Do you still use old fashioned snail mail to attract new customers and generate leads?
All of our focus for lead generation and prospecting is currently online. However, I have often wondered if a good old fashioned direct mail letter of introduction to an identified prospect actually cuts through all the email clutter and does a better job to warming up a prospect. Has anyone used this method of lead generation recently and successfully to drive new sales for an online product or service?
In marketing, any time you can differentiate yourself, that's a very good thing. When everyone else is is just pounding the audience with digital, if you send an attractive, well-conceived 4-color printed piece with a compelling message -- something they can hold and study, and perhaps put out on their desk or kitchen counter to look at again later or more likely, several more times -- that can have tremendous selling power.
Everyone needs to get over this lemming mentality of chasing after each shiny new marketing toy and declaring that everything that went before is now obsolete. The fact is, most of the media that was used 50 years ago can be used every bit as effectively today if it's used intelligently and well.
Al Shultz alshultz.com/
Though I am not from sales side, I do network with lot of sales professionals especially inside sales and marketing professionals.
According to them, snail mail is always effective. They feel is it easy in terms of tracking, modify the message. Many at times I feel the customers need some personal touch as well.
I used to be an intern at a company that offered their own make of audiotours on a subscription base. To attract new customers they would occasionally send a small package containing their product with a customised introduction pre-installed on the devise. This gave the DMU the chance to first hand try the product, it was personal because they would direct the receiving party by name inside the audio tour, it shows great effort even though the actual effort going into it was very small. So basically it works great. Their main hurdle was that the most interesting museums are usually tied down with contracts spanning many years but in general the strategy worked.
You may find two recent questions on this subject useful:
From our experience "old-fashioned" direct mail won't work - but "new-fashioned" direct mail does ;-)
What we've found works really well is to use direct mail as part of a wider, holistic approach that takes into account print, digital, and social. Direct mail has the potential to cut through all that digital messaging clutter, certainly. However much depends on your target audience, where they expect to receive your communication, and how the benefit you're pushing is presented to them.
I'd wager that you'd have a uphill battle if you sent out a single dry, unsolicited letter of introduction. However, crafting a campaign with both multiple touchpoints as well as multiple variations on the same basic value proposition, and you've got half a chance.
Customers don't want to hear *from* you until they've heard *of* you.
Hi Steven, I believe this is a great way to market any new product or service. And the reason is quite simple, even though it's "old fashioned" (or maybe because it is) it's not something everybody is doing anymore. Most businesses use email marketing, social media etc. It's surprising how much junk is actually coming through with no real tangible results to show off. Unless you have a mail list of hundreds of thousands of email addresses, you would need to result in either buying them or simply do what people done a few years back when they started a business, get out there and meet customers.
With all this online hype going on (and yes, I'm old school when it comes to that) I think in order to stand out, you need to do something different. The good news is, you don't need to reinvent the wheel, just do what businesses have done for ages, send a letter...but the most important part: Don't forget to follow up. No matter if you use email or letter marketing campaigns, somebody from your team has to do the hard part and follow up with potential new customers.
You would also need to do some research. Just sending generic letters results in nothing except a waste of paper and filling up your prospects bin. You need to customise each letter to your potential customer. This requires research, what do they do, who are they (I mean by name, who is your contact) and the one thing most people leave out (which requires the most research), what do their customers want from them that your solution/ product/ service is providing your customer...(If this sentence now makes any sense...). Simply put, how will their clients benefit, how will they benefit...why should they sign up/ buy/ meet.
Take the time to get to know your audience, have the right solution for their problems, sum it up nicely in a letter or email campaign, and last but not least, follow up by phone (don't send an email or letter stating, just wondering if you received my email/ letter...) and the results will be triple. If you don't intend to do any phone calls, don't waste paper, time, money and energy towards this. It will not be fruitful. And I disagree with Gee, you can't send out an unsolicited letter to any company if you've done your research. As soon as you address somebody by name (no matter if you know the person or not) it's no longer considered unsolicited or cold. You automatically warm up the prospect. Besides, businesses are in business to do business, not to be avoided. If they want to be avoided then better not be in business all-together. They can always say no, not interested, but we found that 30 - 45% of prospects receiving a personalised letter are more prone to meet with you when you do the follow up.
I believe this sums it up in a nutshell. If you would like to learn more, feel free to connect with me on linkedIn.
I have been working with companies to create direct mail for the last three years. You can visit our website (mangosalute.com) to see more.
I do NOT recommend a cold letter. It is most often thrown out by the secretary and a waste of a stamp. Now if it is a client (read BIG BUSINESS) you are dying to land. The client is a dream client. and you want to send something to get their attention. Make sure you have called and made contact before hand, and then what you do send is a show piece!
