It happened again this past week.
“It,” in this case, happens to be when junk mail becomes a useful piece of information. The key to remember here is that it is not when the sender wants it to happen—but when the receiver is ready for it to happen.
The last time it happened to me was the morning after my hot water heater broke, and I instantly became an engaged carpet shopper. That was then. This is now.
This time, it occurred when my wife exclaimed, “How timely, a roofing company!” as she was sorting through Friday’s mail. In both instances, the story involved direct mail otherwise known as junk mail.
Junk mail is often the label given to unsolicited mail which is of little to no interest to the receiver at the moment of receipt.
Direct mail, however, may include the exact same packaging, the exact same wording but with one huge difference. It arrives when the consumer needs it. It is as if the sender overheard the consumer belly aching about a particular deficiency in their lives, and lo and behold, the mail arrives with the answer to all that ails the consumer! It is no longer junk mail, but direct mail.
The difference is in timing. Same sender. Same recipient. Same message. Different response.
This marketing conundrum presents itself because the marketer has no idea, background or research to determine the right time to lick a few stamps.
The typical answer is to cast our fates to the wind, send mail periodically, and hope for the best. This, my friends, can be affectionately called a “crap shoot” at the very best.
So, how to you change the odds? Well, first off the consumer needs to change his or her mindset. Yes, we don’t have any control over that but here is some food for thought.
Take the phrase “junk mail” out of your vocabulary. It has been proven time and time again that this stuff works. Instead, classify it as “today mail” or “not today mail.” Look at each piece and focus on what catches your attention. Slip this piece into your personal swipe file for another day. (A swipe file is simply a folder where you store ideas, articles, stories and references to web sites so you can easily retrieve them for future reference.)
As always, remember the Rule of 7—you will usually need to touch base with a consumer 7 times before they react in the manner in which you want them to react. Your mailings are simply setting the stage for the day you hit the nail on the head with the right message, at the right time, to the right person. That is the game you have committed to play.
It is better to send more often to less people than to send less often to more people. Read that again. More often to less is the trick. Can you identify your best prospects as opposed to all of your prospects?
I used to hate junk mail myself. But I became a believer when I realized the effectiveness when I replaced my carpet and had a water tight roof over my head. And as an added bonus, I got the idea for this column!
And right about now, many of you are moaning about referrals and how you prefer to deal with referrals. If you are fortunate enough to have a carpet guy and a roofer in your pocket, I say go for it. Where were you when I needed you? Just keep in mind that referrals may not always be the panacea you think they will be. I’ve got a few war stories regarding referrals as well-stay tuned.
Mike Marchev is a non-linear thinker who makes his living shooting from the hip. Check out his new collaborative project titled The Travel Agent Success Series www.travelagentsuccessseries.com