Direct Mail is Back from the Dead

Direct mail can break through the digital overload, which your target contacts experience daily. Results, however, will depend on how you execute your campaigns!

Over the years I have witnessed many demand generation marketers, lead generation reps, and sales reps wasting time and money sending shocking amounts of letters, brochures, gifts, and single direct mail packages — with poor results. One of the downsides of the gift-route is inconveniencing target contacts or executive assistants, who have to return gifts to senders due to strict no-gift policies within their organizations. Another downside is that contacts can perceive gifts as weak gimmicks and conclude that you and your company must have nothing substantive to offer their business.



The good news is that, using a few tested tactics, I have experienced a 50% response rate and many scheduled discovery calls using a simple system. Here are the steps:

  1. To ensure outstanding mail delivery rates, mailing addresses should be verified via phone. Address verification can be outsourced. I have had the greatest success with in-house verification, when there has been administrative staff to support the process.
  2. To prevent printing and shipping costs escalating beyond budget, determine a monthly send allowance limit, and communicate that number to all corporate headcount, who may utilize this approach.
  3. Type and personalize succinct letters to 3 to 5 prospects per organization and leverage research knowledge gained using the tips in Ten Ways Salespeople Can Crush Social Selling. Then lead with focus on them, and not on your product or service.
  4. In each letter, be sure to reference whoever else you sent packages to, explaining that you thought there may be additional stakeholders involved with the subject matter you’d like to discuss.
  5. If you want to insert technology into the mix, consider adding personalized URLs. You can drive folks to a video, Website, blog, social media page, vertical-specific microsite, etc. You can also take advantage of video-in-a-card technology.
  6. A letter along with a high quality brochure works. Printing a helpful article relevant to the contact or organization will improve your odds of success. Reference the article in the letter, or handwrite a note in the margin. The customized letter and follow-up phone call (see #9) does the heavy lifting.
  7. Send the package via FedEx, as this signifies importance and increases open and response rates. Depending upon your budget you can expedite delivery.
  8. Track delivery and create tasks in your SFA/CRM to follow up after confirmed delivery.
  9. Often you will need to interact with executive assistants and other support staff for your recipient – be respectful and create allies. These employees have extensive insight into an organization and its chain of command. As powerful gatekeepers and influencers they can tell you if the response was favorable, is in process, was forwarded on, and if the forward included notes or not. In many instances you may end up scheduling discovery time with your prospects at a later date via that same executive assistant.  
  10. Response times to a letter will vary. Interested or not, contacts may respond the same day, days later, weeks later, or up to three months later in massive organizations. If it is a later response, it is usually because the information was forwarded multiple levels up or down the chain of command.

Set Your Pipeline on the Path to Vibrant Health

I have experienced success with this technique with strategically selected organizations. Implement this system and you, too, will see improvement — a healthy sales pipeline designed to accelerate revenue growth. Direct mail is not dead!