How to Pass the 3:33 Rule and Add Longevity to Your B2B Direct Marketing Campaigns

Here’s a snippet from Pat Friesen writing for Target Marketing Magazine in November 2007

The 3:33 Rule

Are you familiar with direct mail’s three minute and 33 second (3:33) rule? It’s important when you talk about “openability”.

The 3:33 rule suggests you have three seconds or less to stand out in the mail and stay out of the trash, then 30 seconds to engage the reader enough to get opened and make the “short stack” for later reading. After the first 33 seconds-if you actually get the reader inside your mail piece-she spends an additional three minutes or less reading it and deciding whether or not to respond.

B2B Direct Marketing and the Importance of the Mailing Pack – the first 3 seconds

Business to Business Direct marketing can be a huge waste of money unless you get it right – so you need to get it right first time. You need a promotional marketing piece that will have a big attention-grabbing quality and you need to send it out in a pack that will be easily spotted in the stack of mail on your customer’s desk.

Far too many B2B Direct Marketing campaigns go straight to the bin, often before the envelope has even been opened and therein lays the first problem – envelopes. A flat, plain white envelope with a frank or a PPI holds absolutely no mystery whatsoever. Send your B2B Direct Mail out in a plain white envelope and your campaign is already well on the way to generating a high level of indifference. With that thought firmly in mind, you should give very strong consideration to the type of carrier to use.

The saying goes that you get only one chance to make a first impression and the first impression that your customer has of your promotional mailer is the appearance of the mailing pack. I suggest that your mailer should have a degree of bulk and should be made to look like some sort of gift or “freebie”. This way, the mailer will be opened with eager anticipation rather than total indifference. The argument against this is that the postage costs will increase but believe me, paying postage to send an item that is thrown straight into the bin makes a whole lot less sense.

B2B Direct Marketing & the Importance of Holding Customer’s Attention – the next 30 secs

Once the mailing pack has done its first job in attracting the reader’s attention it then has to entice the reader to open it. I believe that the pack has to be designed in a way that is not too hard to open and leads to the main promotional piece without too much trouble. I say this as the promotional piece itself will take care of the next few minutes – no problem! A B2B promotional mailer needs to capture the imagination of your customer and automatic pop-up products are an obvious choice to do this. The pop-up action carries with it the elements of surprise, fun, interaction and curiosity. A rubber-band-powered automatic pop-up product like a pop-up cube or a pop-up box will easily pass the 30 second test and will usually account for the next few minutes during which time your promotional message has been well and truly digested.

B2B Direct Marketing & the Importance of Extending Your Marketing Campaign’s Life Span

There are direct marketing professionals who would be absolutely delighted for their campaign to have ticked the boxes discussed thus far but why stop there? What is there to say that the promotional piece should stop working after it has created such a big impact? To achieve this you don’t need to do much more than to add a few holes in the top surface on the pop-up cube or pop-up box. By doing this you can turn your promotional mailer into a promotional pen holder – a product that will stay on your customer’s desk top for months and months. Not only will the pop-up mailer fulfil its original obligation by capturing your customer’s attention, it then goes on to be a permanent promotion for your company right there on your customer’s desk top.

Direct Marketing – 5 Essential Components of Successful Direct Marketing

Direct Marketing produced $2.05 trillion in sales in 2012. That represents about 8.7% of US GDP in 2013. This implies several key points.

First, competition in direct marketing is stiff. With all those advertisement dollars being spent on direct marketing, you need to ensure your message is getting through and being heard. Second, with stiff competition, you need to craft compelling messages, not once, but repeatedly. You need to do this effectively and efficiently, if you want to do more than just tread water.

Thus, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy that optimizes your budget spend by employing direct marketing more effectively. Here are 5 essential components of successful direct marketing.

1) Deliver a Compelling Sales Message

Several elements go into creating a compelling sales message. Successful sales letters and other marketing content must be relevant, useful, and persuasive. Marketing content that works grabs your prospect’s attention, shows uniqueness, and builds trust with your prospect. Employ these three elements in all your direct marketing content.

· WIIFM – Tell your prospect exactly what’s in it for him or her.

· Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – Clearly describe why your solution is the superior one.

· Testimonials – Let your satisfied customers “sell” for you.

2) Follow-up Leads Promptly to Attract and Engage Your Prospect’s Attention

You might have a lead-generating sales letter, but if you don’t follow-up, valuable leads will slip through the cracks. Follow-up a live event with a phone call, an email, or a letter that invites the prospect to take the next step.

Offer a free demonstration of your product or service. Set up an appointment with a subject matter expert who can go into greater detail on how your company’s solution works, and why it’s better than the competition’s. Then, before the scheduled demonstration, send a white paper that explains your product in detail.

Follow-up, engage and spark your prospect’s interest in your solution.

3) Promote Your Brand

Benefits from branding give companies and edge over competitors that don’t brand. Branding helps position your product or service favorably. It also gives you pricing and distribution power. The takeaway is: never miss an opportunity to brand.

