Guest Post: contributed by Jennifer Hazen of What a Business!

A small business owner and Women in Biz member recently submitted a great question:

“I want to send out a direct mail piece, but I’m not sure it will be effective. How can I do it right, without cutting corners or ignoring my existing clients?”

Dear Small Business Owner,

Let’s face it. Today it’s all about getting in front of people. There are lots of ways to do this, but a very traditional (and in my opinion underrated) method is using direct mailers. A tangible, physical piece of mail the recipient can hold in their hands and touch. In today’s world of endless digital deliveries, reaching out through someone’s mailbox can go a long, long way.

But before you begin designing a direct mail campaign, ask yourself if you can handle the follow up that will ensue. Do you have the time to give each prospect the attention they deserve as a potential client?

If you answered yes, you’re probably wondering where to start. Here are some tips to help you create an effective direct mail campaign.

Think about your call to action
So you have a postcard, a creative promo package or a sales letter you want to send to prospective clients. That’s great! But make sure you’re clear on what you want them to do with it. Do you want them to visit your website? Do you want them to call you? Or will you be contacting them?

Research your target market
Spend some time identifying your ideal client and speak directly to them. That means first and foremost, knowing the decision maker’s name and how to spell it. In a sales letter, ditch the general greeting of “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” When I receive solicitations like that, they find a home in the trash can quickly.

Mail merge letters and envelopes
Here are some instructional videos on mail merges and envelopes. Or, contact your favourite printing company to request a quote.

Get the details right
Your mailer won’t go anywhere without an up-to-date address, so make sure your mailing list is current.

Follow up
Consider using a CRM application (like Highrise HQ, Nimble Social CRM or Zoho CRM) to help track your progress and follow ups.

Send out your first mailer in small batches
Rather than sending out hundreds of pieces all at once, try sending out small batches. There are a couple really great benefits to this.
• You can consider it a “trial run” and make adjustments based on the results.
• You can speak more directly to a small number of people rather than trying to find a common interest in a larger group.
Plus, 20 follow up phone calls or emails are much easier to do than 200. Keep in mind you still have existing clients to take care of!

Have an administrative question or problem? Here’s your chance to submit your question by posting it on the WIBN Facebook page.

I’ll answer short questions on the WIBN Facebook wall and will also select one reader’s problem as the next blog post to be published.


Image: Felixco, Inc. /