Do you throw away your mail? Or do you?
And if so, which mail do you throw? Why, that’s easy! You throw away anything that’s irrelevant to you, or not addressed to you.
Sure, I know.
You’re supposed to put the ‘Return to Sender’ on the mail, and send it back to sender. But you don’t. Well, maybe you do, but most people don’t. What most people do is take anything that’s not relevant or not addressed to them and trash it.
So if you’re the business owner or marketing manager sending out direct mail, you’ve just found a really good tracking system. Your direct mail went straight from your company to the customer to the bin.
And there’s diddly-squat you can do about it.
Or is there?
Most marketing people are resigned to the fact that there will be some mail that goes into the bin. They don’t know how much, so they fall back on numbers that say: A 2% response rate is a good response rate.
But couldn’t we increase that response rate dramatically, if we were sending stuff that ended up in the bin? And how on earth can you predict what the customer is going to do?
Ask Overland Footwear
They decided their brochures deserved a much, much better place than the bin. They decided that they’d rather have customers flock to their doors and buy the darned shoes. And so they came up with a very clever solution.
They decided to do away with the shoe-talk
And clean up their direct mail database instead. So if you’d been receiving nice, glossy Overland brochures in the past, this time all you got was a postcard that said “Win a fabulous trip for two to Italy.” Ah, now a headline like that immediately catches your attention, so you read on.
And here are the reasons why this piece of direct mail is sheer genius:
1) It has an astounding headline
2) Amazingly, you’re the target, whether you buy Overland Footwear or not.
3) It has a seamless response mechanism
1) Astounding headline: A headline like ‘Win a fabulous trip to Italy,’ may not be the best-structured headline in the world, but a ‘free trip’ sure packs a wallop. The purpose of a headline is very simple. It’s meant to identify you as the right target audience, and get you to read on.
Of course the sceptic in you shouts: “Scam.” After all no one gives you a free trip to Italy unless you buy something. But hey, right there in nice bold type, are the words, ‘No purchase necessary. See inside for details.’
And boof, you’re inside!
2) An all-encompassing target audience: Like some travel brochure, you’re taken on a ‘guided tour’ of Florence and Venice. You’re shown the pretty pictures. You’re told that the air fares are no problemo. And hey, you get eight nights of free accommodation for two as well. And while you’re drooling about that warm Italian sun, the postcard hits you with a set of check boxes that you have to choose from. Below is a summary of what the checkboxes said.
Check box 1: This catalogue was addressed to me, and si, I wish to continue receiving your catalogue.
Check box 2: This catalogue was addressed to me, but I do not wish to receive your catalogue (I’d like to be included in the draw for the trip to Italy, however)
Check box 3: This catalogue was not addresses to me, but I wish to receive your catalogue (And yes, put me in the draw, will ya?)
Check box 4: The catalogue was not addressed to me, and I don’t wish to receive your catalogue. (But being in the draw would be really nice).
And right below this series of checkboxes was the mandatory space for your name, address, phone and email. Sound brilliant, doesn’t it?
But it gets better.
3) Seamless Response Mechanism: So as a customer, you fill in the checkboxes, and send out the mail. But you have to search for Overland’s address and get a stamp etc, right? Wrong. You flip over the postcard, and you’ve got a ready to mail postcard, postage paid and self-addressed.
And with one simple mail out, Overland managed to clean up their client database and avoid their brochures being thrown in the bin.
Or did they?
Because I still have the postcard with me, you see. I filled in the form. I saw myself slobbering over pasta and riding Vespas. But then I got too darned busy, and forgot to mail the post card in. And I’m betting Overland has hundreds of customers just like me.
Customers who want to/don’t want to/are wrong addressed/and don’t want anything to do with the Footwear, who’d like to do the Italy trip, and haven’t sent in their post card yet. Which means that Overland is going to send out its glossy brochures to customers, that…um…should be off the list, or at least rightly addressed.
If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing many times
Your customers are way too busy. If you’re going to mail out a great offer, it doesn’t mean that your customers are going to take it up right away. At least 50% of your customers will want to respond, but just don’t get down to it.
It’s important to send out at least a couple of reminders, so that you clean up your customer database, and you avoid the route.
The route that goes from company to customer to bin.