Are You Making These
Mistakes In Your Marketing Communications?
And How to Prevent Them for More
copyright 1998-2002 by Bob and Shirley
Clients and Revenues
Consultants tell us time and time again that sending
out sales letters or brochures just doesn't work for them. What
can you do?
This article turns for answers to an article we wrote for
for the high-tech marketing section of DM News. It's called
"Seven Deadly Direct Mail Sins That Are Costing You Money."
Direct mail is your powerful door-to-door and
business-to-business sales force.
It places your message into the hands of your prospects and
clients. Use it properly and you can:
- convert more prospects to clients,
- get more bang from your marketing budget,
- increase your client lifetime value, and
- create a loyal client list.
You can also profit from its opportunities to upsell, resell,
solicit referrals, and add value to the services you provide
If you are like many consultants, though, you are committing
most or all of the 7 deadly direct mail sins with every marketing
communication you write.
To add to his own experience Bob sat down with Markus Allen,
publisher of the MailGram newsletter and President of Mailshop
USA in Newtown Square, PA. Together they talked about solutions
-- tools, techniques, and insights -- that can help you avoid
or correct the errors you may be making.
Here are the problems Bob revealed in his article and their
#1 Contacting Once and Sinking
Swimming on that One Contact
One company here in the Delaware Valley sells its educational
seminars through catalogs. The company mails the catalog a grand
total of three times a year. That's it! It doesn't initiate any
other contacts. Admittedly, relying on these infrequent catalogs
does keep the company profitable.
Yet how much money is being left on the table?
You always want to mail until it is NOT profitable. The general
rule is a second mailing of the exact same piece to the exact
same list two to three weeks later will generate 60 percent
of the response that the original mailing did.
And you can boost response by up to 300 percent by
supporting a mail campaign with a different mail piece selling
the same thing. Just changing the cover of your catalog or the
color of your envelope will raise your response. You can also
send a fax or follow up with a phone call or e-mail.
#2 Not Systematically Testing and Tracking
Most companies [and consultants, too] fail to systematically
test their direct mail and track the results. The outcome is
a huge loss of opportunity to get more sales and set higher benchmarks
from each mailing.
"By diligently tracking results, for example, you
can discover which lists, and which portions of those lists,
are most profitable for you," says Allen.
You can test different headlines, one against the other, to
see which one pulls the best. Or test different packages -- perhaps
a postcard versus a one page letter in a #10 envelope.
You would never know how well you can do unless you test and
#3 Treating All Prospects and Clients
Would you write the same letter to one of your big, anchor
clients -- someone who contributed 25 percent to your revenues
for four years
straight -- as you would to a brand new prospect?
Of course, you wouldn't. How would this client feel? Certainly,
not individually addressed and maybe even baffled, annoyed, or
Acknowledge your clients in your correspondence, especially
your good clients, and show them how much you care, and you are
on your way to creating exceptional loyalty...and profits.
What about your prospects? Give them the same
kind of attention.
#4 Relying On A Me-Centered Headline
How many times have you received a mailing with a headline
similar to this? The Excel Consulting Group, Founded In 1987.
Allen states, "A typical headline will display the mailer's
company or product name and possibly the price [or the year when
the company was founded]. "
What gets a prospect's attention the most? Her own name, of
course, not somebody else's. Next is a solution to a problem
which is causing her enough pain to keep her up at night.
#5 Using A Standard Offer That
Can Find With Any of Your Competitors
What attracts prospects to you and also promotes loyalty among
your clients? A surefire way to do this is to favor them with
valuable special offers that they cannot get anywhere else.
A consultant could, for instance, offer -- in addition to
consulting services -- six months free e-mail follow up to answer
a guarantee, a one-year subscription to your newsletter, free
access or a reduced fee to a workshop or presentation you are
Adding bonuses like these will not only increase your response
rates but will also give your clients a reason to stay with you
and only you.
Isn't that what you want?
#6 Writing to Please The Wrong
And Sending Out Feature Laden Copy
A large Silicon Valley company hired an ad agency to write
copy for its seminar invitations. The outcome was an invitation
that emphasized the features of its products and said very little
about the benefits of going to the seminar and what one would
What did the ad agency do wrong?
It wrote for the wrong audience. It wrote to win the
hearts of the product developers and executives at its client's
We suggested writing benefit-rich copy that would speak directly
to its prospects or customers. The company, we argued, would
get a higher turnout to its seminars and ultimately more sales.
The company offered to test a change of only five sentences
in the middle of the seminar invitation. One version talked in
technical jargon about the features of the seminar. The second
spoke in easy-to-understand terms and promoted benefits.
What difference did it make? The benefit-laden copy outpulled
the technical features by 18 percent. In this case it meant hundreds
Remember, write for your prospects and clients...and no one
#7 Misunderstanding and Underutilizing
Your Client List
Many companies don't capitalize on their client list or, worse,
Did you know that studies show it costs about five times more
to sell to prospects than it does to customers or clients? Your
clients already have an established relationship with you, and,
if it is a good one, they are prepared to buy from you again.
"Consider contacting your customers a minimum of every
six weeks. Your catalog [or brochure] repetitiously mailed is
not enough," says Allen.
Try timely offers specifically for certain portions of your
list -- something that helps them solve one of their toughest
To Sum Up...
Think about what else your clients want. Perhaps it is more
services, or it could be more information through seminars, newsletters,
or training workshops.
Best of all, act on the many ways you can think of to nurture
and thank your clients. That will create a bond between you that
will mean faithful clients for years to come.
So there they are. The seven deadly direct mail sins and what
to do about them for more profitable mailings and higher revenues.
If you have a pressing marketing
problem that needs a solution now, you may find your answer here...