Many consumers view direct mail with distain. The public is so inundated with printed propaganda that much direct mail ends up unopened in the waste basket. Marketing consultants not only need to get their mail into the proper hands, they need to provide the reader with a reason to open the envelope and read the content. This is the challenge for every consultant looking to promote their consulting services.
When considering your consultancy’s direct mail program, you should understand that your input will determine the success of the program. Direct mail affords you the opportunity to tailor your presentation, message and contact list. However, as well designed and intended as your program is, it will not be read by every recipient. You should make sure that you can track the results of the campaign.
Direct mail campaigns seem inexpensive compared to other advertising programs. Statistics regarding the effectiveness of direct mail vary, but a well developed direct mail letter or package is usually read. Proof of this is in the many multi-million dollar businesses solely built with direct mail as their backbone.
When designing your offering, be creative but consistent with your brand. Consistent integration is imperative to your overall marketing and public relations plan. Consultants need to continue their discipline in the very public area of advertising and direct mail is no exception.
Guidelines to a Successful Direct Mail Campaign
- Only mail to targeted recipients. Be sure that you always know where you mailings are going. Rented lists can work though it’s critical to speak with a list broker or direct marketing consultant to find the right list for your business’ needs.
- Content Counts. The most effective direct mail addresses a specific issue that is time sensitive. This could well be a mandated industry policy change. The use of direct mail to stimulate a response will bolster your consultancy’s industry image and show that you are on top of your game. Obviously this type of mailing has a higher chance of acceptance than an every day promotion for your product or service.
- Follow Up Efficiently. If your consultancy does not provide for informational and effective follow through, stay away from direct mailings. Make sure your mailing has all contact options and provide an incentive to contact your firm directly.
- Test it. Before committing big dollars on an unproven advertising campaign, run a sample mailing and get a feel for the results. This will also test your follow up program. Most clients ask the same question so use this exercise to perfect your responses. A test run of 2000 pieces is considered to be statistically valid. Anything much less than this and the test’s validity goes downhill.
- Personalize it. If you are taking the time to design the mailing, you should personalize a message from your consulting business to prospective clients. This can de accomplished by a handwritten note or by using mail merge to input your prospects name and other details inside the mailing directly. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that if you’re not personalizing your direct mail, maybe you shouldn’t even be sending it. I know that sounds harsh, but the technology these days makes it so easy … and imagine if a competing consulting firm sent a similar offer to yours and did personalize the offer to open with “Dear Jim” while yours only said “Dear customer.”
- Link it. All components of your marketing plan are connected. Keep a close eye to ensure that every part of your mailing builds on the other to keep the effectiveness of the campaign as high as possible.
Direct mail works. If it doesn’t make sense for you to spend a great deal of time putting together all the pieces to a successful campaign, look for marketing consultants with experience. This medium shouldn’t be your only strategy to acquire new clients, but it is definitely worth adding into your marketing mix.