Having your own business is a tough decision to make. One of the hardest part in keeping a business is making sure all your investments are kept in check. This means you have to make sure that all the money you spend on one department or campaign should never go to waste.
Take direct mail for example. So basically you dumped a certain amount for your direct mail campaign. Do you just sit down, watch a movie, then wait for the flood of customers to come through your door?
The budget allocation was actually the easiest part of the whole campaign. This will be a very critical part of the campaign and it revolves around the results you get and assessing them. You need to do all this to answer the following questions:
1. Was it worth spending the money for direct mail?
2. Of the various versions of sales pieces you sent, which one proved to be better?
3. Of the mailing lists you sent sales pieces to, which of them gave you better results?
Now, this is the part we call “tracking” and it is about understanding the various elements of the direct mails you sent so you can get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. As soon as you do, you can tweak future campaigns to be much more effective. This is the best way for you to get better results as you continue on with your business.
In order to track easily, you can do one of these 2 things:
1. Set a designated phone line or landing page for your direct mail. This way you can be sure that all the traffic that reaches those designated lines are from your direct mail campaigns.
2. Use tracking codes or coupons on the mailing piece.
The next step is to collect information from customers or orders. It doesn’t matter if it is printed in the form of coupons or written down on the order form. If the customer calls, an operator should request the code every single time.
Next, you have to compare one sales piece from the other or one mailing list from the other. There are a lot of ways to do this but the easiest one would be to use various codes within your coupons. It is important to do this so you can take advantage of a better piece and you can focus on a certain mailing list. Keep track of the order per group and collate all the data after a week or a month and see if you can detect an obvious difference between the samples.
So was it worth it?
In identifying whether your direct mail campaign was profitable or not, you have to track all the costs associated with the campaign. This means you have to take into account the cost for printing, data processing, list rental, mail processing, and postage. If you are into direct selling, you might also want to remove the product cost from the total per order fulfilled.
Once you take out the costs associated with the direct mail campaign and the product fulfillment costs then you can see your true profit/loss for every mailing. You need to make sure that these numbers are as accurate as possible because they will give you an idea of your cost per inquiry (CPI) or cost per acquisition (CPA).
Also, don’t forget to keep a list history. With a list history, you will know what lists to order in the future. A list history will help you keep track of the performances of each and every list you order over the course of various campaigns. Take note of the response rate. Tracking your list history will give you a good idea on what list works well time and time again.
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