Direct Response includes direct mail, direct email and telemarketing (used to also include Fax, but many companies have stopped using it (my ink dried and I finally tossed my nice HP fax machine))–any marketing approach where you do not rely on other’s media, but you reach out to prospects directly.
Although I’ve used a lot of direct mail in the past (envelopes and postcards), it is not as common with the over-popularity of email (no printing or postage costs). However, because it is used less, it generates a good response. However, I don’t use the long-form anymore–I go strickly with PostCards. Of course, I also use them mainly for recruiting resellers.
Postcard Case Study
I learned early in my career the value of postcards when I showed up to present to a reseller (one of the top Apple resellers in the nation–so a lot of vendors tried to recruit him). He asked if I would grab one of the two plastic milk crates and follow him to his mailbox (in the back alley). It was huge and looked like a garbage can turned sideways. It was full and I asked if it was the entire week’s mail. “Nope–this is today’s.”
We lugged the mail-in and he poured it on the big boardroom table. He then proceeded to quickly sort the bills into one pile, the postcards into another… and everything else was pushed off the side–into the trash. He saw my look and explained, “I don’t have time to open all that mail–so I just look at the postcards; especially for free offers.” What a lesson.
Of course, like any good direct response, you always have to start with a good list. I like a list scraped from a competitor’s Web site (reduces their sales while increasing yours). I have also had terrific response and ROI from card decks (like VAR Business)–specifically since they are relatively inexpensive. Of course, these card decks use even smaller postcards–but it is the same concept (a compelling offer is required).
Following are a few samples of reseller postcards:
For telemarking, rather than duplicating content, I’m going to link over to the section on the approach within the online Channel Sales Manual.
Email has several challenges:
- Low Open Rates. The avg is 18% open, but this includes double opt-in. It is as low as 3.7% for a cold list.
- Low Conversion Rates. Even if they open it, only about 2.7% click-through.
- Bombarded. The average user receives 81 emails per day (executives get upwards of 300–skewing the results, but we all get a LOT).
- Aggressive Filters. Most of us have very aggressive filters. My filters run from the server–and I get over 1,000 trapped spam messages per day. It may catch the occasional legitimate email, but I don’t care. I cannot deal with this much information daily.
- Email Software. It used to be easy to blast out a few thousand recruiting emails. Now, your email lists have to be warmed up–if there are too many bounce backs the intelligent spam networks will peg and block your IP address. You can’t use the main services (MailChimp, Constant Contact) without a double opt-in list. A reliable source is Gmail–but it has serious daily limitations (one company setup 26 “seasoned” Gmail accounts–and still couldn’t send out more than 200 emails a day (but the open rate was 21% vs 3.37%).
Yet, we continue to use email for marketing and rely on it. Of course, there are the newer Web Push Notifications that helps–but it should still be tied in with email for the best results.
Rather than dump 12 pages of content, I’ve attached a Chanimal Email Guidelines – 2019 (PDF format). It starts with how to capture your names for your list. Then discusses email systems, email list verification, how to see if you are on a spam list, 7 rules for “Is it Spam?”, the Best Time to Email, your sending ID, How to set up your CRM, fix email formatting errors, how to clean your database, remove opt-outs and MUCH more. Enjoy!
Writing Your Emails
Direct response uses the persuasive format to ensure the maximum response. You can view it within the advertising guidelines. There are also a LOT of proven techniques for length, subjects, call the actions. But this is part of the copywriting section.
You’re also welcome to visit the Chanimal Forum to post any questions, or answers.
PostCardMania. I’m continually impressed with this company that helps you with Postcards. First, their website is filled with great content (see the Learn Marketing) section. Second, their prices are competitive. Third, they can do just part or ALL of the job (including design, postage, mailing, warehousing, etc.).
JMailerPro. This is the email service I recommend for my clients for a “Non-Opt-In” list (like when you pull resellers from competitor’s websites). I recommend the Gold level (for # emails per hour). Below is a video that includes tips and instructions on how to use this service.