Sandra J. Blum writes in The December/January 2009 issue of Dynamic Graphics + Create magazine that direct mail is thriving. According to Blum, “It’s measurable, tested and proven in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing.” Blum writes that the addition of online channels can make your direct mail marketing more targeted, and that those pieces will have a better chance to get noticed. “So direct marketing has not only been replaced by online media,” Blum says, “it has more than proven itself as a valuable partner to online media.”
Amongst several resources, Blum refers to one of our favorite sources, Marketing Sherpa. In survey results Marketing Sherpa published in August ’08, “Lead Nurturing Best Practices: New Data, Charts, Tips to Put More Punch in Your Cultivation Tactics”, they suggest that employing a solid “lead nurturing strategy” is especially important during tough economic times, and offers best practices and strategies which hold the potential to qualify and convert more Web leads.
Marketing Sherpa states that within the companies studied:
56.2% of companies are using additional targeted emails for those prospects
48.9% employ telemarketing to further qualify leads
In comparison, only 22.2% are using direct mail for nurturing beyond emails and telemarketing
Marketing Sherpa recommends using a combination of these media for a strong lead nurturing program.
1. Email Messages:
Send a special, welcome email when a prospect enters your lead nurturing program. If they register for a white paper or other marketing collateral, use a welcome email to thank them, and point out additional education resources available to them.
Also, use prospect emails to periodically alert prospects to new resources e.g. upcoming webinars,
appearances by company officials at events, new white papers
Use specially-trained inside salespeople or outsourced telemarketing to offer additional resources that will help move prospects through the buying process. In these conversations, collect additional qualifying information, e.g. potential time-frame for purchase decision, details about company size and business needs.
3. Direct Mail
Use targeted mailings, such as a simple postcard, to promote new white papers or upcoming webinars. Postal mail, sent along with an email invite, is a great way to attract additional registrations for your hottest marketing content when inbox overload might cause busy professionals to overlook your email offer.
Larger mailings can also have a big impact on some of your best prospects. Consider sending them printed product brochures, personalized packages that include targeted content and a branded gift.
Integrate mailing with telemarketing calls. When a telemarketer has identified a more qualified prospect, assemble a customized package of printed materials that demonstrate how your company can help meet their business needs or particular pain points.
In summary, strategies which work for one prospect, simply may not work for another. Since the price of postage and printing has gone up substantially over the last few years, using a targeted direct mail program for your best qualified leads may be the best way to get through to a specific prospective customer. Experiment. Be open to selective targeted strategies.
Don’t let a prospective or existing client slip through your database. Determine who/what/where/how/when, and continue to re-evaluate every quarter.