A few months ago I received a pretty cool, higher end pen engraved with my company name and address on it in a direct mail piece from a merchandising/pen distributor. The company offered me a great deal on my first order of pens—and provided the pen as a sample. It was nifty pen and it certainly caught my attention. At the time I wondered about the value of having branded pens to give to clients and whether it would be a worthwhile investment.
Over the next two or three months the pen, which was good quality, kept resurfacing around the office. Each time I saw it it made me think of the pen company. Then a few weeks ago, as I was leaving the office, I realized that it may be useful to keep us in the minds of clients—a constant memory jogger of our company—much in the same way that the pen had been unconsciously reminding me to buy branded pens. I thought to myself as I climbed in my car, “I am interested in buying a batch of pens and sending it to our existing clients” (and, of course, I must assume it was on my mind because I had probably just seen the ever-surfacing pen back at the office).
But then I forgot about the pen again. After all, I was on my way to a meeting and hadn’t written it down to pursue. Never fear though, the idea resurfaced in my mind. I wondered to myself where the original direct mail piece, with the special offer, was. I wracked my memory, “Did I keep it? Did I file it? Should I go ahead and order a small batch of pens?”
And then I forgot about them again.
Now bear in mind, other than the actual pen, I had not received any more direct mail pieces from the pen distributor to try them out.
The Squeak of the Pen Wears Down My Sales Resistance
About three or four weeks ago I finally decided that I would purchase some pens by the end of the year. I tried hunting for the direct mail piece so I could take advantage of the special offer because the pen itself did not have the pen company’s contact information but rather it had my company and my address (short sighted marketing?).
So today I got another pen in the mail. It was interesting and high quality. Exactly, what I was thinking of buying all these past months.
But here’s the catch. It was a different pen company! The packaging was similar and the pen, too. I may very well not have noticed that it was a different pen but for the fact that the company that sent me this new direct mail piece had an unusual name and I knew I had never heard of them before.
The point of this story is simple. The first pen distributor made a fatal mistake: they only contacted me once.
Squeak, Wheel, Squeak!
It is vital when doing direct marketing to hit a list more than once. It took me about three or four months to make a decision to buy—after all, it wasn’t an immediate or high priority for me when I received the promotion.
The pen distributor’s mailing house or marketing team should have advised them to combine at least two or three reminder blasts of inexpensive postcard mailings to follow up on the more expensive pen sample mailing. Then, while this whole process of “pondering pens” was working its way around my mind, the repetitive reminders would have pushed me into finally calling their sales line and ordered my first batch.
Grease the Right Wheel
The most important mailing list you could mail is your own existing clients. Like you and I, your customers lead busy lives. They are juggling kids, work, family gatherings, pets and holidays. They need to be reminded of your business and when you regularly mail or contact them your income and sales respond.
To illustrate this point, my daughter mentioned last night she hasn’t been to her chiropractor for several weeks because she missed an appointment and then forgot to call and make a new one. She mentioned it as we were discussing newsletters as she realized she had not received any newsletters or correspondence from the office which would have prompted or reminded her to call them up to reschedule the visit.
Read the Manual
Don’t make the same mistake as the now long forgotten, nameless pen company. Anyone in the direct mail industry will tell you to choose your list carefully and then mail to it at least three times before moving on. You can improve your sales and income with repetitive postcard and newsletter mailings to well-targeted lists.
And when a list produces good leads, keep mailing to
it until it stops producing leads and resist the urge to change it just for the sake of changing it.