In previous articles, I have covered marketing through seminars and marketing to seniors (for copies visit: /data/articles-real.htm ). In this article, I focus on making your direct mail work.
It's safe to say that many producers in the financial services arena have tried direct mail. And on at least one attempt, you've probably had less than stellar results. After spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars, you may have even come to the conclusion that "direct mail doesn't work." Direct mail DOES work and although there are many variables to a successful campaign, I'll cover three critical variables in this article.
Why do some direct mail programs fail and some succeed? Let's take the reasons in order:
1. Your message does not match your audience. This sounds like a simplistic issue, but it's not. Here's an example. A producer sent direct mail to an audience of seniors trumpeting investments with a high return. The producer felt that seniors general want more income, so a high return should be attractive. While it's true that many seniors would like to earn more, a high return is not the emotionallycompelling issue for seniors. Their emotionally compelling issue is preservation of principal. They seek to preserve their estate. Additionally, they are skeptical and a high return can also mean high risk. The response was terrible.
Understanding this emotionally compelling issue, an attorney's sole marketing program was to send 8000 letters each calendar quarter to seniors with home values of $400,000 and above. The letter explained that without a living trust:
- Their family could pay unnecessary taxes
- Their estate could be tied up in probate for months, even years
- Their overly busy children could be bothered by numerous details
- Attorney's and executors fees could easily total $40,000 or more
The reaction from recipients? This attorney did sufficient business from those mailings to fill his calendar all year! He sold the trust as a vehicle to help preserve their estate.
2. Failure to include sub-titles or bullet points in the mailing piece. While the title (every piece of direct mail must have a big, bold title) must coincide with the audience's primary "hot button," the bullet points help capture those segments of the audience with different agendas.
For example, not every senior is motivated by preserving their estate. Occasionally I meet seniors that are intent on building their estate. At age 70, they are still buying property, wheeling and dealing. Or I meet others whose main focus is their children. If I can develop sub-titles or bullet points in my mail piece around these issues, I can capture a response from these sub-groups or market segments.
These two issues--identifying the main emotionally compelling motivator and identifying the "sub motivators" require that you really know your audience. I invite you to investigate your audience thoroughly even if you think you know them. You can easily do this by calling some of your existing clients in your target group and asking them a few questions, such as:
What's your #1 financial concern?
If your main source of income disappeared tomorrow, who are you most concerned about?
What's your most important asset?
Twenty years from now, where will your money be?
3. Failure to make a non-intimidating offer. Do not waste your time telling them, "we will call you soon …." Rather, ask them for action.
You cannot ask them to call and schedule a free appointment. That's too intimidating. You are a stranger, they do not know you and you're asking too much. Instead:
Offer a free booklet
Offer a free class/seminar (where they can remain unnamed and anonymous)
Offer free information from a web site (the web site will require them to log in)
Offer a free quote
The offer allows the respondent to take some no-risk action and receive something they perceive of benefit. Once they respond, you now have someone who is worth pursuing for business.