How Higher Direct Mail Package Costs Can Increase Profits

When an organization needs to cut expenses, the direct mail budget is often one of the first targets.

And for executives not actively involved in acquiring, retaining or cross-selling customers, it’s sometimes difficult to understand why we’re spending so much on a direct mail package. Why not eliminate a component or two and get the costs down. After all, if we can maintain the same revenue levels and cut expenses, marketing profits will go up and everyone looks good.

At first glance, this argument may sound convincing but increasing profits by cutting package cost isn’t sustainable. In fact, direct marketers can typically do a better job raising profits by adding to the mailing package rather than subtracting from it.

Yes, there are ways to cut costs without hurting the effectiveness of the mailing. You can, for example, make small changes to the package size to make it run more efficiently on your printer’s press. Or you can test cheaper paper stocks, smaller formats, or dropping the brochure.

But don’t rush into cutting your direct mail package. Before making any changes, it’s good to remind everyone of the mailing’s objective. And for most of us, the main objective of a mailing is to make a profit-not to save money.

Eliminating package components, mailing cheaper lists, eliminating the premium may save money in the short term but slashing package cost is seldom the answer. Typically, we’ll do a much better job of increasing long-term profit by adding to our package. For example, you can increase your mailing’s profit-even as you increase its cost-by:

  • Feature an involvement technique. This could be a survey, membership card, petition, name stickers, a certificate-anything that gets the reader involved with the package. You can’t, however, just add the involvement device to the package and expect it to work its magic. It must be worked into the copy and given a reason for being included in the package.
  • Include a premium in your offer. I’m an avid believer in premiums and need a reason not to include one. You don’t need to spend lots of money for the premium-it can be as simple as a decal, white paper, or a paper bookmark. It does need, however, to have a perceived value to the reader. Some groups, believing that they cheapen the value of the organization, refuse to test a premium. Yet, most customers and donors respond well to them and, when used properly, a premium-despite its added cost-can increase the mailing’s net profit.
  • Try a larger format. Mailing a larger format can increase both your postage and production costs. Yet they grab attention and drive response. Today, fewer groups are using oversize formats because of their higher costs. But in past tests, when nothing other than the format size was changed, I’ve increased response by 100% with an oversize format.
  • Add an insert that draws attention to your guarantee. The mailing’s recipient has plenty of reasons-real or perceived-not to respond to your offer and the guarantee helps remove any doubt that might otherwise endanger the sale. And by highlighting your guarantee with a separate insert, you’re focusing attention to your promise for a good customer experience.
  • Feature a lift note. Have the lift note come from someone other than the main letter signer sign and print it on a paper stock that stands out from the main letter. Use it to customize the offer to particular list segments, present an endorsement, expand upon the offer and to give an added “push” to get the reader to respond.
  • Invest money in more sophisticated list segmentation techniques. Even the best mailing lists include names that won’t respond to your offer and every bad list includes names that will. And since the mailing list is the most important component of your mailing, there’s no better place to invest money than to refine your list segmentation techniques. List modeling/profiling isn’t inexpensive but with improved segmentation you can boost your response and even minimize your total costs by mailing fewer, but better targeted, mailing pieces.

All this isn’t to suggest that you should drop your efforts to reduce costs. But as direct marketers, we’ll do far better by shifting the discussion from how to cut costs to how we can make our mailings more profitable.

Increase Your Network Marketing Sales Using Social Networking

The home business industry has changed whether you want to believe it or not. I believe that no longer are hotel meetings and old school strategies are the things you should be using to increase your network marketing sales. With the huge number of internet users growing daily, if you are not trying to figure out a way to get in front of this audience, you are missing out big time.

Personally, I use a lot of social networking sites such as MySpace because I get to build relationships that way. I can’t tell you how tired I am of people literally spamming me with offers. That is the nasty vibe people get when they hear income opportunities thrown all through the net.

Like I mentioned, these websites allow you to build rapport with people before you try and get them to look at what you are promoting. Network marketing has had a huge shift in philosophy and if you haven’t noticed yet, people are having success when they use sites like this correctly.

If you can look like someone who wants to actually help another person, instead of selling them a magic potion or super weight loss pill, your chances of success on the internet are great.

Now does it take work? Of course. If you want your network marketing sales to increase, you are going to have to put in work. There are no if, ands, or buts about it. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. What social networks also allow you to do is build your own web presence.

You have to let people know who you are. Sending them to a replicated affiliate link doesn’t show your uniqueness. But bringing them to your personal profile about YOU will help them trust you in such a great way.

It’s all about building rapport. Do this and you will see your network marketing sales skyrocket.

Maximize Your Marketing Efforts With the “2-Step” Free Offer Method

Advertising is hard enough, but trying to close a sale in a short ad is very ineffective. This is why you should offer something for free in your ad, and then follow-up on your prospects later for the sale.You can generate a lead, and market directly to this customer over and over again until they purchase your product. This is a very effective way of marketing your products especially if you don’t have a lot of money to invest in advertising.When mentioning your free offer in your ad, you want to give them an offer that they can’t refuse. Your prospects are looking for something that can help them achieve a particular goal or solve a certain problem. So it’s best to create a free report or free sample of your product that you can give to them to try out.For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you could offer a free report on great tips someone should know before buying their first home. If you’re a doctor, you could offer a free report on how to improve your overall health all by yourself. If you’re a baker, you could offer a free sample of bread or a cupcake. The ideas are limitless and you want to make your free offer in-tune with your business.The free report method is great because you give yourself the opportunity to follow-up on a prospect multiple times before they make their purchasing decision. And when they make that decision, you’ll be first in their mind because you consistently followed-up on them and offered them great information.The free report method is also called the “2-step” method. This is a 2-step process because you are first generating a lead, then then second – providing the requested information. This method is more effective than just advertising your products and services because it is easier to generate a lead than it is to sell a product. You don’t have to persuade anyone to buy anything.When advertising, you always want to get the contact information from your prospects so you can follow-up on them in the future. To get the most from your 2-step process, you have to keep it simple.The purpose of the 2-step method is to generate a huge number of leads that you will market to with your follow-up information. But in order to get this huge number of leads, you first have to sell them on responding to your ad. You can do this with these 3 simple tips:1) Have a logical reason for responding to your ad2) Have multiple ways to respond3) Including what’s in it for them when they respond to your adIf you can include a logical reason for responding to your ad, then your conversion rate will skyrocket big time. Having multiple means of responding is important because not everyone wants to respond by phone. So include mailing, fax, or even your website address if you have one. And finally, including what’s in it for them when they respond.All prospects want to know “what’s in it for me” – so you have to let them know. This also goes back to the first point above for having a logical reason to respond – so don’t skimp on this step.This is how you should be acquiring your leads when you advertise. And it’s easy to track your results. If you get a lot of leads, you can roll out with this 2-step campaign over and over again, bringing you endless profits in the future. Be sure to start implementing this proven way of advertising right now.