What determines direct mail marketing success?
What determines success for direct mail marketing is being able to properly utilize the medium to reach your goals.
Hosted by Kevin Dieny
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Links Mentioned & Helpful Resources from Episode
- Travis Lee’s LinkedIn Profile
- 3D Mail Results (Travis’ Company) Website
- USPS Direct Mail Marketing Website
- Call Tracking from CallSource for Direct Mail Marketing
- 13 Direct Mail Marketing Facts (Blog Article on CallSource)
- SPECIAL OFFER >>> Get Travis’ Book on Direct Mail Marketing
[00:00:00] Kevin Dieny: Hello, and welcome to the Close the Loop podcast. I’m your host, Kevin Dieny, and today we’re gonna be talking about what determines direct mail marketing success. We’re gonna really get into the world of direct mail. What I kind of think of as the offline, one of the offline marketing channels, one of the really interesting marketing channels that’s been around for a long time.
[00:00:20] Kevin Dieny: And so to help us dive into this topic, I, I’m not an expert in this, and I thought, man, I gotta find someone who really knows what they’re doing, knows, maybe he’s done this for a while, someone who can really speak to the ins and outs and some of the ways that businesses are finding success or doing it wrong.
[00:00:37] Kevin Dieny: Tips that can help you. So to help us dive into this topic of direct mail marketing, I’ve brought Travis Lee on. Travis Lee is the co-founder and president of 3D Mail Results. He started the business in 2007 as a family business, and it has helped over 10,000 business owners increase the return on investment from their direct mail with proven and unique direct mail products designed to attract, convert, and retain the best customers.
[00:01:05] Kevin Dieny: So when he isn’t working, Travis spends his time with his family. He loves traveling, snow skiing, camping, and boat around in the Pacific Northwest. So welcome Travis, thanks for coming on.
[00:01:16] Travis Lee: Hey Kevin. Thanks for having me. Glad to be on with you and your guests and talking a little old school marketing, you know, paper and ink and sending stuff through the mail… hah hah.
[00:01:25] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, now it obviously, in my head I’m thinking like, okay, direct mail marketing, the coupons, the ads I get in the mail. But what, like what in, what is direct mail marketing? If you kind of just like ground us all here, just so everyone’s aware. What are we talking, what are we thinking about when we’re talking, when we talking about on this podcast, what is direct mail marketing?
[00:01:46] Travis Lee: So obviously in its core we’re sending it through the post office, right? So this isn’t digital, this isn’t email, but the, the thing that direct mail does is that it is very, fluid in what it can accomplish. So it can be what we call top of the funnel marketing. It can be ways to get your name out there, ways to get new leads.
[00:02:08] Travis Lee: Ways to get new customers, right. And that’s what most people think of when they think of any kind of marketing, right? It’s, I need new customers and I needed them yesterday. Right? And so it has the ability to do that, but it also has the ability. To increase profits, increase sales throughout that customer life cycle.
[00:02:28] Travis Lee: Uh, so now let’s. You’ve got a shoebox. If you’re old school, you got a shoebox full of business cards of people you’ve met over the years and you want to convert ’em to a customer. Or if you’re a little bit more, um, advanced and you’ve got a crm, a customer relations management system, and you’ve got all these leads in in it, and.
[00:02:48] Travis Lee: Maybe some of them have bought little things. Maybe some of ’em have bought nothing, but they’re kind of your suspects. They know about you, but they haven’t really given you much of anything. And so it can help in that portion, we call that conversion. So we talked about top of funnel, getting customers, getting leads, getting awareness.
[00:03:06] Travis Lee: Then you get that and now you’ve tried, now you need to convert them from a suspect to a customer or a prospect to a customer. I like suspect. Right? Cause they’re just kind of hanging out there on your, on your. and it can also help now with conversion and longevity to other products, other services for referrals, um, for upsells, for down sales.
[00:03:29] Travis Lee: Uh, let’s say you give sales presentations. They don’t buy X at the presentation, but now you’ve got alternate offer y that could be sent out through direct mail. So it really is a, a chameleon in that it can really. Anywhere in that customer life cycle, depending on where it is that you need the most.
[00:03:51] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, wow, that’s really cool. Uh, the, and it, so it’s hitting a lot of different places. It’s used in a lot of different strategies. It’s not just sending out coupons . Correct. Um, so, okay. Now for every time that I’m going into a topic, I think about, okay, we’re gonna be talking about probably. You know, the pro the topic from one angle.
[00:04:12] Kevin Dieny: So what is the opposite? What is the, what is everyone saying? What are the negative things that everyone’s saying? So one of those things that I’ve, that I’ve found that seem to be one of the most prevalent, let’s say anti direct mail opinions out there was direct mail marketing is dead, or it’s dying because nobody is responding.
[00:04:31] Kevin Dieny: Nobody is opening their mail and responding to the ads. Now, something. I think a lot of marketers wonder because every, the cool and flashy stuff is the digital side, but I, I don’t know if I don’t like, I don’t have my thumb on the statistics. You have a better understanding of it. What would you say to the idea that direct mail marketing is dead?
[00:04:52] Travis Lee: So a couple of different things. First off, is the volume of direct mail being sent down? Absolutely it is. There’s no question about that. However, it is not on the marketing side of the business. So think about this. Think about 30 years ago how you paid every single. You got the bill in the mail, you then wrote ’em a check.
[00:05:15] Travis Lee: You stuffed it inside the return envelope, you put a stamp on it and you sent it out. That’s how everybody paid every single bill they had. Um, some people still do it that way. Uh, think about all the birthday invitations maybe you used to send out, or, uh, Halloween cards to your nieces and nephew and grandkids or any kind of personal male, right?
