Frequency of Direct Mail

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Direct mail frequency.
How often should you mail prospects?

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One of my favorite quotes comes from John D. Rockefeller.
It’s on my wall and reminds me to keep planning my work
and working my plan.

Rockefeller wrote:

“I do not think there is any quality so essential to
success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It
overcomes almost anything, even nature.”

Over the years, successful direct mailers have learned
this lesson well. They know that they can’t mail just
once and pray for great results. They have to create
multiple-mailings that make money over time.

A perfect example: magazine subscription campaigns. As
you know from personal experience, these folks just never
quit.

It seems as if the day you subscribe, the subscription
renewal campaign begins.

Never mind that they’re decimating forests in the process
.. . . they go on and on, begging, hounding, cajoling,
until the eighty-sixth letter that says, “O.K. We give
up. You’ll never hear from us again.” (At which point, of
course, a lot of the renewals flow in!)

Now I’m not suggesting that you go to extremes (the way
the magazine publishers do), but for goodness sakes,
don’t throw in the towel after you mail just once!

Why don’t companies keep those cards and letters coming?
Because printing costs are high and postage these days is
murder. But that shouldn’t stop you from mailing
aggressively IF you’ve got a well-targeted list and a
compelling offer.

OK. So you’ve bought into the idea of mailing prospects
or customers more than once. How should you go about
handling your remailing efforts? Here are just four
ideas for you to consider:

#1. Remail the original package to the same target
audience.

There’s no reason why you can’t do this. Timing is
everything. You never know when your mailing will catch
prospects just when they need your product or service.
A simple, cost-effective remailing is well worth trying.
#2. If you have the time, energy, and resources, you can
send a campaign of new letters to non-responders.

Each letter can stress a unique product or service benefit.
The theory is, if one approach doesn’t work, you go back to
the prospect with a different pitch. Again, this is a
very reasonable way to go.

#3. If your offer is good for a limited time only, be
sure to play that up. In your final letter you can say
things like:

“We will not contact you again about this special offer.”
“You must act immediately since this offer will not be
extended under any conditions.”
“Your eligibility for this final offer expires on
December 31, 2004.”
“This is the last time you will hear from us concerning
this special offer. Call 800-123-1234 while you are still
eligible!”

You get the idea.

#4. The last contact with the prospect can be a post
card.

It is inexpensive and your “Last Chance!” message is
instantly visible. Show a clock ticking. Say: “Time Is
Running Out!” Corny? Of course . . . but it works!

For more of my thinking on using post cards, see The Levison
Letter issue titled “How to make big profits from small
mailers — Eight tips for using postcards the RIGHT way”
at: http://www.levison.com/march_2004.html

The take-away message this month?

Keep on mailing until you stop making money. Unless you
keep getting back to your prospects and customers, you
may be leaving money on the table. A LOT of money!

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