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Case Study – Direct Mail Still Works

Back in April 2007 when I joined Twitter, people were wondering how 140 characters could help you market a business. Those were the days Facebook required a .edu address, and business models for startups were seen as unnecessary – who needs to know from the beginning how to make money?

Today, if your business doesn’t have a Twitter account, Facebook page, and LinkedIn company profile, you’re considered a neanderthal. But in our rush for greater connectivity, let’s not forget the tried and true methods of connecting with clients and customers.

In this post, I’m going to discuss the methodology and results of a recent direct mail campaign that we did. Long story short – it still works. Here’s how well it worked for us.

Preface

Rather than writing a post that is in the multi thousands of words, and in respect for your time and mine, I’m going to get straight to the point in each section. If you would like anything in this case study clarified, please leave your questions in the comments below and I’ll answer it. Thanks!

The List

If you’re doing direct mail, you need a list of people to send the mail to. In this instance, I had a warm prospect list from an event I attended. These people knew me to a greater or lesser extent, so it wasn’t completely cold. I prefer my prospects that way – warm and friendly.

My list consisted of 100 people. 70% of the folks were here in the United States, with the other 30% living in Canada, Dubai, South Africa, and various other excellent places to visit.

The Methodology

The overall methodology of the campaign looked like this (click it for a larger view):

Dempsey Marketing Direct Mail Case Study Methodology

As you see, the campaign consisted of a few moving parts:

  1. Sales letter
  2. Landing page
  3. Thank you page
  4. Follow-up phone calls and emails
  5. Webinar

That’s all the outward facing stuff. The internal stuff that no one but we see are:

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – Highrise
  2. Data collection forms – Formstack
  3. Webinar Software – GoToWebinar
  4. SEO tools

Let’s look at each of the moving parts.

Step 1: Sales Letter

The first thing I did was write a 3-page, personalized sales letter. I signed each one, and our team (including me) put each into an envelope and sent them to their destinations.

The sales letter had a few components:

  1. An initial page talking about our personal connection
  2. An invitation to the webinar, and a few paragraphs about what they’ll get out of it if they attend
  3. A offer of a free gift for attending the webinar
  4. A url and a QR code for the registration page
  5. Full color photos – no cheapy black and white pics
  6. An actual signature – I signed each one
  7. A picture of me, so that they could remember who I am

If they entered the URL into their browser or used the QR code, they got to our landing page.

Step 2: Landing Page

The landing page is a pretty “standard” landing page consisting of a pre-header, headline, body copy, images, webinar information, and a call-to-action. One thing to note on our sign-up button: we’re using a special little WordPress plugin that allows people to register for our webinar in one of three ways:

  1. Facebook
  2. One-click signup (using a cookie)
  3. The typical form with first name and email

This plugin can register someone for GoToWebinar AND for your email list at the same time. In a word, it’s badass.

Pro tip: the easier you can make it for someone to register the better. Social media signups are awesome, and super easy.

Here’s a screenshot of the landing page (click for the full view):

Dempsey Marketing Direct Mail Case Study Landing Page

A Note On Landing Pages

I want to take a minute for a quick aside on landing pages. The advice here runs the gamut from keeping them “plain jane” to creating well designed pages. I’ve seen both work well. That means you have to test them!

With that said, our plain jane page used here converted very well (numbers below). Now back to the post…

Step 3: Thank You Page(s)

When someone registered for our webinar they were taken to a thank you page with the webinar details, and an offer of a free consultation relating to the webinar content. That’s a key here: if you present an additional offer it MUST make sense in the greater context – meaning the webinar content.

If the person took us up on our free offer, they were added to our CRM system, and Hugh was sent an email to line up a call. They were also taken to a second thank you page.

In either case, they were sent an automated email from GoToWebinar with the webinar information.

Step 4: Follow-Up

After the letters went out, Hugh hit the phones and email, letting people know about the value they’d get from the webinar. This helped a lot. How much? The numbers are all below.

Step 5: Webinar

This is where the rubber meets the road. We delivered value in a big way, and surprised the attendees with a little added bonus – something physical that comes in the mail.

Also, toward the end of the webinar I presented the link to use to get the free Website Awareness Report I mentioned in the sales letter. It’s imperative that you ALWAYS deliver on every promise you make. We did that, and then some.

Conversions To Customers

Because this campaign was run right before the back-to-back holidays, we don’t have final conversion numbers on clients obtained from the campaign. That is forthcoming. However, what I can tell you is that after the webinar it’s all about delivering on our promises. We sent the Website Awareness Reports and scheduled follow-up discussions.

Now, let’s get to the part I’m sure you’ve been waiting for, if you haven’t already read :)

Conversion Metrics And Stats

We had a total of 9 metrics we were tracking on this campaign. Here they are, along with the numbers we got:

Metric Conversion Rate
Letter -> Landing Page 9%
Follow-up -> Landing Page 18%
Total communication conversion rate 27%
Landing Page -> Webinar 66.67%
Webinar Signups -> Attend 38.89%
Webinar Attendees -> Report Request 71.43%
Webinar Absentees -> Report Request 36.36%
Communications -> Webinar 18%
Communications -> Report 9%

 

Those last two are the overall conversion numbers for the campaign. We had an 18% conversion rate from all of our communications to the webinar, and a 9% conversion rate from all communications to a report request.

Analysis

At the end of the day, this campaign had a 9% conversion rate. Personally I consider that a great conversion rate considering that we just finished one holiday and were headed into two more.

One big note here is that the follow up that Hugh did, calling and emailing, added an additional 18% conversion to our numbers. And yes, I was able to isolate those additional signups from the direct from letter signups, so that additional 18% is a solid number.

The landing page conversion was really nice, however what is telling is the number of webinar attendees and absentees that requested a report, 71.43% and 36.36% respectively. This tells me that our offer was solid – people registered and attended the webinar to take us up on the report offer.

Having an offer that is compelling for your market is your #1 priority. All else is trivial details.

I can’t emphasize that last point enough. What do people want? Whatever it is, you had better deliver it.

Q&A Time

If you have any questions or comments on the case study, please leave them in the comment section below. I look forward to discussing it with you!

Comments

  1. Robert,

    This is an excellent article. Of course, Step 5: Webinar “This is where the rubber meets the road” is the key to sales. Great idea to surprise the attendees with a little added bonus – that comes in the mail.

    Since you conduct Webinars For Entrepreneurs, feel free to join our Webinar Marketing Group on Facebook where you CAN share links. This would be a great conversation topic.

    Join us here https://www.facebook.com/groups/marketyourwebinars/

    Sherrie Rose
    Author,
    The Webinar Way

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