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Making a Hit with Your Marketing Campaign

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Considered a vital link in a show's promotional plan, direct marketing is vital only if it's done right. It's certainly not as simple as typing a letter, adding an address and stamp, and popping it in the mail. Direct marketing specialist Debbie Bermont, president of San Diego-based Source Communications, offers her golden rules for creating that vital, highly successful direct marketing campaign.

There are some key golden rules to making your direct mailings work effectively. That doesn't mean that you have to spend more money in order to succeed. Far from it. In fact, you could find yourself spending less -- or at least spending more strategically -- than you may be doing at present. Here's how:

Mail to Mr. Right

There's a simple but very clear distinction between junk mail and direct mail. Junk mail is mail that isn't wanted. Direct mail is something that goes to the right person and is wanted. One major key to the success of your direct mailing is to find the right people to mail to. If you are working on a follow-up show, then targeting the people who signed up last year would be a good place to start. If it's a new show or a new list, your first job is to start with a research phone call to find out who that right person is. Even if you're using last year's list, it is still worth a telephone call to check that your information is up to date. Don't ever rely on anyone passing your mailer on -- it just won't happen.

Boost Your Letter

Once you've found out who to send your letter to, your next step is to make sure that your letter works to its maximum effect. Write it as a one-on-one dialogue. Beware of using industry lingo that your prospect may not understand. Keep your paragraphs short and sweet -- no more than seven lines. Break up your letter into clearly defined subheads. And keep it to two pages in length.

Make All Your Copy Benefit-Oriented

List the benefits so they are easy to understand. And remember that a benefit is a lot different than a feature. Features do not have the clout that benefits do. For example, stating that "10,000 people attended our show last year" is merely a feature. Write it in the context of a benefit: "You can have the opportunity of making 10,000 qualified contacts in three days," and you'll start making the impact that you want.

Repeat your offer at least three times throughout your letter: in your headline, within the first two paragraphs, and again in your closing paragraph. You can also include it in a "p.s." Last, but not least, tell your prospects what the next step is and tell them to do it today. Also include details of where to go for more information. Your goal should be for the recipients to immediately respond to your letter in a positive way.

Make an Impact

Your mail piece must stick out from all the rest. Yours will not be the only piece of direct mail that lands on your prospects' desks today. The more you can do to catch their attention, peak their curiosity, and urge them to open the packet, the better.

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