[00:05:38] Travis Lee: I mean, My grandparents have passed, but they would literally sign, they would write letters to me when I was a kid. Uh, it’s your birthday and I remember when you were born. Right? And they would send, and they’d, they’d always have this beautiful script handwriting and they’d have this stamp up there and like, they sent mail to communicate.
[00:05:58] Travis Lee: They sent mail to pay bills, they set mail. And all of this is going in and out, right? Well, now look at what we’ve done when it comes to the digital side of. Most people don’t get statements in the mail anymore, right? They get it via direct, they get it via their email. They then log into their bank, or they log into the vendor and they pay their bill with a credit card or with a, with a direct deposit or, but no one’s signing checks and putting them in the mail.
[00:06:23] Travis Lee: Uh, no one’s sending out birthday invitations anymore. We go to Facebook, we create a group and we have a birthday party. And as a little side note, the one industry that it seems to have continued the, the continued the mail is the wedding industry. So you still get to save the date and you still get the wedding invite and the card.
[00:06:42] Travis Lee: But somehow with birthdays and anniversaries and everything else, we’ve gone away from all that. But I digress on that a little bit. But that’s, that’s the kind of male that we’re no longer sending. So, and that brings down a huge volume. However, when it comes to marketing mail, there is still more marketing mail sent today than there was last year.
[00:07:02] Travis Lee: Than there was the year before. Than there was the year before. Than there, right? So the media itself as a marketing medium is still alive and well. And if you were to look at some of the largest direct mail companies, not the largest direct mail companies, the largest senders of direct. They’re things like Google AdWords.
[00:07:22] Travis Lee: Uh, they’re places like Amazon. I’m guessing. Every single person on this call who is an Amazon Prime member, has a catalog mailed to them in the last, I’d say two to three weeks. Um, they’ve got umpteen hundred million members. They’re all getting a, a catalog. I now why would they send a catalog? If you sent a catalog this thick, you still couldn’t get one 100th of what Amazon sends in it.
[00:07:48] Travis Lee: Yeah, but they still send a catalog. Well, why do they do that? Because they know it drives sales back to the website. Uh, it gives people something to thumb through, something to look at. Um, And so that’s the kind of direct mail that’s still being used a lot. Now, in some industries, it, it has dried up a lot.
[00:08:06] Travis Lee: Um, you know, think about realtors. How many just, just, uh, just listed, just sold letters and postcards you used to get in the mail. Now you hardly see that ever. So in some industries, this is actually a good thing, the dry. Means that there’s less competitors. And so while you may have gone to Google display ads or social media or TikTok, and this is not to bash online, we use online marketing, we use websites.
[00:08:34] Travis Lee: We use email. I’m on a podcast right now into the, into the cloud universe. Right? So I mean, I get it, but it’s something. As people go away from, there’s obvious opportunities for people who can use it and use it, right? Cuz of the lack of the, you know, the lack, the lack of competition. There’s simply less mail there from you, your competitors, and everybody else.
[00:08:58] Travis Lee: Cuz the one thing we’re all competing with is time and attention. So if there’s less people there we have more time, we have more attention.
[00:09:07] Kevin Dieny: That leads really well into the next sort of prevalent question that’s going on, right? When they understand, okay, well there is direct mail going on, but, I think the reason that this is asked is that it seems like something that was done in the past as sort of like a, an afterthought or wasn’t put, like wasn’t, a lot of strategy wasn’t put into it cuz that’s like, I don’t know, maybe that’s the feeling or sentiment that’s out there.
[00:09:32] Kevin Dieny: But this one was direct mail marketing, the performance of it isn’t something you can measure. So that’s what, that’s… That’s something I was wondering what your thoughts are on that cuz it’s not, I wouldn’t, in marketing, I wouldn’t wanna do something I can’t be like, yes, we spent this much and this is how much we got for it.
[00:09:51] Kevin Dieny: But there is the idea that, you know, sometimes marketing you, you do stuff and you can’t measure it. So where does this, where does direct mail marketing fit in?
[00:09:59] Travis Lee: Yeah, so with most direct mail and with most small businesses, it can be tracked well enough to know if it’s successful or not. Are you going to get every penny that falls through the cracks and be able to track it?
[00:10:13] Travis Lee: No, you’re not. Um, you know, with all marketing, we try to track as much of our marketing as we can. I’m a direct response marketing guy. I, I grew up listening to all the great direct response guys, Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, all those guys. Yes, we wanna be able to track every single penny. For the most part.
[00:10:32] Travis Lee: That’s really hard to do. But for most small businesses, for mo, you know, most of the people that are probably listening to this podcast, simply having a different phone number for them to call into and be able to track calling volume. Um, to your point, having coupons and things like that, that can be tracked, you know, so let’s say we’re a sporting good store and we’re going.
[00:10:54] Travis Lee: They can redeem online or in store. And now we can scan that or we can enter that. Uh, you know, same thing with maybe a an H V A C company. Uh, we put a unique tracking phone number in there that we know only rings from the direct mail piece. Maybe we create a, a separate landing page. So let’s say we’re seattle hvac.com, maybe we create, um, happy seattle hvac.com and now that’s only in the places.
[00:11:22] Travis Lee: That’s only put in a direct mail where we can actually target. That’s what most businesses can do, and for most people, that’s going to be good enough to know, all right, we’re getting volume of calls. We’re getting volume of sales. I know that that’s now my baseline, right? So maybe they found us, they Googled their name, went to the regular website, called the regular phone number, right?
