I am sorry if this is in the wrong forum, if it is int he wrong one can a mod please move it. Thanks.
I am hopeing someone may be able to give me a hand or at least a starter for a direct marketing letter i want to write, which i will be sending to a large selection of IT Managers.
Now the product and services are absolutly no problem. As a guide the range that i am specifcally targeting is ASUS Servers and Notebooks, and CMV LCD Screens. All of the products are really high quality and ASUS is a fairly well known motherboard manufactuer. If i can get phone time with people then the benifits that are available are more then enough to get them. The problem is that it is quite difficult to get phone time with an IT Manager unless they call you or they have in some way asked for you to contact them.
This being the case i want to send a letter that in a matter of 1 or 2 pages will give them at least a want to contact my company to find out more. The problem is i am no writer in anyway and when ever i attempt to start a letter i rarely get past the first opening line, and have no idea how to layout the benifits in the body of the letter.
Now i know that any company purchasing an ASUS notebook, ASUS Server or CMV monitor will entirly satisfied with the purchase. I also know that companies i already deal with are extremely happy with the speed of the service i provide (ie supply a notebook with-in 3 days that they had been unable to get from any other supplier for 2 weeks previous). I just do not have the skills to write a letter to let other possible clients know this and gain their business.
Any help would be greatly appreciated, i look forward to your responces. And sorry that it is such a long request i am just really stumped.
First, some mechanics you should consider.
Never send a cold-letter longer than one page, because as soon as a prospect realizes it's a solicitation his/her internal voice will say, "I don't have time to read all this" and that will trigger what I call the "crumple-and-toss response."
Even on one page, you should have no more than three or four short paragraphs. Or, have an opening paragraph of about three lines, followed by a few bullet points, followed by a short closing paragraph.
Be certain to have your letter copyedited by a professional, because you don't want your first impression to include mistakes. A pro should be able to copyedit two or three one-page letters in an hour, making it well worth the $30 to $50 bucks. (If you don't know a copyeditor, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll hook you up.)
Test-drive two or three versions of your letter at once, sending each version to a separate group of 100 or so prospects. Whichever letter gets the best response should then be sent to the remainder of your prospect database.
Any response rate greater than 1 percent should be considered very good, because of the volume of direct mail that is sent. So even a great letter will net you probably only 2-3 percent. Is that enough return on your investment to warrant the effort and postage? If not, find another type of marketing activity.
There are two great books on cold-letter writing. "The Power To Get In," by Michael Boyland, and "Selling To VITO," by Anthony Parinello. ("VITO" stands for very important top officer.) I'd recommend you buy and read both books and then meld their two styles into your own model of letter writing.
Plan out a four- or five-step drip process before you ever send your first letter. Most prospects won't buy the first, second, third, etc. time, so you must prepare to contact them multiple times. If you prepare this in advance, you'll often find that ideas you have in the fourth or fifth steps will allow you to go back and improve the letter for step one.
Second, marketing effectiveness. The best results I've ever gotten from a one-step campaign came once I started using the eight-second rule. Basically, this rule states that you have only eight seconds to grab the prospect's attention before he/she makes the first crumple-and-toss decision. So your opening sentence MUST be compelling enough to overcome that impulse. And by applying that rule twice (figuring you have eight more seconds to get the prospect to commit to reading the whole letter) you'll get the best result you can.
What is compelling to prospects, you ask? Lots of things, I'm sure, but when it comes to evaluating cold-letters it's only one -- results that are important to them.
Before you put one word on paper, you must know what results your prospects REALLY want when buying what you sell.
You mentioned high quality. If you say "high quality" to anyone his/her "yeah-but" response will always be "high price." What good is high quality to someone trying to live within a budget imposed by someone else? (I'm not saying high quality isn't great, but you must learn whether the majority of your prospects want that before you put it in a cold-letter.)
Find out what your prospects really want by asking your current customers why they bought and how what they bought impacted them. Learn their wording for these results and put that wording into the opening sentence and/or bullet points of your letter. (FYI: That's easy to say, but VERY hard to do.)
Always include a postscript "P.S. Xxx ..." after your name, because studies have shown that the vast majority of people who open a letter from an unknown party will quickly scan to the bottom to answer the "who sent me this" question. Studies have also shown that when this happens, if you include a postscript it will actually be the first thing that gets read. This gives you an advantage, because you can put something in the postscript that creates curiosity without really discussing what you sell. I once sent a cold-letter to one targeted company that represented a huge cash-cow client for me. In that postscript I wrote: "P.S. I realize that only two occurrences is not statistically significant, but since both made the same mistake I thought you might want to take action."
Basically, I had "mystery shopped" the prospect's business to see how effective their salespeople were (I'm a sales consultant, trainer, etc.). I sent the letter on a Wednesday and had an appointment with their VP of sales the following Tuesday. One letter, one appointment. (FYI: That's never happened for me before or since.)
Last, if you have it available, work in some sort of testimonial from a current client. ("Selling To VITO" has great ideas along those lines.") Executives want to make every decision quickly and easily, and knowing that other executives have already bought from you and love your stuff helps them do that.
I hope this helps.
I can't add much to the solid advice Gill's offered up already - but I will say I think you're better off if you don't try to close the deal just with just a one time mailing.
I'm working on a postcard mailing right now that will offer a free guide to creating a profitable website to local small businesses - and my only goal here is to get them to signup for my newsletter to get the free guide, so I can begin the process of developing a relationship with them so I can do business with them in the future.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I've learned the past few years is that people by from other people that they know, like and trust...and that trust typically doesn't develop overnight. It requires work and patience on your part when I know you want to make a sale "right now" - but I think the best and most profitable relationships are those that are developed slowly over time.
Hope this helps,
I would also like to add that the last 3 out of 4 of my projects were recommendations from existing clients. Word of mouth and the like sure is the best way to get work.
However, give the direct mail a go, it has worked for me a few times now. Usually 1 client out of 80 or so letters.
All the best
I agree with all the above. Our letter is only to entice them to contact us, not to sell them. We offer free information to them when they contact us. Definetly have a way to track your responses.
That's an excellent post Gill - great reading.
I did a mailout about 18 months ago and got a 2% response rate, so I feel better about that now!
An idea (that came from Brendon Sinclair from memory) is to include a fax-back page with your letter. If they want you to get in touch with them, they can simply jot their name and phone number on that form and fax it to you. Makes life easy for them.
I totally agree with the solid advice given above.. I never knew that when writing something then remember these thing before writing . It's going to save some money at least .. I will do business through direct mailing, post card or mail shots..