How to put together a successful mailshot.

You need some more business and you want to use direct mail as your marketing channel. You have decided that 140 characters and a link to a blog just isn’t your style.

That’s fine. So what do you do next? Do you sit down and start writing that letter that is going to have customers pounding at your door? Well that’s one approach; but I would recommend planning – no not the text and style of the letter but the who, the what, the why and the where.

Who is your audience? This is vital because without having a mental picture of ‘who your customer is’ when you are writing, you will struggle to produce a focused letter.

What is the purpose of the mailing? Is it lead generation? It’s usually immediate sales. But it could be just a branding and awareness exercise? Knowing what you want your outcome to be will have a major bearing on the message.

Why are you doing this mailing? Are you sure that direct mail is the best media channel for you and have you examined alternative methodologies?

Where are you promoting your company? Are you restricted by geography?  A direct mailshot can be expensive so please make sure that every single one of your mailers counts.

As soon as you know the who, what, why and where you will have a clear mind and be confident of the type of message that you want to put across when you consider content.

Now plan the style and content. A merge mail letter will personalize each mailer. This is important – why go to all the expense of putting a mailing together only to address it to Dear Sir or Madam. It’s likely to go straight in the bin.

Next, your headline. Create interest with your headline because if you fail here, the rest of your carefully crafted masterpiece won’t be read. Ask a question to involve the reader – “Are you …” or “do you….”. Alternatively, people love “How to…” letters, well you have read this far haven’t you?!

Having grabbed their attention with an eye catching headline, keep the momentum with a highly focused and powerful message.  Why are your products / services so good for the reader? Remember that customers are selfish people; they need to know what’s in it for them. Keep your sentences brief and to the point.

Now it’s time for the part of the letter that will have them reaching for the phone. It’s your offer and your call to action.

Unless you have a good and relevant offer, your mailer will fail here. This is a sales letter, you want new customers. So catch them with a generous and powerful offer. You want immediate action so why not offer an additional incentive for the first 10 customers to place their order?

Finally, your call to action on this offer should be self liquidating. There should be an expiry date to promote urgency. Make any contact with you as easy as possible and one that you can track. An 0800 telephone number; an offer code to quote in the subject line of an email, or a dedicated landing page on your website are all good ways of tracking the success of your mailing shot.

When all the results are in, analyse your ROI because that is the real test of a successful promotion. If it’s good, do it again to a similar list. Simples! If the results aren’t good, give me a call and let’s see if we can help.

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