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Old 1st March 2011, 07:04 PM   #1
Futuremillions
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Default Direct Mail Experience? Help Out Someone New.

Hi i am soon to launch my company im mid 20's and ive owned a few companies.
Only problem is no of them were scaleable (all word of mouth and referrals).

I have been testing out online marketing and its pretty easy so far. We have been generating quality leads. I truly believe in direct mail. Before i go all out i want to get the direct mail right. I also do not want google holding my future in their hands. Ok now thats done.

I have done one mail campaign for my old service business ($1,000 down the drain) bright colors and FREEEE all that crap 1k down the drain. I understand why it failed complete wrong list and advertisement was crap. Maybe it was the arizona pre printed stamps which were sent to new jersey haha.

I am ready to give it another shot. I recently finished reading 12 month millionaire by vincent james.


I will hand address all letters and put a stamp on them myself.

I am creating scarcity and urgency. I think im going to have a real killer here.

Im using a 9x12 which is an ivory off white color. That tab is just to show the way it opens obviously the opposite side will have the stamp and be addressed.

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1) Should i put our company name on that tab that opens? im thinking no because if they see no name... they may be more curious to open..

2) Stamps.. 44c? can i get a price reduction for buying 1,000 of them?

3) Where do i purchase lists?

4) What program do i need to use in order to create my mailing?
Right now im printing out 1,000 test letters on my computer but what program would i need if i wanted to send my project to a printing company?

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Old 2nd March 2011, 01:09 AM   #2
hdm
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Good morning. Great to see a post about direct mail.

I'm sorry to hear that your last mailing campaign was not successful.

You are quite right that the target list is top priority. I have read on an article that you are likely to have a higher success rate if your list is perfect with the message not quite right, than if your message is "spot on" but sent to the wrong targets.

I am pleased to hear that you will hand address and stamp your envelopes. This method has been proven to be more likely to get your envelopes opened.

1) I agree that you should not include a return address on your envelope, for the reason you have given. Any branding defeats the object of the personal approach.

Are QR codes being used in direct mail much over there? We are currently promoting their use, even with handwritten direct mail (something old, something new!). There is a whole section on QR codes on our site, explaining why a QR code is a great call to action in itself.

We run a mailing house in the UK, so I have left your other questions to be answered by direct mail buddies in the US.

I wish you every success with your "killer" mailing. Let us know how it goes.

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Old 2nd March 2011, 08:56 AM   #3
Futuremillions
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Hey i appreciate the response.

To go more into detail i will list all things included.

When the envelope is opened there will be 3 pieces inside:

1) My one page advertisement/sales letter-----regular sized paper (not sure if i should z fold it or regular fold it considering im going for an exclusive high end look) i heard z fold is more effective but looks cheap...

2) a form ( it is same size as the small mail back envelope)
the form is simple and easy to fill out. Also the form says if you would rather not fill this out and mail it in you can simply go to www.xyz.com to complete registration. The form has a "secret" code on it you must enter in order to get access the landing page like 2831 which in reality is just a tracking code but again sets an exclusive vibe off.

3) a pre stamped envelope

I have tracked a company doing 2 mil per year and modeling my mail around theirs. It seems they are very successful with it and it makes sense. Even their mail back envelope says "Restricted to Department 9823 Only" as in only department 9823 can open their return mail. Considering i feel my product is serving customers in much more heat than the company i am modeling and the product is needed more i believe this will really get some high response rates.

Everything on every piece has some exclusive/restricted stuff on it which im realizing is the biggest call to action of all....seems smart so im trying it.

Considering telemarketing is becoming so watched and restricted now this is my strategy:

Instead of clearly putting the price on my sales letter i am saying the product or service is "free of charge" the way i present it is extremely believable ....but it is. I will honor the "no charge service"

Why do this?

Instead of generating less leads due to putting the price i would rather get double to triple the response in targeted leads even if they are not willing to pay right away. Id rather my salesman keep trying to crack them (upselling) rather than just cold calling all the time.

Lastly i forgot to ask, what about sending out mail in australia and such? Im sure my response rate would be higher outside of the US. Im assuming it would be smarter to send it from that country, but easier said than done.


i will follow up with the response rate.

thank you again

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Old 2nd March 2011, 10:02 AM   #4
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Hello again. It looks like you've got your mailing covered.

There are ways of sending mailings out from a country other than your own, but again may differ outside the UK.

I look forward to hearing news on your responses.

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Old 2nd March 2011, 11:58 AM   #5
JohnFenton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Futuremillions View Post
I will hand address all letters and put a stamp on them myself.

Im using a 9x12 which is an ivory off white color. That tab is just to show the way it opens obviously the opposite side will have the stamp and be addressed.
Looks and sounds nice, but this is going to be a very expensive packet. Hopefully what your selling has enough profit in it to justify the cost. Format and content are something you will want to play with over time and fine tune. You may find that a less expensive packet nets the same return.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Futuremillions View Post
1) Should i put our company name on that tab that opens? im thinking no because if they see no name... they may be more curious to open..
Over time I would test that, but leaving it off on this first one sounds fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Futuremillions View Post
2) Stamps.. 44c? can i get a price reduction for buying 1,000 of them?
That piece is going to be more than 44 cents to mail. 9x12 is a flat and you are also probably over an ounce. Price reductions with the post office are based on class of mail and doing work to sort the mail, there is no discount for the number of stamps you buy. I'd probably just go full rate for this first one, but after that look into having a mail house do the mail labor for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Futuremillions View Post
3) Where do i purcahse lists? Vincent James said everyone pretty much uses SRDS, is this true? more info the better on this topic.
SRDS is a place to research lists and brokers. Where you buy your list will depend on what your product or service is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Futuremillions View Post
4) What program do i need to use in order to create my mailing?
Right now im printing out 1,000 test letters on my computer but what program would i need if i wanted to send my project to a printing company?
If you are just merging personalization into a letter MS Word is fine. For the rest of it you want something that can generate PDF files. Adobe InDesign is preferred but probably out of your budget.