[00:11:44] Travis Lee: But that gives me the baseline and you just need to know that anything above that, you are very likely getting more than that cuz that’s your baseline. So I have a client, uh, perfect example of. We have a, a, a numerous clients that are attorneys and they’re bankruptcy attorneys. And so what we’re able to do is when you haven’t paid your credit card bill and you get sued by your credit card company, that’s now a public facing action.
[00:12:10] Travis Lee: So we know that Kevin in Topeka, Kansas is being sued by Discover credit card because they didn’t pay their credit card bill. Well, now that’s a perfect prospect for a bankruptcy attorney right now if your next door neighbor. Maybe just fine and we could send as many direct mail pieces as possible, but he’s got an 800 credit score and doesn’t have any debt.
[00:12:30] Travis Lee: We can’t convert that guy, but if we know they have a problem and we’re able to mail them, so now we’re starting with a good list and now I tell them. So put tracking phone numbers in there and put a website in there that you know are only coming from your direct response efforts and direct mail efforts.
[00:12:48] Travis Lee: Well now that’s your baseline because, and like in our previous example, they look up you. Kevin Dean, attorney at law well, and now they’ve Googled me and now they’ve come in there. So as, as long as we can track to get that baseline, we know that that is the minimal we’re going to get. Now, the slightly longer answer is there are technologies now that we can use with Google, uh, Google Pixels, Google Tag Managers, where we can actually take your mailed list.
[00:13:18] Travis Lee: Upload it to a server, put that tracking phone number in there, and then when they go to visit your website, we know exactly when and where they came from. So Kevin’s on the mailing list, Kevin got it. He went to abc website.com and we know that he hit it. And that’s kind of the next level now is this, you know, bringing in the online and the offline world and making them work together.
[00:13:43] Kevin Dieny: Wow, that’s really cool. And I, and that’s such a great example of a way to be smart about your list or they’re smart about who you’re sending the mail to. So the very last, uh, , negative sentimental thing about direct mail I have, this is the very last one of that, is that it’s too much work to get right.
[00:14:02] Kevin Dieny: So you’ve talked about, okay, yeah. Direct mail isn’t dead. Direct mail is trackable. Direct mail has value. But for those who are saying it’s too much work hah hah… Um, so how much work is direct mail to get right?
[00:14:18] Travis Lee: You know, I’d be lying to you if I said it was not work. Um, however, I don’t know of anything in business that gets results that isn’t work at some point.
[00:14:30] Travis Lee: Uh, I, I, you know, and we get that question all the time. It’s the magic bullet question. What’s the one magic bullet that I can do today to get sales tomorrow? And, and the simple answer is, well, there’s not one. My dad has this great quote who I started this business with. He said, I don’t know one way to get a hundred different customers.
[00:14:48] Travis Lee: I know a hundred different ways to get one customer. And it’s when I use all hundred is when I have success. So it’s certainly harder than email. It’s not as, you know, so email, I can, I could have an email sent out to my list of customer. Five minutes, Hey, we’re having a sale. Go here, click send. And all umpteen thousand of them get a direct, get an email message.
[00:15:11] Travis Lee: Um, so it’s certainly harder than that. But when you look at the other media available to you, um, I mean, let’s just look at Google Paper, click. I think everyone has an idea of how Google play per click works. You bid on keywords. You either, if you bid high enough or get a high enough click through rate, you, you start higher up on the.
[00:15:31] Travis Lee: There’s work involved in that. You’ve gotta test it, you gotta measure it. You gotta split test your ads, you’ve gotta set your budget. Direct mail is no different. And just like those things, a lot of the setup is in the beginning and then there’s a lot of tweaking. As you go along. So yeah, you’ve gotta have a creative piece.
[00:15:50] Travis Lee: Yes, you need a mailing list. Yes, you need a conversion. What is the, we want the action for them to take whatever that is, request free information, come in for a seminar, uh, go to, go to the, go to our retail store and buy, doesn’t matter what it is. And so in real, in reality, it is no. Then all the other media have available to you.
[00:16:12] Travis Lee: I mean, if we’ve got TV advertisers, you’ve gotta write a script and then you gotta get a director. Then you gotta get actors. Then you gotta buy airtime that is all before you ever see any return, right? Direct mail is similar. You’ve gotta have a creative piece. You gotta have a mailing list. You gotta have.
[00:16:27] Travis Lee: Money for postage, which is your airtime for, for broadcast stuff. So is it difficult? Yes. Is it any more difficult than most other media that pull their weight? Absolutely not.
[00:16:40] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, so I mean, of those things that I said of that I found or were people were maybe thinking direct mail’s, not for me. Was there anything else that you, that you’ve run into where people are like, Now this is the reason why direct mail’s not for me.
[00:16:55] Kevin Dieny: And you’re like, that blows my mind. . Was there anything else or cuz those are the three big things that I could find.
[00:16:59] Travis Lee: Yeah, um, all my people are too young. They’re all, they’re all Gen Zers and now they’re all on their phone and they’re all on this. So that’s one I hear. Um, you know, there are some places where it makes it tough.
[00:17:12] Travis Lee: Um, you know, if, if, if you’ve got a low transaction size and not a lot of volume behind it, so there’s no repeat orders, there’s. Upsell to the product, you know, product a plus plus plus, it can make it tough. There are some things where, you know, a spray and pray shotgun approach is probably better than, than a, um, than a very targeted approach.
[00:17:37] Travis Lee: Um, you know, so there’s a Mexican restaurant down the street from my office here we go to a couple times a month. Them, they probably need to use an inexpensive postcard or use some kind of. Uh, mailer, like a penny saver or something like that, because they’re just playing a pure numbers game, right? So there’s things, there’s some nuanced things like that.
