When you send out a direct mail campaign you’re typically looking at two things to determine the results. The cost per lead and the cost per sale. ROI (return on investment) is your number one priority. Typically, when a campaign proves profitable, those initial leads that did not convert are lost or forgotten. Sure you might follow up once, or post out another campaign later down the line, but is that enough?
If you receive 100 calls from a postcard mailing, you will work out the cost for each of those by dividing responses by the total you paid for the mailing. This gives you a ‘cost per lead’ figure. If 20 of those leads converted into sales, you would divide 20 by the total cost to be left with the CPS (cost per sale). Let’s assume in this case you’ve made a healthy profit from the 20 sales. What happens with the remaining 80 leads? You have paid for these leads, so letting them disappear into the background is simply a waste of money.
It is much easier to close a lead who has already reached out to your business. It actually involves less effort and lowers costs to remarket to this group of people. Consider this before sending out a completely new campaign and starting from scratch again. You need to create a funnel so you have a step-by-step approach to following up each lead.
A good funnel will optimize a range of different communication methods, so let’s explore an example below.
After your business receives that initial call you will have collected some vital further information such as an email address and contact phone number. This enables you to follow-up initially via email before reaching out and calling them directly.
Lead calls in > Follow up via Email > Call them directly > Follow up via Email > Second Phone Call > Send them a follow up direct mail
Regular phone calls can be the quickest and most effective way to close a lead because you can contact them directly, at any time and find out what might be holding them back. Sending out further emails or a second form of direct mail can work too, but this is a one-way form of communication.
Email autoresponders are a series of emails that are delivered at certain points following a lead. You might create a schedule so that each follow-up email is delivered automatically 2 days later, a week later, 10 days and so on. Each one should be designed to build on the previous message and generate action at that point of contact.
Just as you can drip-feed email campaigns, you can do the same with postcards. If you do a follow-up with postcards, (or another form of direct mail) be sure to recognize that the lead has already contacted you. Don’t send out the same campaign that you would mail to new prospects.
A good approach, if possible, is to categorize your leads into A, B & C categories to make follow-up simpler. This is common in B2B marketing, but something similar can be applied to B2C.
A leads have the need and have the budget so will most likely make a decision within the next 30-60 days. This timeframe will, of course, depend on the product.
B leads have the need but do not yet have the budget so that decision will take longer.
C leads have the need but no budget and therefore they have no plans on making a decision anytime soon.
Based on this, you should follow-up with A leads immediately and focus the majority of your attention here. B leads should also receive a follow-up, but you can take a little more time with these. B leads are ideal for a drip campaign that is spread over several weeks/months. Finally, C leads might not require a call or follow-up at all but can join the list for regular communications like your newsletter. One day C leads might become A leads! Of course, these parameters will change depending on your business model.
The content of your follow-up funnel is crucial. Special discounts and limited time offers can entice leads to take further action more quickly. However, not all leads will become sales quickly, some might not take action for weeks, months or even years. Never give up on your leads unless they have asked to be removed from your database. You never know how close someone is to making a purchase.