So you've decided, with the blessing of the franchisor, to use direct mail as part of your local promotional efforts. Here are some key ways to maximise the response to your direct mail campaign.
1. Use coupons, discounts and samples
To avoid having your direct mail discarded as 'junk', give people a reason to hold onto it, try the product and/or visit your business. Be sure to keep any coupons and discounts brought in by customers, as this allows you to subsequently measure the success - or otherwise - of the direct mail campaign. A word of warning on samples: control their distribution very carefully, or they'll likely be stolen and sold on the black market.
2. Give a deadline
Don't make offers open-ended, otherwise you may end up having to honour promises made years previously (particularly with the arrival of the new Consumer Protection Act). More importantly, though, a deadline encourages people to prioritise a visit or a call to your franchise, instead of being full of good intentions, but never quite getting around to it.
3. Have a single, specific offer
Many direct mail campaigns make the mistake of giving potential customers 'information overload'. Remember, they'll only glance at your marketing masterpiece for a few seconds before deciding whether to bin it or not - and if they're not sure what you're offering, chances are it's destined for File 13! The best direct mail, with the best response, is a mailer that's clear, concise and simple to respond to.
4. Make it useful
Keep your business top-of-mind for a prolonged period - hopefully a year or more - by making it useful to your target market. If you run an estate agency franchise, make a calendar part of your direct mail piece. If you're involved in educational services, list the school and university holidays. Similarly, any mailer that gives phone numbers for the local, police, hospital, ambulance and other emergency services is sure to find a prominent place in most homes.
5. Tailor your offering
One of the key advantages of direct mail is that it can be so carefully targeted at specific audiences. Even if your catchment area is relatively small, you can adapt your offer literally on a street-by-street basis to get optimum response. A food franchise, for example, may want to target nearby business parks with an offer of large platters for boardroom meetings and corporate functions. But shops and small businesses are unlikely to be interested, and their staff can instead be sent special offers on one-person sandwiches and rolls.
Author: Franchise Finder, Online Directory of Franchises and Business Opportunities in South Africa