[00:18:01] Travis Lee: Uh, the one I hear now is young people don’t look at their mail, um, to which I say, well, when was the last time they got a piece of mail? Wouldn’t you like to be like the first one? Wouldn’t that be novel ? And now they’re like, what is this thing? Right? So it goes back to the whole idea of if everyone is over here doing this, There has to be some validity for being over here and doing the other thing.
[00:18:24] Travis Lee: Um, Yeah, based on pricing, based on competition, based on all of that. Um, but that’s probably the big one I hear right now is, oh my, all my audience is too young and they don’t even know what direct mail is. They wouldn’t even know where to go check the mail. Well, I’ve got a 13 year old at home and he sure likes he, he just got his Halloween and Thanksgiving cards from his grandma’s just a couple weeks ago, over the last couple weeks.
[00:18:45] Travis Lee: And he loved it. He put ’em up in his room and they were. Sat there for a whole month. How many e imagine if grandma sent an email or a text. How long would it, would it sit on? Would he print it out and put it on his desk for a month? Of course not, right. So a silly example, but an example nonetheless, that I don’t care your age, it’s gonna stick around if it’s the right message to the right person.
[00:19:07] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, now, I also want to add to that because there’s two things that I’ve run into where direct mail has had tremendous value. The first one is, even though. At least, you know, the way I’ve thought of it too is, Okay, this ad wasn’t very effective cause I looked at it for two seconds and threw it in the trash, but at the same time, , I looked at it for two seconds before I did, cuz I don’t wanna discard things in the mail.
[00:19:30] Kevin Dieny: That could be very important. Like there’s still some feeling, at least for me, that stuff in the mail could have great importance because it’s sent in the mail. So I’m not just taking it out of the mailbox and putting it directly in like a shredder, . It doesn’t just flow that way, , um, to point out a meme.
[00:19:47] Kevin Dieny: But basically, It does go through sort of like a, a brief screening process. So yeah, I, those two, three seconds that I looked at it are, Are not of no consequence, there is value there. And the second thing is we run into a lot, and I don’t know if other businesses have this issue where finding your target ideal audience is hard online.
[00:20:11] Kevin Dieny: It’s hard. The targeting of tools available online are still not great enough to be like, Pick these five or six out of like a neighborhood or pick these that have this specific problem. They don’t really have that. They just say, oh, you want someone who likes football, or, oh, you want someone who is of this age?
[00:20:28] Kevin Dieny: Well, what if I want more specific targeting and I can’t get that in the targeting platforms that are available online. I need are there, you know, maybe offline tools that have that target and I found that to be, to exist in direct mail marketing or if they’re in my crm, like you said, what platform knows who’s bought from me and when and what the only, you know, I have that list and I can upload that list for targeting.
[00:20:52] Kevin Dieny: But if it’s not super big, right? A lot of online is like you need at least a couple, you need at least 500 or a thousand. Whereas direct mail you could send five. Right? So there is sort of like a. Medium present in direct mail that’s not in anything else. And while I think that it may have, may suffer, you know, a great amount of time of having a high impression, but low duration of two second, you know, it, it’s just, it has that, that isn’t, um, something that I would say you can just ignore.
[00:21:23] Kevin Dieny: I think there’s value in those things that I have found value in, in being able to reach an audience I couldn’t anywhere else. And that even though it’s sent out, then we followed up with a call and they say, oh, I tossed it in the trash, but I remember you hah hah.
[00:21:37] Travis Lee: So yeah, that, no, that’s totally true. That’s totally true.
[00:21:40] Travis Lee: The, um, you are correct in that direct mail gives you the ability. To not just target, but micro target, micro target mic. I mean, you can, you can get down to the sixth or seventh or eighth degree of a person that it’s harder to do online. I’ll give you an example. I, I think you said before the call that you have a lot of, uh, home services type companies, H V A C, plumbing, things like that.
[00:22:06] Travis Lee: Well, let’s say I’m an HVAC company and I, and I. You know, service, air conditioning units and I replace and repair ’em and all that kind of stuff, right? Well, I might know certain things about an individual online that I can serve them as, but so like in that example, we can target the person, but it’s really the house plus the person that we want to target.
[00:22:32] Travis Lee: So my armchair quarterbacking tells me, all right, my, my HVAC unit. Now I live in the northwest where we just don’t run our hvac, our aacs all that often. But let’s say, let’s say the shelf life of a HVAC unit is, is 10 years just to pick a number outta the air. I have no idea if that’s any close at all or not.
[00:22:51] Travis Lee: But let’s say it’s 10 years. Well, we can get homes that were built 10 to 12 years ago, right? So they’re probably gonna need maintenance. They’re probably coming along where they’re going to need to be replaced. And then we can add the, the, the consumer element on top of it. So they, I want a ho house that’s 10 to 12 years old and I want the occupant to be married, have kids, and make over a hundred thousand dollars a year.
[00:23:17] Travis Lee: I just picked that outta the air. That probably seems like a pretty good target if I’m gonna be selling, uh, HVAC unit to somebody. So you can add those different layers to it so that you can now, and that’s just one example, but now you. Take the characteristics of the person plus the characteristics of, in this case, the home.
[00:23:37] Travis Lee: We can do the same thing with cars. I wanna know if they bought a new car five years ago. Average person buys a new car every five to seven years. Now I can start mailing to that person who has a new car from five years ago. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Uh, we can get people that have bought fitness do das, right?
[00:23:55] Travis Lee: So they’ve got, they’ve got six different aros underneath their, underneath their, uh, underneath their bed. All right? Well, the, the seventh one is the one that they’re finally gonna get out and use, right? So let’s get a u let’s get people who have bought fitness do das. And so it really does give you the ability to mic to, to target.
