Many sales professionals would agree that it is far easier to generate leads than it is to generate qualified leads. Anyone can open the phone book and jot down names and numbers, but this method only dilutes your efforts and wastes your time on people who are not going to buy. Here's how to avoid the waste and make profitable haste with invitation marketing.
Identify your audience
Your first priority is to understand who your customers are. You should conduct careful market research to find out valuable demographics such as age, gender, income, geographic location, hobbies, careers and values. Additionally, knowing what problems your customers face (so you can solve them) and what motivates them to make purchases is exceedingly helpful. Purchasing habits and frequency are also incredibly valuable when it comes to understanding your customers
List everything you know about your customers and keep it at your side whenever you're planning an invitation marketing campaign.
Build a mailing list
Once you have your customer demographics, you can build a mailing list full of potential customers that satisfy these requirements. Get your mailing list from a reputable vendor so you can assure full delivery when you mail your invitation cards. It can be helpful to consult a list broker who is familiar with your industry. They're often overlooked by small businesses, but list broker services can be a small investment that yields huge dividends.
Whether you hire a list broker or go it alone, make sure your mailing list is fine-tuned with your demographics. Don't try to blanket everyone in your mailing list, because you will just dilute your efforts. Instead, focus on your best customers' shared qualifications and ruthlessly cut any names from the list that do not fit within those parameters. Doing so will save a lot of money in wasted mailed invitations and help ensure that you get a great response rate.
Pre-qualify responses with invitation marketing
Once you have your mailing list you can design your invitations. Set a clear, well-defined goal for your invitations. You might want customers to attend an event such as a trade show, conference or seminar; or, you might be inviting them to partake in a special offer. No matter what you're invitation is for, your invitations are where you can really pre-qualify leads and weed out any unlikely buyers.
Do not offer something for free - the goal is not to collect as many names as possible, it is to collect as many customers as possible. A high-end software-as-a-platform company, for example, probably doesn't want everyone and his brother clogging up company servers on a free trial they'll never re-up on. Instead, such a software company should offer a time-limited trial for a reduced fee. Those customers who lay down money just to try the software are certainly pre-qualified, and the company's sales staff will be able to devote plenty of attention to them to land the big sales.
You can employ a similar method to weed out the non-buyers from the buyers and thus increase the efficiency of your sales efforts. By finding likely buyers with invitation marketing, you will stop wasting time on unqualified leads and start making money from qualified customers.