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Standing out from the crowd

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  • 01/07/2002
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Consumers receive more than five mailshots a week, so how do you make yours get noticed?

Using a successful form of direct mail can be an effective, low-cost method of reaching a wide range of potential clients but the response received is dependent on the type of mailshots used. You need to make your efforts stand out from your competitors as consumers can receive more than five mailshots every week.

The chance of receiving a high number of responses can be maximised by ensuring you are targeting the right audience for your product. The initial step must be to devise a marketing plan, looking at the fundamental basics of your business to decipher your target audience.

So how do you ensure your targets sit up and take notice of your mailshot? There are several points you can follow.

The marketing website, marketingconsultancy.co.uk, says sales literature is usually the most important selling tool for most businesses, and recommends personalising the literature to make it more readable or appealing to clients.

Rob Clifford, managing director at Mortgageforce, agrees: ‘Try to personalise the mailshots, which is a simple process using database software. One technique is to personalise the letters to the area which you are sending them. For example, include statistics about the area you are targeting. Making it more personal usually increases the chances of someone reading it.’

Andy Young, mortgage services manager at Misys, says brokers should plug the fact they can get the best deal for clients.

‘The mailshot should emphasise the broker can find the most suitable mortgage product from all lenders in the UK and highlight the consequences of getting the wrong mortgage,’ he says.

Basic points such as the broker’s contact details, including a website address, should also be included.

Tony Murrell, operations director at Bankhall, says: ‘Three important points brokers should include on a mailshot are, a best-buy table, current exclusive offers and examples of financial savings.’

Before sending out the shots, leads can be generated from websites or by targeting households which have property up for sale, as well as more obvious means, such as the telephone directory or the electoral roll.

But Young dissuades brokers from using micro-targeting ‘ where information is used from data banks to narrow down the search. He says: ‘For generating leads, we have found that micro-targeting using socio-economic data on client lifestyles is not very rewarding.’

Before sending out any literature, Clifford says that it is important for brokers to check the Mail Preference Service (MPS), which is a service consumers can register with which enables them to ensure they are not sent any unsolicited mail.

He says: ‘Be aware of data protection as it is taken very seriously. Some consumers subscribe to the MPS which makes it illegal for you to send any direct marketing to them. Anyone sending mail to consumers should check their status first.’

Time is of the essence

Timing is also important. Young believes Wednesday is a good day to send out mailshots.

‘Mailing mid-week means you can follow up leads towards the end of the week. Clients tend to be more focused on their own matters at the weekend rather than thinking about work matters,’ Young says.

Murrell, meanwhile, recommends posting on Friday: ‘It is best to send out literature on a Friday to arrive for the weekend, this gives people time to read and digest the information.’

Once the mailshots have been sent out, it is also essential that brokers follow up with their clients. It is also important not to send out too many letters and Young believes 50 is a suitable number.

‘Advisers need to send 50 letters at a time, any more becomes unmanageable and means you cannot follow them up effectively,’ he says.

The costs associated with direct marketing need not be huge, although Clifford does recommend taking on an advertising agency to aid the process.

‘Any broker, even smaller ones, should get an advertising agent to help. You don’t have to spend thousands of pounds, but do not waste money doing an amateur job,’ he says.

However, he also recommends brokers assess alternative methods of marketing to compare costs. ‘If you send out 300 letters and you get three interested responses, you will probably only arrange one mortgage. If you make one mortgage sale and it costs you £1 for every letter you sent out, then the sale would have cost a total of £300.

‘A £300 advert in your local paper could generate 10 sales so you need to compare the costs of other methods of marketing,’ he says.

Adele Burton is a staff writer


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