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Direct Mail Campaigns -- Expert Targeting Creates Awesome Results

By: Carol Bentley

Youve probably heard the normal response to any bulk mail out in business ranges from 0.5% to 1% -- any more is often regarded as a very good result. You can increase the odds in your favour with savvy targeting.

You see, this low normal response is usually because the mail shot is sent to a list of names or contacts that is not qualified or targeted. Its like taking a handful of seed and scattering them on the ground and hoping some will take root, before being eaten by the birds.


You have to sow your seeds in prepared ground and nurture them to increase the chances of growth. The same applies to the letters you send out and the adverts you place.


Selecting the right people and businesses to write to impacts dramatically on the results you get.

Let me give you an example; a letting management agent, wanted to offer his services to people buying apartments at a new, exclusive development.

A letter was sent to the people who had already agreed to buy one of these opulent apartments - this was a VERY SMALL AND VERY TARGETED LIST -- just 48 addresses.

It went out the week before Christmas, it was felt his prospects would possibly get bored in the long holiday between Christmas and New Year and would read the letter, even though it contained a large number of pages.

There were 2 responses between Christmas and New Year!

A slightly shorter, follow-up, letter was sent after New Year reminding them about the first letter and giving them the essence of the offer again.

The final outcome? An amazing 44.2% responded and a whopping 63.16% of the enquiries converted into clients.

This rate of response and conversion is highly unusual -- a percentage of 4% to 5% is normally an excellent outcome. More often results are in the % to 1% range. But it does show how precise targeting can increase your results dramatically.

Make sure of your target audience and prepare properly, it is crucial to your success.


Preparing' for your advertising campaign means researching the readership of the publication you plan to use and making sure it reaches the right audience for you.

Preparing for your mailing campaign means identifying people or businesses who have already bought or expressed an interest in what you have to offer.


Well, in the case of a letter going out, it depends upon where your prospects details come from in the first place. If they are in your database, that you have spent time building from the contacts you have made over the years, then you have made a note of what would interest them -- havent you?

If you dont have a database of contacts, you need to get people to qualify themselves by responding to an offer.

Lets say you have rented a mailing list of 10,000 addresses. You qualified as much as you could when you sourced the list, types of business, contacts within the business, geographical location etc. Dont mail to the whole list -- filter the list to discover who is more likely to buy your product or service, based on whatyou know about your current customer list.

Make a low priced or no charge offer to get the people who are more likely to be interested in what you supply to respond. Effectively 'holding up their hand'.

It could be a report (or white paper) on something that gives your prospect useful information and has some connection with your main product or service.

If youre aiming to get people to attend a seminar, then inviting them to a taster session may be the right carrot to entice your prospects to book on the seminar itself. Or a teleconference beforehand giving them an idea of what the seminar itself is about.

The key is to get people to self-qualify themselves for your main product or service by responding to your offer.

As people respond to your initial letter you can start to write to them with specific offers, knowing they are now a more qualified prospect. And incidentally, when you write to your newly qualified contact, make sure you write about the benefits they can enjoy when they do business with you and write from their point of view.

2004 Carol A E Bentley

Extracted from the book 'I Want to Buy Your Product... Have You Sent Me a Letter Yet' (How to create powerful sales letters, advertisements, flyers, brochures, web pages and newsletters that persuade hundreds, or even thousands, of additional customers and clients to buy from you!) by Carol A E Bentley (Rated 5-star on

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