Following-up Marketing Activity Can Generate Greater Results
The direct mailing pack has been carefully crafted, the data list purchased and you’re looking forward to the increase in sales. Unfortunately, the results are disappointing. Has this ever happened to your micro-business? A common reason for this is that the campaign wasn’t followed up.
Have you ever considered doing something but “never quite got round to it”? A follow-up activity prompts people like this to hopefully take the purchase or enquiry step. The technique is equally effective with both existing customers and new prospects.
So how do you do it?
Success lies in the planning. If you’re buying a data list, make sure the license allows multiple usage so it can be used as often as required. Then decide on your primary and follow-up media, e.g. direct mail followed up by telemarketing.
The main options are:
Direct Mail – This can be used as either the primary media or the follow-up. Try varying what you send, e.g. a full mailing pack followed by a postcard as a reminder, or perhaps a postcard as a teaser followed by a full mail pack and then another reminder postcard.
Telephone – Telemarketing can be used either as a primary media or a follow-up method for existing customers, but for new prospects it is best used as a follow-up. Non-customers often respond better to a mailing than a call, whereas existing customers are usually happy to hear from you.
Email – As with telemarketing, this is often best used as the primary media for existing customers and a follow-up for new prospects, if used at all. Email can be combined with a variety of media, e.g. send an email saying ‘look out for the mail pack’, which is then followed up by a telephone call. Guidance on creating and improving email activity can be found in Making Email Campaigns More Effective.
When to Send the Follow-up
In principle, the sooner after the primary media has arrived, the better. However, sufficient time needs to be allowed for the recipient to respond. There will be a delay whilst the letter is delivered plus a few days will need to be allowed for the recipient to act on it. There’s no point spending money following up a recipient if they were going to purchase anyway.
Aim for around 7-14 days after receipt before conducting the follow-up activity but test this for your company and industry. For more on testing techniques, read Testing. Also, try to find a way to exclude respondents from the follow-up activity. This will both save you money and make you appear more professional. Don’t contact people who have already purchased from you or are in the process of doing so.
The UK’s Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing is an excellent source of guidance on all things related to direct marketing. They also estimate that using a follow-up mechanism can increase response rates by up to 60%, so follow-ups are well worth considering.
However, the enquiries generated also need to be turned into sales. To become more effective at converting enquiries to sales, read Creating a Lead Management Process.