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.

Effective Direct Marketing – The Krispy Kreme Model

Remember a few years ago when Krispy Kreme® ruled the universe? New stores were popping up everywhere and they all had lines snaking out their doors and around the block.

Krispy Kreme donuts were synonymous with guilty pleasure. There was nothing quite like a still-hot Krispy Kreme original glazed donut.  We thought they were heavenly. We couldn’t get enough of them.

But do you also remember those rare occasions when a stray donut survived the feeding frenzy until the next day? Remember the experience of biting into a day old donut and the accompanying feeling of disappointment?

Direct Marketing messaging can be like that-especially with marketing taking on more and more social networking characteristics. Whether we’re engaging customers through a website or a blog, content is king. If your content is stale-like a day-old donut-it won’t take long for your customers to walk away.

This doesn’t mean reinventing who you are every week. It does mean constantly thinking about how you can help your customers. And it means thinking of fresh ways to communicate with them about solving their problems.

How often should you update your content? That depends. Some industries change daily. Most don’t. I’d rather receive one really good piece of information every week or every month than wade through a bunch of mediocre stuff to find one gem. A business colleague of ours who builds high-end websites recently shared that 95 percent of his clients haven’t changed the content on their sites in the last 12 months.  That’s too long.

When’s the last time you updated your blog or the content on your website? Are you giving customers a reason to check in with you-or is your content like a day-old Krispy Kreme donut?

What keeps you from delivering fresh content?