Direct Mail – The Ultimate Form of Marketing

Direct mail — what non-marketers usually call “junk mail” — can make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. For some of us, that means making $100,000 a year; for others, it means making $100,000 a month… or even a day. But however much money you want to make, direct mail is the best way to do it.

Direct mail marketing is the ultimate form of salesmanship. I’ll admit that it costs you more money up front than most forms of marketing, but it also does a much more effective job of reaching out and selling to people. First of all, it’s targeted. You can customize your sales message to reach the people who are most likely to do business with you. That gives you a greater degree of control than just about any other kind of marketing.

This isn’t advertising in a traditional sense. A good sales letter talks to the prospect in a personal way that gives you total selling power. It lets you do a complete job of selling, replacing all the steps that a truly great salesperson would go through in order to make the sale. You can consider a direct sales letter a little master salesman in an envelope.

Think about that. A great salesperson will go out there and somehow attract the very best prospects with whatever he’s offering. Usually, he does it through cold calling or knocking on doors. A good direct mail package does the same. Those who aren’t interested in what you offer won’t even respond — so you never have to hear the word “no.”

When it gets into the right hands, your letter answers and overcomes the prospect’s biggest objections, just like the best human salesmen. Then it goes for the close. Like a good salesman, that letter convinces the prospect that what it’s offering is worth more than the money it’s asking for in exchange, making the prospect a great offer they just can’t refuse. And your little salesmen never call in sick or have a bad day or get tired of having doors slammed in their faces.


When Tech Doesn’t Win

Of course, in this high-tech era, some people say, “Why should we even bother with direct mail? We can use e-mail and the Internet.” And sure, you can. But over the past few years, I’ve noticed that more and more Internet marketers are coming to us direct mail marketers and asking, “Um, will you show me how to use direct mail?”

What they’re finding is that a lot of their e-mail never reaches its target, no matter how well targeted it is, mostly due to spam blockers. When 80-90% of your emails get filtered out, that really throws your marketing campaign off-kilter, so the return on your investment is very small. Sure, it’s cheap to send… but you don’t make any money. Online marketers have told us, “You know, if we can get one out of every 3,000 prospects to place a $25 order, we think that’s great.” Maybe so, if you’re e-mailing a lot and not paying very much for the e-mailing. Those sales represent pretty much pure profit, or close to it.

But that doesn’t change the fact that direct mail is still the best way to target your audience — and it has a much higher success rate than e-mail. It’s easier to zero in on your prospects, because you’re using a rifle approach, not a shotgun approach. More and more people are starting to wake up to the fact that direct mail results can be amazing… which is ironic, because there for a while, it looked like everyone in direct mail and mail-order was leaving to go to the Internet. Little by little, though, they’re coming back. They say, “We’re still going to do some Internet marketing, but we’re getting back into direct mail, because it’s been profitable in the past and it can be profitable in the future.”

You can and should maintain an Internet presence, but don’t forsake direct mail.

Traditional salesmanship — with a salesperson going out, cultivating leads, and converting them into customers — is effective, but very expensive. You can imagine how much it would cost to reach 1,000 people using that method, and how long it would take. A direct mail letter can go out to thousands for a tiny fraction of the cost; you can have millions of them working for you if you have the right offer and you’re working in the right marketplace.

Some people are even using direct mail to send people to websites — a viable option if you still want to use Internet marketing. You can point people toward a video, or offer a free gift to get them to come online and consider your offer. So even if you’re dedicated to Internet marketing, don’t overlook direct mail as an adjunct to what you’re already doing.


Return on Investment

Ultimately, it boils down to ROI. Within certain broad guidelines, it doesn’t matter how much money something costs you; all that matters is how much money it earns you. While direct mail is more expensive than most forms of marketing, it also does a more complete job of selling if you do it right — and therefore you’ll sell more of your products or services, and consequently make more money.

But even those involved in direct mail often miss the boat. Everybody seems to want to do it on the cheap by mailing postcards; and while postcards sometimes work well, sometimes they don’t, because you need to do a more effective job of selling than they allow. Don’t just throw some postcards out there, and decide direct mail doesn’t work if you don’t get the response you want. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

You’ve got to test your marketing methods in order to find out what works best so you can make direct mail work for you. Frankly, the fact that fewer people work with direct mail these days is a tremendous benefit to those of us who do. It means there’s less competition in the mailbox. That makes it even easier for the best prospects to raise their hands and prove they’re qualified. Let them feel like they’re coming to you — and then let your salespeople go after them and close the deal.

Direct mail is the ultimate form of marketing, because it’s salesmanship perfectly harnessed and duplicated. It’s the entire process a great salesperson goes through, put into an envelope (or onto a postcard), and it goes out there and does a very effective job of selling.