The Direct Mail Coach – Steve Fowler
This blog is written and focused specifically for the Retail Business Owner and/or those on their staff who handle the Advertising and Marketing. Why? Because this industry is the one I enjoy and know the best. I’ve spent over 20 years in the trenches working daily with many of the largest retailers in the county as well as countless independents, chains and mom & pop retail shops and services.
I’ve learned first-hand that direct mail is the most effective channel for customer acquisition and the best revenue generator for retailers. The national brands understand this and most use it very well. But many of the smaller chains and independents either don’t understand the power of direct mail, think it’s too expensive or don’t utilize it very effectively.
Another thing I’ve learned, over and over again in the retail industry is that “time is money”. My hope for this blog is that in a short time you may gain some useful tips or information that may help save some time & help you bring in revenue.
It’s not rocket science
Yes, I’ll start with a few basic but very important secrets regarding direct mail for the retail industry.
Secret #1 – It’s not rocket science!
Any successful retailer can do it
This will upset many agencies and consultants but it’s my professional opinion that any successful retailer can do it..
This blog is aimed at small to mid-sized retailers. Most successful retailers already possess the traits required execute a successful direct mail campaign. Don’t let the “advertising” mystic mislead you. Direct mail is not “brand awareness”, direct mail is not “image building” and direct mail is not “hard to understand”. It’s simple math.
Direct Mail Marketing is
NOT GENERAL ADVERTISING
This is why most agencies should not design your campaign.
IT IS NOT BRAND AWARNESS
IT IS NOT IMAGE BUILDING
IT SHOULD NOT DESIGNED BY COMMITTEE
IT IS NOT MASS ADVERTISING
IT DOES NOT HAVE TO LOOK GOOD
IT DOES NOT NEED TO WIN AWARDS
IT JUST NEEDS TO WORK!
Did you know that most of the “awards” presented to consultants or agencies in direct marketing are not even judged on how successful the mail piece was?
Question to ask if someone shows or mentions an “award” that they have received for Direct Mail.
How much money did it generate?
- What was the response rate?
If they can’t answer either one of these questions without any hesitation, do not do business with them.
These are the only 2 THINGS THAT MATTER
Revenue Generated and/or Response Rate
It’s to the point. Its straight forward “Retail Basics” It’s about you creating “tractable” revenue into your store, website, mail box or home.
If the mail piece did not make you money or if it did not generate the response you projected (Although money is #1 sometimes all you need is response, such as a “seminar, event or lead generation) it was not successful.
Now lets discuss the basics.
I bet you have already handled a successful direct mail promotion.
Don’t let anyone, a consultant, an agency, a vendor, or even a friend con you into thinking that direct mail marketing is too complicated or technical for you to do or coordinate yourself. If you are running a successful retail business you are best suited and most likely have already acquired the skills and processes that are required and needed in a successful mail program.
Note that I said a “successful” retail business. Unfortunately the majority of retailers who probably need this information the most will not ever read this. Many are just uncomfortable trying something new or even reviewing or learning if what they’re doing is on track.
This is why I like retail. “Successful” retailers have learned to create the perfect blend of art and science. From purchasing a brand new and untried product from a “gut reaction” at the buyers market and then calculating and adding exactly the right mark up, knowing where and which shelf to place it on, setting up the display by the door to achieve the maximum exposure and knowing which of your customers will most likely buy it.
So the transition to direct mail will be a natural one for you.
The general consensus is that direct marketing can be boiled down to only three parts and in this order: The list, the offer and everything else. The success of your project is 40% List, 40% Offer and 20% everything else. I do subscribe to this theory as well however my belief is that the offer should be the number one priotity.
- The offer or event (What’s the benefit for you customers)
2. The list (Who to mail? Customers or Prospects?)
3. The vehicle (Letter, postcard, self-mailer or e-mail)