Without details on your offer, that's about the best I can give you.

But one other thing... the whole free of charge thing makes it sound like a scam. It might work, or it might backfire on you. If your product has actual value, I would try a second version that is more straightforward, details the benefits of you product how much it costs and why they should by it from you. You may find it out performs the free version.

How you handle international mail, depends on your volume. For smaller volumes we just use an international remailer in the US

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Old 2nd March 2011, 02:51 PM   #6
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John I REALLY appreciate the response, experienced people giving out free knowledge really is the best thing i could ever ask for in life.

Quote:
SRDS is a place to research lists and brokers. Where you buy your list will depend on what your product or service is.
Ok so i just use this to locate people who actually supply lists that they rent from lets say Mens Fitness? Do these guys lie about stats, and any recommendations on how to weed out the bad people?

Any recommendations or heads up so i don't lose money or scammed would be great.

Quote:
But one other thing... the whole free of charge thing makes it sound like a scam. It might work, or it might backfire on you. If your product has actual value, I would try a second version that is more straightforward, details the benefits of you product how much it costs and why they should by it from you. You may find it out performs the free version.
I think about this all the time as well. It is hard for me to believe it can profit if i put the price right out there, especially because i have no experience doing this. I could be wrong and i don't have the experience so i shouldn't say it but 4 businesses later my business mind tells me life cant be that easy. I think i will try to advertise no charge for a while.

Here's the thing John i can offer the free service but my up sell package is so attractive that these targeted people can rarely say no once educated, i kind of just mention "oh hey we can also do this for..... Only problem is they will be doubtful if i say hey i can do this and that for $$ through a sales letter and probably will not respond or rationalize over the garbage can that its not worth the $$.

Why?

My product requires some education, enough where i believe i need it done old fashioned, people talking to people over the phone.


Also my product is a monthly service so the mailing costs should be justified. We all know how those monthly charges can add up. Normal retention will be between 3-4 months (have done some testing). I have not scaled this so those %'s can get better or worse.

I have recently finished reading some books from these authors:

John Caples
Claude Hopkins
Eugene Schwartz
Vincent James
Some Frank Kern Stuff

What i have gathered is sell TOO hard. If its off putting to customers i can always back off. I am young and on a limited budget, i can only screw up each aspect of my business a few times. Also im a bit scared after loosing my money last time so like i said im not afraid of selling too hard right now.

Where do we draw the line? Hand addressing letters at a mail house is a scam in itself because it tricking someone into thinking its a personal hand written letter from us to them which is not whats happening.

Anyway as you can see im not the best at gathering my thoughts (copywriting) so this will be my biggest challenge. I will model another campaign that i know is successful and modify/improve as time goes on.

Appreciate the responses, and others don't be afraid, please the more contribution to this thread the better. Thank you

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Old 7th March 2011, 11:38 PM   #7
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Without specifics, I'm hesitant to give out list advice. So what I will say is this. If it's a compiled list, I would look for a well known nationally recognized supplier, Donnelly, Acxiom, InfoUSA come to mind. (Not necessarily in that order.) If it's a specialty list, is it a source you recognize, normally a magazine or other similar publication. Who is your target market?

No list is going to be 100% perfect. Most are more of a best guess than an accurate list of potential targets. But in the end this is just a numbers game, if the list nets you enough return to make a profit, it's a good list.

Getting started is always tough. Ideally I would want to have the budget for 3 mailings of about 3,000 pieces each. I might try a fancier packet like you are doing, but I would probably also try a simpler one. I would track the response from all three.

Unfortunately for many start ups, that's just not in the cards. They just don't have the funds for it. However, I am a bit concerned that it sounds like you are betting it all on this one mailing. It is hard to get a good statistical response from such small quantities, but even then I would consider mixing it up a bit and mailing some other designs. For instance, a 6x9 or #10 size envelope would save you a ton in postage, and might have nearly the same response. Getting started has a lot of trial and error involved for most businesses, you have to plan for things to fail and have a backup plan for when they do.

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Old 9th March 2011, 03:46 AM   #8
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Dont have to worry John and no need of spending so much money. Why dont go for online software which gives you pretty good responses and more of they will not be high expensive. You can also have a link from you website and take responses at any time with free of cost. You can have their ideas and suggestions to your business.

You will find many services where you can easily customize your response from your website directly to your phone and take their suggestions.

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Old 25th March 2011, 05:42 PM   #9
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Looks like I'm a little late to the party and John has covered most of it with you.

I will add this, since you are reading Caples and Schwartz...

Test, test, test. If you are going to invest in any kind of physical mailings, and especially with a new business, make sure that all of your copy is tested first.

Online testing is fast and should get you what you need. But I would also take it one step further and have a couple of seasoned direct response copywriters review your letter and materials. Since this seems to be a weakness, they will be able to give you some guidance and probably save you a bundle.

Dave Krygier

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Old 12th May 2011, 03:04 PM   #10
danielkanuck
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Some post offices won't allow you to have an empty "from" on the envelope. A solution to this is to insert only your mailing address without your business name on there.

You could probably buy the "forever stamps" at the post office to mail your letters off at a lower postage rate.

To get lists, start with the SRDS. This is usually found at your local library. Don't randomly mail out your pieces to people in your area. This is ineffective, and you need to be targeting people who fit the profile of the product/service that you're selling.

When i do my direct mail, i usually type up my letter in Microsoft Word, and when i outsource the actual mailing, i put it in PDF form for the company to print.

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