A successful direct marketing campaign doesn’t end with the sending of the mailers.
To make it really work in your favor, you need to have your follow-up protocols in place before sending it out, so that the moment you begin getting responses you’re ready to handle them.
Consider some or all of the following options for your next steps:
Build a Prospect List
The whole point of direct marketing is to develop a list of prospective clients, correct? Then why would you pass the leads generated by the campaign on to your sales team without first recording them, qualifying them and using them to increase your market intelligence?
- Build a prospect list based on the information provided and make sure you have it available to use for future contact.
- Include email addresses that you can target with future offers.
- Identify common characteristics such as demographic or geographical location that can help you segment the list into specific categories.
Save your list using software such as customer relationship management or sales management programs, which are designed to trigger alerts based on various criteria you can use to help close the deal.
Send Personal Emails
Get your leads into a usable format as quickly as possible, so you don’t waste any time responding to them. Email is generally faster than regular postal services, so shift to using it to communicate with the prospects as soon as you have their information. This gives you a multi-channel marketing approach that helps you to reach prospects regardless of the media channels they typically access. Send a personal email message thanking them for their response and advising them what your next steps will be.
Follow Up with a Phone Call
Track and measure your email marketing deliveries and open rates so you know who has read the message and when. At that point your follow-up efforts can become more direct and less automated, as you follow up with a phone call to the prospect. Make your call personal and reference the mailing and the prospect’s response, so the potential client knows what you are talking about and doesn’t feel as if they are being approached for a cold call.
Schedule a Demonstration
Getting in to see your prospect can be the most difficult aspect of selling, but after establishing personal contact and speaking by phone it may be easier to schedule an appointment. Use the opportunity to conduct a demonstration or marketing presentation, which enables you to build a personal relationship with your prospect. You can also find out during the phone call or during the appointment where in the buying cycle the prospect currently is, so you can customize your pitch accordingly.
Show professionalism (and remind the prospect of the appointment) by confirming with email or text 24 hours before the scheduled meeting. Often, executives and consumers may be pre-occupied with other issues and simply forget about something, so turning up without reconfirming can be a waste of your time. Besides, the confirmation gives you yet another opportunity to connect with the prospect and increase his awareness of your company and products.
This is probably the most important aspect of any direct marketing effort and the one most often overlooked, particularly by small businesses. It’s not over just because the campaign is done. During your preparation you should have included ways to track the results, such as a unique promotional code or a direct response form. Make sure the information from these methods is input correctly so you can pull reports that show how many new customers you derived from the direct mail campaign, and what the value of your campaign sales was.