-house or hire an outside firm? Here are eight of the approaches I recommend to clients.

1. Save the postcards for vacation. The classic letter in an envelope has a much better chance of generating a significant response, in my experience. To most consumers, serious mail comes in a letter, which is private. The act of opening an envelope and unfolding the letter is engaging.

A few years ago my company created a two-page letter for a firm that was selling a $2,000 annual subscription service to advertisers and ad agencies. Our client had done fairly well with a post-card campaign. It was generating paid orders at a rate of about 0.75%. We thought we could do better. We created a letter to the ad agencies that said, “If you can send me an e-mail with the 4 letter code above, I’ll send you a secret that will help you land new business you didn’t even know was loose.” Each recipient had a private code, available only in the letter. Paid response increased to 11%.

2. Impose a deadline. Give recipients a valuable freebie that they can’t get any other way than by responding now. It should fit what you are selling. For instance, if you were a tax preparer trying to attract new clients for next year, you might send a mailing in January of 2013 offering the first 100 new customers a free leather binder to store their 2012 taxes – and tell them that the offer would expire on March 15. Potential customers who can’t procrastinate will act immediately. We call this a “call to action”.

3. Emphasize your product’s benefits, not just its features. Say you are selling a teapot with a spill-proof spout. Rather than simply mention the spout’s spill-proof shape, focus on the problems it will prevent: burned hands, ruined suits, embarrassment.

How do find out what your prospects will value most about your product? Ask them. For instance, if you were selling the spill-proof teapot, you might want to chat with tea buyers at your local supermarket to find out what teapots they use and how these pots could be improved.

4. Outdo the competition. If you are a dry cleaner, and ABC Cleaners down the street is offering 20% off to new customers, give your regular customers 25% off as an incentive to stay loyal.

5. Use real people. I have found that when we include photos of actual customers or employees, rather than models, in our mailings, the response rates go up. Your direct marketing agency or art director can help you arrange an inexpensive photo shoot and get the permission you need to incorporate the pictures into your ad.

6. Rent the right list. List brokers will offer to sell you all kinds of lists. Ask for those with recent high responses to offers to products similar to yours. I suggest using a list broker who’s a member of the Direct Marketing Association, a reputable trade group.

7. Get personal. If it looks like your letter and envelope might have been in the hands of a real human being at some point, customers will be more likely to open it. Sign your letter in blue ink. Use the same ink to highlight a paragraph or to add a margin note. (The art director on your campaign can help you add your black ink “handwriting” on the layout and change it to blue.) Try a real stamp (or stamps) on the envelope. The more unusual the stamps, the better. Use a blue signature line above the return address.

8. Repeat your offer in the P.S. People often read that one first.

When we mail our own newsletter, I usually write personal notes on about 100 of them. I might mention someone’s family or a catalog their company had done. Typically, about 50% of that group will respond. In an e-mail driven world

Direct Response Advertising

“A Powerful Direct Response … Guide that Can … Double or Triple the Number of New Clients Your Bring Into Your Business Online or Offline” Contact … … detai

“A Powerful Direct Response Marketing Guide that Can Literally Double or Triple the Number of New Clients Your Bring Into Your Business Online or Offline”

Contact Information
Timothy Little–For details on how to launch a direct response Web site or mail marketing campaign contact me by E-mail timlit7@nethawk.com. For free consultation e-mail the quote form at e-SiteSolutions.com or call me by phone at (989) 463-5951Part 1: Defining Direct Response


Direct Response marketing is accountable. It is advertising you can justify and track. Not only is direct response marketing measurable but it can easily be adapted to fit your advertising budget.

The heart of direct response advertising is in the planning,Direct Response Advertising Articles organizing and pricing of the marketing campaign. Small business entrepreneurs must match mailing list selection to prospect profiles and design a campaign that targets the customer. Most importantly, providing follow up service with back-end analysis, fulfillment of orders and inquiries this allows a small business to test and measure campaigns quickly and inexpensively.

A small business financial planner can than focus on the most profitable segments of a campaign. Direct response marketing is efficient its small target groups made up of the most interested prospects for a product or service.

Direct mail and direct marketing are sometimes used interchangeably. Direct marketing can be used effectively in many different media’s and is not limited to direct mail advertising. Direct marketing goes far beyond sending self contained mailers. This reality is truer online since, accumulating opt-in permission based names for e-mail promotions can be done at a fraction of the cost of bulk mail marketing campaigns. I can help you during the critical planning stages e-mail me at timlit7@nethawk.com for more information.

Direct response advertising can be used in variations to support marketing and promotional activities for driving traffic to your Web site or inquiries for a product or service

A study recently published in the Marketing section of the Wall Street Journal (December 2002.) Indicates that media spending will shift away from traditional media advertising and switch towards Internet marketing and direct mail since they appear to be more promising. “E-mail marketing is more measurable and is seen as a good value for the money as people get better customer targeting”.
The growth of direct response marketing online and off has grown tremendously over the last few years. The benefits and profit potential online has been recognized worldwide and will be the number one advertising vehicle both online and off for the following reasons.

*Patrick Barwise – London Business School management and marketing.

Benefits drive direct marketing. If you don’t already think of your marketing in terms of benefits, now is a good time to start. Direct marketing is like no other form of advertising since you have control over your message and you control everything color, design, the list, and your budget and payment options.

The flexibility of direct response marketing helps you to broaden your thinking. Precise targeting allows you to search for specific products. The more precise your message is the less money and time you spend on people who are not interested or qualified to use your product. Direct response marketing is an equalizer for a small business. Finally you are able to compete with larger competitors with targeted messages and react quickly to changes in the market because of your small size.

