The first question to ask when planning a direct mail campaign is: “Who am I going to mail to?” You have to know your audience before you can determine your message or design your mailing. A database or mailing list can be segmented in any number of ways, but at the most basic level, there are two types of direct mail campaign:
Mailing to your existing customers or clients is a great way to ensure continued business and generate up-sell opportunities; it is also usually your best source of new referrals. Particularly in an industry such as real estate, home services, or tax planning, where clients may go several years before they need your services again, a regular keep-in-touch campaign is an absolute must. Or, if you’re in retail or another industry where conversions are more frequent, a steady drip campaign of promotions or product updates is a valuable tool to bump up the frequency and volume of transactions.
You may wish to segment your customer file into different groups such as:
- Frequency of purchases
- Average value of purchases
- Type of product/service(s) purchased
Segmenting your lists allows you to tailor your mailing schedules, fine-tune your offers, and personalize your messages accordingly. All of which will help your mailings generate stronger results.
Prospects can come from many sources:
- People who have visited or contacted your business. These are, in most cases, the closest to converting, as you have already established a direct relationship with them, and they have expressed an interest in your products or services.
- Contacts you meet at trade shows, through professional organizations, or any other form of “networking.”
- A Targeted Mailing List or other source of fresh sales leads. Not only can a targeted mailing list have a much wider reach than the above types, they can also be laser-targeted in terms of geography, demographic criteria, or interests.
As a rule of thumb, your “ideal” prospect is defined by who your current customers are. Simply put, if Customer A is buying from you, then you should focus on finding more Customer A-type people to market to. Hopefully in compiling and segmenting your customer list, you gave some critical thought to what defines your typical customer:
- Where they live, or where they shop
- Demographic criteria such as gender, age, income range, whether or not they have children, etc.
- Professional data like industry or job title
Just as you segmented your customer list, think about how you can divide your prospects to provide a more personalized communication, based on their profile and where they are in the conversion process.
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