6 tips on getting more leads from direct mail campaigns

Email campaigns are a cost-effective, important and highly effective tool for attracting new customers and maintaining your customer base. Although a considerable amount of junk mail (“spam”) finds its way into our inboxes every day, email remains one of our most important communication channels. But why is it that one email will be read and responded to while a hundred others are deleted unread or marked as spam?

Here are six of the most important steps you can take to improve your response rate.

1. Become a trend scout

Every industry always has buzzwords and trending topics that attract a lot of public attention. It doesn’t really matter whether these are hyped by the media, stage-managed by lobbyists, spread by competitors or highlighted thanks to changes in legislation. What is important is the momentum that’s already behind them. You don’t have to generate this yourself. All you need to do is capitalise on it – ride the wave of their success.

Like right now, for example:

Trending topic: Digitalisation in the EU / digital single market / WiFi4EU

2. Never underestimate the importance of the subject line

Do you enjoy writing subject lines? Most marketers don’t – but you should! If you devote time and creativity to doing this, you’ll already stand out from most of your competitors – and by doing so give yourself a clear edge.

Because headlines / subject lines are an important part of the text – they decide whether your direct mail campaign is read or deleted. So beware of banalities such as “Important info” or “News from XY”.

Instead be creative, ask questions, be provocative, even make jokes (within the boundaries of good taste) - but, whatever you do, make sure to arouse your reader's curiosity.

Examples for our trending topic:

Are your citizens offline? - EU funding: could you be eligable too? - EU funds WLAN for [place name]

The same goes for headlines / bullet points:

Germany / Austria has some catching up to do: WLAN hotspots too few and far between
WLAN: Often faster and more stable than mobile telephony
WLAN hotspots for everyone - now EU funded
New funding for WLAN infrastructure - are you in?

3. Approach customers in a targeted manner

It’s probably happened to you: You receive spam emails from Eastern European women proposing marriage, but you’re actually a happily married woman, or you’re offered medication for menstrual cramps even though you’re a man.

What is common practice on the consumer market is still far too frequent in the B2B sector: Emails are sent indiscriminately to large numbers of recipients, even though it doesn’t take a genius to realise that an Internet marketing agency doesn’t need SEO assistance for its own webpage, for example.

The most important and sustainable success factor in the B2B sector, and even more so in the field of services and value-added services, is a good customer relationship. In marketing, everything revolves around consistently working on building and strengthening relationships. Getting to know your customer as well as possible is a good place to start. That’s why you should carry out thorough online research to find out which customers might need the services you’re offering.

Segment their email addresses accordingly and send targeted information. If possible, personalise the salutation. Make the approach personal, be engaging and show that you are serious about what you're offering.

Most word processors have delivered this for a long time now, yet many providers limit themselves to the succinct “Dear Customer...”. But not you. You make sure that what you’re offering is interesting, at least in theory, and you also present yourself as a partner for whom the customer is not just a number.

If the customer’s needs are already being met elsewhere or they aren’t interested for other reasons, this isn’t a problem. At least they’ll notice that you’ve made a point of understanding them and their industry. Maybe they’ll remember you at a later date, a moment that could happen at any time. Renovations, extensions, new buildings, disagreements with a former partner, a new requirement that the predecessor cannot meet – if you’ve already established a relationship with the customer, sooner or later, you’ll reap the benefits.

4. Offer information with added value

You’ll know this from your own inbox – you don’t bother to read badly written advertising emails that simply promote a product, advertise a discount or recommend their own services.

If, however, you manage to avoid this overly direct type of promotion, you’ll often be left with the even less exciting “We are specialists in... and will be happy to help you if you ever need...” kind of emails instead. Hardly anyone reads these messages either yet you still receive an incredible amount of them. So who is sending them then?

Presumably people who don’t put as much thought into their campaigns as you put into yours. Because you offer high-quality content, research a topic and give your customers an overview of it.

Look for various sources of information and quote them. Filter what your customers might be interested in and present it in the form of concentrated, concise information. This will set you apart from at least 80% of your competitors.

You know all about a trending topic and not only provide your potential customers with suitable information that they enjoy reading, but also present yourself as an expert. It’s then plausible that you’ll be in a position to be able to offer your customer exactly what they want – and they will trust you more if they perceive you as an expert.

Examples of sources of information on our trending topic:

5. Marketing effective initial contact

So, you've neatly segmented your addresses, researched your information and have quality content ready to send - now it's all about the packaging, the effective initial contact.

Appeal to your customer using emotion and logic:

Ideally, you should appeal to reason, emotion, logic and responsibility, in this order, and thereby obtain the consent that you can use as a trigger for further interaction with your customer.

Our sense of reason loves numbers and facts, our emotions are particularly receptive to feelings, but also to fears, our sense of logic understands the obvious, while responsibility is a basic moral value that is pretty much automatically endorsed in our society. When approached in this way, people can't help but feel and indicate their consent. You then use this trigger to get the customer on board and place your call to action (more on this in 6).

So what does a text that takes all this into account actually look like?

Here's a suitable example for our topic:

New customers:

Did you know that you can receive funding for up to 100% of the costs of setting up WLAN hotspot infrastructure? The EU awards up to EUR 20,000 per project to public institutions.

As a software development company with [NUMBER] years of experience, we have already set up [NUMBER] hotspots, and our [NUMBER] customers are well looked after by our highly trained experts. And one thing we're sure of is that we see it as our responsibility to give you competent, constructive advice in all matters and to bring you only the best offers.

We'd be happy to contact you in the next few days to discuss your needs.

Existing customers:

Did you know that you can receive funding for up to 100% of the costs of setting up WLAN hotspot infrastructure? The EU awards up to EUR 20,000 per project to public institutions.

As a customer of [NUMBER] years, you already know that you'll always be well looked after by our highly skilled experts. And we're very clear about the fact that we see it as our responsibility to give you competent, constructive advice in all matters and to inform you of the best offers for you.

We'd be happy to contact you within the next few days to discuss your needs in more detail.

6. Never forget the call to action!

You've put a lot of effort into the presentation of your initial contact and sent your message to the right targets, so that some of the intended recipients have actually read the email. Now it's time to seal the deal and turn the reader into a lead.

It's amazing how often people simply forget to do this. Everyone knows how impatient people are today, how quickly they click their way through offers and websites, and how quickly they'll give up if it's not entirely clear what they should do next. Just remember, a lead only becomes a lead if the recipient of a campaign message qualifies as such thanks to an action of some kind i.e. they've expressed their interest in a demonstrable way - clicked a link, written an email, filled out a contact form.

TELL the customer clearly and unambiguosly what needs to be done. It might look like this::

Like to know more? Simply call us on ...
Or: Fill out this form. We'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Or: Provide us with your phone number. Your consultant will contact you promptly.

It's important that the call to action is clear, concise and unambiguous. Additional navigation or selection options on landing pages, ambiguous requests such as "Call or email us" should be avoided, as should complicated forms with too many mandatory fields.

Low-effort prompts, such as mailto links with pre-formulated messages or simply the clicking of a button to say "Yes, please contact me" etc. are always much more effective.

Use these 6 tips to make your direct mailing campaigns even more successful. Be sure to monitor their progress and document your success. This will allow you to keep track of what works and apply your experiences to other direct mail campaigns.

Good luck!

The Asteas Sales Training Team

Find helpful tips on new and existing customer acquisition:
6 tips for generating new acquisition
Hunting for new customers via telemarketing?
6 tips on generating more sales from existing customers

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