[00:24:15] Travis Lee: To the nth degree, to your point where it wouldn’t be efficient, but you could get a list of five people, uh, and, and not efficient, but could very well be effective.
[00:24:26] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, when we’re talking about the effectiveness, the success, the things that businesses have found that have worked now, and, and from your experience, right.
[00:24:36] Kevin Dieny: And this is like the crux of the main, the whole episode is mm-hmm. . What does determine, or what helps, a business achieve like a greater likelihood of success with direct mail marketing?
[00:24:51] Travis Lee: So the very, there’s really only three things you can mess with when it comes to direct mail, the first foremost, and the one that will dictate success more than any of the other two, and we’ll get to the other two in a second, is that mailing list.
[00:25:06] Travis Lee: So, to your point, if you’ve got a, if you’ve got an 800 credit score, you have no debt. And I’m sending you direct mail as a bankruptcy attorney, it does not matter. I could have William Shakespeare of copywriting today write the greatest short story ever and mail it to you. I could have it delivered by the governor and knocking on your door and nothing is going to change because you have absolutely no need for that service.
[00:25:35] Travis Lee: Now you take that away and we pinpoint like we discussed. Now you don’t need William Shakespeare and you don’t need it to be hand delivered by the most popular person in town. It can go by a stamp. It can go via a direct mail piece. So the number one determinant of success in any direct mail piece and really any media, right?
[00:25:56] Travis Lee: So this could be online, offline, tv, radio, whatever it is, bill Billboards, I don’t care. What it is, is finding the right audience that is. At least 50% of the battle is finding that right audience. So again, with our attorneys to go find the people that have been sued, find the people who are in a foreclosure, um, for our H V A C guys or something like that.
[00:26:23] Travis Lee: It’s, it’s finding the home that fits the criteria of a good potential client. It’s combined. The homeowner, the themselves. Um, so at least 50% of the battle is that mailing list. Then the other two, we won’t spend nearly as much time on, but the other two now is the offer. So what is it that we want them?
[00:26:46] Travis Lee: To do, um, if you have a more complicated sale and a longer sales cycle to go directly to a, Hey Kevin, here I am by my stuff. Doesn’t make a lot of sense. So if I’m selling a, if I’m now flipping it and I’m doing B2B and I’m selling a $50,000 a year SAS subscription software as a service for whatever it is that I do.
[00:27:11] Travis Lee: Well, almost no direct mail piece alone is gonna get that person to call up and say, Hey, here’s $50,000. Let’s get started. So you need to think about the offer. Is it an exploratory call? Do we offer free information, come to a free webinar, get my free book, um, things like that to our restaurant example.
[00:27:33] Travis Lee: Perhaps we just get a list of everyone who has a December birthday and we send the, the, the birthday boy or girl, a free entre. Perfect. That offer works just fine. Cuz if I decide that we’re gonna go to the Mexican place, I’m gonna get my free $20 entree, then I’m gonna bring the wife and both kids and there’s gonna be some margaritas and it’s gonna pay for itself, right?
[00:27:56] Travis Lee: But that’s the offer you’ve gotta think about and it’s all dictated by who it is that you’re going after times what it is that you sell. So again, if I’m a dentist and I want to get new movers, Sending out a a, a freer low cost. Welcome to the neighborhood. Examination probably works just fine and not probably, it does work just fine.
[00:28:19] Travis Lee: You don’t need to say, get my free book on how to brush your teeth better No, just come into the office and we’ll get your teeth looking better. Um, so we’ve got list and then we’ve got offer. Then the third one is the media, the thing that we send. So, again, to, to kind of close this loop, if I’m sending out a postcard for that Mexican restaurant, postcard works just.
[00:28:40] Travis Lee: And then when I talk about media, it’s the thing you actually said, well, is that postcard gonna work for that $50,000 software going to the chief marketing officer or the chief technology officer, or a, or a, um, director of marketing or something like that. That little postcard probably isn’t gonna pull the weight that I need it to.
[00:29:01] Travis Lee: So I need to send something with a little more oomph to it. Um, I’ve got some fun things here just to give you an idea of how outside the box we think sometimes. We have these little feet, so I want to get my foot in the door, . So now you’re selling a $50,000 software going to the VP of marketing that says, Hey, I want to get my foot in the door.
[00:29:20] Travis Lee: Is now a time to talk about abc X, Y, Z? That’s appropriate for the task, would be simply overkill for the restaurant.
[00:29:31] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, now I’ve explored this a little bit. Um, I had another guest on, his name was Stu Henick and he, he would send out cartoons, uh, comics and stuff. He’d draw them, he’d draw his target into the thing and send it and, and they would catch their attention cuz they’re like, that’s me.
[00:29:48] Kevin Dieny: He’s talking about me there. And he spent time to make one, you know, per person, that’s like very high quality. Very, he, you know, low volume, he’d said one of those per person, right? Cause like, he’s not, he’s not saying they’re drawing the cartoon for a thousand people per se, for each send. So like understanding, I guess the, you know, you have your list, so which is who you’re after.
[00:30:11] Kevin Dieny: There’s then your offer and your, your media. So if a business is like, okay, I’m interested in doing a direct mail marketing campaign. What does the first, let’s say, couple steps look like? Where they, what are the big things they should be thinking about in the beginning for getting started on this? Cause I, cause what you mentioned is you got.
[00:30:33] Kevin Dieny: I’d say half of this is importance is on this list. And then once we’ve got our list and we’re pretty confident this is yeah, who we want, we then we figure out our offer, okay, this is what we want from ’em. And those two kind of go together. But then the last part is like, oh crud, what do I say? How do I position this?
