Quick Direct Mail Strategies You Can Use Online and Off

by Charlie Cook

Why Direct Marketing? Isn’t it Dead?

“…The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
– Mark Twain in 1897

Every evening when I get home, I sort through the mail. Most of it goes right into the recycling bin. I don’t want it in my mailbox, I don’t want to read it. I’m not alone; 89% of Americans say they hate junk mail.

Why when you can send email cheaper and faster than snail mail would you even consider using direct mail? More and more people are saying that direct mail is dead and it’s true, more and more marketing is moving online.

Should you follow the crowd, give up on direct mail and hope the magic of online marketing will lift your profits this year?

Did You Throw The Baby Out With the Bathwater

Before you make your decision remember that the crowd, the majority of people are usually wrong. Only a few percent of business owners get it right and I want to make sure you’re one of them.

Before you give up on direct mail consider the following. 11% of people don’t have a negative perception of “junk mail”. Compare that with how people feel about unsolictied emails. 75% of people want to make spam email downright illegal.

Direct mail may not be popular but no one is clamoring to throw you in jail for sending it.

I love email and use it to stay in touch with my subscribers but with the plethora of email, it’s getting harder and harder to get through and get people to open your missive. With anti-spam software, its harder and harder to get your emails read, even if the reader wants it.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

While most people are running after the next supposed magic marketing idea and throwing up websites, flooding the internet with emails, jumping onto facebook and spending their time tweeting, the vast majority are still not making money with these tactics. They’re missing one simple fact.

Direct mail works! It works when you take the time to come up with a concept and write copy that gets your prospect’s attention and it is directed to his/her concerns.

Direct response marketing has been around for decades. You don’t have to invent your marketing campaign from scratch. Borrow ideas from past successful campaigns and adapt them to your needs. Here’s one you can use.

Periodically when I need to add a couple of one-on-one mentoring clients, I send a  present to my 100 best customers. I send them a copy of Napoleon Hill’s “The Master Key to Riches”. With it I include a letter telling them why I think it’s such a great book.  I tell them how they can use it and I mention that I have space available in my mentoring program and how it can help them.

My direct costs for this mailing total around $1,000 and on average brings in $40,000 in revenue.

Direct mail is anything but dead. Despite the proliferation of email, people still like to hold something in their hands. You can keep their attention longer and text is easier to read on paper. In tough times, targeted Direct Mail can be one of the most cost-effective ways of generating new sales, depending on your target market.

What Every Serious Marketer Should Know

Whether you market online or off, or both, your goal is to get a response. In fact, you want your prospects to take a sequence of actions.

What’s the first thing you want your prospects to do?

Open the mail you sent!

Whether you market online or off, you want to maximize your open rate by testing the sentence you put on the outside of your envelope or the subject line of your email. Once your propsects have opened your letter or email, you want them to read the contents and contact you or buy from you.

All marketing is direct marketing – it’s aimed at generating a response. And while online marketing is still a mystery for most, many of the answers can by turning to proven direct mail strategies.

Quick Tips

  1. Keep a file on your computer of the email solications you get that you open and read. Use them as models for your next email campaign.
  2. Do the same with the junk mail you get at home. Save the postcards, envelopes and letters that got your attention. Steal their ideas (not their exact words) when you’re creating your direct mail campaign. You can find some of the top direct mail campaigns of all time in Denny Hatch’s book, Million Dollar Mailings.
  3. Swipe ads from free online resources. Here’s one site that offers ads you can copy. HardToFindAds.com
  4. Read Elmer Wheeler’s “Tested Sentences That Sell” online for free at: http://stoneruniversity.com/TestedSentences/

Use These Direct Response Ideas

1. Email Subject Lines

I’m always on the look out for email subject lines that will get more people to open and read my emails. I keep track of the open rates for the ones I send.. Here are two you use as you own email subject heading test:

{!name} You Should Know ….

{!name} a Most Unusual & Odd Request from [your name here]

Edit them to reflect your product or service and target audience. Let’s say you sell car stereos. You could try:

{!name} What You Should Know About Your Radio

2. State the Benefits on the Envelope

I get investment-related junk mail every day. The benefits featured on the outside of the envelopes make it tempting to open. Headlines that aren’t overblown but make real windfalls sound possible are good teasers:

“Leverage $600 Into $100,000 — Try It On Paper Before Risking A Cent”

“Introducing the Triple-Save Dividend Strategy:
• Stop worrying about market ups and downs,
• Collect solid, steady investment income immediately,

• And pile up gains as high as 71.7% whenever the market declines.”

3. Use a Free Offer To Generate Leads

Here’s the jist of another investment letter.

“Frustrated yet?

If you’re like most investors, the answer is an emphatic YES! But then the real question, especially after the recent market uncertainty and volatility, is “What can you do about it?” …

The good news, is that for a limited time only, we will send  you FREE OF CHARGE the secret to making the right decisions in 2009.”

4. Ask a Question

Recently I got the following from a health insurance company and I opened it right away.


You’re paying how much for health insurance?”

5. Use a Contest

One of my clients runs a karate studio and is successfully expanding his business, even now. His best source of new clients is through a low-tech, tried-and-true technique; running a contest and giving something away for free. He puts up posters with contest entry forms at the local mall inviting people to win a free karate lesson. The prospect fills in the form with their contact information. My client follows up with a phone call, and whether they win the free lesson or not, he now has contact information for a growing list of prospects.

You could do this via direct mail or, as my client does, by having a kiosk at the mall. It’s his best source of new clients.

Direct response marketing works whether you use direct mail or apply the same strategies online. You wouldn’t be reading this if it weren’t for the success of my direct response strategies. Put direct response strategies to work in your business and  maximize your response rates — and profits —  this year.

Additional Resources
You can learn more about direct mail at www.dennyhatch.com/

(VALUE: $200)
In less than 67 seconds, discover your company’s online reputation score and how to improve your reviews to attract more clients. Based on an analysis of the review sites that matter.