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Is your email list losing its power?
by Kevin Nunley
Not too long ago, you could send out an ezine issue or an email sales letter and count on getting a dozen sales immediately, with many more purchases to follow over the next few days.
Now, with email accounts clogged with volumes of trash, most of us are lucky if anybody even reads the message we've spent hours perfecting. Email marketing is still the best bargain in advertising land, but thanks to uncanned-sp*m, making a buck with email is not as easy as it used to be.
Ah, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Remember the distant past (say 1994) when "direct mail" meant sales letters sent through the post office? Regular direct mail is still around, and I suspect rapidly gaining ground once again.
One of the hard and fast rules of direct mail is you can sell FAR more products and services to people who have bought before from direct mail. The guy who got a sales letter or catalog in the mail and ordered a shirt will be the first person to buy another shirt that same way.
Folks who already purchased via direct mail used to be a rather small part of the public. But now, after almost a decade of Internet shopping, we're all old hands at buying from businesses we can't drive to, talk to, or even see.
The number of people who have deep experience buying direct and receiving the product or service through the mail or digital delivery is now staggering. Come to think of it, all your Internet customers are people who have used this virtual direct mail principle to buy from you and others like you for years.
That means they would be prime prospects for a good direct mail campaign.
Hmmm.. Smell an opportunity here? Just when email is starting to create a bit more trouble than it's worth for some of us, good old direct mail sales letters could be just the thing to get our attention.
Try converting your email list to a direct mail list. Go back through your customer records to find physical addresses. Format your next email pitch for print, then postal mail it to a fat list.
Let's review a few rules for getting response from direct mail:
1. Letters always sell better than mailers. Forget the 4 color brochures and concentrate on a good, personal letter.
2. Getting people to open the envelope is the hardest part. Put a headline on your envelope promising something good inside. Since most will probably already know your name, make your name and return address prominent.
3. Include testimonials. The same things that make a great web page also make fine sales letters.
4. Include a P.S. I get a good guffaw when I see web sites with PS's. I don't think they do much good online. But PS's work wonders in a regular sales letter. Studies show more than half of your audience will read the PS first, so use it to state your offer, price, and how to reach you.
5. Take your questions to the post office. Most are surprisingly helpful these days. The mail business isn't what it used to be, and many postmasters have put out the word to help anyone who looks like they could bring in more activity.