Big Direct Mail Mistakes!

Next to cold calling, I’d have to say that direct mail is one of the most misrepresented marketing tools around. (When it comes to offline strategies anyhow.) Why do I say this? Just take a look at some of the mailers you get! Most direct mail advertisements are an exercise in “how to waste the most money possible in 3 back-breaking steps!” Ugh… I get worn out just thinking about it!

I cut my teeth on direct mail in the mortgage industry. When the industry average was 1/2 of 1% response to a mailer, my campaigns were consistently drawing 1.5 – 2% for large mailings, and 4 – 5% for smaller more targeted campaigns.

What made the difference? Here’s a few of my secrets:

1. The art of the hook

Most of my co-workers were using copycat marketing strategies. They’d take a look at what everyone else was doing, and just copy it. No real thought was put into the message. Instead of taking the time to craft a mailer that spoke to its audience, these people seemed to think it was all a numbers game, and if they just threw enough mail into the market, they’d get enough back to make it worth the time and expense…. WRONGO!

Step #1 for me was to look at what everyone else was doing, take notes, and then NOT DO IT! If 90% of my own office sent the same darn mailers and message, chances were good the same ratio existed in the market. This translates into a soggy, wet, played out mailer that will disappoint every time.

After I saw what I needed to avoid, I then played the role of the recipient. How can I get my mailer opened? Aha! A unique mailing vehicle: I sent my mailers in greeting card envelopes! Sounds expensive right? Actually, compared to a wasted mail drop it was downright thrifty! I shopped online and bought my greeting card mailers at a nice discount, and sent 100 cards per drop to a targeted list.

My “hook” was to speak to the fears and concerns of my market. Instead of the usual cliche’ opening statements “You can save 136.44 on your mortgage” I decided to put myself back into the shoes of my audience: “What do I fear? What motivates me? Why am I ignoring these mailers?”

Boom! I got it! They’re ignoring me because they don’t trust me anymore! They are suffering from information overload as they are assaulted with “refinance now” messages on the radio, on television, in their emails…. I need to stop the madness! RESET their mindset!

How did I do this?

I accomplished this task by changing my approach to one that was unexpected. Instead of starting off with a sales pitch, I first empathized with their annoyance at getting so much junk mail: “I bet you’re sick and tired of getting all these letters from mortgage companies aren’t you? Before you tear this into tiny pieces, can I get you to take a look at the box I prepared below?”

As the readers eyes are drawn to the content box just 2 spaces down, I had a great hook ready for them. I’ve already accomplished objective #1 at this point. I got their attention, and demonstrated that if nothing else, I at least understand them and their frustrations better than the average mortgage company.

Why not try shifting your approach as well? You might be surprised at how well this works!

Direct Delivery

Direct delivery means that the borrower is able to find their own supplier of the asset they seek to finance. This allows the business to negotiate with the supplier on a cash sale basis and so retain the right to bargain at arm’s length to their full satisfaction. When the borrower has negotiated the terms of sale, finance is arranged by another party and is made available to the supplier. Therefore, two agreements are entered into, one for the sale of the asset and another for the financial agreement.

Numerous banks and financial institutions offer this type of finance, and this invariably provides a more specialist financial service as the lender focuses on their area of expertise that is the construction of what is really an annuity in their favor; the lender invests capital into the asset and receives a regular predetermined income for a term.

Because a lender’s resources are directed toward purely financing the asset, the cost is generally lower than if a lender were to provide the asset and also the finance. The interaction with the free market and the freedom for the borrower to participate in that market is also an advantage that a borrower can use to reduce the cost incurred in acquiring the asset.

With this flexibility in place, the borrower is able to easily compare the cost of finance with other market competitors and choose that which offers the most favorable conditions.

Depending on the asset and the type of finance in place, in the event of the asset being found faulty, the borrower may have an action against the supplier and also the financier. This type of constructive warranty is reinforced by legislative provisions in regard to the asset being fit for the borrowers intended purpose, and if supplied by a corporation may apply as a wrong of strict liability. As financiers for good value, and having had their attention drawn to the fact that the borrower had a specific purpose to which they intended to apply the asset, the lender is deemed to provide finance for a suitable asset. From this constructive knowledge, liability is imposed.

This kind of safety net generally relates to new assets, and applies against all those who participate in the process of marketing the asset, from the manufacturer to the retailer, and particularly to those that modify the goods along the way.

However in the case of second hand or used assets the Sale of Goods legislation will not prove to be as comforting as a buyer is expected to understand the relationship between the quality of an asset and the price that reflects that quality.

Acupuncture Marketing – What’s the Best Way to Get More Patients?

Dear Forward-Thinking Acupuncturist, what’s better than a college degree in marketing? A life degree in relationship marketing.

The reason I say relationship is because most people look at marketing as creating some sort of brand that makes people somehow want to buy your product or in this case your Acupuncture and TCM service. Branding does work but only if you’ve got deep pockets and can spend A LOT of money upfront without seeing an immediate result.

The secret weapon acupuncturists like you can use is a direct-response marketing approach in your healing business. One very important thing to remember is that when you market your services whether it’s on your website or offline, you can’t make everything about you.

It is ALWAYS about what you can do for them. You see, in the prospects eyes you being in business for 20 years really doesn’t mean anything emotionally. Now, they might say “Wow, that’s impressive” and then click the back button on the internet browser and start looking for another clinic that tells them what THEY, the prospect, will get.

People buy based on emotion. And when you inject emotional direct response marketing into your business you’ll start to notice how many more prospects actually convert into paying patients. Your acupuncture marketing should be based, like in life, on emotion. You can’t expect someone to chose you because you’ve been around for “X” amount of years.

But if you become their friend and develop a relationship, you’ll not just have a patient “getting some acupuncture” but a life-long client who ONLY wants to work with you. Not because you’re flashy but because you’re sincere and honest.

That’s how you want to run your marketing.