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Posts Tagged ‘Direct Mail’

While I was a journalist, I saw many business owners make the same three basic PR mistakes time and time again. When it comes to trying to secure free publicity for your new business, the following mistakes should be avoided…

1 Trying to push dull, irrelevant or non-stories

Sorry, in truth, journalists don’t really care about you or your business. They only care about stories that are of interest to their audience. It can be very dull being a journalist, having to wade through the same old marketing guff being sent to you day in, day out. So when something special comes along, naturally, you jump on it. As a business owner, that’s your opportunity. If you are to engage journalists and their readers, you must have a compelling story to tell.

2 Giving up after one failed press release

If you send out 100 direct mail letters and then stop because “direct mail doesn’t work for you”, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity. It’s not necessarily that direct mail doesn’t work for you, you might not be sending your communications to the right people, you might not be writing about the right product or service or you might simply not be communicating your key messages effectively. Sometimes the timing isn’t right or your success is hampered by external factors.

The same can be said about PR. There is no way that each and every press release you ever send will lead to coverage, no matter how good your story, media release or how well you know the journalist. Effective PR requires a long-term commitment.

3 Having unrealistic expectations

PR is not really meant as a direct lead-generation tool (although it can work that way if you are fortunate). It can certainly be used to raise awareness and enhance the credibility of your business and support the rest of your marketing activity.

Your goal should be to encourage and make it really easy for interested readers, listeners or viewers to find you (or more usually, find out from your website how your products or services can benefit them). Don’t expect overnight success either, raising awareness, securing sales and ensuring customer loyalty usually takes a lot of time, effort and investment.

  • The first 500 Start Up Donut Blog readers can get a free copy of Paul Green’s book – PR Success Made Easyhere.

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Further to my last post, here’s 5 more tips…

Five tips geared to making sure they read it, then call you 

1. Address your letter “Dear Mr & Mrs Jones”, not “Dear Homeowner”.
2. Make the Headline enticing – Split-test it before hand (duplicating what works best in your Google Adwords campaigns is a good way to start ). [*SuD – not on Google AdWords ? Get £30 free when you register with the marketingdonut]
3. Short, sharp, punchy paragraphs please.  Use AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action).
4. Make sure you have a call to action.  “Contact us by the 14th and receive a free Widget”
5. Sign each letter personally.  Pre-printed signatures (unless a very good quality scan) immediately take away the personal, one-on-one, contact your trying to establish with your reader.

 

Bonus Tips

1. Little yellow post-it notes with a couple of handwritten words, stuck on the front of each letter, has proven to increase response rates substantially.
2. Try adding a ‘P.S.’ at the end of your letters.  Again, this has proven to increase response rates.
3. As with any marketing campaign, make sure you test with a small number first, before rolling out to large quantities.

Good Luck!

More great marketing tips can be found in the Donut group and the experts blogs and websites – here’s mine, it gives advice for small business

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* Added by Start Up Donut team

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Direct mail is still a useful tool for getting your message out. Not everyone is online (yet) and many people still prefer to see and touch parchment rather than pixels on a monitor.

But email is free, ‘snail mail’ isn’t! A mail shot of 5,000 is going to cost you (at least) £1,750! YIKES!!

So here’s 5 TIPS to make sure your Direct Mail campaign isn’t the equivalent to posting money into a big, red bin.

Five tips to make sure they actually open the envelope!

1. No flashy envelopes. Nothing shouts JUNK MAIL louder than lots of pretty colours!
2. Either address it to them in person, or just put the address on.  ‘Dear Homeowner’ is another phase for ‘Hello, I’m Junk!’.
3. No pre-paid envelopes.  Yes, it’s lots of hassle to put on individual stamps, but you want your audience to feel like you’ve spent a bit of time thinking of them as an individual (don’t you?).
4. If possible, hand-write the envelopes.  Your children will see this as an excellent opportunity to practice their handwriting and will thank you by helping out with tip #3!
5. Put a return to address on the back.  Make sure it’s not a P.O. Box!

What some more tips on how to make sure they actually read your letter?  Then stay tuned – this post is coming real soon – why not subscribe so you don’t forget?

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