# Effective Direct Mail Campaigns

"A most gracious good afternoon, Mrs. Cleaver. I was just giving some advice to young Theodore." -- Eddie Haskell

{mosimage}Okay, it's trade show season.  Now imagine you're about to attend a trade show or send out 5000 direct mail pieces.  What kind of payback can you expect from these (or any other) marketing initiatives?

Mac McIntosh, who tracks sales leads for a living, has developed an acid test that can be used in business-to-business selling.  By studying more than 40,000 sales inquiries, McIntosh found that 24% of people who respond to a promotion will buy from someone (either you or a competitor) within six months.  45% will buy within one year.  Here's the formula McIntosh uses to project a promotion's performance:

(# of raw leads) Ãƒâ€” (% who will buy from someone) Ãƒâ€” (average \$ sales amount) Ãƒâ€” (% you contact) Ãƒâ€” (% you normally close) = gross revenue potential

Action item:  Build an Excel spreadsheet to see how your marketing initiatives stack up.  Use the "Goal Seek" function (look under the "Tools" menu) to set goals such as "# of raw leads" to obtain at your next trade show.  Note: This formula measures gross revenue potential, not gross profit potential.  To determine your breakeven revenue volume on a \$7500 marketing activity, you must divide \$7500 by your average gross profit percentage.  For example, \$7500 ÃƒÂ· 15% gross profit = \$50,000 in gross revenue to breakeven.

Although closing rates vary, McIntosh believes they can be bettered by simply following through on the leads sitting in your lap. He finds that most companies follow up on only 10-15% of their inquiries. Sad but true.

NEW RESOURCE:  Mac sent me an email today inviting folks to check out Sales Lead Experts.com, where visitors can download a free "Marketing Lead Calculator" and other nifty tools.  I looked it over, and it rocks. Thanks for the tip, Mac!

BONUS:  I didn't even realize they existed, but it's one helluva good idea:  Hire a professional trade show presenter such as Heidi Miller to act as your company's mouthpiece during the event.  In retrospect, I've seen companies do it, and it makes a tremendous difference.  After all, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.  Why leave that up to an amateur?  Click here for info on Heidi Miller.
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