[00:30:48] Kevin Dieny: Right? But so from the business, what are like the first few steps to even get started in this process?
[00:30:54] Travis Lee: So the first thing I, when I’m consulting with a client is I want to look for the largest, the lowest hanging fruit opportunity. And to be honest, for a lot of businesses it is not that top of funnel stuff going out and getting customers.
[00:31:09] Travis Lee: It is usually. Getting your customers to buy more, converting your suspects into customers. So we talked about that. You know, we’ve been talking about up here, but maybe there’s a, a logger head in here and you’ve got, you know, you went out and did a whole bunch of inspections for H V A C units, HVAC units, and now you’ve got a list of all these folks.
[00:31:33] Travis Lee: Well, Now it’s time for them to buy the new unit. So let’s give them a new unit offer. Uh, so it really is for me, we try to find where the lowest hanging fruit is. And for not all of them, maybe not even most of them, but for many of them, it’s already in that list that a customer already has. It’s the prospects, the suspects, the people who bought peanut butter but didn’t buy jelly and vice versa.
[00:32:01] Travis Lee: I. Overly simplified, but there are so many businesses that so worry about filling the top of that funnel that they don’t worry, they completely disregard that lower portion of it. So the first thing you’ve gotta do is say, where is my biggest opportunity lie? Do I have a lot of suspects? Do I have a lot of customers?
[00:32:22] Travis Lee: Um, one of the things that we do internally often is we take a segment of our in-house customer list, whether they’ve bought something, whether they’re just a lead and they’re in our CRM system and they haven’t bought anything, and we will test offers into them. Sometimes we’ll even start with just email.
[00:32:41] Travis Lee: Hey, here’s an email about Product A. All right, that did well, that resonated. Let’s create a piece for product A in a direct mail piece. And so we’re, and so by the time that we’ve done this, two or three or four times, okay, now maybe it’s time to bring this offer to the unwashed masses for that top of funnel filling up of.
[00:33:01] Travis Lee: So that’s what, that’s probably the biggest thing is where now, now if you’re a startup, if you’re just getting started, you don’t have that opportunity. You, you just don’t, I mean, you’ve got your, you’ve got your three uncles and your two cousins that you sold something to. All right, well, so now you do have to go to that top of funnel stuff.
[00:33:18] Travis Lee: Um, And to be honest, in some places, you know, if you’re just getting started with, with the money layout that is needed for direct mail, you might be better off doing networking stuff, going out and doing, you know what I call elbow grease work, right? I’ve got more time than money, so let’s go do that. But when I do have the money and can multiply myself, Right.
[00:33:40] Travis Lee: Cause that’s really what direct mail is, is it is multiplying you, it’s multiplying your sales team to get them to raise their hand and say, Hey, I’m interested to get them to buy, you know, for most of us, that lower ticket thing to then put ’em into this, into the other stuff that we could sell ’em. But you’ve really got, where’s that opportunity?
[00:34:01] Travis Lee: And for so many of them, it’s literally right under their feet and they just, they just don’t look there.
[00:34:06] Kevin Dieny: That, that whole, that all like really lays it out really well for me. Cuz. And online and I don’t know, like I like if this is even like that solid, but it is. It is something that exists in online channels.
[00:34:20] Kevin Dieny: You often have to get a minimum. Goal accomplished to lock in like a, an effective, like for the campaign to be guaranteed to be more successful or be very effective. And the reason is, is that the online platforms use a lot of machine learning. They use a lot of Yeah. Algorithms to continue. Like they don’t want you to just be successful in month one.
[00:34:42] Kevin Dieny: And then, All your customers are gone. They want you to be able to leave your campaign on as long as possible and to, to do that, they try to find people who are just appearing or who are, you know, expand the market a bit. They try to expand your reach a bit. Mm-hmm. to get more in there. And they can only do that effectively if you’re accomplishing whatever goal you’ve set out to do.
[00:35:02] Kevin Dieny: And generally what I’m used to hearing is, you know, 20 to 30 a week, maybe even 50 a week of whatever goal you have. Now that can be expensive, right? If you’re like, Every lead’s about, let’s say every lead’s 10 bucks and I need to get 50 a week, that means I’m spending, you know, $500 a week and then in a month that’s, you know, pretty expensive.
[00:35:20] Kevin Dieny: So, If you’re thinking, okay, if I, let’s say you have a marketing tool belt and you’re like, okay, if I do this advertising, it’s at least two grand a month, right? If I do this, it’s about a thousand a month. And this is just not even, this is not even including like graphic design putting together like the media.
[00:35:38] Kevin Dieny: This is just what it costs to run the thing, right? Just ad spend. Yeah. So. in terms of the, the general basics, because cost per lead is all over the place. There’s some businesses, there’s, you mentioned attorneys, I know they’re in the hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars a lead. Now. There’s others where it’s like, okay, under a dollar leads are, you know, good.
[00:35:56] Kevin Dieny: It’s a giant range, but in terms of direct mail, What kind of minimums or what kind of requirements, what is the cost? I mean, I know this is very, I keep it very general, but like generally speaking mm-hmm. , what kind of cost would businesses be looking at to, to run direct mail marketing in sort of like, let’s say in a month?
[00:36:14] Travis Lee: Yeah, so it, a lot of it’s gonna depend upon a lot of the things that you spoke about. What’s the value of a customer? What is the, um, what’s the lifetime value? What’s the immediate value? Um, what’s the lead worth, what’s closed business worth? Um, and we work with so many different customer bases. I mean, so every, every example I’ve given you, we work with right from the mom-and-pop shop who’s making 50 bucks per transac.