Direct Marketing is immediate and personal. What is more immediate and personal than a letter? New opt-in email technologies allow you to reach thousands of prospects in minutes with a personalized message including name and personal interests.

Direct marketing is a more testable form of advertising. Every mailing campaign you run is an opportunity for you to test something and gain information that can help you improve your marketing. You always have the opportunity to test different lists, offers and packages. You need to have a good tracking program in place to do this effectively.

Part 2: The money is in the list

You can use direct response marketing to build a database. Whenever a prospect buys from you simply add their name and purchase information to your database. The quickest way to build a database is to offer a free electronic brochure embedded on your Web site for example (9 ways to retire 10 years early or free quotes and 30 days of free life insurance.)

The reason for your database is to re-sell to your prospects again and again and test cross selling techniques for free. This brochure can be plugged in to your web site for download or you can personally make an appointment with your prospect and hand them a brochure in person.

There is no doubt that these techniques will help you to achieve success in your marketing efforts. It is important that you plot the destination of your marketing campaigns with a marketing or business plan. Direct marketing results are almost immediate and these results will not help you unless you plan your business objectives. Many companies falter and lose sight of overall goals without a marketing plan to guide them.

Improved Computer capabilities and more recently the internet has made both direct marketing and direct mail more efficient and more effective with database marketing. The way to make direct mail more efficient especially with the rising costs of postal rates and print media is to target prospects with database collections.

The database is a collection of information on customers and perspective customers including their names, addresses, titles and companies. Lists selections can be further segmented by geography or zip-codes, gender, income and commission levels.

Prospects are grouped together with common characteristics to increase marketing effectiveness. The database is used to fit customers with products or services and to aim a precisely written message to a special group of people.

Successful sales professionals know that the more they know about their customers and prospects the better they will be able to sell to them. The same is true in direct marketing and the list is the key resource.

Close list selection and analysis is the first step to ensuring a successful direct response program both online and off. The money is in the list and in this sense the internet has not changed this fact. Today, it is much less expensive to collect and test different offers with the speed of the Internet. This is the same way publishers have sold magazine subscriptions and books since the beginning of the century. The only difference today is that the Internet has made it much faster and cheaper to compile permission based opt-in lists online.

Even a great product at a reduced price would be useless if it is presented to the wrong prospects. You must target your prospect to generate traffic for your product by Web site or mail.

Most lists fall into two categories compiled lists or direct response lists. Compiled lists are phone directories annual membership rosters, and manufacturing directories. Response lists are just as they imply they have responded and purchased a targeted product or service recently, because of this fact they are most likely to purchase a similar item again. Response lists are common for magazine subscriptions or lists of prospects that have purchased life insurance or indexed annuities recently.

Standard Rates and Data Services (SRDS) are directories of response lists. They will include quantities and descriptions of each list for sale.

Part 3: Direct Marketing Strategy

The offer is often referred to as the deal. This is what people get for there money. Whether you’re planning a direct marketing strategy, evaluating a campaign or writing an ad much of the work revolves around three important elements. The offer the list and the creative and these elements work together or separately to make your direct marketing promotion work.

The offer is the product or service being sold and includes any warranties, guarantees, features, and price and credit terms. The offer could also be the actions someone needs to take to place an order like a shopping cart or form on a Web site or reply card in a bulk mailing.

Offers separate general advertising from direct response. General advertising often excludes the critical information that should always be included in direct response advertising. Direct response puts all the necessary information together in an offer and tells the reader exactly how to respond. People expect offers in direct response advertising. You must give the prospective customer a reason to respond like limited offer or special bonus, since the purchase is impulsive in nature.

Failing to make the offer clear or forgetting to make an offer at all is a common mistake among direct response marketing beginners. The way to get a response to an offer is to make a deal that prospects can’t refuse.

In direct marketing, offers are categorized by the method of payment. Offers with delayed billing and trial periods are soft offers. Asking for a payment up front with a special bonus for paying now by credit card is a hard offer. The payment terms like accepting credit cards online makes a big difference in the response to the offer. Splitting up payments can sometimes make a difference on higher priced items.

Sometimes in direct marketing the elements included in a product can make a big difference in response. The price of an offer should be tested at certain price points. Testing hard offer verses soft offer sometimes can make a big difference in response rates. Always strive to improve your offer by testing different elements of an offer.

Part 4: Direct Marketing Creative

Your actual copy and graphic design is important in direct response but less than a well defined strategy using your offer and a targeted list.

Poor graphic design can hurt your response and professional image. Lavish or unusual artistic techniques may work well for magazines and other types of advertising but would actually distract or lower response rates in direct mail. It would be wise to keep your graphic design to a minimum unless you employ a graphic designer for design or professional photographer to shoot your photography. Direct response advertising is a combination of words, pictures and graphics. The words used almost always must move and persuade.

Write a sales letter for entry-level products or service’s and feature it on your home page. Write a sales letter convincing prospects to send an e-mail requesting a sales representative to contact them. Offer free reports, e-zine to build the list. Personalizing with first name last name, gender zip-code using mail/merge software will increase response and will separate you from the clutter of emails prospects get.

Using a compelling headline that draws your prospect into your letter and promotion can triple marketing response. The headline should be driven by product benefits or solving a problem. Headline offers would be a good item to test in a letter and can pay for it self many times over since this would become your control letter. Newspapers and tabloids use well crafted headlines to sell there publications at point of purchase display’s.