Upon realizing they need to use postal mail profitably, most business people run out and start blowing chunks of money because they think that’s how you become an expert. But, unless they grasp the critical information I’m about to share with you, their troubles are only just beginning.
Often maligned and frequently misunderstood (particularly in today’s digitally obsessed world), postal mail can still be a highly effective and cost-efficient way to build healthier, longer-lasting relationships with customers and to benefit from incremental sales and profits over a longer time frame.
Less is More: Choose your recipients carefully
The quickest way to profitable postal mail is to mail your promotions only to those people who qualify. This not only reduces costs, sometimes dramatically, but it also increases your response rate and the return-on-investment from the money you did spend. liteblue
For example, imagine your organization has 400 active customers and you’re about to launch a promotion by mail. Should you mail all of them? Not likely!
The first step is to think about which of your customers best qualify for whatever you are offering them. This can be based on a review of their behavior (i.e. purchased “A” plus “B”, but not “C”), their tenure (long-term vs. new customer), their history of responding to previous offers, their credit history (with your organization), or any number of other factors or combination thereof.
Imagine now that you’ve gone through this process and have 40 customers who you believe are highly qualified and another 80 who are somewhat qualified.
Depending on how confident you are of your selection criteria, my recommendation would be either 40 or 60 for the first mailing. Mail everyone who you believe are highly qualified and 20 from the second group of 80 somewhat qualified people as a test.
Also, mail one to yourself, so you have an exact version of your mailing piece in your marketing activity file. Print the mailing date on the back of the envelope – and note the date that you received it.
Make an Offer
Since the purpose of this promotion is to cause those who receive it, you must include an offer. Dozens, even hundreds, of different offers are possible ranging from “more information” to “get this to me right away.”
If you have chosen your recipients carefully, a huge incentive may not be necessary. In fact, a monetary or other incentive may not be needed at all – “fear of loss” is a great motivator when your product or service is in limited supply.
Track your Results
It’s critical to track your results because that’s the only way you’ll know whether your campaign was successful (on a ROI basis) and whether your selection of recipients was correct. As well, knowing when your customers responded (compared to the mailing date) helps you develop an understanding of the rhythm of your campaigns.
If, using the 80 mailing quantity cited above, the test of the “somewhat qualified” customers achieved a certain threshold, then you should consider mailing the balance of this group in a second mailing. Remember to send yourself a copy – and track your results.