Marketing Corner – 6 Reasons Your Direct Mail Campaign Goes Bust

Marketing Corner – Wednesday January 25th, 2017

6 Reasons Your Direct Mail Campaign Goes Bust

We’ve said it before: even in our digitally-driven world, direct mail is still an effective marketing tool. From holiday cards, to promoting a seminar, to marketing your services, direct mail has a power and impact that some other solutions don’t have. Many advisors dipped their toes into direct mail and have been disappointed with their returns. Here are six reasons your direct mail campaign goes bust.

Your Targeting Isn’t Dialed In

Most mail houses offer targeting with their services, included in a base package or for additional costs. You provide them a set of filters—age, income, topic, etc.—and they build a list. A weak direct mail response rate can be due to improper filters and a misunderstanding of your target market demographics. It may be that you need to expand a radius or you need to adjust your age ranges. It will all depend. The more dialed in—the more you understand your target consumer profile—the more likely that your message will reach the right people.

Your Message Is Unclear

Your message should speak directly and uniquely to your target market, with design elements that compliment your overall goal. Many mail houses will have proven standard templates that can be adjusted for your campaigns. However, a too generic message may not work for all target markets. Make adjustments appropriately and judiciously. Be as direct as possible with regards to what you are offering and why consumers should reach out to you.

You Need More Due Diligence With The Direct Mail Vendor

When you first inquire about counts and pricing, make sure to ask detailed questions. If you simply ask for an average response rate on a particular mailer, the vendor may provide you national averages—when what you are really interested in are the local averages. The more detailed you are with your questions—whether about pricing, averages, customization, etc.—the more the vendor can work with you to build the best campaign possible.

You Don’t Incorporate Additional Marketing Activities

It’s important to remember that while direct mail can be effective for attracting certain consumer types, it is only one marketing activity. A good marketing mix will include several platforms that all point to the same direction. You can enhance your direct mail campaign with any number of simple marketing activities, like e-blasts, flyering, or digital display advertising. Structured and executed correctly, these additional marketing activities can reach many of the same individuals in your direct mail target list. This is what Legacy Financial Partners has developed with our Enhanced Tactical Marketing program.

You Don’t Consider The Timing Of The Mail Drop

Timing is very important when issuing pieces of direct mail. In general, you’ll want to avoid weekends and high-profile holidays. But timing goes beyond this. You should be aware of the events happening in your community that might eat into your responses.

Your Campaign Isn’t Being Done At A High Enough Volume Or Frequency

You may think that you can try a thousand or two-thousand piece mail campaign and get a proportionate result of a five-thousand or ten-thousand campaign. But you have to conduct campaigns in large enough volumes or with enough frequency that the law of averages has a chance to play out.

So if a mail house reports that a mailer typically gets a 2% response rate and you purchase 1000 pieces, you may think that you can expect 20 individuals (or buying units) to make an appointment or come to your seminar. 20 people or households is not a bad audience if you think you can get a hold of every single one, can make appointments with every single one, and can clear business with every single one.

But the reality is that from response to conversion, your pool of buying units will dwindle. In this scenario, if your pool reduces by half each step, you are left with 2.5 buying units. (20 responses, able to contact 10, get 5 to come to seminar or make appointments, clear 2.5 units worth of casework.) This scenario uses consistent numbers for the sake of simple illustration—the attrition from your pool of respondents can be higher or lower and won’t likely be a perfect percentage reduction.

Most mail houses won’t recommend campaigns below 2,500 pieces and will caution you to hedge your expectations should you choose to do a low number. You could hope that additional marketing activities can boost the impact of a low-piece mailer, but even this will have a threshold of effectiveness. And sometimes mail campaigns go sideways for factors outside any one’s control—which is why frequency comes in to play.

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About the author

Legacy Financial Partners - Legacy Financial Partners is an independent and full service Life Insurance and Annuity FMO that provides specific marketing solutions to help their clients succeed. Using dynamic tactics, an extensive support network and progressive marketing options, Legacy Financial Partners provides unique and specific development strategies to their business partners.

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