D Is For Direct Mail

Direct Mail, otherwise known as sending letters through the post to prospective customers is now pretty much a dying art. By many business owners, sending letters has been replaced by emails – can’t say I blame them really. After all, emails are cheaper, quicker and you can see who has opened it and read it. Why wouldn’t you use emails? 

But, there are still some business owners who do use direct mail as a marketing technique. The school of thought on this one is that since everyone else uses email, their letter might just get read. 

And..you know what…that’s not a bad thought really. Their letter is more likely to get read by their prospective customer. But it’s still not likely to get acted upon if it’s boring to read or there is no indication of what happens next. 

So, if you are going to send a letter out to your potential customers, how can you make sure that someone reading it does take action? 

Well, as with anything else that you write, you need to put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes and think about what problems, frustrations and issues they have about your product or service. What keeps them up at night? What problems are they trying to solve when they buy from you? 

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start to put together your first draft. Sit your imaginary customer down on the sofa next to you and write as if you’re talking to them. 

First ask them some questions. You want to know that if your customer answers yes to these questions, your company is the right one for them. 

Then tell them what the problem is – you know what their problems are from doing your research before you started writing (you have done that haven’t you?) Again, right as if you’re talking to them and just confirming that the problems you think they have are the ones you can solve. 

Once you’ve asked your questions and explained what their problem is, now you’re ready to answer their problems. This is where you should tell them how you can help and more importantly, how their problems will be better once they’ve spoken to you. 

Finally, tell them what to do next. Do you want them to call you, email you, book onto a workshop. Be clear on this and remember – only one objective per letter. 

Don’t worry if you go over the page or even onto a third or fourth page – some of the best letters I’ve seen have been quite a few pages long. 

Then leave your draft for a couple of days and when you come back to it check it for spelling and make it look pretty. Don’t go too mad here, but you might want to add in some bullet points, use colour or make some text larger to stand out. It just helps to break up the text a bit. 

Now, here is the important thing. Test your letter. Send it to a small number of people (let’s say 50) and see what happens. If you get a good response (remember 1-2% is about average, so anything more than that and you’re doing well), then start rolling it out to bigger numbers. If you get less than this or no response at all, that means you’re going to need to revise your letter and keep testing until it works for you. 

And then…once you do get a letter that works, don’t forget to follow it up with a phone call. Marketing where you send a letter and then follow up always work better than just sending a letter alone. 

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