Direct marketing affords you many online and off-line media to build brand awareness. Online media: (1) Banner advertising; (2) Blogs; (3) Email; and (4) Website. Off-line media: (1) Print advertising – sales letters, postcards, brochures; (2) Press Releases; and (3) Public Relations.

4) Nurture the New Customer Relationship

Lead nurturing is just as important as lead acquisition. Most companies want to develop long-term relationships with customers. That’s because they become repeat customers. And, over time, repeat customers generate more sales and profits to your bottom line.

Outbound marketing provides many ways to build and maintain a thriving lead nurturing program. You can employ email, direct mail, social media, mobile, podcasts, seminars, phone calls, and videos.

5) Integrate and Synchronize Online and Off-line Direct Marketing

To optimize your message and direct marketing budget, success lies in finding the right mix of online and off-line methods. One method isn’t necessarily better than another. Instead, the secret sauce to successful direct marketing depends on how you weave these various methods together.

You can integrate and synchronize these methods along the sales cycle beginning with message delivery. Start with a sales letter, follow-up with a phone call or email. Refer your prospect to your website for deeper marketing content, and don’t forget to brand throughout this process.

Achieving the right marketing mix produces a “multiplier effect” that helps you close sales faster and easier. Employing different media in a consistent and coherent manner working towards the same goal optimizes your marketing efforts.

Don’t Overlook the Value of Direct Marketing

With so much attention focused on inbound marketing lately, it’s easy to overlook direct marketing’s benefits. However, as you can see, it still commands the lion’s share of sales. Therefore, it’s prudent to examine your marketing strategy’s focus and align your budget accordingly.

Before you undertake a direct marketing campaign, employ these five essential components to compete effectively and efficiently for that $2.05 trillion market.

Measuring the Results of Your Direct Mail Campaign

You have found a knowledgeable, experienced list broker. With their help you have selected optimal direct mailing list based on your ideal target audience. You have decided on the perfect design for you mail piece and you’re now ready to go. But wait, how are you going to track your direct mail

It’s always been thought that measuring the response rate of a direct mail campaign was close to impossible. With telemarketing you get an almost immediate response, with the prospect on the other end of the line. With email marketing, you receive detailed reports measuring open rates and click through rates. However with direct mail you don’t always know if your mail piece was successful in pointing prospective clients in your direction. Your direct mail campaign needs a definitive Call to Action to help measure the success of your next Direct Mail campaign.

Here are a few Call to Actions that can help measure your success:

Personalized Promo Codes

Make sure each mail piece is printed with a personalized promotional code or unique offer identifiers. The codes should be personalized to specifically targeted groups of recipients, such as those living within a radius of each location or targeted recipients based on gender or age. If your campaign promotes a product that the customer needs to purchase in-store, the customer presents their personalized code at the point of purchase. If you campaign allows customers to phone in to learn more, make sure they quote their unique promotional code. This allows you to know who walked in or called in and when. It can also provide information on if they bought, what they purchased and at which location it was purchased.

This gives you valuable insight into whether the campaign was influential in contributing to interest in your product/service, as well as which of your locations is most receptive to a direct mail campaign.

Unique Landing Pages

Another way to measure results is to use your mail piece to bring your prospects to a landing page, and then offer something on the landing page that gets him or her to provide their email address or other contact information to download or retrieve it. This gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to measuring your results: A quick and easy-to-set-up way to bring the user to your website, stats on the number of people who visit, and detailed contact information for leads you can go out and convert.

Provide a personalized URL

As with promo code, PURLS (personalized URL) can be as specific or broad as needed, depending on how defined you want your results to be. You can do this one of two ways:

You can create a specific PURL for a landing page for each campaign, so prospective clients who want to get more information or make a purchase come to the landing page and are prompted to your call to action.

If you’re personalizing your direct mail campaign and you have to print pieces with variable fields anyway, you might as well create an individual PURL for each client. It can be as simple as generating PURLs ending in unique codes that relate to the marketing database, but that will not only give you the numbers that respond but will tell you who the prospects that viewed your website were.

Use QR codes

Using QR (quick response) codes in your direct marketing, provides an immediate connection to the online and offline aspects your marketing campaign. For mobile users, these provide an instant method of getting prospects to your website, as opposed to either asking them to visit your site and select a particular page, or type in an extended (or complicated) URL. The user scans the code with a smart phone and is taken immediately to the page in question. Once again, you can either have everyone come to the same landing page and simply count page impressions, or you can create personalized landing pages.

Don’t forget to Test

This is one of the most important tips. As mailing lists tend to be large, try sending your mail piece out to a small test group first. With the proper call to actions in place, it will allow you to determine how well your promotion will perform. Doing a trial run will allow you the opportunity to refine your direct mail campaign saving you time, money, and hassle!

As technology is constantly changing, so should your marketing efforts. Lead generation and data collecting are valuable marketing tools. Why not integrate them with the tried and true technique of direct mail. Make your direct mail campaigns into data collecting machines. It will allow you to measure the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign, but also give you some insight into your prospects.