Writing Effective Sales Letters - Part VI : Inadequate Follow-Up - Common Mistakes in Direct Mail Campaign

Starting a direct mail campaign with poor preparation is perhaps the most common of all mistakes.

Direct mail is not the end - but the first step in attracting new customers. The preliminary leads it generate may turn into actual sale only by proper follow-up. Do not start a direct mail campaign unless you have made all arrangement for prompt and proper follow-up. Indeed, there is little justification for starting an elaborate mail campaign if you are not in a position to encash the sales leads.

Hot leads rapidly turn cold if not followed up promptly and properly. Delayed response, slow fulfillment, poor marketing literature and inept response can easily destroy initial interest shown by potential customer. Think of how hard you worked to get these leads - Isn't the end result so very frustrating !

Here is a checklist of questions you should ask yourself before starting a direct mail campaign

  1. Can I respond to every inquiry within 24-hours ?

  2. Is follow-up mail and printed literature in place ?

  3. Am I responding with answers to customer's inquiry or a general-purpose sales letter ?

  4. What is my plan for people who do not respond ? Do I send additional mail ? If so, at what intervals ?

  5. How do I mix e-mail, postal mail and phone/fax for people who have shown positive interest ? Direct mail followed by postal mail, telephone, fax, sending representative (wherever possible) generate upto 10 times more response than direct mail with no follow-up

  6. Does my follow up inquiry fulfillment package include a strong sales letter telling potential customer what to do next ?

  7. Does my inquiry fulfillment package include a reply element, such as printed order form, link to on-line order form in website, full specifications etc.

  8. Does my sales brochure give the reader the information he/she needs to make an intelligent decision about taking the next step in the buying process ?

Don't put 100% of your time and effort into lead generation mailing and 0% into follow-up, as so many mailers do. Remember, your ultimate aim is to sell and keep selling - not mail distribution.

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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 3, Issue 34 December 12' 2002

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at amit@infobanc.com )

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