For those who are contemplating a direct mail program, here is food for thought from an expert.
After 16 years helping small business owners maximize their marketing with postcards, I’ve found that the hardest thing to convince you all of is this:
Specifically: consistent and repetitive mailings.
I understand the reasoning not to. I’ve heard it before and probably said it too, if I’m honest. “Money is tight,” “I’m not sure if it will pay off,” “You’re just trying to upsell me.” But hear me on out on this. Repetition can be the biggest make-or-break of your entire direct mail campaign.
In fact, I can prove it.
As consumers, we RESPOND to repetition.
This statistic was released in 2011 by the National Sales Executive Association, and since then has become a fixture among marketers, sales executives and business owners:
- 2% of sales are made on the first contact
- 3% of sales are made on the second contact
- 5% of sales are made on the third contact
- 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
- 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
When you’re mailing inconsistently, you are WALKING AWAY from money.
Something to consider:
Were you to keep a consistent mailing schedule, how much more quickly would you reach that much-desired 80% tier? And how much less work would you need to put in for every mailing if it’s already set up and running on automatic?
Food for thought!
As PEOPLE, we respond to repetition.
Consider your own behavior. Are you the type to run out and purchase something after seeing a single commercial about it? (If you are — and sometimes I am too — be honest and ask yourself how often you actually do this.)
Regardless of whether your target market is the entire local community or small pockets of a much larger audience, consistent mailings build up your brand. And this name recognition really comes in handy when prospects actively get into the buying status.
If you’re mailing consistently, you’re more likely be top of mind. But if you’re mailing every now and then… you’re much more susceptible to relying on “good timing.”
I’ll take the first option all day long, thanks!
The more direct mail you send out, the more traffic and leads you bring in.
OUTFLOW = INFLOW
This is the last but probably the MOST CRUCIAL reason that consistent mailings are vital:
The more you mail, the more money you will make.
I’m not just spouting fantasy dream stuff either. I’ve lived this principle for over 16 years since founding PostcardMania, and I’ve paid the price for not abiding. (More on that in a sec!) An optimized design and a tried-and-tested, near-perfect mailing list are great, don’t get me wrong. But more importantly, the quantity that you mail is the key to increasing your return. It’s the ultimate marketing game-changer. Period. Full stop. End of story!
This principle has been the #1 player in PostcardMania’s success and consistent, exponential growth over the years. Whenever I’m ready to jump into a higher revenue bracket, I increase the amount of postcards we mail every week. That formula has yet to disappoint, and I’ll wager that it won’t let you down either.
YET. Twice I violated my own rule, and yes, TWICE I paid dearly…
I like to think we practice what we preach. Currently, we mail about 180,000 pieces of direct mail every week. The number used to be 140,000 every week. But toward the end of 2013 (and I’m cringing just thinking of this), we cut our mailings down to 125,000 per week. We were doing so well, we thought! We had just come off of our best summer yet (usually our slow time of year), and we were feeling confident. Nay! Cocky.
Just the year before, we had implemented a new program to increase the quality of our mailings and shifted our marketing focus away from just counting leads and revenue and towards comparing new revenue with marketing spend, and it was finally paying off!
Why not save a bunch on our direct mail costs every week? Right?
So, so wrong. Instead of our revenue consistently climbing with the change, our revenue went down. We still had a great year — at that time, it was our best revenue year yet — but boy oh boy, I sure got schooled.
To be honest, I was worried this would be the case from the first mention of cutting our mailing quantity. So I had my senior execs put a few failsafe actions into place in case our revenue dipped. And when it did, my team was fast to react.
We actually UPPED our mailing quantity, from 140,000 postcards/week to 160,000. That not only stabilized our revenue, and but the numbers followed suit and we ended up reaching a new highest-ever record that year for revenue!
Quality is always important when it comes to your postcard mailings, but QUANTITY is the real ruler when it come to results, return and revenue!