Have you bought into the direct mail confusion? It is the most frustrating marketing, or the most lucrative, if you know what you are doing. Here are three things not to do.

1) The mailing is written to the wrong person in the wrong way. Often a mailing is written from the writer’s point of view. For every “I” there should be five “yous.” Also, your letter should be directed to the prospect you want to reach. You wouldn’t want to send a mutual fund mailing to those whose fund company was shut down by the SEC. But what a good time to solicit for all those who are heavily invested in bonds and are seeing their yields take a hit.

2) You sent only one mailing and didn’t test it ahead of time. Rarely does a solicitation pull the first time. They need to be constantly tinkered with. Unless you have money to burn in learning what not to do, then test, test, test. If your mailing list contains 1,000 prospects test 50 first. If you get no response, change the offer and try again. There are no bad mailings, there are only inexperienced advertisers.

3) You forgot that your existing clients are your best source of new business. My mother once said that she enjoyed my newsletter because she received it more often than my phone calls. If your current clients know that you are out there, and more importantly, know how to contact you, you’ll get more business.

You also need to inform your staff of a mailing and that they will be getting phone calls. Direct mail is quickly becoming not only an important way to market yourself, it is becoming expected. If you are not already proficient, you had better get there. A high response rate will not come from luck. It will come from experience and skill.

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