Create an Effective Direct-Mail Campaign


 

MONTHLY CHECKLIST SERIES
 
CPA financial advisers who market their services have had to find new ways to target clients ever since the national telemarketer “do not call” list took effect in 2003. Direct mail offers them one such option. Here are some tips on how to overcome the obstacles to reaching prospects through the use of direct mail.
Construct attention-grabbing headlines in direct-mail pieces. A well-written headline is critical to the success of any mailer. It’s used as the first point of information and needs to get the reader’s attention immediately so he or she wants to read the rest of your package.

Invest time developing the presentation of your message. Keep in mind that short sentences and paragraphs are more likely to be read than long ones. People like to skim—and if a reader can see a few interesting points, he or she often will go back and read more. Avoid using promotional items in your mailer unless they have a direct tie-in to your business: Sending out cheap pens with your firm’s name really is a waste of money.

Leave mail recipients with a good impression. You can incorporate a postscript (P.S.) at the bottom that echoes the main point you are making in the text. It can repeat contact information such as your phone number and e-mail address. The postscript is important because it works as a guardrail to keep the reader in the letter. Because it reflects an earlier statement without retelling the entire story, it forces the reader to look back at the letter to get the rest of the details.

Test-market direct-mail pieces to determine which marketing-related variables, such as headlines, postscripts, offers and calls to action, work best. Advisers who test before they roll out a marketing effort have a distinct advantage over their competition. They can determine which variables will most affect the outcome of a direct-mail campaign. For product planning and market testing, software with advanced capabilities now can test multiple marketing-related factors simultaneously. This software and new testing techniques make using direct mail easier, faster and more cost-effective.

Follow up with prospects multiple times within a brief period. This means you could be reaching out to your target six times over two months with different mailers. This is the best way to make direct mail work for you. If the prospects are not on the national telemarketer “do not call” registry, phone them after the fourth contact to follow up on the information initially sent.

Studies show it takes eight to ten contacts before prospects remember your marketing message. That’s why we all see the same ads on TV over and over again. However, prospects should become aware of your marketing efforts by the fourth contact and that is why follow-up is appropriate at that time. To find out whether prospects are on the “do not call” list, CPAs may subscribe to the registry online by going to https://telemarketing.donotcall.gov .

Source: Advisor Marketing, www.advisormarketing.com , 2003.

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