Driving sales up in a down marketing

By: Seth Rand

By Michael J Carrus – August, 2008

Businesses today face increasingly difficult decisions with their advertising budgets due to low sales and reduced customer response. It is very typical to see businesses stop advertising when the economy is down and cash flow is tight. I recommend my clients never stop spending altogether in a down market, but rather adjust how and where they spend.

Companies that stop spending altogether in a down market are forced to start fresh when the market improves. On the contrary, companies with the wherewithal to adjust their spending will weather the down market, having an edge over the competition by being aggressive sooner when the market does improve.

With so many options to a business owner it is not easy to decide how to adjust spending. That’s why traditional media like direct mail are back in style in such a big way.

Once you determine direct mail is right for you the next step is to choose a firm to work with who can help you with your campaign. A successful direct mail campaign includes several factors including design, offer, target, cost, etc. I spoke with national full color printing and graphic design company Preferred Print on the subject.

I first asked what trends were emerging in the full color printing industry and what has been successful for his customers. “…companies are realizing old faithful always delivered in the past, and are turning back to direct mail in droves. Let’s face it…in today’s market the security of a steady predictable conversion rate is more important than ever...”

When asked about customer success they said “it is important to our customers to have their campaign handled by one shop. By handling all aspects of the campaign from graphic design, full color printing, as well as the prospect mailing list needs and postage it keeps their costs down.” He added ”I had a recent customer mail 5000 full color postcards to a targeted list and picked up new customers worth $60,000 in total sales.”

When designing a direct mail campaign, full color printing is better than not. A postcard in full color is more impactful and is proven to get better results. Design your mailer around the goal of the campaign and the audience, as well as the product. Next you need to decide what type of mailer to use.

Postcards allow your message to have immediate attention and are especially useful for announcing new products or services, special offers, and lead generation. When deciding what size post card to use it is important to remember the most expensive cost is the postage, not the printing. This means you should opt for the larger format like a 6”x11”, since the printing costs are similar. It is typically the largest piece in the mailbox and commands attention. “We have seen big changes in our customers results when moving to a larger format, as much as 100%-150%.” says Mark Murray of Preferred Print.

That translates to real numbers. On 5000 4”x6” post cards with a total cost of $1445 for printing, and postage with a .5% response is $57.80 per lead. With the same campaign on a 6” x 11” post card total cost is $2095 with a response of .5% at $21 per lead. Obviously, results vary but the fact remains the small additional investment typically results in a marked increase in overall campaign results.

Brochures and Sell Sheets are better suited to share lots of information you can’t fit on a full color postcard by having more space to convey the message visually and verbally. An 11” x 17” tri-fold brochure is great for getting your message out in a newsletter format and has good responses with the right design, plus you don’t need to use an envelope saving even more.

Finally, the most critical component is the list itself. This will make or break your campaign. “By properly targeting the people in the right stage in the buying cycle the conversions can be staggering. As an example, targeting a list of consumers for automotive lease can garner a typical .5% response. However, by targeting people in the last 3-6 months of their lease, our customer tripled their response by getting their prospects at a time they were already looking to make a move.” This can translate to virtually any industry; it simply requires working with the right partner.

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For more information on full color printing or to discuss a direct mail campaign for your business contact Mark Murray with Preferred Print @ 800-329-0005 or visit www.preferredprint.com
This article is also available to link to @ www.fullcolorprintingnews.com

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