More Questions In Marketing
by: Jeffrey Dobkin
are 14 more questions I'm often asked about the different phases of marketing.
Starting with direct mail - getting your package opened:
Q. What does it cost to mail 1,000
to 5,000 pieces of mail.
A. Unless you're in the direct mail
business and mail all the time, figure the costs between 45 cents and
55 cents per envelope. This includes postage, envelope, letter, and brochure.
Q. What's a good response to a mailing?
A. Anything that makes money. If
you're selling a 12 million dollar airplane and get one inquiry from your
100,000 piece mailing - and he buys a plane, you were successful. But
I usually figure 1/2 to 1% as pretty good, and try to calculate if my
clients will show a profit at one half of one percent.
So the real question is "Will you be profitable if one person out of 200
buys? Or, if one out of 100 buys?" You have to work out your numbers
from the back end first, to see what conversion ratio you need to break
even or - heaven forbid - make money.
That's why products selling for $15 or $20 bucks aren't successful - you
need too high a percentage response to make money in direct mail. At a
cost of $500 per thousand pieces mailed, with a 1% response - or 10 calls
- you need to sell enough to cover a $500 cost, or $50/order after product
and processing costs - just to break even.
Q. Should you use teaser copy on your
envelope or not?
A. Yes, and no. A great teaser line
- if it's clever - will overcome a bulk mail stamp (now called standard
mail) and can drive the recipient to open the envelope.
On the other hand, if you want more a of a professional look, and don't
want to use a teaser line, the next best way to get recipients to open
your letter: design it to look like it's a personal letter - put a live,
first class stamp on it and hand write or ink-jet the address. Then use
your name (with no company name) and your business address in the upper
left hand corner. Now it looks like a personal letter, and most everybody
will open it. It's important to have the recipient's address imaged directly
on the envelope - no label.
Q. What's the best way to come up
with great teaser copy for your envelope?
A. It's the Jeff Dobkin 100 to 1 Rule:
Write 100 lines, go back and pick out your best one. Yep. This technique,
as first reported in my book, Uncommon Marketing Techniques, also works
to create a headline for an ad or a press release; or the first line of
your letter or the body copy of an ad. I didn't say you'd like it, I
just said it works.
Q. OK, Dobkin - what's your own best
teaser copy to get an envelope opened?
A. My favorite teaser copy for envelopes
is "Gift Certificate Enclosed!" Everyone will open because... if only
to see what it is. Also - they're 1. cheap to print and 2. light to ship
(on only 1/3 or 1/4 of a sheet of paper), 3. have no cost at all until
redemption, 4. can be directed at high margin or excess merchandise, and
are 5. naturally easy to track. Any arguments?
Q. What's your best trick for writing
when you can't seem to come up with anything good?
A. Start anywhere, then go back and
cross out your first sentence. Having a really bad day? Go back and
cross out your first paragraph. This will pull you right into the heart
of your copy.
Q. Give two of your favorite headline
A. New Product Offers Benefit, Benefit,
Benefit (New lightweight tennis racquet is faster to swing, easier to
control and hits harder); and Free Booklet Offers Valuable Information;
for example: Call for Free Booklet "How to Pack China for Moving!" The
strength of the booklet title determines the response.
Q. What is the objective of the "marketing
A. To narrow the prospect list to
"only the people who are the very most likely to purchase, when they are
ready to purchase" and delete everyone else.
Q. How do you find all the magazines
that go to any industry?
A. There are excellent magazine directories
at the library. You can find any industry and the magazines that serve
that industry in under 5 minutes. The best directories are Bacon's Magazine
Directory, Burrelle's Magazine Directory, Oxbridge Communication's Directory
of Periodicals, and the SRDS Directory of Magazines.
Q. How can I get a sample copy of
any magazine to see if it has a good profile audience for me to market
A. As a potential advertiser, call
the publisher and ask for a "Media kit." Sample copies will be sent along
with advertising rate information by first class mail. Their response
will be very prompt. Be sure to ask for any annual directory issue at
that time, too. Directory issues are usually only available once a year
when they come out - unless you request them with a media kit. Nice trick,
huh? My publisher friends are gonna' hate me for this one.
Q. Where can I buy a mailing list?
A. Sources for lists include: List
brokers (these can be found in the phone book), List compilers as found
in the direct marketing trade journals, magazine publishers (who usually
sell their lists), associations, on the web, catalog publishers; also
check out the SRDS Directory of Mailings Lists and the Oxbridge Communications
Directory of Mailings Lists at the library. These reference journals
contain over 10,000 mailing lists with all the pertinent list data such
as who owns the list, the cost, number of records, etc.
Q. What's the most valuable sheet
of paper in all of direct marketing?
A. A letter. If you don't include
a letter in your direct mail package you could be losing up to 40% of
your response. Make it look like a letter. At a printing cost of 1-1/2
cents, it's cheap insurance to make your package work harder.
Q. If a letter is so strong in direct
mail, do I need a brochure? A. You
should have a brochure or better yet a booklet. This is used to build
credibility for your letter and offer. The brochure tells, the letter
sells. Show the features your products have in the brochure, and the
benefits of those features in the letter.
Q. What's the most effective $100
campaign in direct marketing?
A. That would be mailing a series
of 6 to 12 letters to your top 100 prospects.
Q. What's the most valuable sheet
of paper in all of marketing?
A. A Press Release is the single most
effective single sheet of paper in all of marketing. A press release
is a one page, double spaced, typed sheet of paper with a description
of your product or service written in a crisp, concise newspaper-style
of writing. It is sent to editors of newspapers and magazines and - if
selected to be published - it is printed as editorial.
Q. Should I send a letter with my
press release? Why should I say "Enclosed is a press release..." they
can see it's a press release when they open it.
A. Does Captain Hook have a wooden
leg? You bet! A letter builds credibility, subtly explains why the press
release should be published, and supplies additional material you might
not be able to say your release that an editor can also pick up and use
if your press release is published.
Q. How many press releases do I send
out in a medium-sized campaign?
A. At our small firm (2 of us) we
send out a medium-sized campaign to about 100 newspapers and magazines.
We try to do this every week - we don't always meet this goal, but we
Q. What are the chances of our press
release being published?
A. Small trade magazines: 10 to 20%.
Larger trade magazines: 5 to 10%. Consumer magazines: 1% It's like shaking
hands with the Pope - it can happen, but not without a lot of effort.
Q. How can I increase my chances of
having my press release published?
A. Call the editor. When you call
the editor, you increase your chances by 50%. When you place an ad, your
chances of having a press release run can as high as 90% - if you go about
it the right way. ("If I place this ad, do you think I can have a press
release run in the next issue?")
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Dobkin, author of How To Market A Product For Under $500!, Uncommon
Marketing Techniques, and Inside Secrets of Direct Marketing,
is a specialist in direct response copywriting. He writes powerful,
response-driven sales letters, TV commercials and scripts; persuasive
catalog copy; and exceptionally hard-hitting direct mail packages
that increase sales. He also analyzes direct marketing packages,
ads, catalogs, and campaigns. Mr. Dobkin is an acclaimed speaker
and a direct marketing consultant. Call him directly at 610-642-1000
for free samples of his work. You can visit his web site at: http://www.dobkin.com
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