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Among all the methods businesses use to generate new customers, direct-mail marketing continues to be one of the best. The USPS estimates that in 98 percent of all U.S. households, the mail is brought into the home on the same day it is delivered. That means your potential new customers see your name and product within days of sending out the promotional material. But simply getting a postcard to the people won't necessarily produce the best results. You need the right strategies to make the best use of direct-mail marketing.
1. Know your customers
Industry assessments estimate a business gets one response for every 100 recipients. Yet according to the Direct Marketing Association, the long-term return is much greater than those numbers indicate. In fact, they claim that the financial return is more than 1,000 percent when factoring in the lifetime revenue earned from a loyal customer. So the key here is to locate customers with the greatest potential to be loyal in the long run. Good mailing list hygiene is probably the single most important direct-mail strategy of all. With tens of thousands of lists available for purchase, business owners need to be selective. Mailing lists should be chosen based on criteria that best suit the type of customer being sought. For example, if a company specializes in extreme sports vacations, it would be a waste of resources to include a seniors housing complex in a mailing list.
2. Focus on the ‘direct’ idea
It's obvious that the word "direct" in "direct-mail marketing" is a reference to getting information directly into the hands of potential customers. But successful marketers employ a strategy that takes "direct" to a new level. They know that today's consumer has a much shorter attention span, and is less likely to read extensively than previous generations. It is imperative that literature be concise and direct in presenting a company's products and services. One effective method is through the use of bulleted lists and graphics. Business owners need customers to understand what they offer as quickly and thoroughly as possible. A short, concise presentation of the facts will go much farther than glitzy promises of product potential.
3. A call to action
As any successful marketing firm knows, a call to action is vital in creating new customers. You want the recipient to clearly see a reason to act now rather than set the material aside for later. That's why, as five-and-dime as they appear, coupons are still highly effective. They present the opportunity for potential customers to immediately choose to try a new business. Surveys and free offers are another way to set the hook. Everyone likes “free,” and the opportunity to provide personal feedback about products and services is a motivation to a good number of people. The idea with the call to action is to engage customers in communicating with a business. The more communication taking place, the more likely a customer will become a long-term loyalist.