Why repeat direct marketing works

On November 6, 2016

We've talked about the benefits of direct marketing before, whether it's in print or by email. But one aspect of a successful direct marketing campaign that is sometimes overlooked is repetition. To do it right, sometimes it's best to do it again.

Repeat mailing – what is it? 

Sometimes it takes a few goes to get someone's attention, and then turn it into engagement.

Repeat mailing is, essentially, what it sounds like. Rather than just reaching out to a mailing list with a single piece of promotional material, you hit it with several over a period of time. This means potential customers are seeing multiple examples of what your company has to offer.

You might ask why you'd go back to the same target group again, instead of trying a new audience. Surely you got the responses you could hope for the first time around? Not necessarily. Sometimes it takes a few goes to get someone's attention, and then turn that attention into engagement. As US Data Corporation puts it:

"People may not open your first email, but once they've seen your name and subject line several times, a genuine curiosity may be sparked."

Marketing Today recommends using additional mailings to connect with people who did not respond to the first one, or alternatively, try following up a direct mailing with email or telemarketing – the call may get a response a second letter wouldn't. What it comes down to is this: the more times you ask a question, the more opportunities someone has to say yes.

Direct mailing can be followed up with email or telemarketing rather than another mail out.
Direct mailing can be followed up with email or telemarketing rather than another mail out.

Brand recognition can help future sales

Direct response consultant Bob McCarthy says that the strength of repeat mailings can be less about response rate and more about brand building. Although your repeated offers can have diminishing returns, they serve the purpose of keeping you in the thoughts of a pre-determined target audience. 

The value of establishing brand awareness has been demonstrated by an Australian study in 2000 that looked at how people's awareness of a brand affected their purchasing decisions. The study found that brand awareness was the "dominant choice tactic" among purchasers when presented with a range of items with varying quality and price. A marketing strategy that can establish your company as a known, recognised entity in customers' minds can have long term benefits, beyond the immediate responses you get directly from the campaign.

The risks of repetition done wrong

Sending the same flyer to someone multiple times is a good way to get it thrown straight in the bin.

Email marketing company Vertical Response says that to avoid being disregarded as junk mail, direct marketing should be personalised, targeted, and contain relevant information. These criteria all apply when you send out a repeat mailing – the fact that you're sending a follow up means they're even more pertinent. 

Sending the exact same letter or flyer to someone multiple times is a good way to get it thrown straight in the bin – along with that potential customer's opinion of your business. You want your name remembered, but not as that annoying company who won't stop sending the same junk. But by varying your promotional material and the offers they contain, you can reaffirm your position in people's minds without making them feel like you're spamming them indiscriminately. McCarthy recommends repeat mailings that keep to a consistent theme, but that include different messages or offers to avoid seeming like it's the same old thing turning up in the letter box yet again. Repeat mailing shouldn't mean repetitious mailing.

The Prospect Shop offers a huge range of mailing lists for B2B and B2C marketing, and we want you to use them to get the absolute best results possible from your campaign. To talk to us about how we can help you with your direct marketing efforts, please get in touch today.

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