[00:36:40] Travis Lee: To software companies that are, you know, 50, 60, a hundred thousand, potentially millions of dollars over the life. And it comes down to the appropriateness of the thing. I’ll give you another example. We’re working with a client right now. Uh, we’re doing what we call a Dream 100 Campaign forum. Uh, so in a nutshell, dream 100 is you go and find a hundred of your most perfect ideal prospects.
[00:37:03] Travis Lee: There don’t, maybe they know you, maybe they don’t. It’d just be happenstance if they did. But they need, you wanna, if you were to get one of those, It would change the trajectory of your business potentially. Right. So these are your Dream 100. So probably not gonna work for the restaurant, probably isn’t gonna work for the dentist, but stay with me here as we talk through the example.
[00:37:25] Travis Lee: Well, he sells a verification software, so. I think Uber is one of his clients. I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn. And so you wanna be an Uber driver and they take a picture of your face, you enter the social security number and they scan your, and they verify all that. So it’s a verification system.
[00:37:44] Travis Lee: Their low end customers are worth a hundred thousand dollars. Their high end customers are worth millions of dollars. Well, How much of that million dollar potential are we going willing to spend to get a new customer? Well, so now that opens up the door to a lot of different things. So we’ve sent things just in the last month out of this office we’ve sent.
[00:38:07] Travis Lee: Real magnifying glasses. Like, you know, the big ones you use is back in biology, back in middle school, right? So are you really looking hard at the, at your, and I forget the exact shtick, right? But are you really taking a good look at X, Y, Z? Uh, we sent them little stopwatches, um, with 30 minutes of time. I can tell you if we’re the best match.
[00:38:25] Travis Lee: So all these things are costing, boy, honestly, 10 to $20 to send out the door. But if he just gets one of those customers over the course of a whole year, He’s going to make up for it. Now they’re also doing some phone reach out where they can, they’re also doing LinkedIn. Reach out where they can, they’re doing, they are, you know, the list of a hundred they picked from were their ideal customers.
[00:38:50] Travis Lee: Hopefully there are other things going on that are. You know, they’re sponsoring this event and, okay, so this is the guy that sent me this and now he’s sponsoring this event. So you’ve got this buildup of everything. And I know that was kind of a long winded way of answering your question, but it really comes down, it’s just math and it’s the math that we learned in algebra.
[00:39:12] Travis Lee: What is a customer worth? What number of that am I willing to spend to get the customer? And then just a little bit of, okay, let’s say I can, let’s put some numbers to it. Let’s say the client is worth $10,000 and I’m gonna get a 1% response rate. And so now we just start doing the math. Client is worth $10,000.
[00:39:36] Travis Lee: I expect about a 1% response rate. For most people’s, pretty low. On average it’s pretty high. Uh, but you’re gotta take into account, that’s American Express mailing, 500,000 pieces a month, right? So their response rate at 0.01% is just fine for them. Client’s worth $10,000. I have a 1% response rate. If I mail 10,000 pieces at a dollar each, that means I.
[00:40:01] Travis Lee: Whether that be a hundred responses. Mm-hmm. of those a hundred responses, I close 10 of them at a 10% close rate. I’ve made a hundred thousand dollars. If each one’s worth $10,000, that $10,000 was spent. Smart and spent in a way that makes sense. So you’ve gotta kinda work backwards with, you know, an average customer value and then figure it out from there.
[00:40:22] Travis Lee: So as we were talking with that client, with the, with the software, um, you know, he was thinking maybe spending three or four bucks a piece. By the time we were done, it was. Geez, I can be spending 10 or 12 or 30 bucks a piece and still be way ahead of the game if any of these guys poke their head up and say I’m interested.
[00:40:39] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Yeah. That’s really cool. I love thinking. I love going back. I use the members the same way. I start with like the end mind and go backwards. Okay. Then that sets me up to understand like how much my budget needs to be, or my testing budget needs to be too, because I always like to say, I like to try to do a test of anything that’s of importance, which means, okay, if I’m gonna send out a direct mail piece, is there room to test something on this?
[00:41:03] Kevin Dieny: Is there room to, to do even just one test? And I’d separate it and then I could see, okay, if I, I have enough people, then I could test if this, if it’s like, okay, I’m sending three pieces. I’m not testing really, because yeah, yeah. What am I gonna do? Like one in three respond, I’m gonna be thinking that that’s the best result.
[00:41:19] Kevin Dieny: So, It makes sense, like to start with the, the number and work backwards. So the, one of the last things I was curious about here is, um, and, and we’ve covered quite a lot of the things that I, I had questions about in just answering one of the questions. But one of the things I think is still maybe lingering for me is do you have any learnings you could pass on of what people shouldn’t do, should not do indirect mail marketing?
[00:41:46] Travis Lee: That’s a good question. Um, One of the things that I often see, and it’s not like a tactical thing, it’s more of a in your head thing, and that is they expect to hit a home run the first time they send direct mail, so they say, I did this. It gardened X. I was expecting x plus plus, plus, plus plus, and it didn’t happen.
[00:42:13] Travis Lee: Well, For some reason we don’t think about that. Well, let’s use online. I think most of us know if we’re gonna hire an agency to do some online stuff for us, that we need to be able, you know, the first ad that we send out will not be as good as the ad. The second one, it won’t be as good as the third one, which won’t be as good as the fourth one.
[00:42:33] Travis Lee: But for some reason in direct mail, a lot of people end up saying, I did it. I didn’t hit a grand slam. It didn’t make me a million dollars. Oh, well I shouldn’t be doing it anymore. Well, I mean that’s like telling your two year. Hey, you know, you’re just kind of babbling. Maybe you’re not gonna really be a talker, so maybe you should just like, you know, not talk, right.
