Can Direct Mail Get You Immediate Sales Results?

A direct mail campaign can be a great way to create immediate results to increase sales, generate demand for a new product or service, promote attendance at upcoming events or trigger interest in special offers. The key to success with direct mail is to be specific! The more specific you are about what you're offering - and how your audience can take advantage of it - the greater your chance of success.

Here are 4 easy steps to incorporate direct mail successfully into your marketing plan.

  1. Cut Through the Clutter. You have just 20 seconds to bait the hook! Keep the message simple and focused - avoid the common mistake of trying to say too much. Use a compelling headline and strong visuals and graphics to catch the eye and grab attention. Be sure to prioritize how you want the reader's eye to travel. What do you want them to read or see first, second and third?
  2. Include a Motivating Offer. A percentage or amount off a total purchase generally generates more sales than the offer requires. Avoid "giving away" your services because it diminishes their value in your customer's eyes. If you want to give away something, make it be an "add-on" or "extra" so customers appreciate the added value!
  3. Act Now! Create a sense of urgency to get your customers and prospects on the same timeline as you. Use deadlines and expiration dates to encourage action - if it goes in their "I'll look at it later" pile, you've lost them!
  4. Track Your Success. Create a way to track (1) who responds to the piece and (2) what and how much they purchase. If you're sending a direct mail brochure or postcard, you often can use the address label and postage date as a way of tracking.

Be careful what you wish for!!

Now that you've created a direct mail campaign to increase your sales, are you prepared to handle the results? Are your internal processes set up to handle the new business you create? Planning what happens when you get the new business is just as important as figuring out how you are going to get it.

Consider these questions:

  • How are you going to follow up on the campaign? Does the offer make the client come to you? If they are responding by phone, are there enough people to handle the calls?
  • For business-to-business clients you may want to follow up to increase your success percentage, since the main goal is probably to meet with the client face to face.
  • You may want to send out the direct mail in batches to allow timely phone follow up. If you go this route, who is going to do the follow up calls - you? Your sales people? A telemarketing firm?
  • When you get the appointment, who is going out on the calls?
  • If the sales calls result in new clients, are you prepared to handle the additional work? How many new clients can your existing staff handle? Can your inventory support a jump in demand?

Many great direct mail campaigns have failed because response was good but internal processes were not in place to handle the new business. Don't fall into this trap!

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