by Ed Yourdon
You may think I’m exaggerating when I say this, but I assure you that I’m not. When you decide to mail your next postcard campaign for your real estate investing firm, consider this suggestion: give twice the effort to the mailing list as you do to your copy.
What? Have I just committed direct-mail heresy?
Hardly. Every successful direct mail marketer knows that the mailing list is the vehicle upon which his success rises or falls. Oh, it’s ton more fun talking about copy and headlines and offers. And this is indeed the creative side of the business.
But every single person who has made a fortune in direct mail harbors this secret that few dare repeat.
In fact, here’s a quick formula for success to keep in the back of your mind. It’s called the 40-40-20 principle of direct marketing. And it means that 40 percent of your efforts should be focused on selecting your mailing list. Another 40 percent of your should be directed to your offer. The remaining 20 percent of your time then can be spent on your copy, your text and the general design of your mailing.
It’s a little known secret. But it’s a very effective little known secret.
So how to do you begin to choose the right list. First, by making you sure you use a list broker. Today, you can rent a list of names in just about any category imaginable – and many even the most vivid of your dreams can’t imagine. So in order to select the mailing list that targets your market, you need to ask some questions. Specifically, use some of these the next time you speak with your list broker:
1) Ask all the right questions.
Don’t just take his generalization that this list is right for you. It may very well could be, but discover the last time it was updated (a good broker updates a minimum of once every three months) How did they create this list . . . in other words, what sources did they use in pulling these names together.
Does the list contain duplicates? And if it does can your broker eliminate them for you? What are the formats you can receive this material in, CD’s, internet downloads, emails, labels?
2) Direct marketers, know thy customer!
Find out as much as you can about your typical customer. The more information you can provide your broker the better the names on the list will work for you. You’ll want to know a variety of things about them, including their age, their gender, approximate income as well as their lifestyles, and interests. You’ll also want to be sure to inform your list broker of the geographic area you want to target.
3) Know your intentions.
This means know exactly what you want your mailing to do. Is this a mailing to generate leads for you to follow up on? Or you are anticipating this campaign to produce some sales? It really does make a difference. And your list broker can help you do this.
Now you at least have a slight idea about how much work you’ll need to put into the selection of your next selection of names. And for you to experience success, it may be more time and effort than you originally thought.
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