Which of the four B2B offers is right for you?Written by Alan Sharpe
In business-to-business direct mail, you are unlikely to reach prospects at very moment they are ready to buy. And even if you do, you are not likely to close sale with just a sales letter. That’s because business buying decisions rarely involve just one step (such as dropping a cheque in mail or placing an order by phone).
Instead, buying cycle typically involves a request for more information, either by way of literature or a visit from a sales rep, followed by a sales meeting, a product demonstration, maybe a trial, then a contract.
You do not usually know where cold prospects are in their buying cycle. So your direct mail should try to hook them wherever they are. The best way to generate a response is to present more than one offer.
Hard Offer The hard offer asks for order. “Call before June 18th to save 40% off your network installation.” “Book your commercial property tax audit now.” Use a hard offer when you want your mailing to generate immediate action--usually in form of a sale. Prospects who respond to hard offers are usually able and willing to buy right now.
Soft Offer The soft offer asks your prospects to raise their hands in a show of interest, but does not ask for an order or a commitment. An example of a soft offer: “Return enclosed business reply card for your free copy of our special industry report.” Use a soft offer when you want to generate a sales lead rather than an immediate sale or sales appointment. Soft offers identify prospects who are able to buy, just not willing to buy right now. You follow up with them and close sale later on.
Seven reasons to use direct mail for sales lead generation.Written by Alan Sharpe
1. Personal Unlike an advertisement in a trade publication, which can be read by anyone, your sales letter arrives at your prospect’s place of business as a piece of personal communication from your mind to his. Also, unlike any other medium, direct mail can be personalized (Dear Mr. Smith) and customized to each reader (“As an IT manager, you know that . . .”), showing your prospect that you know about him by name and understand his business in particular.
2. Cost effective Advertising by its very nature is expensive. To reach a lot of people, you need to spend a lot of money. Direct mail, on other hand, only targets prospects you want to reach. Instead of pitching your product to a huge audience of potential buyers, you aim your sales message only at prospects most likely to buy.
3. Breaks through clutter Your ad can easily get lost among dozens of competing ads in a trade newspaper. Your sales message is also easily forgotten on radio or television unless you repeat it many times, which is expensive. But a simple letter, addressed to your prospect by name and arriving on her desk in morning mail (which she must open), cuts through media clutter and gets her attention.
4. Measurable ROI Direct mail is one of best mediums for measuring return on your marketing dollar (or pound or yen). Simply code your business reply cards, and count how many return to you in mail. Then calculate how many of those replies generate a sales meeting or a sale. Now you know immediately--and exactly--how effective your mailing has been. Direct mail numbers never lie.