Mailing Massively for Maximum Losses

Despite the “Social Media Makes Everything Else Obsolete!!!” chorus from inbound marketing purists, direct mail as a viable lead generation tactic is still alive and well. Sort of…

Using direct mail effectively does not mean running 1,000 names and addresses through a mail merge and stuffing envelopes until your fingers bleed from paper cuts. That’s no better than randomly picking up the phone and spitting out a memorized, generic pitch before the inevitable hang up. Reaching more people at the expense of quality sacrifices the very advantages that professional services professionals and firms should be capitalizing on:

  1. You don’t have to sell 2,000,000 units a month to be very profitable…2-3 new projects usually does the trick.
  2. You get paid for your expertise and ability to solve a very specific problem. The market for that solution is finite, which makes it easier to target.
  3. The amount of intel available online is staggering, making it easier than ever to know exactly who to reach, exactly what to say to that specific person, and exactly how to position your services.

The downside? It takes effort. Time. Thought and creativity. Is it possible to reach out to 100 times more prospects with a generic form letter? Sure. But the cost of going for quantity over quality isn’t worth it.

Try this instead:

  1. Research and build an in-house database of potential prospects. At this stage, going for quantity is OK. The point is to have as big a relevant group to target as possible.
  2. Set a daily or weekly prospecting goal. Pick a number that will work with your schedule, but commit to sending out at least one letter a day.
  3. Research one prospect at a time, looking for critical information like best contact person, physical address, what they do, problems they may have and how you might approach them with a potential solution. Sam Richter’s book Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling offers some great advice, resources and strategies for finding out almost everything you need to know online. The book was written specifically for telemarketing purposes, but the principles apply just as well to writing targeted sales letters.
  4. Write your letter. Make it specific to that prospect. Will some text be standardized across several letters? Of course. Just don’t fall back into the habit of sending out generic junk mail.

Well researched, targeted sales letters are still relevant in our Web 2.0 world, but like most things in life, you get out what you put in.

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