The Direct Mail Letter. Get The Most From It With These Tips.

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by Tom Watson on November 23, 2010

When you run your own cleaning business you need to learn how to get the phone to ring, and you need to do it fast, not to mention consistently.

Having a well balanced attack plan, one that is multi-faceted, works best. A hard to stop marketing arsenal would included elements of direct mail, networking, referrals, online and print.

Today we will focus on the direct mail letter, which can be a powerful player in your marketing plan. But you need to know how to make it work. It’s much more involved and technical than most people realize.

The direct mail letter is a tried and true technique, in which you send a sales letter with an attached flyer to a list of potential clients. The key is to not have your carefully crafted sales letter wind up in the trash heap. So what do you do?

Well the first thing you can do is send repeat mailings. Sending just one direct mail piece then stopping, probably won’t work. All you need to do is check your mail to see this theory in action. Credit card companies and assorted non-profits mail constantly to get your attention.

The standard varies from expert to expert on how many times you need to mail to a prospect. Some claim twice, others say five or more. My experience tells me that the answer is four or more times to the same address. I have two reasons for thinking this way.

First and foremost, that’s what the big boys do (like I mentioned earlier, credit card firms, cable companies and retail outlets). They have a huge budget to test and see what works and what doesn’t. I think it’s safe to follow their lead. They know what works, so lets learn from their experience.

The other reason is because you simply need to stay in front of the prospect. They may not need your services at the exact moment you send the information.  But if your timing lines up with their need for your service, you have a solid prospect.

A successful response to a direct mail campaign may fall somewhere in the .05 percent to 2.5 percent range, so it’s important to use a large enough sample size to produce worthwhile results. In other words, if you only plan on sending out 20 or 30 sales letters, you may not get much of a response. Mail your letters in bundles of 200 or more for best results.  

One final and very inportant note on this topic, the more personalized your recipient list (addressed to a specific person rather than “occupant”) the better your chances of drawing in those customers. Now lets turn our attention to 6 important elements that your direct mail letter should contain.

# 1 – Use Attention Grabbing Headlines

The headline of your direct mail sales letter is a major key to the process. If your headline loses their interest, you have lost them. The rest of the letter may be the greatest piece of writing ever penned, but sadly if the headline is no good, the best part of the letter will never get read.

Special note: The headline is your very best opportunity to capture your prospect’s attention. In fact, it’s been proven that a great headline can increase the responsiveness of your sales letter by over 1,000%.

Lets create two different headlines and see which sounds better:

—————————————————————————–

1. Choose ABC Cleaning For All Your Cleaning Needs!

    We Work Hard So You Don’t Have To!

—————————————————————————–

2. What Could Be Better Than One Week Of Fantastic Cleaning Services?

    Getting One Week Of Fantastic Cleaning Services For FREE!

—————————————————————————–

What do you think is the more engaging headline? I would argue it’s headline #2. Headlines that double as a question are a time tested strategy for gaining the interest of the reader. When you follow it up with a offer that also grabs their attention, you have a winner.

Headline #1 is more suited for a finishing statement that would end your letter.

# 2 – Talk About The Benefits Of Your Cleaning Service

Benefits are next up on our list. Benefits tell your potential customers what they will receive from your service. Try to offer benefits that give you the edge over your competition if possible. For instance, my company has a “One Million” dollar general liability policy. The thought of a million dollar policy still makes my insurance plan sound “special”.

The cost to do this was not all that much more than having just the basic policy, so I upgraded. I know most other cleaning companies don’t offer this “benefit”, so I use it prominently in all my sales letters to my advantage.

The benefits of your cleaning service should show up rather quickly after the headline, within a few paragraphs ideally. You want to reveal the most important benefits to whoever the particular recipient is quickly to keep their attention.

Benefits of a cleaning service can be any of a thousand things. Some examples would be clean desks, bonded employees, being fully insured, great customer service, shiny floors, uniformed staff, 24 hour emergency service and the list goes on and on.

Under the best case scenario, you would offer different benefits for different customer groups. For instance, a clean waiting room would be important to a doctors office, but probably not to a shipping company.

For this reason try to draft several different versions of a sales letter if at all possible. If you don’t have the time, create one that is generic enough to be used across many industries.

# 3- Make Use Of Testimonials In Your Sales Letter

Whenever you open your mouth, the customer knows you are doing a little “self-promotion” so to speak. But when others “do the talking for you”, it gets their attention. Testimonials add more credibility to your sales letters, and credibility is a key player in whether or not a potential client chooses you.

Think of it this way, a testimonial is really the equivalent of a trusted friend or respected expert’s recommendation of your service. Customer testimonials help customers feel at ease in purchasing from you because it says that others have tried your service and were pleased with the result.

