How We Did This....a Targeted Direct Mail Piece
SCP Group, like many companies, offers products and services to a broad customer base. So presenting any message to a general base forces too many generalities....sometimes the message can be diluted and not useful. Here is a brief explanation of how we developed this mailer and why.
Many folks will say Direct Mail is like a three-legged stool with the three equal legs being offer, design and mailing list. I think successful campaigns are more like a tricycle, with the list being the largest, and most important component. The other two components will not elicit any response to folks who are not qualified to receive the mailing. This is critical, but some folks bypass the list and put most of their efforts into the design or content. The list defines those two items....please read on to see why
Our list parameters were relatively simple. Being a commercial printer, we are relevant to both business and government. We do not have a consumer products, so they were not included in this mailing, but there is excellent data about consumers that help us target specific groups based on; gender, age, home owner, home value, time at the home, income, presence of children as a start.
We included all businesses and government agencies based on geographic parameters. Basically, we picked the traveling area of our sales team and focused on geographic areas gaining economy by traveling more to a strategic area. Our list source includes SIC Codes (The Standard Industrial Classification SIC is a system for classifying industries by a four-digit code. Established in the United States in 1937, it is used by government agencies to classify industry areas) so it is easy to know what our potential client does. Some business names are self-identifying and some not, so the SIC Codes are very helpful to focus your marketing efforts.
Okay - we have:
- Our broad category - Businesses and Government Agencies
- A geographic area
And with the SIC Codes - we have:
- A really good idea what the prospect does to make money.
- We'll use this to either target our message - speak specifically and directly to the prospect's industry
- Target your offer - what item(s) are needed within each defined industry
- Remove low potential prospects from our mailings...if your product line is clearly urban, we might consider removing agricultural prospects
To this point, we have done a great job identifying our prospect and their wants and needs, yet we still need to make an offer. Sometimes called a "hook", which is an incentive for the prospect to look at your company a bit closer. We are not suggesting you hook the prospect like a fish and drag them into the boat, but to "hook" their interest in such a compelling way that they consider buying. Buying: that magical moment in which prospects convert to clients as they part with their hard-earned money by seeing value in what you have to offer.
Offers can be one or a combination of items;
- Discounts - don't forget to have an end date, creating a call to action. Admittedly, we forgot to do that in our mailing (shame on us).
- Additional benefit by responded within a specific time frame
- Combo pricing for buying multiple items
- A clear advantage and value of your product/service
- A clear disadvantage of your competition
- A Free item for responding
We offered one or two of these promotions, depending on the product line.
Design is what we do for a living, so you are waiting for the hard-pitch to spend significant funds on design. Fooled you, instead here are some suggestions:
- Unless it is in your skill set and you have the right tools, let a professional design your corporate images. Develop a budget and seek qualified designers who can work within the budget. You don't need to spend a bundle, just choose someone who can visualize what you what to accomplish and has the skills to create a usable file for your printer.
- Be cautious of over-seas designers and web developers. Understand what you need and what they will provide as final files.
- Use royalty-free images or buy what you need. Most quality images are less than $20. DO NOT use a comp image in anything promoting your company. It is illegal, unethical and in really bad taste. Comp images are used to visualize placement in design projects and are provided as a service to the design community to reduce overall cost to clients.
- The Creative should compliment the offer and add clarity. If the creative and offer are at odds with each other, trying to be too cute, or too creative...the message gets lost. We have about 5 to 7 seconds that the prospect will look at our piece. The creative must support the text and offer.
- Get a few opinions from outside the office, even outside your industry. Sometimes we get too close to our work (our baby) and can loose perspective. Test on some clients and get their feed-back and apply.