I advise caution with the above tactic if you do not know your client well, industry norms and umm.. ensure it isn't bribery, it has to be unique to you and should have been personally designed.
On the other hand, we have "snail mail" is a wonderful tool to enhance the client/consumer relationships. Clients love to feel appreciated, informed and simply acknowledged. By sending a card (once again do not read boring, typed letter) or a hand written note, clients become engaged in the conversation and often are so chuffed they share how lovely it was working with you, to their friends and clients.
Some opportunities you can use to engage in snail mail
- Thank you (referrals, job well done, making an introduction, creating an opportunity)
- Congratulations (new job, new baby, new house, promotion, marriage etc)
- Condolences (loss)
- Encouragement (going after a big project etc.)
- Welcome to the team
Now don't go and overload your clients with a million cards, everything in moderation. Make snail mail, an opportunity to connect in a tangible and wonderful way.
Certainly if your target market is the 50+ market. Many don't have computers and those who do are not familiar with all the workings. Also the more ways you touch a customer the better chance you have of getting a sale. Different people react to things. All opportunities are good.
If the payload of the physical mail is sufficiently interesting it can be viral in its own right. Getting mail delivered to and opened by the target prospect it the first hurdle, this is commonly done via "special/overnight" delivery envelopes and "lumpy" mail (boxes are good too.)
If the contents and message are unique enough, these messages will create both curiosity and branding in the mind of the opener/target.
Absolutely. You need to use every available means to generate leads. The open rates are not that high unless you use some "new fangled" methods such as lumpy mail.
Snail mail can work well if done right. People do tend to ignore traditional mail but a 3D lumpy mail series can really get great results. I use 3Dmailresults.com
Lumpy mail can be a bank bag, treasure chest, small trash can etc with your message inside.
They even provide sample letters to go along with the lumpy mail.
Absolutely. I engage with customers and prospects via as many channels as possible and in their preferred channel if known. Just as TV + radio was stronger than just TV; email + snail mail + social media is stronger than any one channel.
We only use it if we know the info is going to a lead we have made contact with prior to. The reason being is that we like numbers at our company and using facebook and google allows us to know who our leads are. With this kind of info I know how to target my audience with less money wasted. Giving them the tools to solve their pain points at hand.
I am giving a sure win answer "snail mail works, but depend of situation". from the attractive view points ...snail mail holds certain authority, seriousness and importance by its nature of communicating mode. Products that rely on these criteria to attract people may adopt snail mail to increase conversion rate.
We've been postal mailing our customers for years. It works great for us because many of our customers are older and don't use email like our younger customers. Telephone follow ups are huge and recommended. I read some where that it takes over five communications to break through so persistence best be part of one's DNA!
Very few companies spend more on direct mail than Google.
What does that tell you?
I'm a technical recruiter freelancer and I use a brief proposal mail for the tech guys in order to see if they would be open for a specific job. In that brief I try to concentrate all the important information that you can tease with, without cliche's and truthless stuff. So far, this method is the most non-aggressive one that works for me - if they are interested, they will reply. For each person I write to, I'm adding in the brief something related to his experience or skills, usually not so obvious details - this personal approach helps me to recruit software developers and tech guys in general after I search exactly what I need, not losing time and energy to spam with mass-mails or using ads where anybody can apply.
I'm very eager to find a better approach in this online world full of spammy good looking useless mails :)
It works, when used in the right manner. You have got some fantastic answers here to gain insight from. I use cards with vintage book covers on them to thank the local book store owners who stock my books. It has being a great relationship builder and so far no one as asked me to take my books away.
Now a days, promotion strategy is became a science, so there are so many theories are available according to our needs and our resources.
If you design video add and mail then you will get more result with respect to others.
Steven, Yes I do ALL the time. That said, my targets are the CEO or Chairman of companies and I have refined my letter over a few years. This said, my service/offer is really something that only the Chair or CEO could make a call on and it's not for an online service. That said, I still favour 'an old-fashioned' letter. So few people get them these days, and they usually get past the secretary/gatekeeper IF they are highly personalised, professional and focused. If nothing else they give you a solid reason to call the person and follow up...and thats what you are really after. A reason to call and connect.
I recently retired from a large company and now do some consulting. Cybersecurity has gotten to be such a big issue in large companies that ANY electronic communication with an unrecognized address goes straight to the SPAM box. So I doubt 50% of the electronic introductions I send out are ever seen by anyone. I've tried sending out introductory brochures and newsletters as those got my attention in the office more than the 250th email of the day. No major successes yet. On a lighter note, when going through my company SPAM box one day, I came across an important announcement from the company's IT security team :)