A 25% Response Rate? It’s True!

By Travis Lee

I catch some flack every now and again that all I show are consumer examples in this newsletter.  Frankly, that’s just not true.  A lot of examples come from my own businesses, all of which are B2B.  Given that this month’s new item is in the B2C world, I thought I’d throw you B2B’ers this one.  It comes from Jim Leuty of the Gel-Lite Candles Corp., in Mentor, OH.  Jim emailed me about a month ago and informed me he was getting a 25% response using the boomerang mailers as part of his lost client mailing system.  I suggest you download a copy of his letter here.

For a quick review, lost clients are those clients who made a purchase from you at some point, but have not bought again over a defined period of time.  This period of time varies by industry.  If you own a restaurant, it may be 30-60 days.  A high-end menswear store selling suits and business attire may be 6-12 months.  If you’re a car salesman, it may be 2-3 years.  A real estate agent, it may be 5-10 years.

So what’s the right time?  Only you can answer that for your business.  Once you’ve identified your lost clients, you’ll want to place them in a separate lost client recognition campaign.  Here’s the key:  you want to let the client know that YOU KNOW they’re missing.  It is often reported that it is anywhere from 10 times to 100 times more costly to get a new client, than it is to sell again to an existing client.  I believe that a ‘lost’ client is probably the second easiest client to sell to (behind those clients who are continually buying from you).

Lost customer campaigns give you a great “reason why.”  People love a good reason why, and this is one of the best.  When you present an offer to clients, you must have a logical reason for the offer.  Notice I didn’t say a great reason, or even a good reason, but a reason nonetheless.  Here’s why:  People are naturally skeptical and suspicious.  They’ve been told their entire life that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  I think we’ll all agree that there is some truth to that.

In doing this, Jim lets his clients, “off the hook.” By admitting it’s all his fault for not getting in touch with them sooner. Again, this is another smart strategy.  You see this often in the weight loss industry (It’s not your fault you didn’t know about XYZ…), but Jim smartly, uses a similar idea here.

The next thing I really like is the use of a double deadline.  This is a smart strategy that is hardly used by most marketers (myself included).  Jim has a deadline of March 15 to get the $100 discount, but he also offers discounted shipping for those who order before Feb. 28.    This is very, very smart.  Multiple deadlines are very effective and work well with long deadlines (in Jim’s case, it was approx. a six week deadline).  For instance, you could use something like:

This offer expires in two weeks, but if you respond in the next 5 days you’ll get an additional FREE gift.  

The power of taking something away is a very strong way to get people to act sooner rather than later.  He uses Copy Doodles and other handwritten fonts very well, including the testimonials (a lot of them), which are in different fonts, colors, etc.

He uses Copy Doodles and other handwritten fonts very well, including the testimonials (a lot of them), which are in different fonts, colors, etc.  We’ll wrap up or look at this great letter next week.

Here are a few other little tid-bits that alone may not make a huge difference, but when added up can make a huge impact on response:

  • He uses an “Action Form” and not an “Order Form.”  The Action Form could ‘stand alone,’ i.e. if form was found lying on the ground separate from letter, the prospect could and would take action.
  • There are multiple ways to respond to offer, FAX, email and phone.  As someone who also sells to retailers I know having a phone number can be a huge advantage vs. only being online or FAX’ing.
  • Jim is in the midst of 2nd and 3rd step.  But with a 25% response rate to his first step, I’m betting two and three will be hit.  The success of the first step is almost always indicative of future success (see write up on the new item of the month.

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To Your Direct Mail Success,
Travis Lee

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