Timing Your Direct Mail Campaign
Anyone who has known us for any length of time will know how much we promote the ideology that the most successful marketing campaigns are those which deliver the Right Message to the Right Person at the Right Time. Get these three things correct and you’re laughing!
How Do You Buy Your Car Insurance?
I read a very interesting article this week (Click HERE to read) regarding the purchasing habits of consumers when it comes to renewing their car insurance. The article explained how research carried out recently had uncovered the fact that some car insurance companies were missing a great opportunity to capture business by under-estimating the more “Old-fashioned” approach of using phone and mail.
The research details how many car insurance providers focus so heavily on “online” channels that they have all but forgotten the more traditional methods of phoning and Direct Mail. Whilst there’s little doubting the power of the internet, it is believed that the telephone and Direct Mail channels account for over £13 billion of revenue for this sector. Furthermore, the research states that it’s not only the elder generation, but the younger too who are welcoming the more traditional channels.
So, Why Use Direct Mail?
Well, I actively promote the use of all channels from email, telephone and Direct Mail through to social media and advertising. All have benefits to some and some have benefits to all. However mail does remain a firm favourite for me personally, as I like to have something to hold (I’m an old fashioned girl – vinyl albums will always beat downloaded music, for example…) – maybe it’s that draw that is proving warming to many? However, regardless the channel, your campaign must get its timing right to stand any chance of success.
The Timing is Vital
In some ways, insurance companies have an advantage when it comes to the timing of their marketing – they have (at least for their existing clients anyway) a renewal date. They can time their campaigns in such a way that they are practically bespoke, without too much trouble. However, how can you help ensure your timing is as good as it can be? Here are some tips:
Target Existing Clients – Those of you who require periodical (i.e. annual) renewals have the same advantage of insurance companies, so use it. Begin at least a month before the renewal is due. Those less fortunate still have the advantage of a sales book, so can see patterns of when your clients have bought previously.
Know Your Clients’ Industry – A knowledge of your clients’ industry can also help in conjunction with the sales book, since they may also have periodical peak times, but again, make sure you deliver your messages in good time before.
Seasonality – If you sell something that might appeal to a certain sector at certain times, take advantage of that.
Exhibitions, Expos etc – If you know that every year, your client’s industry has an event in September, start mentioning it in good time before.
Current Affairs – Is there anything that’s “Hot” or “Trending” that can give you an “In”, an opportunity to promote yourself? If so, then why not? Providing it’s not controversial of course!
Theme Weeks – In this day of the internet, it seems there’s a day / week for almost everything. With everything from “British Pie Week” and “National Gardening Week” to “Go Green Week” and “London Technology Week”, there’s plenty out there all year round to get you focusing on how you can take advantage by promoting yourself at the right time. There’s even sites with lists of weeks to help you along…
Answers on a Postcard…
The above list is far from exhaustive and there are lots of ways that you can ensure you give your campaign the best chance of succeeding. Hopefully the list inspires you to think of ways that suit your business – let us know of any please…
The Campaign Itself
Now you know the purpose of the campaign, you need to make sure you time it right such that your Direct Mail shot doesn’t land on the doormat so early that it’s forgotten by the time of the event, or so late that it’s too late! Depending on the event, this can be anything from a few days to a month or two, possibly longer.
If you’re buying a prospect list in, don’t buy it yet, but make sure you can get it before spending time on the campaign and check what the lead times are for delivery. If using your own database, make sure it’s clean and compliant, otherwise you may be wasting a lot of time and effort (and money! Look out for next week’s article for more tips)
Make sure you have all the artwork lined up ready for the printer so there are no delays, then find out when the printer needs the data for and ensure it’s ready to send to the printer for then. In my experience, the printer usually needs around a week – two weeks, but you need to be certain. Finally, proof read the mailing and give the thumbs up to print (and don’t forget to add your name to the data list, so that you receive a copy for yourself!)
We Have Lift Off!
Once all the preparation is done, the rest should be pretty smooth sailing, so you can sit back, relax and wait for the good news that your Direct Mail shot has gone. If your message is good, the audience appropriate and the timing right, then you’re well on your way to a successful campaign…