There’s just one important matter to tackle – your marketing message. This is usually encapsulated in your sales letter. Again in previous blogs we have shared tips on how to write a sales letter that sells so it’s well worth visiting this if you are new to copywriting or, your skills are a little rusty.

Our previous blog may have inspired you to rekindle your love affair with direct mail. And so you have made the first steps on your journey to direct mail success. You have bought or rented your B2B data list, established a project plan that will take your campaign from cradle to grave and your sales team are poised to pick up the phone once those precious mailshots have landed on business desks.

However, it’s not just a matter of sitting down and firing off a really natty letter packed with superlatives, calls to action and all manner of bells and whistles.

You have to develop a compelling message grounded in the reality of what your prospects or customers are really looking for and what they really need. And it all starts with market research, steeping yourself in relevant knowledge.

You must find the truth and you do this through being an exceptional listener, an engaging facilitator and a prodigious note taker.

Longstanding Marketscan client Dee Blick is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a bestselling marketing author. A devotee of B2B direct mail, Dee is also a dab hand at writing sales letters that sell; something she attributes to market research.

“When tasked with creating a mailshot for an audience I have not written to before and that I know very little about, I don’t guess their unmet needs. I will pick up the telephone and speak to a good handful of my potential prospects, explaining that all I want to do is unravel their needs as opposed to sell to them. Once I have built this trust the floodgates will open and they will happily share the problems they are encountering not to mention what they do or don’t like about our proposed offering. However I also use B2B prospect lists for market research purposes. I will buy a small quantity of data – a couple of hundred prospects but instead of selling to this list, I will use it for market research. We may invite some of the businesses on the list to an informal focus group, others we will telephone interview. Process completed we will send an initial mailshot to test the waters. The great thing about this approach is that it enables us to tweak or adapt our initial messages in favour of something much more compelling, real and concrete for when we bite the bullet and target the entire list. For example I am currently working on a brand-new campaign targeting commercial cleaning companies and am enlisting the help of Marketscan to provide me with a small list of commercial cleaning companies in the Greater London area. The first step will not be a full-blown sales mailshot but instead a “getting to know you” communication. We will use the initial feedback to this mailshot and to our telephone research to define the marketing message in the subsequent letter that will be charged with the task of actually selling.”

The message is clear – you have to know your audience and understand their unmet needs before you can successfully sell to them.

Related Topics: General Marketing