The Post Office Isn’t Dead!
Are you thinking about a direct mail campaign? Tired of your unsolicited emails being ignored and phone calls that become unanswered messages?
In the post-email-spam era, snail mail is making a comeback. How exciting is it when you get real mail nowadays? Setting aside the every-door-direct-mail junk that you might get from political campaigns and the local car dealer, there’s not actually much in your mailbox other than bills anymore. And some of us have moved to electronic billing, leaving hardly anything in our post box worth mention.
Compared to the loud white noise of email and robo-calls, you have a golden opportunity to stand out in the paper mail department.
How to do a Mailing
1 – Save Money & Energy by Niching Yourself
I always talk about niching yourself, which is to say don’t waste time and money on people that are not a fit for you. Your conversion rate (that’s to say the percentage of people who move up a step in your sales funnel) improves drastically when you’re targeting a specific audience with something that is uniquely relevant to them.
Any direct mail campaign requires up-front research to save time and money. The less mailers you send, the less it costs in printing and postage. Since you will be following up with people, so the more targeted the campaign the more likely you will be successful when you follow up. Why bother spending time following up with people who are a poor fit?
2 – Researching & Tracking
Do your research and find associations, organizations or companies that are a perfect fit for your pet topic. If you do your research and you find 20 associations, organizations or companies that are a perfect fit for your pet topic — then send out up to 20 mailers at a time.
Keep good record of their information and contact names & information for your follow up. Note people’s name, company name, address, phone, email, etc. this is important because although you may not have gotten a response now, it could happen the next day or in a couple months. You want to track which tactics work.
3 – It’s all about the Follow-Up
After mailing the campaign out, wait about a week and do your follow-up. The follow-up is crucial to open doors of communication and build relationships. Don’t expect to send out 20 mailings and that the phone will just ring. Go after what you want; it is unlikely to just drop in your lap.
There are several ways to follow up on your initial contact. You can email, call, or send another mailing (slightly different, but recognizably similar). They say it takes more than 7 touches (attempts to contact someone, ads in the paper, spots on the radio…) before the conversion ratio starts to jump up.
Once you’ve done your first batch and followed up a few times, go ahead and send out another batch to up to 20 more organizations or associations that fit your target market.
What types of Mailings?
The Post Office Isn’t Dead: On a Budget? Try Postcards for the best “Open Rate”
Postcards are inexpensive overall, and your recipient doesn’t have to open an envelope! They can be creative, colorful and fun.
At around $0.50 each including printing and postage, you still want to make sure you are sending the postcards to the right people in the right companies.
It’s also possible to do a postcard campaign. Have only 1 side of the card printed up in beautiful color, and use an extra-fine Sharpie to write your message on the other side, or on top of the image. You can then send several follow-ups on the same “branded postcard stationery” before picking up the phone and asking if they liked your postcards.
The Post Office Isn’t Dead: Letter on Stationery
You can go simple and elegant. Just ask. Write a nice letter on nice stationery. No gimmicks, no fussing. A clear query letter can actually work wonders. Be direct, bold, ask don’t sell, be refreshingly honest and earnest.
It can be as simple as:
“I’m a relatively new speaker looking for speaking opportunities in the auto industry. I was hoping you might have some time to discuss your upcoming conference and whether you’re still looking for speakers or presenters. Please see my onesheet, enclosed. Thank you for the opportunity,”
You can add a short list of relevant topics you speak on. Always personalize it. If it’s annual say something like, “If you already have all your presentations lined up for this year, please notify me when you open up your call for presenters for next year.”
Take the time to make it directly relevant to their company, cause or programs. You can start with a boilerplate, but always customize it.
The Post Office Isn’t Dead: Lumpy Mail
Another idea, and one I love is what I like to call Lumpy Mail. It sounds funny, but it attracts people’s attention. It is more expensive than just sending out a postcard — even the postage on a sealed letter is more than a postcard — but if you do 10 at a time and keep it around $1-2 per envelope you’re still doing great. Make sure you’re super focused and targeted directly at your audience before sending these!
First put your onesheet or a simple well-put-together flyer in a brightly colored envelope, perhaps with a hand-written post-it note. Always hand write the address, this shows you care and took the time to write the address instead of using printed labels.
Then, after addressing the envelope, add something fun or useful into the envelope. If possible, it should have your name or company name and phone or website address on it. You can get really creative here but stay relevant to your message. Make sure that your website has all the important ingredients before sending viewers to visit.
Let’s say you choose a nice pen (inexpensive and uncommon) with your name on it. Maybe it writes in a different color. But it’s an item that people use quite often and it will sit on their desk. Your name becomes a constant reminder that you are available when they need a speaker.
Other possible products include magnets, a mouse pad or sticky note pads that have been customized with a good quote, a picture that fits your brand, or your tag line. If your target can use a cheatsheet or reference, a common formula, that’s another possibility: put the cheatsheet on the mousepad or sticky note. Like a meat doneness temperature chart for restaurants.
I heard one time about a speaker who sent an unused(!) diaper through the mail. I don’t recall the message, but thought that was brilliant and I am sure it stuck out because really how many people get a diaper in the mail?
Avoid Postal Hang-Ups
Bring a test envelope with everything in it to the post office for inspection. They will need to check the thickness and weight of your mailing, and what’s inside, to see whether it’s permissible and how much it will cost you to send it. For example, no perfume vials!
There’s even regulations on postcards and where the sender and recipient addresses can go. So it’s a good idea to have a postcard design inspected before printing.
Direct mail campaigns work best only if they are targeted and done properly. Take your time, and don’t just blast out a generic message to a generic audience. It will be a waste of your money and time, and only create frustration for both you and the recipient.
Create a directed, targeted, intelligent mailing campaign and with good follow-up you’ll get the message through to the right people.
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