Direct mail is making a comeback as a powerful method of generating leads when it’s used correctly, for several reasons:
1. People actually still read their mail, as opposed to hitting the proverbial delete button; and
2. The mailing lists available are significantly more sophisticated than they used to be, and offer a range of useful information beyond just the recipient’s name and address.
This means direct mail gives you a connection straight to the consumer and a way to speak to them up close and personal. To make it work, it’s essential that your campaign actually generate real leads, but if you follow the steps outlined in our post on the most effective direct mail strategies, you’ll be off to a good start.
The tricky part—and there’s always one, isn’t there—is making sure that you treat those leads right when they come rolling in.
Follow up your leads like a fanatic! By that, we mean don’t let a single one fall through the cracks. You can do this by focusing on these three attributes of a lead nurturing campaign.
#1: Put Protocols In Place
Make sure your follow-up protocols are in place and rock solid. Often, the so-called “protocols” consist of forwarding a bunch of contact details to the sales team. That’s not enough!
First off, make sure the leads capture something more than contact info, so the sales team has something to go on.
Second, unless you have sales people with a strong marketing focus, you need to qualify the leads with a bit of research before passing them on.
Otherwise, the sales person puts the minimum amount of effort into the follow-up until he can determine what the temperature of the lead is. By then it may be too late for some, and besides the hot leads might have gone to the competition by that point.
#2: Reward Sales Staff For Follow-Ups, Not Just Sales
One of the riskiest ventures is passing your valuable leads onto sales people. Often, a lead that looks lukewarm at first glance may be upstaged by a hot lead for a fraction of the value—simply because it’s easier to close and first impressions were more favorable.
If your sales team operates on a commission-based structure, they’re more likely to pursue the leads they can see will become sales than those that might not. So make sure you build in some form of compensation for the legwork, too.
#3: Response Capturing
Just because the lead isn’t ready to buy right now doesn’t mean he will never be ready. If he’s in the early stages of the buying cycle he may be gathering information with a view to making a purchase later. Stats show that the chances of realizing a sale drops tenfold after the first hour of interest and then gets progressively worse. By processing the data, however, you can improve those odds dramatically.
In addition, 75% of leads are only ever followed up once and after that they die a slow death—even if they could have had future sales potential. By capturing the prospect’s response after the first interaction, you can use data to gauge their level of interest. This enables none-too-shabby prediction of when might be a good time to make contact again.
So maximizing the effectiveness of the leads you get from your direct mailing campaigns isn’t reliant purely on the quality of the leads. Like Apple, which still uses direct mail, the quality of your follow-up matters just as much. So if Apple can use direct mail to market its products, why on earth wouldn’t you follow suit?