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If the Devil himself visited me this afternoon, and told me that I would only be allowed to use one marketing tool for the rest of my life as punishment for my evil ways - I would probably choose direct mail.

What makes direct mail so great? It's simply a terrific way to go directly to your prospect, get in their faces and make them one hell (pardon the pun) of a great offer they can't refuse. Better yet, you can reach thousands of people fast, and for less cost than just about any other kind of marketing tool. But wait, you say! Isn't direct mail risky? Don't most people consider mailed marketing pieces junk mail? And don't 95% or more of those same people toss out 'junk mail' without so much as opening it?

All true, all true but consider this: even if 95% of everybody tosses your direct mail piece, and then only half of those end up buying, you're still going to make an incredible amount of money. With just a 2 or 3 percent converting to successful sales, direct mail will not only pay for itself, but earn you a terrific profit. Let's look at some numbers:

You mail 5,000 pieces which may cost you about 50 pence each, paying for postage, paper and envelopes. That's £2,500.

You are selling a £100 item.

You get a 2 % successful response rate. 2% of 5,000 is 100.

How much is 100 x 100? That's £10,000! You just spent £2,500 to gross £10,000!

Let's say your £100 product cost you £35. That's £3,500. Add that to your mailing costs, £2,500, and you get £6,000. Subtract another £1,000 (10% for miscellaneous expenses) and you get £7,000. So you still have £3,000 left over in pure profit.

By now, I hope you're starting to see the magic of direct mail. With a mere 2% success rate, you're making fast cash. But if you do it right, it's not unusual to sometimes get a 5, 10 or even 20% success rate. When that happens, you have money raining down on you like an April shower.

A few years ago, a book was released called, How to Fight Cancer and Win. The publisher test marketed a direct mail piece and was delighted to get a nearly a 20% response rate. Based on that success, he sent out 50,000 direct mail pieces plugging the book. His response rate for those 50,000 was an incredible 24%, or about 12,000 sales. After all expenses, he was clearing about £8 per book. His profit: £96,000. Another mailing of 100,000 was almost as successful, a 22% successful response rate. That's 22,000 sales at £8 for a profit of £176,000.

Not bad.

Direct mail costs far less than advertising, cold calling, telemarketing, live selling door-to-door, and all the rest. At the same time, it brings in far more money that all of the above.

The cautions I have for you about direct mail are these:

• Not just anyone can create direct mail sales materials, such as sales letters and brochures that work. A poorly crafted sales letter may easily fail to get a single response, even if you mail out thousands of them! Writing direct mail sales copy is a fairly high and refined art. Entire books have been written on the hows and whys of direct sales copy writing. It can be that complex!

• There are other pitfalls, as well. A major factor is the mailing list you choose to send your direct mail. If you have a bad list, you're going to get a terrible response, even if you have a fantastic sales letter with a great offer.

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Advertising With Circulars

Advertising With Circulars

Co-op Mailing means that two or more businesses share in the cost and distribution of a direct mail campaign. It's kind of like having you and another non-competing business split the cost of printing, assembling and mailing an advertising flyer to a shared same market base.

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