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The seven deadly sins of the marketing mailshot

Personal, powerful, immediate…the mailshot is still very much a key part of the business marketing armoury. But many companies keep on making the same mistakes. Check out our list to avoid committing the seven deadly sins of the marketing mailshot:

  1. Forgetting your existing clients

How sure are you that every one of your existing clients knows every service you provide? If you’re like most businesses, we bet the answer is NO! Winston is one of our many good friends and creative design and print clients. He recently discovered that one of his regular clients had ordered a high end home security system from another supplier. The missing link? Winston had never really communicated properly to his client that he does electrical and security installations. So he lost out on a large order – OUCH! Your mailshot is a powerful way to keep your clients informed about everything you can offer them. So you don’t end up listening to your clients saying “If only I’d known you did that….!” as your competitor banks their cheque.

  1. Missing your target

As experienced print for business experts, we know this next deadly sin is all too common. Many companies spend time and money on mailshots, without really fine tuning who they want it to inspire. Background research may not sound exciting, but it is essential. So make sure you research your target market and invest in a good quality data source. Money spent on accurate data will save on the cost of printing and design in the long run. Local business support organisations like your chamber of commerce or your local branch of the Federation of Small Businesses can recommend data service providers.

  1. Telling when you can sell

Business print isn’t that different from selling in person. You wouldn’t bombard that potential new client with too much detail in an initial sales meeting, would you? So why do it in your mailshots? Steer clear of this sin and follow the rule of using the front for selling and the back for telling. The front of your mailshot (and particularly the top two thirds) is your main selling space so don’t over-clutter it with too much information. A bold headline and a relevant image works well here. The reverse is where you need to do the telling, the detail: how many, how much, where from, etc.

  1. Ignoring their problems

One moment. That’s all you usually get to grab your reader’s attention. If they feel that what you have to offer directly solves their business pain or supports their aspirations, they may well take a closer look at your mailshot. Find that pain and match your approach to fit. If your service or product is all about lifestyle, then find an angle which mirrors your client’s ambitions.

  1. Playing it way too cool

We’ve been in printing and design for a long time. So we know just how common this sin is in business. This is the over-casual, no-time-limits approach. There’s no urgency and therefore no way of provoking a response. Ideas for fighting this sin include using lines such as: “Act now before it’s too late”, “Sale ends this bank holiday Monday”, “Until the end of April we’re upgrading all new customers to our premium service at no extra charge”. Why play it casual when you can capture more customers more quickly?

  1. Being stingy

Do your mailshots come with short arms and deep pockets? Avoid the classic mailshot sin of being mean. The reality is that for most products or services, 10% off just doesn’t cut it any more. Make the offer a generous one, do your sums to ensure your campaign isn’t going to overstretch your budget. Think of it this way: once your prospects start buying, they’ll be back for more. Consider the lifetime value to you of a new client (for most businesses it’s three years of ordering) and tailor your offer with this revenue stream in mind.

  1. Skipping the test

When it comes to print for business, we understand that the pressure is on you to create results. But if you think tests should be confined to the classroom, you’re in danger of committing the final deadly mailshot sin. If you’re doing something new or if you’re not sure about the potential response, test your campaign first! Order a small number of leaflets or flyers (250, for example) and send them out to a small section of your target market to test the response. If these are your existing clients, you can call them and get their views and suggestions. People usually enjoy being asked for their feedback!

For more tips on getting your business noticed for the right reasons, keep in touch with our blog and join us on Facebook and Twitter now!

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