Tales of woe regarding small business direct mailing campaigns are all too common. A while back, a fellow Duct Tape Marketing Coach shared a story she heard from a prospective client regarding a failed direct marketing campaign. Here are some of the relevant numbers from the campaign:
•    Number of pieces mailed: 9,800
•    Response: 1%
•    Inquiries: 97
•    Number of prospects phoned to qualify: 67
•    Cost of qualifying: $29 times 67: $1,943
•    Qualified leads: 13
•    Campaign costs: $10,000
•    Cost per lead: $918.69

I don’t have the numbers of final conversions and sales, but since the company’s average sale is approximately $850, it’s fair to say this was not a successful campaign.

This scenario plays out all too often and leads many small business owners to think “marketing just doesn’t work for my type of business.”

I don’t know all of the details about the campaign mentioned above, but during the discussion, I recognized some common mistakes that you should work hard to avoid in your next direct mail campaigns. Here are a few:

1.    Failing to use a well researched, narrowly targeted list. Of course, in order to do that you have to have a clear picture of your Ideal Customer Profile.

2.    Sending one batch of mail and then stopping. In order for your campaign to be effective, you will need to follow up. Follow up with additional mailings as well as telephone calls.

3.    Failing to test. Rather than sending out one huge mailing, send out some smaller, test batches. Test different layouts, messages, call to action, etc. Find the most successful one and send that one to your complete mailing list.

4.    Failing to have a strong call to action. Make sure to include a strong incentive for your prospect to contact you and begin the process of getting to Know, Like, and Trust you.

Direct mail campaigns, done correctly, can be a very powerful tool for small business marketing. One of its strengths is the ability to directly measure the effectiveness of the campaign — a must for small business owners.

The secret to burning through your marketing budget without really trying is to perform random marketing activities without tying them to an underlying strategy.  So if you want to have a successful direct mail campaign, start with a sound marketing strategy.

Bill Brelsford is the owner of Rebar Business Builders. As an Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Coach, Bill works with professional service firms and independent professionals who want to spend less time chasing business and more time serving profitable customers.
phone: 913.962.9261
email: bill@rebarbusinessbuilders.com
web: http://www.RebarBusinessBuilders.com
blog: http://blog.rebarbusinessbuilders.com

AvatarBill Brelsford

Bill Brelsford is a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant who specializes in creating and implementing marketing strategies for professional service firms. You can follow Bill on Twitter.