The 47% Sales Letter
How the hell do you get 47% response rate to conversion from a direct mailer? Especially when the guy had already been mailing every couple of months with a dismal response.
This is a true story.
The story will shock anyone involved in marketing.
The story will also be hard to believe.
The businessman has asked for his name to be protected.
So it started with a cake.
A guy walked into my business one day and asked to speak to me. I walked over introduced myself with a smile and asked what I could do for him.
He handed me a box and said I heard you love Mille Fleur cakes (I do) so I brought a couple for you. He had got my attention right away. The cake wasn’t opened there and then but we drank tea together and shared a cake. His problem was really simple, brutally honest and threatening his marriage.
His problem was this.
He had set up a new company with a partner just around one year previously. The partner was now screaming his brains out and threatening all kinds of actions if more sales weren’t made.
You couldn’t blame the guy because he had pulled together an investment of just under a million to kick-start this project. The project included a mad-scientist from the mountains of Switzerland where he worked in a deep cave where he and other mad scientist were working like crazy to save the world. However …
Almost one year had past and sales were pathetic.
I asked him what he was doing to take this new business to market. He told me the following about his campaign.
“Each month I send direct mail to a list of highly targeted prospects”
“How many pieces do you send out?” I asked him.
“I send around 5,000 a month, sometimes more, sometimes less”
“And you get how much response?”
“Most of the time I get no reply”
“Yes” he replied with a face that looked grey and surrendered to a battle he now believed he could never win.
“Anything else?” I asked.
“Yes one thing”… he stalled for a moment, looked me in the yes and smiled.
“This is weird but if this doesn’t work now my wife is leaving me with our two kids”
“Wow” I replied.
SOLD HIS WIFE’S CAR
He then went on to tell me that he had sold her car, sold their small holiday place, and had re-mortgaged his home 3-times to make this dream business happen. The same dream that was now fast becoming a nightmare of nightmares.
So for the sake of getting to the point here is what I did (because this is a long detailed story).
Five thousand direct mail letters a month for this guy was like a Kings ransom. So the first thing we did was reduce the volume of mailers. Why? No response after all the mail he had sent proved his targeting was way off.
Second we hand picked just 100 targets from his list to chase. All were more specific to his product and a higher end client. The list I used was a leverage campaign. This meant they had dealt with him before so this increased the possibility of the sale.
Third we stopped trying to sell from the direct mail but created an intimate evening where they were all invited to join us, listen to professional advice for the target’s businesses and receive free gifts for from the evening. This allowed the target to get to know my client before making any commitment – trust!
The build-up period for this small gathering was just 4-weeks as time for the client was now very tight. The mailers were packed with good news, urgency and a strong call to action.
One thing i spent a long time persuading my client was to create an offer that was an acquisition offer. This meant rather than make money from the first sale he would actually spend some money to buy his new client. This is a killer strategy that almost no one uses.
All of the one hundred direct mail letters were sent.
Out of 100 targets 47% responded and were booked into the open evening. All apart from one arrived on the evening. We used another strategy to ensure all came.
The evening began with a small presentation. The presentation gave the guests more than they could ever have expected.
THE BIG CALL TO ACTION
Finally at the end of the evening there was to be a call to action.
It was really simple. I removed ANY profits from the first sale to the client. This removed all risk for the potential new buyer. So a package that was to cost £2,500 was reduced to just £1,100. This was cut-right back to the cost price. This is the acquisition strategy.
So the reality was for everyone that bought on that night it was going to cost my client to buy them. It cost him around £100 per client. Honestly he didn’t quite get it but trusted me at the time.
Here’s the good news.
His wife never left him.
His partner didn’t fire him.
That evening was had a 12-month value in sales for him of OVER £800,000
All from 100 direct mailers.
All from stripping-back his wasted and thoughtless marketing campaign.
All from a response from a tiny almost microscopic list of just 47 prospects.
And it all started with a cake and a dammed good one at that!
So looking back what went wrong for him?
GET IT RIGHT FROM THE START
Really simple, he did what every business I work with has been doing for years before we meet and that is just do marketing with no thought at all.
- If you get your planning wrong it just won’t work.
- If you get your strategies wrong it just won’t work.
- If you use tactics that are just not suited to your targets – it just won’t work.
So when you create your own sales letter you have two things you can do.
Hire an expert copywriter that understand words, paragraphs, openings, closes, body copy, offers, guarantees and more.
Do it yourself and hope and pray to God your wife or husband doesn’t leave you in the middle of your hapless efforts. But seriously why take a risk or a chance or waste time trying yourself?
The client above is proof of that and believes me when I tell you 99.9% of clients that come to me despite doing what they have done for years waste fortunes on marketing that will never work in a million-billion years.
Over 30-years in business has taught me one thing … thinking and planning a campaign through is always the key but the most and biggest thing I have learnt in business is this…
Ask for advice and where required a cake offering can help.
If you need help planting a rocket in your marketing systems … you know here to find me but be quick and to the point – I’m a busy man.
I’d love to help you.
Peace and cakes.
Your beard wonder – Alan Forrest Smith