You check the calendar. Assuming your direct mail pieces left the post office on schedule, this should be the day when the reply cards start coming back in. That afternoon you check the day’s mail–nothing yet and no cards come in on the following day. You’re starting to get an unpleasant feeling that the thousands of dollars you spent on this latest direct-mail piece might not generate the results you want, but you don’t really know what you could have done differently.
Every time we examine our incoming mail, we make a decision: read or trash? If we recognize the sender and the item–bills, magazines, financial statements, etc.–we usually open and read the piece. But if we don’t recognize the sender or the item, we go through a series of quick decisions to determine if the item is worthy of review or if it goes immediately into the recycling bin. If we decide to open and investigate the piece, the next decision is whether we respond to it in the manner requested in the contents: call, mail, visit a Web site, etc.?
Given these hurdles, getting recipients to respond to your direct-mail solicitations is no easy feat. It can also be a relatively expensive way to generate leads, so it’s critical that you get it right.
Here are five strategies to increase your direct-mail success rate:
1) Target your recipients. Don’t waste money on unfocused mailings, says Marc Silverman, CFP, CLU, MDRT member and president of Silverman Financial Inc. in Miami, Fla. “There are all kinds of ways you can target direct mail,” says Silverman. “I might target people in a certain zip code, an area or an income threshold. You can go to Dun & Bradstreet or a similar publication and buy lists of people to whom you want to market with a direct-mail campaign.”