Due to a lack of highly targeted B-to-B email lists on the rental market, most B-to-B online marketers are turning to traditional direct mail to drive traffic to their site. So, when we heard direct mail agency, Jam Communications (whose clients include MedCoach Software, VentureXpert Web, Sheraton and Winstar) was publishing a special How To” report on the subject, we got permission to excerpt these section for you:
Direct marketing professionals have spent billions of dollars over the past 30 years testing, refining and testing again to find out exactly what works in B-to-B direct mail campaigns. They’ve discovered one critical fact: direct marketing to professionals is NOT a creative art; it’s a science with proven rules.
Here are the top 12 facts you must know to begin direct marketing successfully to businesspeople:
1. Picking the right mailing list is 85% of your success and it’s more difficult than you think it is. For example, did you know most Fortune 1000 companies’ mailrooms automatically throw out all direct mail using lists rented from compilers but not those rented from trade magazines?
2. Offers are the second most important factor in a direct mail campaign’s results. Your package should be centered on a single strong offer the recipient has to respond to within a certain time frame in order to get a benefit. For example you might offer a free travel alarm clock to every executive who becomes a member of an online business travel club in the next 30 days.
3. Advertising agencies and marketers without heavy direct marketing experience almost always create packages that not only cost too much per piece, but also fail miserably.
4. The single biggest mistake most copywriters make: confusing features with benefits. Features are what your site, product or service is all about, and benefits are what business people will get out of having access to those features.
5. Integrated campaigns, where direct mail is teamed with banners, email and other online offers, are much more effective than “one off” campaigns using direct mail or online marketing alone.
6. High production values, such as glossy heavy paper and four-color photography can actually hurt your response rates. In fact, the higher level the executive and higher "value” your site has, the lower and simpler your production values should be to get a high response!
7. Different package formats, such as postcards, boxes and business-style letters, work with different types of audiences. For example, some types of businesspeople will respond well to your postcard while others will never even see it!
8. Sending a brochure in the mail without a “personal” letter to introduce it can cause your response rates to plummet … unless it’s a self-mailer.
9. Testing is the key to success in direct mail over the long haul. Smart marketers never mail a campaign without at least one test cell in it to see how even small changes can make a difference in response. These answers add up to steadily increased response rates over the months and years as you learn more about what works for your audience.
10. The small things really matter. Direct mail is a science where you need to sweat the details. Tests have shown tiny differences (for example using a live stamp versus pre-printed postal information) can make a big difference to results.
11. Postal regulations are boring, hugely detailed, and change regularly. But knowing them can make the difference between a campaign that meets your budget and time frame, and one that doesn’t. Make sure you have someone on your team or at your agency to advise you on these matters who is a heavily experienced direct mail professional.
12. Production time and doubling dates (the date at which you can assume final results will be double those you have in hand) are much longer than email and banner advertising. Direct mail takes weeks instead of hours, but your response rates can be worth the wait.NOTE:
To get your Free copy of the Jam’s entire report, ”Direct Marketing: How to Drive Traffic Using Direct Mail” which includes lots of useful campaign samples, go to http://www.jamagency.com/wmg