In my last article, I introduced the first three elements to consider when creating a direct marketing campaign (or direct mail); the target, the message and the incentive.
When the communication tool is printed and quality control is performed, the next step is to send it by mail to the contacts.
In the second part of this article, I will tackle the measuring of the campaign and the follow up with the sales team. Since we work in integrated B2B marketing, it’s very important to align the efforts of the marketing team to that of the sales team during and after the launch of the direct marketing campaign.
4. Measuring the results
Although direct mail is an effective tactic, it may be more expensive than an online approach. It is therefore very important to measure all the results generated by the campaign and solicit feedback.
Let’s use the direct marketing campaign we are doing at the moment, here are a few elements that will allow us to calculate the success of the campaign:
Promo code or dedicated URL
Clearly visible on the printed item, it will allow us to know that the prospect has visited our website following the reception of the direct marketing tool.
However, if the prospect decides to enter our company name in their browser’s search bar, it will en up in a visit. It will be considered as an indirect return though and it might be difficult to measure. If the increase of visits comes from a given region or area though, it can be considered as a valid indicator of performance.
Use a form!
In our direct marketing, if the prospect downloads the specific case study presented to him, he must complete a form created specifically for the campaign.
Now that we have the prospect’s email address, we can take this opportunity to encourage them to give us their consent to send them promotional material from time to time. It is possible to include the information in our database of contacts, and therefore complying with Bill C-28.
Direct returns on the phone
If the offer is enticing enough for the prospect and, if they have made it to this stage in the buying cycle, they will directly contact David Chabot, our Vice President of Business Development. He can then take care of adding the the prospect to our CRM and indicate that he contacted us after the campaign. This way, it’s easy to connect a possible sale to the direct marketing campaign.
In B2B, as you may know, the sales cycles are much longer than in B2C. This is why it is essential to combine all the costs associated with the campaign, from the idea to the costs associated with calling the leads in order to calculate the return on investment (ROI) at the end of the campaign, when sales have been recorded.
5. Following up with the leads
Since our objective is to find new customers in a list of contacts which was purchased from a supplier, qualifying prospects is a crucial step in the process.
The quantity and the pace in which the printed items will be sent out must be evaluated by the marketing team in collaboration with the sales team, to ensure the success of the operation.
Regardless of the method that is favored by the prospect to reach us, the sales team must have accumulated as much information as possible about the prospect; that goes without say. The prospect will feel confident if they perceive that you already know his business.
Prior to the first call, the sales team will have to clearly define the direct marketing offer and, should also have in hand a document allowing them to lead the discussion and be able to provide answers to all the questions that may be asked by the prospect.
Depending on the interest of the prospect for the promotional offer other identified needs during the discussion, an appropriate follow-up will be considered. Is he ready for a meeting or does he prefer to be contacted at a later date?
Although collecting leads is not considered a direct sale, it opens the opportunity for possible sales targeted to your offer. Remember that since the activities surrounding your direct marketing campaigns are likely to be spread over a few weeks or even months, it is essential to use a CRM to have all the information and to be able to ensure appropriate monitoring with the prospects.
Also, you will be able to connect a possible sale to this prospect with a direct marketing initiative by determining the ROI, and even knowing the tactic that obtains the highest conversion rate. You will have enough data to optimize your next direct mail campaign.
And you, do you believe that direct marketing still has its place in 2014?