Make More Direct Mail Profit in Three Easy Steps

In this article, I’ll discuss a simple three-step direct mail marketing system that gets more people to give you more money, more often, for higher profits. Isn’t that what you really want? The main thing I want to emphasize here is that a good marketing system focuses on the prospect more than the product, in all ways. Think about what you sell, and think about the marketplace you sell to, and remember: when it comes to direct mail marketing, who you sell to is much more important than what you sell.

You see, no matter what you sell, the marketplace you serve will remain more or less constant through time. Your business might survive for decades, and the products and services you offer throughout that time will come and go; but the people you sell to will generally be the same (assuming you don’t change marketplaces altogether).

Now, some changes do occur. People will come in and out of the marketplace and some clients will stop being customers for one reason or another, but the marketplace as a whole will stay mostly the same. So you have to know that marketplace better than you know yourself in order to sell to it. If you start with the premise that you need to do a better job of understanding who your customers are and who the marketplace is, then from that position, you’ll be able to identify the kinds of things that marketplace wants.

Your first and most important task is identifying the benefits your prospects are looking for. Usually, they seek out offers that fill their wants or provide solutions to problems they’re experiencing. If you’re in the diet industry, people who are overweight will seek your solution to help them become fit and healthy. If you’re an electrician, you solve people’s electrical problems. If you’re a mechanic, you fix people’s cars.

People come to you because they’re in pain or have a problem they need solved.

If you always start with the marketplace, then the products or services you offer can adapt and adjust as you serve them; whereas if you start with your product or service and your marketplace shifts, you’re stuck with worrying about your product specifically. You may miss a market shift because you’re so focused on your product, and may be unable to keep up because of that focus.

Step One in a successful marketing campaign is attracting the right kind of people and repelling all the others. You do that by means of the offers you make, based on your extensive knowledge of your marketplace.

Step Two is building people’s trust. Today, it’s not easy to trust people, especially in business. Many businesses have let people down in all kinds of ways; and in fact some of those problems go far beyond individual businesses, straight to the industry at large. You have entire industries full of problems, and then governments get involved to try and fix the problems, sometimes creating a whole new set of problems.

As a small business owner, you have to break through that distrust by building relationships with people. What better way to do that than with direct mail, where you can communicate with them one-on-one? It’s as if you wrote a letter specifically to them; it can introduce you to them and establish a new relationship. As they continue to do business with you, the relationship can grow stronger. In the beginning, when you send your letter to a prospect who doesn’t know you from Adam, it’s the only thing that can build any kind of relationship or trust factor. You have to use words to paint a story that introduces them to you, your company, your business, and those benefits they can achieve when they decide to become your customer. Direct mail is perfect for that, because it’s a one-on-one communication. It’s not a billboard they see as they drive down the highway. It’s not an ad they see screaming at them from the TV.

No, it comes quietly in the mail and, when done right, delivers a hard-hitting benefit, promise, or guarantee that makes them sit up and take notice. You can then build from that point and ultimately gain their trust, which is how you survive in business. You don’t do business, especially repeat business, with people you don’t trust.

Step Three in this formula is proving to them that you alone can provide them with the things they want the most. Again, we’re talking about the marketplace here, not just the product or service you sell. You want to prove you can deliver the goods and make good on your promises. You have to convince them you have something they can’t get anywhere else. That’s where your unique selling position or USP comes in.

Give them a strong reason why they should trust and do business with you. If it’s too easy for them to get what you have from somebody else, they won’t have a good reason to decide to do business with you. The more you can deliver the idea that they can’t get what they want somewhere else, the more likely they’ll be to choose to do business with you.

If you’ll do these three things — attract the right people while repelling the others, build their trust through the offer, and then prove to them that they need to do business with you and you alone — you can get more people to give you more money, more often, and for more profits. You have to do these things right, or you’ll chip away at your profits. I’ve used this strategy effectively for years, and so have many of my colleagues. Remember: lifelong customers are always more important than a particular product or offer. If you make them happy, they’ll eagerly await what you have to offer next. That should be your goal: acquiring lifelong customers by attracting the right kind of people who come back again and again.

Now, this doesn’t work equally well for all businesses; a realtor won’t be selling houses to the same people every week or every month, but they can still build a relationship for sales years down the road. With smaller products and services replaced on a continual basis, of course we want our customers to do business with us as often as possible. This is true no matter what marketplace you’re in: real estate, moneymaking, health, investments, home products, home improvement, or professional practices. You want a continuous flow of customers, both new and repeat business. If you’re smart, you take care of your good customers and keep them coming back again and again.

Again, one way to build trust and get new business is to use two-step marketing. You offer a low- or no-cost product or service, not making a profit from this first step. The idea is to bring in a flood of new business, and then follow up with a great offer that makes you money later. Always keep in mind that your best customers deserve your best services and products.

I’d also like to re-emphasize the third step I mentioned, giving people what they want — not what you think they want or need. This is key to all business success. When you’re looked upon as the primary source for a specific kind of product or services that people want in your area, you’re going to make money hand over fist. When people trust you and know you have what they want, whenever it comes to mind they think, “Oh, I’ve got to go see Bob.” You’re the source. When you’re the #1 source in your community, that’s the ultimate power to make money. If you want a realtor, you have to see Jack. If you’re getting a massage, you have to see Betty. If you want a plumber, you have to see Hal. Whatever your business is, you want to be the top source. Again, it’s all a matter of building trust with your market.

Don’t be afraid to tell your story. In fact, you must tell your story. Now, you might ask, “What is my story?” It can be lots of things, but ultimately it’s how you connect with your prospects and customers. What can you dramatize that will connect you to them in an emotional way? Only you can decide what that is. Your story can be of how your company came to be, the story of how you came to discover and develop the products and services you sell, or the things you have in common with the people you’re trying to do business with.

Find the most compelling way to tell your story, and tell it often. You’ll get sick of telling it, I promise you, but they won’t get tired of listening. People want to do business with other people just like them. People love emotional stories, and direct mail is the perfect way to do that, because you have room. You can write quite a bit about your story and include pictures that do a full job of illustrating and describing the kinds of things I’m talking about here.

Remember, this is all about salesmanship. The best salespeople build a rapport with the prospective buyer before they go in for the close. You have to do that with your direct mail, too.