Andrea Johnson

Direct Marketing: 6 steps to drive more through sales pipeline

We’ve all heard about how the digital age has been brutal for print media, and I fully expected direct mail to be taking a hit as well.

After all, who pays attention to print anymore?

It turns out your prospects are.

That’s the word from Joy Gendusa, Founder and CEO, Postcardmania, and Ken Pikulik, Director of Process and Strategy, ResponsePoint. And, they have the numbers to prove it.

Pikulik pointed to three recent campaigns with multiple B2B corporate clients.

“We’ve seen a 12% lift in response rates by incorporating the use of letters and other mailers to supplement email communication,” he said.

One organization in particular received 50 leads for a service package priced well over $100,000.

Gendusa explained the success of her own client base of smaller businesses:

  • A bookkeeping service attains five new clients each month and nets more than $60,000 over the lifetime of each customer.
  • A $10,000 campaign of 12,000 brochures, including postage, has an estimated lifetime return on investment of $1,250,000 for a national credit card processing company.
  • A report-writing software generates $12,000 in weekly revenues from a direct mail investment of $1,930.

These direct-response campaigns did not achieve success with old-school batch-and-blast direct mail approaches, however. Gendusa and Pikulik are expertly combining the best of old techniques with new technology. They offer these tips to help you do the same.

1. Pinpoint your audience and painstakingly segment it.

Know the issues that will be most compelling to them, and use their jargon in your direct mail pieces.

“We do a lot of segmentation,” Pikulik said. “In the healthcare field, for instance, we segment based on practice knowing that different specialties will respond to different incentives. Doing simple things, like using the terminology of their specialty, will grab their attention. Keywords aren’t just for the Internet.”

2. Make them want to read it.

“If you have space available to put a marketing message on an envelope, do it,” Pikulik said. “Grab their attention from the outside.”

3. Drive them to the Internet.

“Give them something that will make them want to engage with you,” he said. “This could be a whitepaper, a discount, a video – something that they will value regardless of whether they buy from you.”

Pikulik cited the client who got 50 leads for the $100,000-plus solution: They offered prospects a template for an RFP – essentially, they gave their prospects everything they needed to know to evaluate their solution.

“The client knew that their prospects would evaluate five or six competitors with that proposal template,” he noted. “But, they included questions that would demonstrate their product’s superiority over the competition.”

4. Make sure your website looks like your direct mail.

“The postcard will pique their interest, but when the prospects go online, they will likely look at you and your competitors,” Gendusa said. “It’s critical that when they see your site they can instantly connect it to your postcard. Make sure your marketing channels are in sync.”

She advised using Google Remarketing, which she considers remarkably inexpensive, with your direct mail campaign. After visitors come to your site, ads for your product will show up wherever they’re searching online.

“It adds tremendous credibility when their prospect sees the business everywhere they go online,” Gendusa said.

5. Measure and track.

Pikulik is a proponent of using PURLs (personalized URLs) to see how many people are responding and what they’re looking at online.

Gendusa advised using a phone number specific to the direct mail to make it easier to track response. She also advised recording those phone calls. State laws may require you to notify callers that they are being recorded, so we recommend receiving legal advice before doing so.

6. Follow up.

Gendusa and Pikulik insisted direct mail is not the once-and-done deal it was two decades ago. In fact, it’s a powerful kick-off to lead nurturing.

“Not everybody is searching for what they need. In fact, sometimes they don’t know what they need until direct mail puts it in front of them,” Gendusa said.
Once they do realize what they need, they go online to learn more, and that’s where effective follow-up happens.

“You can include them in an email campaign, you can make a phone call. You can invest marketing money strategically by focusing on people who have expressed specific interest in your product,” Pikulik said.

Related Resources:

How to Build a Quality List and Make Data Drive Leads

Lead Nurturing: 3-part funnel campaign creates 70% increase in inbound calls to sales reps

The New Marketing World: Conversations not Campaigns

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Direct Marketing



  1. April 9th, 2013 at 13:11 | #1

    Great post Andrea

    Direct mail lost its luster some years back because marketers found cheaper ways to connect with their audiences.

    But many are coming back today because they are starting to take a closer look at their results – and even though direct mail costs more up front, their return on investment is well worth it.

    Also, direct mail integrates beautifully with the online world. We routinely recommend direct mail as a front-end lead generation strategy combined with landing pages for lead capture, the telephone for lead qualification and email for lead nurturing.

  2. April 10th, 2013 at 02:39 | #2

    Thanks for the information Andrea :)

    I guess still direct mail has its potential value , i dont think we can replace it by any other way. One of the advantage of direct mail is its targeted audience , we won’t send it to unwanted people so the leads will quality ones. There are alot of techniques to generate lead from this direct mails..

    Anyway nice article :)

  3. April 12th, 2013 at 15:03 | #3

    Hi Andrea! I also thought that direct mailing is on it’s way out. But I guess this is another way to make sure that we don’t miss any leads or prospects to attract them and engage with the company in the internet. Thanks for sharing! http://bit.ly/ayeen10

  4. June 3rd, 2013 at 08:08 | #4

    Good steps to keep in mind when it comes to drive sales in direct marketing. Direct mail still helps in gaining leads from the clients, reaching to them directly.

  5. October 16th, 2013 at 16:31 | #5

    I can only agree with the message of ‘making them want to read it’. Grab their attention from the moment they lay eyes on your publications! Thank you for the informative post.

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