By Jim Klein
Direct mail is still the number one marketing strategy used by many successful sales companies. With direct mail, you have total control over the presentation of your message. Direct mail is a unique blend of advertising and sales. While good advertising should certainly lead to sales, direct mail allows you to present the product or service, make an offer and try to close the sale-all at once! Sound too good to be true? It’s not! Read More 
Here are just a few of the advantages of direct mail as a marketing strategy:
• Allows you to target your message to a very specific audience. 
• Direct mail is a relatively inexpensive medium. 
• Direct mail messages can be personalized to add reader appeal. 
• You can evaluate its effectiveness. You can keep track of exactly who responded and from where. 
• Mail readers are actively involved. People read their mail when they choose. So, for at least a second or two, your message will have their undivided attention while they open and scan it. 
There are three elements to an effective direct marketing strategy: 
1. The List 
2. The Offer 
3. The Mailing Piece 
The first of these three steps to a successful direct mail campaign is obtaining the right list. Targeting the right market is the key to this marketing strategy. When selecting your list make sure you target people most likely to have an interest in what you have to offer as well as some things in common with your present clients.
This common ground might be age, sex, occupation, income, geographic area, family size, magazines they subscribe to or any number of other demographics. You can obtain lists that are specific to the demographics of your particular target market.
You should also maintain an up-to-date list of all your customers and clients. Direct mail to this list can create additional business, introduce new products and services or promote sales or special offers.
The second step of this marketing strategy is the development of a “matching offer.”
The offer you make in your direct mail needs to be carefully thought out and matched as closely as possible to the interests, needs and motivation of the people on the list. The more specifically you match the offer and the list the higher the response rate.
Let me use an example to demonstrate. When I was a mortgage consultant many of the sales people in the office sent direct mail. The list that was mailed to was targeted to homeowners who had taken out mortgages with specific lenders in a specific time period. The lenders that were targeted were known to be lenders with typically high interest rates. 
The response and closing rate of those mailings were higher than a mailing that was sent to all homeowners in the same area because it was targeted to a group of people that would be more likely to want to refinance.
The third element of this marketing strategy is the mailing piece or the presentation of the offer to the list.
The most common and least expensive mailing piece format used by small businesses is the solo format. It’s a single sheet, printed on both sides and folded in half or thirds and mailed without an envelope.
Another solo format that’s even simpler and less expensive is a postcard or oversized postcard. This can be a very cost-effective way of communicating with your list of customers and clients.
The next step in the development of your mailing piece is to write the copy or present your offer. Copywriting is a valuable skill. I urge you to develop the ability to write good advertising copy. Here are some tips to get you started.
• Take proven sales letters and ads and rewrite them to fit you and your offer. 
• Create a swipe file of successful ads and letters. When you see an ad that catches your eye, save it. 
• Save your “junk mail.” A lot of it’s written by the best copywriters in the world. 
• Subscribe to the National Inquirer, The Star, The Globe, etc. The ads in these publications pull in millions of dollars worth of orders. 
• Make sure your message matches your market. This means your offer has to have perceived value to your prospect. 
• Use lots of testimonials in your ad copy. 
• The headline is the most important part of any ad or letter. 
• Use multiple PS’s in your letter. Restate the offer, deadline, free gift, etc. 
• Offer multiple options for your services. Label them, ex: Gold, Silver, Bronze. 
• Before you write, make a list of all the objections a prospect could have for not buying your product or service and then answer them in your letter. 
Direct mail is a profitable marketing strategy if it’s used properly and all three components are well thought out. It can provide you with an endless source of targeted leads for your product or service.
—Source: Jim Klein is a sales trainer, personal coach and international public speaker. Contact: E-Mail, Phone: 585-266-6116. Website: http://www.fromtheheartsalestraining.com