Ask an MSP ExpertQ: As a growing MSP, we’re constantly looking for new ways to appeal to our prospects, and we’re ready to try something different. We were thinking about trying direct mail, but I’m not sure how we should go about it. Do you have any tips for launching an effective direct mail campaign?

Congratulations on incorporating another way to reach out to your prospects. Recognizing that you need multiple methods to reach potential customers is an important step in expanding your business and introducing new clients to your managed service offering. And, when you develop a successful direct mail campaign, you can see some tremendous results.

To give you advice on how to create a direct mail campaign that will make a splash, we spoke to Richard Delahaye, the senior director of marketing at Intronis MSP Solutions. Richard has created a variety successful direct mail campaigns, and he believes that direct mail is a great way to gain your prospects attention. Here is Richard’s advice for creating an effective campaign:

Why direct mail works

presentPeople don’t read emails. It’s a fact that most marketers don’t like to admit. Direct mail on the other hand is something that grabs people’s attention. Direct mail really peaked in the ’70s and ’80s, and after digital marketing was introduced it nearly vanished. That’s what makes it so easy to get noticed using direct mail now.

Direct mail is really an opportunity for you to differentiate your business and get a meaningful response. While there is chance the first campaign you try won’t work, once you get it right and your prospects like what they see, it’s a great way to create worthwhile conversations for your sales team.

Best practices for direct mail campaigns

Direct mail is a great way to convert a name in the database to a conversation, and it is also an opportunity to showcase your company and get your product or service in front of a prospect. To make sure your direct mail campaign goes as smoothly as possible, follow these six best practices:

  1. Create a quality list. Your direct mail campaign lives and dies by the quality of your list, so you need to know who you’re sending it to. This includes their name, title, address, whether or not they can receive mail there, and if they still work there. Without knowing these specifics, you’ll be wasting your time and your money. Here at Intronis, we triple verify our lists. We make sure the company is a good fit for the campaign and that we’re sending it to the right person, and we verify their contact information electronically and over the phone whenever possible.
  2. Highlight your unique selling point. For best results, make sure your direct mail is remarkable and you know why this particular campaign will appeal to the people you’re sending it to. For example, are you showcasing your technical abilities, the support you provide, or the value of the overall relationship? Make sure your message will resonate with your recipients and kick them into action.
  3. Proof read! There is nothing worse than getting a letter with spelling mistakes or other errors. Have someone look it over once you think it is ready to go out. You’ll be surprised what they might find. If your list is good, the letter is well written, and your message is strong, you should get a good response.
  4. Give your message a call-to-action (CTA).  What do you want your prospect to do next? Now that you have compelled them with your message, you need to give them a clear cut way to respond so they know what to do. If you decide to create a landing page, make sure it works! If you decide to take a different route, such as asking them to call or email, make sure you pick something that is an easy and reliable way to connect with your team.

  5. Consider the timing. Before you send out your direct mail piece, think about when you would like to receive something in the mail. For example, if something arrives overnight on a Tuesday, it will be far more enticing than if it is received late on a Friday. Send your direct mail campaign at the optimal time to get better results.
  6. Follow up. Share information with your sales team on what you sent, what the message is, and what the marketing and sales leadership expect to get out of this campaign. Set clear expectations of what they need to do and when they should follow up.

Direct mail pitfalls to avoid

Failing to ‘connect the dots.’ To be successful, there are many different parts of a DM campaign to think about and execute and they need to be harmonious. There’s the DM piece itself: the letter and/or accompanying gift, the envelope or package, the message, the offer, the response mechanism, maybe an accompanying email, the essential follow-up from your Sales team etc.  All these things need to work together as smoothly as possible in order to maximize results. If you do only some of these things well but not the others, your campaign won’t be as effective.

Sending something forgettable. If you’re going to do direct mail, you want to grab people’s attention. Don’t send a gift they can throw away and just forget about. Try to make it something they’ll want to tell someone about or show off. Even the packaging can be a good conversation starter. Plus, if you send something that will get people talking, it makes your sales team’s job easier. A letter can be fine if it’s personalized and compelling, but you need to know what your reasoning is behind it and why it’s going to work.

So, make a splash! For example, if you send a high-capacity USB drive as a gift, it is an expensive item and should catch a prospect’s attention. You can use it as an example of how much data a typical company has and how valuable it could be. However, if the office burns down or they misplace the drive, all that data would be gone! This catches people’s attention because it’s a desirable item with a relevant message.

Remember to Have Fun

Direct mail is an opportunity to be creative and capture people’s imaginations, not just of the recipient but of your own employees. The more creative and interesting your campaign is, the more invested your team will be in it, and the more successful your campaign will be.

Lastly, don’t just consider direct mail as one and done. If your first attempt is unsuccessful, don’t give up; try something different. Keep reiterating successful campaigns and tweaking to get better results. That is the beauty of direct mail; you can send it in small batches and test different approaches.

While developing an idea for your first direct mail can be time-consuming, following Richard’s advice will help you to develop a successful strategy and get started with direct mail the right way.

Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between. 

Photo Credit: skyandsea876 via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons 2.0. 

Anne Campbell

Posted by Anne Campbell

As senior content strategist at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, Anne Campbell finds new ways to use content to help managed service providers make their businesses more successful. She grew Intronis’ blog subscribers 532 percent in less than 18 months, winning the 2016 Content Marketing Award for Highest Subscriber Growth. Anne spent the first half of her career as a magazine and newspaper journalist, and she brings that editorial point of view to her work in content marketing.

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