Keep the testimonials short and to the point, edit them if need be. You want the “guts” of the testimonial, not any fluff that was attached. Take a look at these two examples. Note the trailing periods (…) to indicate the words for edited for publication.

————————————————————————————————

ABC Cleaning was a pleasure…they did everything they promised and never let me down when I needed them.
Mary Jacobs. Manager of Dr Smiths medical practice. Johnston area.

————————————————————————————————

Thank you for the wonderful cleaning you performed for me…my house has never looked better.
Helen Davis. Residential customer in Smallville.

————————————————————————————————

The more detailed the description of the person providing the testimonial the better. You want the testimonial giver to come alive to the reader, and the more details you can provide the better. Just always remember to ask for permission before publishing any one’s name for use in your marketing materials.

# 4 – Eliminate The Risk

This is an easy way to increase the likelihood of a prospect dong business with you. Simply make the decision to use your service “risk-free”. Offer customers a 100% money-back guarantee if they’re not satisfied.

Many studies have shown that the stronger the guarantee, the lower the ratio of charge backs (people who want their money back). If you know you have a great service, you won’t have to worry about very many issues concerning people attempting to cash in your guarantee. Consider the following example of a strong guarantee.

“If for any reason you are not thrilled with both the work performed and the way you were treated by our company, the work is free. Period.”

Wow…that’s a pretty strong guarantee, one that will probably get the customers attention. If you notice, this type of guarantee takes away the risk for the potential client. It also eliminates one more barrier to the sale, which is your ultimate goal. You may want to consider a variation of this example for your own company.  

# 5 – Give Customers a Reason to Act Now

The key here is to give customers a compelling reason to act now. Procrastination will do no one any good. Basically you need to motivate them to call you as fast as possible. Generally this is done through the use of “Limited Time Offers”.  

A limited time offer can often move the prospect from procrastinator to customer. This is because putting a drop dead date on an offer frequently will move that hesitant person to action. If there is only a short time to take advantage of a special opportunity you are promoting, often you will enjoy more response.

You have to give them a reason to choose your cleaning service, and a “make believe” time constraint could just be the little extra motivator you might need to get your prospects over that decision making hump.

Rather than wait until they feel good, or become more comfortable (or whatever “excuse” they were thinking) they move to take advantage of your special offer (it needs to be a good one to get then to act). Lets see an example of a limited time offer.

ABC Cleaning Services is offering 25% off the first months
cleaning services, but only for the next 5 days. So call
today at 555-5555 to take advantage of this special offer!

This is a rather simple example, but it drives home the point of creating a “sense of urgency” on the part of the prospect. The stronger the sense of urgency the better response you will create for yourself.

# 6 – Make Use Of The Postscript (the P.S. at the end of the letter)

Studies have shown that the second most read part of every sales letter is the P.S., or the postscript. This is why you don’t want to forget including one (people look for them). You use the P.S. to summarize your offer and set a deadline for when the offer ends. You may even want to make mention of an extra bonus for acting quickly.

Try to make sure that your postscript is interesting enough to get your customer to go back and read your entire sales letter. Sometimes you may want to even include a second “P.S.”. Consider this example.

P.S. Don’t forget our special offer of 25% off your first months bill ends this Friday so call me at 555-5555 to get started!

P.S.S. If your are one of the first three callers we will throw in a bonus 10% off for a grand total of 35% off your first months bill!

Pretty powerful stuff huh? Using these secret weapon postscripts will give you the edge that your competitors simply dont’ have. Make use of them, test them and always try to be creative to see what works best.

Well there you have it, six key elements of a successful sales letter. A well written sales letter can actually double or even triple the results you’re getting now. I built my company on the back of my direct mail letters (which are included in my course), so I know the principles we just discussed work perfectly.

 Get these six elements into your sales letters and watch your profits soar!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jerrell Slay March 16, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Hi Tom! Is it presentable to put the mailing material in their mailbox your self with no postage? Or will that look unprofessional? I’m on a shoestring budget but I don’t want that to stop me from getting my sales letter and flyer out.
Thanks

2 Tom Watson March 19, 2017 at 2:26 pm

You can’t do that. Against the law. You have to mail it with postage.

3 Bobby Goble May 27, 2017 at 10:19 am

I just got a direct mail list together. I am going to enclose a sales letter and a business card in each envelope. Should I also make up a flyer and send it in the envelope too? Thanks in advance for your answer. And btw, I love these articles you post. They are very helpful.

4 Tom Watson May 28, 2017 at 12:46 pm

YES, I always included a flyer that had some type of SPECIAL OFFER. I normally offered like 25% off (sometimes more). Just make sure to include a DEADLINe (this makes people ACT and stop procrastinating).

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