Successful Direct Mail in B2B

By Travis Lee

In this example, I’m taking you back to one of the first direct mail campaigns I implemented.  It’s for Superior Display, a manufacturing shop we own in Bend, OR.  They build custom and hardwood display cases (www.SuperiorDisplay.com).  You could call this a “grass-roots” or even a Guerrilla Marketing campaign in a sense.

As I was reading over the letter, it was really hard NOT to edit it before I sent it out to you.  There’s a LOT that could be improved upon, but with the results we got, I can’t complain too much.  So let’s take a look.  My suggestion is you read through the letter first, which you can find here, then come back here and finish the article.

First, a little background.  You’ll notice right away in the headline we mention speaking with them.  We did not send this letter ‘cold.’  We were working from a list of 79 retail store distributors in the Western US.

Zack at Superior Display, made 15-20 calls per week to these various distributors.  You can see a copy of the script on this month’s Swipe File CD.  In short, we wanted to get the name of the buyer and “permission” to send a CD with images of the cases.

We also included an offer to get a display cases completely free to display in their showroom or sell to a customer.  This was our way of introducing ourselves to them and to show them the exceptional quality of our displays.  Of the 79 we contacted, 60 agreed to have us send them the information.

In the script we tell them to keep an eye out for a large envelope with an eagle on the front.  I love using these express envelopes.  They mail at standard6 X 9 Urgent Delivery with Eagle first class postage rates ($0.45 for under 1 oz.) but they are often handled and viewed by gate-keepers and the targeted prospect like Priority envelopes through the USPS or FedEx letters.  They always get through and get opened by the correct person.

Ten days after we sent the package, Zack called back to be sure they received the envelope and CD, and to make sure they took advantage of the free showcase offer.  If Zack couldn’t get them on the phone, we followed up with a second letter (not shown).

The results were very good.  Of the 79 targeted prospects, we sent 13 free showcases, with six becoming “B and C” level clients.  However, we had one additional client who, within six months, became our third best client in terms of dollars spent.  That one client made over $30,000 in purchases in the first year and has remained an “A” client for four years.  I estimate the entire campaign cost around $500.  I’d say it was pretty good, wouldn’t you?

So how can you use this in your business?  I ALWAYS recommend that you either start out with a phone call (as Zack did here), or follow up with a phone call to be sure they received your letter.  In the B2B world this isn’t a problem.  If you’re B2C, you have a little more to consider with the “do-not-call” lists and other ‘consumer protection’ initiatives our government has used to cripple many businesses.  We used a manageable sized list of 79 prospects, which ensures that all pre and post calls could be made on time.  We easily could have ramped up the number to well over 200, but without the follow up phone calls, I believe the campaign wouldn’t have been nearly successful.

The results were outstanding.  Of the 79 targeted prospects, we sent 13 free showcases, with six becoming “B and C” level clients.  However, we had one additional client who, within six months, became our third best client in terms of dollars spent.  That one client made over $30,000 in purchases in the first year and has remained an “A” client for four years.  I estimate the entire campaign cost around $500.  I’d say it was pretty good, wouldn’t you?

So how can you use this in your business?  I ALWAYS recommend that you either start out with a phone call (as Zack did here), or follow up with a phone call to be sure they received your letter.  In the B2B world this isn’t a problem.  If you’re B2C, you have a little more to consider with the “do-not-call” lists and other ‘consumer protection’ initiatives our government has used to cripple many businesses.  We used a manageable sized list of 79 prospects, which ensures that all pre and post calls could be made on time.  We easily could have ramped up the number to well over 200, but without the follow up phone calls, I believe the campaign wouldn’t have been nearly successful.

My suggestions to you:

Keep the number small enough for you to manage it as we described above.  Choose a highly targeted segment of your current prospect list you believe you can have success with, OR pick a list of your ideal clients (your “Dream 100” to steal a line from Chet Holmes’ book, “The Ultimate Sales Machine”).  For solo-entrepreneurs that may only be 25-50, for larger companies with a sales force, it could be hundreds.  Whatever you do, keep it small enough that you can micro-manage it from the beginning.  Remember, these are your DREAM clients, so micro-managing it is a GOOD thing.

Send out your attention-getting, clutter busting 3D Mail, and follow it up with a phone call.  Try to get to the decision maker on your phone call, but even if you get the gatekeeper, ask if they received the piece you sent.  If it’s 3D Mail, they are almost guaranteed to remember it.  They’ll likely even get a chuckle out of it.  Repeat the above sequence every 30-60 days until all of your “Dream List” become clients.  It takes discipline, but it can work wonders for your business.

Marketing Tip Readers Only Special

I absolutely LOVE using the fake express envelopes.  They come in 6 x 9 and 9 x 12 versions.  You can get 15% off when you use the Promo Code express15.  You’ll want to add the express envelopes to your cart then select “view cart.”  You can then add the promo code express15.

What’s so great about these envelopes is the postage rate is the same as regular first class mail.  The 6 x 9 version mails for just $0.46 under 1 oz.  The 9 x 12 version mails for $1.12 (it’s about 1.2 oz. on its own).  You can see the 6 x 9 version here and the 9 x 12 version here.  These prices are ONLY available until 5 PM on Friday April 19, 2013.  Call 888-250-1834 or order online today!

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