Did you ever see the television commercial that starts out showing the “launch celebration” of what looks like a fairly small company? The folks have gathered in a room, with drinks and munchies, watching some kind of tally machine that shows the number of “hits” to their brand new website. At first, the clicks start off in intervals that probably represent a nice, manageable number. Everyone’s thrilled with the results.
But when the intervals grow shorter, and the numbers of hits increase, the looks on their faces change from pleased to panic. It’s obvious to everyone in the room that they’re completely unprepared for the response they’re getting.
Well guess what? The internet doesn’t have that market cornered. It can happen with your direct mail advertising just as easily. And once you’ve dropped a response inquiry, chances are you’ve lost the opportunity to make that sale, get that member, or garner that charitable contribution.
Direct mail is a wonderful way to send your targeted message to a “hand picked” list of companies or individuals who are most likely to buy what you’re selling. It starts with a good list, from a reliable source. From there, good creative (design and copy), comes next. Finish with knowledgeable production and mailing, verified with USPS statements, and VOILA! It’s in the mail. Now just sit back and watch the orders pour in.
Trouble is, at this point you’re only half done. Have you considered how you’re going to handle the responses to your mailing? Are you driving respondents to a website? Are you asking them to call you? Do they respond to your mailing with some form of return mail? How about all of the above?
What you’re selling and how much you’re charging have an effect on your response rate. Any incentives you add should increase your response as well. There is no rule of thumb that will tell you what to expect in the way of responses until you’ve sent out your first mailing, so it’s usually a good idea to test a relatively small quantity at first. After that, the rule of thumb is that the results are repeatable to within very close tolerances, so long as you don’t change your message or your audience.
But for the sake of this example, let’s say your response rate is one and a half percent. For every thousand mailing pieces you send out, fifteen people will respond. Are you set up to accommodate those responses? Okay, you can probably handle that number, whether it’s hits to your website, incoming phone calls, or reply mail.
But let’s say you’re sending out five or ten thousand mailing pieces. First responders will usually hit back to you within a week, and the following week will see the bulk of your total responses. Given the same rates of return, could you handle seventy-five inquiries, requests for more information, or sales? How about one hundred fifty?
Losing a sale, because you were unprepared to handle the response to your mailing, is twice bad. First, you’ve wasted all the time and expense that went into driving that response. It’s gone. Second, chances are, that responder will judge you to be “unresponsive” to their needs, and they’ll likely be resistant to your further attempts.
So while we at DirectMail.com want and encourage you to “keep those cards and letters” in the mail, we also want to make sure that your every mailing is as successful as it can possibly be. Plan for success – literally. Do the math and ask yourself “what if?”. You won’t be sorry.
DirectMail.com can help you with suggestions on what to expect and how to test to determine response rates – call us today at 1-888-690-2252 or click here to see how!