GOOD IS DIRECT MAIL ?
One of the speakers at the Seminar was a woman who six years ago purchased a woman's fashion shop in a location that had nothing going for it. I think she said it had a take away on one side and a T.A.B on the other.
They were lucky in those days if they saw one customer a day and the only good thing it had going for it was that it had extremely good car parking.
She decided on what her client base was going to be and then started out with householder type circulars that she personally delivered into letter boxes.
She slowly built up a client list and first of all had these on cards and then on sheets that she could Xerox the names off and finally now has them in a computer.
She has in excess of six thousand names on this list and she can sort this list into any of the following...
She can make up a list of people who haven't purchased since a specific date or people who purchased over a dollar amount or people who purchased a typical type of garment, or she can sort the complete list into postal codes to save on postage.
She regularly sends out a fashion news letter always incorporating in it a personal touch and always giving something free. She always gets a six percent result in the first week.
I can see a lot of parallels in her business to the average photographic studio. She is in a specialized business... people buy from her regularly and she has repeat customers.
Naturally a photographers list may have to be larger because of the periods between the times they can purchase Photography... unless you offer something different each time like "family groups" and you sell to them... Copy's and you sell to them.... and who is to say that they should not have a portrait or a family group done each year
It was brought out at the direct mail seminar that you should be using credit cards. They say with direct mail you get a ten to twenty per cent larger response if you make provision to pay for something by credit card.
You also get five to twelve percent more people telephoning in for your product if they can quote their credit card this of course does not apply to having your portrait made.
This to me means that if you'll accept credit cards in your business mention it on all of your advertising material you will get more and more people paying for the photographs with credit cards.
O.K. you have to give a small percentage away but that is more than offset normally with the extra orders that you get.
No other advertising medium can offer this personal service.
He then mentioned key rule "A.I.D.A." that should be followed in writing direct mail letters such as....
He stressed that you must do what you promised, WHEN you promised you would do it in every instance.
writing direct mail letters there are key words that have maximum
effect such as
- NOW - FIRST - HOW - WHY - ALL - AMAZING -UNREPEATABLE etc.,
lot of thought must go into the way that you make your offer. He cited the following example whereby an item can be offered at "Half the price " OR you could
"Buy one and get one free" OR You could offer 50 percent off".
All of the above mean the same thing, but in practical test cases it was found that the "buy one, get one free" had by far the most effect.
Almost always the letter should be started with a question to gain the readers attention. In many cases this can be written on the outside of the envelope in a bold manner, if this is done who would not then want to open the envelope to see what was inside.
In summing up Mr McDonald mentioned that direct mail advertising generally takes more planning and production time, but dollar for dollar nothing succeeds like direct mail.
The Direct Marketing Semiar was held in Auckland on Tuesday the 20th September to a packed Ballroom of about 300 people.
There was a line-up of very good speakers ... and like all conferences some were a lot better than others.
Some of the points raised were ...
In America householders received between 5 and 6 pieces of direct mail every day. This means in New Zealand we are massively under developed in the direct mail industry. Statistics from that country indicate that only three in a hundred pieces of direct mail do not get opened.
It became very obvious right throughout the whole seminar that if your direct mail list is to be any good you must work it constantly. The lists require constant updating and editing removing all names that have become stale.
Lists, if you have to buy them, are extremely hard to get and are extremely expensive, so the customers that you have and that have bought from you in the past are your best source of new business and those are the people who should be on your list and you should be following them every time they shift house.
These customers have cost you money to get in the form of advertising word of mouth or whatever so they are your best source of new business.
They did mention that the easier it is to respond to whatever you post, the more likely you are to get a reply. This of course bares out my comments that all direct mail should be followed up with a telephone call to maximise your investment.
In direct mail they said that the guarantee is one of the most important things you can offer, and, the customer is always correct.
Both philosophies of course apply to all business and not only direct mail and I am sure if you guaranteed satisfaction with all of your portraits unless your a bit of a lousy photographer you would build up much better customer confidence than you could any other way.
They did say that New Zealand is the most responsive market in the world to direct mail.
Those envelopes that you see with the message on the outside of the envelope in lots of cases do work and Do create a lot of responses.
They did say that direct mail brochures should be extremely heavy in copy, in other words you give them plenty to read.
If you are sending a brochure you should always include a letter because the letter is the most important thing in the complete package.
Your letter of course should always tell them what you are going to tell them.
You should then proceed to tell them what you are going to tell them.
Then you tell them what you have told them.
Remember that thirty percent of all people have some sort of eye problem so if you use a very small type that group of people you may as well not send your mailing to.
Remember this of course applies very very heavily in any mailings you do to older people.
If you cannot make up your mind whether to have printing on both sides of the page.... relax they have been unable to determine that you'll get any less response by having printing on both sides
If you are a member of the N.Z.P.P.A. mention it, it will give you more respectability and credibility.
Whatever offer you make them, make it a very personal offer and include as much back-up with your letter as you wish and ask, ask, ask for a response, ask right throughout all of your mailing.
You can receive up to forty-five percent discount on your postage under 'with special conditions" what they are I have yet to find out ask your Post office.
Readers Digest of course is the most successful direct mail company in the world. They started off in 1921 with no customers and have built it up to about 31 million issues going out every month.
Their average cost per piece of direct mail is 80 cents. They of course do test their market before they go into a complete mailing. This means that they will select a portion of their list perhaps every tenth name and try the mailing out on them and the response they get from this mailing can be applied across their complete list.
This means that if they have a thousand names and they post to each tenth name they will be posting out a trial posting of one hundred pieces. If they get a ten percent response it would be logical to assume that they would get a ten percent response on the remaining nine hundred.
One direct piece of direct mail that they did in 1957 was to post out a two cent coin to all of their customers they posted out in total 40 million coins and almost drained the complete market place of coins of that value.
The Managing Director of Readers Digest who was addressing us said that good direct mail ideas are transportable providing you test the idea before you go into it
One of the speakers said that you must decide of these following facts... Who are you trying to influence?
What are you trying to sell?
Why should you prospect buy it? Where will you find your prospect?
When should you speak to them?
Only after you have decided on all of those points should you even think about using anything in direct mail.
You should never try to be clever in any of your adverts because you must keep it simple.
If you are posting out a piece of direct mail to somebody who never used you as a client it would do you no harm to use a photograph of the building that you are in to build confidence in your respectability.
An idea that often works in direct mail is the following offer
Buy three and get??? free.
In other words you could invite your customer to buy three photographs and ...perhaps get something perhaps another photograph free.
If you are using a reply card in your direct mail it should be of 175 gram paper weight and of course be a business reply paid card.
This of course cuts across my concept that you should be telephoning all of your prospective clients rather than waiting on them to respond.
If your considering mailing to every householder in New Zealand they said that there are one million fifty thousand householders... O.K. so its a piece of useless information...
Window envelopes or not? They said that any small mailing that you do, that
would be for example, word processor based, a non window envelope is more practical.