You see examples of direct mail every day. Just take a look at that big pile of mail, and what do you see? Newsletters, catalogs and self mailers. Whatever form they arrive in, direct mail pieces are an important marketing tool, and if used wisely, can be a powerful part of your overall marketing/sales plan.
For many jewelers, even high-end, direct mail is attractive because its positive effect can be measured directly and quickly. It has a tremendous potential to reach a very specific and select audience. Further, direct mail is a great way to stay in touch with your current customers and keep them up-to-date on special offers or announcements.
Many jewelers spend a lot of time and money in the production of the mail piece and the mailing. Yet, it’s important to realize that while you may have the most creative mail piece, if you don’t have the proper target market, all of your efforts will be for naught. Many direct marketers use what is called the “40/40/20 Rule,” which claims 40 percent of the success of your direct marketing campaign is dependent upon the audience, 40 percent on the offer, and 20 percent on other factors. Since 40 percent of the success of your campaign is dependent upon the audience, it is imperative that you have the best mailing list possible.
So where do you find that magic list? You can buy a mail list - some are effective and others aren’t. In truth, the best sources for creating an effective mailing list are usually right inside your company.
- Sales and marketing database: Wherever you store customer information may be your best source for a mailing list. Customer information stored on your computer system or your Outlook™ database is a good starting point. Many point of sale systems used today have the ability to transfer customer information into your database every time you run a credit card.
- Partner with someone who has a non competing product: Your competitors are unlikely to share their list with you; however another local retailer may agree to share theirs. If they sell a similar product with a similar customer base, that may be even more advantageous.
- Current customer recommendations: Offer an incentive to your current customers to recommend friends and relatives.
- Your employees: Everyone in your company is a potential source of prospect names.
Once you have exhausted all other sources to develop your list, you may want to research mailing list rental and purchase companies. You may purchase a list sorted by age, income, presence of children, home value, zip code, etc. Make sure you ask the list broker for an accuracy guarantee. The list should also be cross referenced with the National Change of Address (NCOA) database, ensuring that the list is current, complete and accurate.
There also are companies that rent lists from catalog companies. This may offer a better list than a purchased list based on income or age. The names rented can be sorted by the same criteria, however, you will be renting names that have purchased from catalogs, and therefore you already know that they are responsive to that type of advertising.
There have been studies that say 50 percent of families will not be motivated to buy anything by mail. If that is the case, renting a catalog list already eliminates those that are not responsive to direct mail marketing.
Another possibility is to purchase a list based upon change of lifestyle. Lists are available for new movers, giving you the names of families that have recently moved into your area. Recent engagements and bridal registries are also excellent sources. Community newspapers also may rent their subscribers list to you.
Once you’ve exhausted all of the sources to build your mailing list, you need to continually test and track it. Your goal is to create a new customer, not just make one sale. Stores need to have a database so that you can track the number of sales made to each customer and monitor this regularly.
With these tools in place, you’re on your way to direct mail victory. But just because you start to see that your prospect list is paying off, don’t stop there. Continue to build and refine your mailing list. It should be an ongoing project and part of your strategic business plan. When you use your mailing list properly, and integrate it wisely into your overall marketing plan, it has the potential to become a powerful marketing tool.
Bob Epstein is CEO of Silverman Consultants, LLC. Offering a legacy in sales strategies for jewelers since 1945, Silverman Consultants provides guidance to store owners seeking to turn around a business, sell off unwanted inventory, or liquidate an entire store. With offices located in Charleston, South Carolina; New York, New York; and Saskatoon, Canada; the company helps jewelry store owners and chains formulate strategies designed to maximize revenue in times of transition, whether due to retirement, store closing, or simply when needing a boost in sales. For more information, visit www.silvermanconsultants.com or call Bob direct at 800-347-1500.