“But Direct Mail Doesn’t Work In MY Business…”

Posted by Robin Robins On August 6th, 2018

Mail BoxI WISH I could show you the marketing example I’m about to tell you about, but I must have accidentally thrown it out. It was an EXCELLENT example of why you need to be meticulous about cleaning and validating your lists BEFORE you send any kind of direct mail campaign to it. It was a rather elaborate (expensive) mailer sent to my OLD address advertising pool maintenance services. For starters, the address is over two years old, which shows they didn’t run this through the NCOA (National Change Of Address). Second, they didn’t verify I was a pool owner. Yes, I am NOW, but the letter was mailed to the OLD address where we didn’t have a pool, and my name is not on any “pool supplies” website or list because I’ve never bought pool supplies. We get everything through our current pool company. My guess is they simply rented a list of higher-end homes in the area and mailed it instead of renting a list of people who have purchased pools supplies, toys, tools, etc. Just wasteful and stupid. That’s probably why it was the one and only promotion I’ve ever received from this company – it “didn’t work.”

But this stupidity is SO common. A lot of people who will adamantly tell you, “Direct mail doesn’t work in MY business,” come to that conclusion because ONE time they mailed some quickly cobbled-together letter or postcard, grossly ignoring marketing principles of copy, offers and follow-up. They put it in a stupid-looking envelope that screamed “spam” or sent the promotion via a postcard where the human spam filter sitting at the front desk threw it away before it got to the intended recipient. To top all of that off, they mailed it to some list they bought or rented for cheap, and with no cleaning or validation, no targeting of the list to the message, they mailed it. Yeah, THAT kind of direct mail won’t work.

Even members using my templates will fail if they don’t invest time into cleaning and qualifying their lists. One member recently said he got over 30% of the letters BACK, undeliverable, which convinced him of the importance of validating and cleaning the list. You can’t afford that kind of waste. And if you have salespeople following up, it drastically reduces their productivity if every third person they call is out of business, the wrong person, no longer there, etc. It also frustrates them if they are getting paid on results, yet are expected to make phone calls to everyone on the list you gave them.

This concept is not just limited to direct mail either. When sending e-mail broadcasts, non-deliverables (bounces, unresponsive) can hurt your overall delivery rate, so it’s smart to suppress THEM as well from your broadcasts. Doing so gives you a far more accurate measure of whether or not a campaign worked AND how many people are actually getting them, so you can make intelligent decisions about metrics and ROI.

Great News!We are now offering a list-cleaning service to our members. If that’s of interest because you don’t want to do it yourself, contact Barry Starr at my office: 615-790-5011.