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Business to business direct mail - how to make it work

Updated on August 30, 2010

Business to business direct mail - tips for success

Direct mail is often seen as a great way to help sell consumer products, but it's actually at the forefront of many successful business to business sales programs.

As a previous owner on an advertising agency, I have put together some successful (and a few unsuccessful) business to business direct mail campaigns.

There aren't many good articles online that show how to develop a successful business to business direct mail pack, so I thought I'd put together some handy and practical tips for success.

So here goes:

1. Who are you targeting?

You need to be very clear about who you're targeting with your business to business direct mail campaign.

Get a good understanding of who they are, what motivates them and the best way to communicate with them.

I once helped put together a direct mail campaign for a high end building product and a large part of the initial research consisted of phoning local architects and asking a few simple questions.

2. Find your list

Once you figure out the target audience, start thinking about how you're going to obtain a list of people to mail your pack to.

There are plenty of mailing lists that you can rent but I'm always in favour of developing your own list. It's actually very simple and relatively cheap .

Just phone some of the companies you think you might target and get the name of the relevant decision maker.

3. Develop the mailing pack and an incentive

Don't skimp here. 

If you've taken the time to complete steps one and two, this step is also very important.

I thoroughly recommend using a reputable direct mail design agency to develop your mailing pack.

I am also of the belief that an incentive for recipients to respond is essential for success.

Why not put together a white paper or exclusive research report that will be mailed to respondents?

You'll effectively weed out a 'hot list' that can be used in the next step.

There is no specific format of business to business direct mail pack that works best in all cases. 

The design will be largely dependent on your target audience and mailing list selection.

4. The sales follow-up call

Your sales people should now have a list of either:

- People who have been sent your mail pack
- People who responded to your free offer

This is essentially their cold calling list that they should be working to try and get appointments with.

Summary - business to business direct mail in a nutshell

Business to business direct mail is a fantastic way to cultivate new leads for your sales people to follow up.

However, don't be mistaken, you're unlikely to get many direct sales like you would with a business to consumer direct mailer.

It's not rocket science, it just requires a solid and logical walk through the steps I've outlined above.

Good luck!

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