Email Marketing Made Easy #14 - Does Following Up Really Get Results?
While most people understand the concept that using an email autoresponder saves a lot of time by putting one's business on autopilot, one question I'm often asked is this "But can it really make an improvement to my sales?" You won't know until you actually try it yourself. BUT, I can surely tell you that it has for many others! Here are some examples. Were you ever late in paying your bills? If so, you may have received at some point those nice reminders collection agencies love to send. For example, at first you get a letter in the mail with a typical request to pay your bill (or debt) immediately, and to "govern yourself accordingly."
If you don't respond, a second letter in the form of a reminder is then mailed to you a few weeks later, perhaps with a "we're concerned" feel to it. And finally, if you happen to be as persistent as the agency, you then get a third letter with that big, red "Final Notice!" stamped in the corner. Why do they do this? Because it works!
Sequential direct mail has been as profitable an endeavour for direct marketers and entrepreneurs as it has been for collection agencies. I first heard of this technique from marketing guru Dan Kennedy and then came across other marketers who quote the following figures; if your first mailing is conducted to 7,000 recipients, expect a response rate of less than 1% and although it's not much, it's typical for most one-time direct mail marketing campaigns.
However, expect the rate to climb to about 7% following the second mailing and over 3% after the third mailing! Targeted to the same group of people, all three mailings should total an amazing 11%! Although the direct mail expense was tripled, the overall response was a tenfold improvement over what could have been a single mailing!
Here's what they did. The first letter had a special time-sensitive offer and an invitation to enter a draw to win one of the client's products. The second letter, mailed 15 days later, had a "sorry we missed you" and "we're concerned" feel to it. It offered additional incentives to help nudge unresponsive recipients into action. Thirty days after the initial mailing, a third letter boldly stated, "this is your last chance" and "offer to expire soon," in red, right at the top - similar to the collection agent's final warning stamp.
The content of the letter reinforced the urgency of the offer and added an extra incentive that was not offered in the previous two mailings. But they didn't stop there. Shortly after the draw, they decided on a fourth mailing to all those who did NOT respond and offered a discount on the same product drawn.
It said: "Congratulations! You've won the second prize: a 10% discount on [product drawn]." The response rate finally rose to a total of 16%! As you can see, 16% is a far cry from 1%. But if you divide it by four, it means that the campaign yielded an average 400% boost in response!
You see, multiple mailings tend to make an offer more valuable. When it's repeated, people have the natural tendency to assume that the offer is important and not a fly-by-night spiel. In fact, repetition not only helps to emphasize the importance of an offer but also aids its comprehension and reinforces its urgency.