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Added: June 29, 2006
Article rating: 4.33 (of 5) - 3 votes

Direct Mail Strategies

[ by Sharon Youngblood ]
Just in this week, I've received so many emails asking me to go into greater detail about the things I've been covering over the last few weeks in my Private Direct Mail Newsletter, that I've decided to do exactly that.

So let's get started.

Testing. If you learn to test correctly, you will be way ahead of any competitor you might have. Many businesses make the same mistakes over and over again when they test a product or service.

I'm going to give you a quick and easy way to find out if your product or service is viable, and then you can begin a complete program of testing. But first you must take the following steps.

Give it your best shot on your very first test.

The first item you must consider is the list you mail to. You can't afford anything but the best list that you have available. If it doesn't work to the best lists, it sure won't work for any of the others.

The list you want is of multi-buyers of any product that is similar to or the same as yours. If it is available, you want to rent the hotline names. Hotline names are those who have made a purchase within the last 30 days.

Now I want you to think about price. You can offer the lowest price or the highest price on this test. But I want you to offer the lowest price possible with which you could make a decent profit. Even if it's a small profit.

Give it your best shot on the first mailing because if it works, you can raise your prices on the following mailings and see how that works. If you are doing a two step process, do not mention price until after your sales call.

Then send your sales letters or letter requesting a call or some other action via first class mail. You can always play and test with bulk mail later if this promotion works.

Let me sum it up for you. On the first mailing you are going to your hottest prospects, at the lowest price possible, and allowing them to raise their hand for your product and/or service and sending very strong copy by first class mail.

Now, when you prove your initial letter is viable, then you can begin a testing program. Test only one variable at a time. This is because if you test both a lower price and a longer guarantee at the same time, you won't know which one brought in the extra orders you just received.

You should test everything. Again, one at a time. Price, guarantee, bonuses, quantities, terms, media, headlines, benefits stressed, and anything else you can think of.

Let's now go over testimonials in greater detail.

I'm going to give you ways of getting tons of glowing testimonials from your customers for free, and what to do with them to generate bigger profits.

The key to getting testimonials is really to ask for them. Many of your customers will be happy to give you their testimonial but you never asked them. Here are some ideas for getting them from your customers.

Include a short questionnaire when you send your product to them or at the point of sale. Be sure to ask for comments. When you communicate with your customers, tell them that you are looking for stories about your product, services, or business.

When you talk to customers on the phone or face-to-face, ask them for testimonials. Do a survey of your customers and offer a free gift to anyone who helps. But, the testimonials are really worthless if you never use them. Put them to work immediately.

The best testimonials are those that are very specific. "I earned an extra $50,000 last year with your sales software system, " is a lot better than "I earned more money last year with your system. Or, " I increased revenue by 25%, over a 6 month period, when I used your services," is a lot better than, "I got more business."

Now use these testimonials liberally in all of your advertising. They are the proof of what your claiming and will establish your credibility. They also show that real people, people like them, are using your products and have great experiences with them. In your advertising use the testimonials to back up any of your claims.

For example: If you claim the software system you are selling will save the executive many hours of wasted time, back it up with a specific statement from one of your customers.

A very important point is to get permission to use the full name and city, and if possible phone number of your testimonials. Initials are better than nothing, but real names and phone numbers are more effective.

If you can, use a picture. Make sure to get written permission before using any testimonial.

Now for more ideas on using Postcards.

Again, you must start with your best mailing list. Your own customers are the best. Then get yourself a supply of small, inexpensive first class postcards. Depending on what you are selling, you may want to have a free-recorded telephone sales message to refer them to.

Your post card could say something like this:

"Dear Friend,

Would you like to know the secret on how to increase your child's chance of getting into the college of their choice?

If so, all you have to do is call 666-12324 and you will hear a free-recorded message that reveals how you can do that.

Sincerely,
Sharon Youngblood"

You must now create a powerful telephone message that offers real value to your prospect. End the recording with your sales pitch and phone number that they can call for more information or ask them to leave their mailing information for a free report.

The important thing is to offer information that your prospects are interested in, and take the fear out of doing something by telling them they will get the information from a recorded message and then letting them know how you can help them and inviting them to call you, leave the information for the free report, or even to come to your place of business.

This is a great way to create leads for further follow-up.

-----------------
Sharon works with organizations and individuals to dig deep; to discover and strengthen their core abilities. Sharon Youngblood is a Certified Management Consultant, coach and speaker. She may be contacted at say@youngbloodconsulting.com or (520) 795-7498. Additional articles are available: www.youngbloodconsulting.com

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