The Universal Truths of Direct Mail

By Travis Lee

It’s no secret that I’m a big believer in using direct mail or why else would I be in the 3D Mail business!  However there are a lot of great reasons to use direct mail, 3D Mail or otherwise.

The biggest reason to use direct mail is it’s as close as we can possibly get to one-to-one, nose-to-nose, toes-to-toes selling without actually beating a path to our clients.

Not only that, we can multiple ourselves several times over by sending many message at the time.

I’ve yet to find a sales person who can be in two places at once, selling to two different prospects.

And like selling face-to-face we can customize our message to meet the needs, desires, wants and demographics of our prospects or clients, but more on that as we move forward.

We can also get involvement with the client or prospect and there are many ways to do this, including using 3D Mail.

When we get involvement, we get a commitment of time, and if we get the proper commitment of time, the chances of making a sale goes up dramatically.

We’re also given format flexibility and tons of creative space when using direct mail.  There are postcards of all shapes and sizes, regular ‘flat’ envelope mailers, greeting cards, self-mailers, maga-logs, express mailers, etc. with even more sub categories in those listed above.

And using all these different formats is crucial when selling to the same people over and over again.  Just when they tire of seeing your postcard mailers, you can change it up with 3D Mail, then change to another format, then another, keeping your content ‘fresh’ in the eyes of your clients.

the #1 reason to use direct mail is that we get to use lists!  I know you’re probably saying to yourself, “Well… Duh, of course we use lists.” But let’s go over the power we get when we use them correctly.

In no other media can we laser target and shrink our world to the exact demographics (like age, gender, income, etc.) and psychographics (like what they buy, where they buy, they’re interests, hobbies, charitable giving, etc.) like we can when we use well selected.

I’ll steal a line from my mentor. Dan Kennedy:

“If you want a list of one-legged midgets in Akron, who have 2 kids, a dog, is married and bowls in a league on Wednesday nights, you can find that list.  Now, admittedly it won’t be a very big list, but you can get with a little digging.”

You certainly can’t do that in radio and TV. There’s a reason they call it “broadcast” media.  You cast a big, broad message and hope something sticks.

If you’ve ever advertised in or investigated newspapers, TV, radio etc, they’ll tell you something like their average listener/viewer/reader is male, age 19-45, has a household income of 25K-150K etc.

Now, for big, dumb companies with marketing budgets to burn, that may be good enough, but not for me.  I want to know their age within a few years (say 40-44), their interests, what kind of car they drive, their voting preferences, what books they’re reading, and I can get that, plus a whole lot more with a direct mail list.

The first thing to know is that all lists are not created equally, nor should they be.  Today we’ll go over the four different kinds of lists you’ll encounter, in order of importance, starting with the most important.

First and foremost is your list of current and active clients segmented and sorted by a myriad of topics.

They can be sorted by SIC code in B2B, the products or services they’ve purchased, they’re buying behavior (do they buy only on sale, or at full price, one time of year, or year round, by brand etc), demographics and psychographics and many others.

Your task as a marketer of your business is to ID and filter the segments that make the most sense in your business,

A distant second to your sorted and segmented in-house list is your in-house list unsorted.  While this certainly is better than advertising to the unwashed masses, it’s certainly not as good as having your list sorted and segmented as we described above.

Third on the list is a response list.  A response list is a mailing list of individuals who have responded previously to direct mail offers, hopefully selling similar/complimentary to your.

You can further segment these lists by the demographics and psychograpics we have discussed in previous emails here.

Finally, there are complied lists of consumers and businesses.  This is basic consumer and business data taken by survey, public records etc.

There can be and is money in lists like these.  You need to be sure you’re getting the right kind of demo and psychographics to match your copy and your offer to them.

One way to get a list is to rent commercially available lists.  This article discusses the basics of renting lists.  We’ll get to other ways of growing your list in upcoming tips.

First, understand you will be RENTING these lists for one-time, two-time or multiple use and the price will go up with each option.

The lists will be “seeded” with false names and addresses that deliver your mail to the list owners, so they can police the use of their lists.

Second, you’ll probably wind up working with a List Broker.  A good List Broker can be of great help to you and can usually help you uncover ideas that you did not originally consider.

We can provide mailing list for you here at 3D Mail.  Give us a call at 888-250-1834 to discuss your options.

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