[00:42:54] Travis Lee: And we’ll just, we’ll just use a se, we’ll use a series of hands signals and we’ll be good for the next hundred years. Right? Well, I mean, you would never do that. I mean, and, and for some reason I think it’s to our very first point that people have gotten away from it that they forgot about it and now they’re coming back and it’s kind of that magic bullet thing again.
[00:43:14] Travis Lee: And it really does. To test and measure stuff, right? Just like you would do it. Okay, let’s run AD A and let’s run ad B and let’s run it to the same audience, and who clicks on it most and who has the most conversions. You’ve gotta look at it in the same way all the, all the social media platforms have pretty much done is steal direct mail principles and put it online.
[00:43:36] Travis Lee: I, I mean, when it comes to custom audiences and cost per acquisition and cost per click, that was. 1920s, 1930s stuff when we, all we had was the direct mail. There was no online. Um, so just wrapping your head around that, I’m not gonna be as successful now as I am gonna be in a month, and I’m certainly not gonna be as successful in a month as I am in a year.
[00:43:58] Travis Lee: Um, the other thing is don’t feel like, so I’m gonna contradict myself a little bit in. Don’t feel like, so I’ve got a list of 5,000 people I’ve gotta mail out all 5,000. Nah, there’s no need to do that. Mail out 10 batches of 500 mail out, five batches of a thousand. There’s, there’s no need to have all your layout out there at once.
[00:44:24] Travis Lee: All your money layout at once to spend on a direct mail piece. Um, As much as that, I’d much rather sell you $5,000 or 5,000 things than a thousand things, but that’s not good for you. And ultimately it’s not good for me. So if you do have a larger universe, if you do have a list that is larger, test and tweak different things, try different stuff.
[00:44:45] Travis Lee: Um, no rule that says you have to ma just because we have a list of 5,000 that says we have to mail all 5,000, just cause we have a list of a hundred doesn’t mean we have to mail all hundred. I don’t care what the number is.
[00:44:55] Kevin Dieny: Right, right. Yeah. That, that’s really, that is such good advice because, Um, scoping your campaign to what works for you, your business, and right now, what number you may need to be able to say, yes, this test even worked.
[00:45:07] Kevin Dieny: Like, if I’m gonna send three and then decide whether direct mail marketing is for me or not, may not be significant enough. Um, also, you know, there’s. The price of sending a postcard versus sending like, uh, there’s another story of like someone sending, you know, like a helmet. One of our coworkers here a long time ago, something like a really expensive helmet, like that’s a very expensive single piece of mail.
[00:45:30] Kevin Dieny: Um, but it was very targeted, very specific. So like these things, Like when you figure out your list, your offer and your, uh, media, like you may have a pretty good idea of like, okay, well this is, you know, what I can get away with. I think that’s all really fascinating. Um, so thank you for all that. Now, Travis, if there’s, um, anything else that has been mentioned, uh, go ahead.
[00:45:54] Kevin Dieny: But also like how could people find you? How could people connect with you, get to know more about you? Uh, if they have questions, how can they find you to connect with you?
[00:46:03] Travis Lee: Yeah, the best place to start is to just get my free book. I’ve got, you know, so I practice what I preach. We do lead generation marketing. It’s called How to Explode Your Advertising Results and Skyrocket Your Mail, uh, excuse me, How to Explode Your Advertising Results and Skyrocket Your Profit Using 3D Mail.
[00:46:19] Travis Lee: Um, So if you go to 3dmailresults.com/book, so that’s the number three, the letter d, mail results.com/book. You can get a free copy. It’s completely free. It’s not like free, and then $5 for the shipping, none of that. Give me your name and mailing address. I’m gonna actually physically send it to you in the mail.
[00:46:43] Travis Lee: And then what you’ll. Behind that is our marketing funnel on converting you. So all the things we talked about top of funnel conversion, you’ll see it and we’re actually gonna send you some of our direct mail in the mail so you can actually see how it arrives. And oh, hopefully you’ll say, oh wow, that’s really cool.
[00:47:01] Travis Lee: I gotta get in trust to Travis with this team. So 3dmailresults.com/book. Uh, and if you just wanna look at our website, 3dmailresults.com will get you there as well. And, Like I said, we practice what we preach. So if you wanna see direct mail in action, if you wanna see a follow up sequence in action, if you wanna see, um, how we convert people, cuz we talked about that whole journey, you’re gonna see direct mail across that whole journey.
[00:47:27] Travis Lee: But you’re also gonna see email. You’re also gonna get phone calls if you give us a phone number from our sales team. So we, I think we do a pretty darn good job. Using all the media available to us. Um, you know, direct mail isn’t the toolbox. It is a tool in the toolbox, just like anything else. So you gotta use all the tools and, uh, when a hammer’s appropriate, a hammer works great, but when you need a screwdriver, that hammer ain’t gonna help you at all, so….
[00:47:52] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, wow, thank you so much, Travis. I’ve also got Travis’s book. Uh, you sent me one here. Yeah, I’ve got that. Oh, perfect. Great. And I was checking it out and I had a lot of, you know, stuff that I was wondering about came from, for this podcast, came from that. Um, perfect. Thank you so much, Travis, for coming on and lightning and helping us understand better.
[00:48:10] Kevin Dieny: I, I’m, I’m much more excited about direct mail and so thank you for coming on and telling us, helping us, giving us ideas, helping our audience, I think, get a little more confident in if they were gonna approach direct mail, how they could set it up for success, so thank you.
[00:48:23] Travis Lee: Thank you, Kevin. Thanks for having me.
[00:48:24] Travis Lee: It was a great conversation.