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Proven Solutions to Overcome the 3 Biggest Problems in Direct Marketing

Proven Solutions to Overcome the 3 Biggest Problems in Direct Marketing

March 20, 2008

First in a 2-part series

Within the world of advertising and direct marketing, there are three major problems that you have to overcome. They are the Three R's: rip it open, read it and respond.

These are things that every direct marketer wants, and in reality the better marketing pieces achieve all three. I'll show you how.

Let me clear, most direct marketing never gets opened, so the main goal is just to get a person to overcome that first 'R' and rip it open. The second problem is that even if it is opened, most of those people won't get past the second 'R' and actually read it because it does NOT grab the reader's attention.

The third R is 'Respond.' Many offers don't actually motivate a person to pick up the phone and call, to click on a link and sign up, to fax in an order form or to mail in a business reply card.

Take the recent Super Bowl ads, for example. Everyone gets caught up in the hype of which ads were more enjoyable to watch. But the fact is most are waste of money because only 6% of them had a call to action. SalesGenie.com got slammed by critics for having boring ads, but it was one of the few that asked people to go to its website to get 100 free sales leads. SalesGenie.com was criticized last year for it "dull" ads and it brought in $54 million in revenue from its $3 million per ad investment.

Your goal is to make money -- not to win awards!
Your job is not to entertain! Leave that up to the Madison Avenue ad agencies that are more interested in winning awards than anything else. Your goal is to gently and elegantly lead your prospects to a specific call to action and ultimately make money.

But if you don't overcome the 3 R's your offer will end up where most of the stuff falls, 'out of sight, out of mind.' That file can usually be found in the trash. Advertising and marketing guru Dave Oglevy once said, 'If I knew exactly who was ready to buy and when they were ready to buy, I'd save 75% of my advertising expenses.'

Unfortunately, people aren't necessarily ready to buy when you're ready to sell. The question is how do you stay in front of them for three hours, three days, three weeks, three months or even three years?

I have one client who called me after four years and said, 'I just want you to know that I just got another response from that mailing we sent out.' A year later, he tells me again, 'I just got another response from that mailing we sent out.' For four years, he's been calling me and saying, 'I'm still getting first-time responses from that mailing we sent out.'

What's been working so well? It was a magnet. We made an irresistible offer, sent it to a group of people that were motivated and they actually put it up on their refrigerator. Later, they'd call the client up and say, 'I've been looking at this thing for four years and I'm ready now.' That's how simple it is.

The first challenge in the 3 R's ' get your prospects to rip it open is one of the toughest. It's no wonder. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the time we lay down to sleep, we're bombarded with advertising messages.

Most of us wake up to a clock radio with advertising. I have four children, thank God. When I grab my toothpaste in the morning, I see more advertising on the back ' a joint venture they did with 'Rugrats.' You get dressed and grab your box of cereal. There's more advertising. You sit down to read the newspaper. More advertising. If you turn on the TV and see what's going on in the morning news, more advertising. Finally, you get in your car and you start driving. You turn on your radio and there's more advertising. You see a bus go by, more advertising. You get to your office and open the mail and find even more advertising.

How do you stand out from 3,100 marketing messages each day?
Did you know that if you were to take all the direct mail and lay it end to end, it would wrap around the globe six times in the course of one year? According to Silver Research, the average person gets over 3,100 marketing messages per day.

People have become immune to advertising and marketing. It used to be that there were three types of cereals on the grocery isle. Now, there are 300 types of cereal. There used to be three major TV stations. Now there are 3,000 stations you can get from all over the world.

Therefore, the real question is, 'How do you get past that?'

One strategy that we find to be very effective, and again we're going on the assumption that you have a semi-qualified list, is lumpy mail. Lumpy mail is a term I use to describe mail that is unusual shape or size and makes you want to open it just to find out what it is. It will actually overcome the first of those main problems, which is just getting the stuff opened.

6 "Lumpy Mail" ideas to get your offer opened
There are so many fun and wonderful strategies that you can get it opened. One thing that you can do is, as we say, 'Add a lump and get a bump in response.' You can actually make the carrier unusual. Here are six of my favorites:

1. Send your marketing in a mailing tube.
There are several different things you can do with a tube. You can make it like a dynamite stick and have a little wick sticking out with a message that says: Get ready to see your sales explode! We actually got a call from this right after 9/11. It was very funny. I was giving a seminar and it was a week and a-half after 9/11. This guy stood up and said, 'I just used your stuff,' and 250 people turned to the back of the room. 'I sent out a dynamite stick last week after 9/11.' Jon, I have to tell you, it's the best response I've received in my life.'

2. Be creative. Mail a watermelon?
One of the lumpiest of all mailers that we sent, which got us quite a bit of attention, generated more than a 90% response rate. We sent a watermelon. We placed a clear envelope on the outside of the watermelon with a bunch of stamps and sent it. It's expensive to mail, but I want to illustrate how you can be creative in direct marketing.

3. Tie it to a balloon and watch your response rate soar.
We once did a mailing that got a 31% response for IBM. It was a pre-show mailer to sell exhibit spaces. One of the things that we sent was a box that was about 18 inches wide. When you open the box, a helium balloon rises up tied to a string and a package of Red Hots candy. (If you're interested in doing this, check with us first. When balloons are shipped over the Rocky Mountains, all the helium deflates so we have two distribution centers on both sides of the Rockies to handle the shipments.)

4. Put your message in a bottle and send it out.
Another popular promotion is what we call, 'Message in a Bottle.' The package looks like a wine bottle. The message is rolled up inside and attached to the cap so it can be pulled out easily by the prospect. The message begins by saying, 'Don't get left stranded'' or 'Enclosed is your treasure map'' I've seen this get 60% response rates for seminar mailings.

5. A briefcase makes a terrific high-end package.
5. One client, Info Now that has products with an average sale of $100,000, actually sent a metal Halliburton briefcase to CIOs, CEOs and CFOs at Fortune 500 Companies. When you opened the briefcase, a laptop inside automatically started running a video presentation. Next to the laptop was a Nokia cell phone. At the end of the presentation, it said, 'Press send.' The promotion generated a 55% response rate and of those, 50% converted to a sale.

6. Handwritten address with a live stamp ... simple, but effective!
Simply address the envelope with what looks like a handwritten address and add a commemorative stamp ' not a bulk mail stamp. The problem with handwritten addresses is that they can be slow and expensive, but after nearly two years of searching we finally found software that looks just like the real thing! This is important because 83% of your prospects will open a hand-addressed envelope. Tip: don't include a return address when you use a handwritten address. It will be intriguing enough that people will have to open it.

The first step in getting your hungry fish to respond to your marketing is to get them to rip it open. Without getting past the first step you'll never get them to read it and respond. Try some of these ideas yourself. In the next issue, I'll give you solutions to overcome the next challenges to get your fish to read and respond to your offer.

And if you're interested in boosting your response rate with these or any other Lumpy Mail products give us a call at 800-805-1220.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon

Jon Goldman, President & CEO
LumpyMail.com
BrandLauncher.com