Good examples of direct mail advertising are hard to find.
Most of the marketing information you find on the web or in textbooks applies to retail. Or to selling small-ticket, low-risk items that have a large possible audience. We don’t often find examples (with results!) of a direct mail marketing campaign for large ticket, business to business products or services. (Sometimes called B2B aviation marketing!)
So, we decided to write an article about a recent B2B Direct Mail campaign we ran for our own company, and report on the results as a case study.
So, what do you do if you have a very short list of prospective customers?
This is a problem we find frequently in the aviation industry. Your product or service may only be of value to a very small number of owners with a specific make of plane, or pilots with a specific set of prerequisites. Or what you’re selling might only be interesting to people in a specific part of the country. (Or the world, nowadays, since aviation marketing is global!)
One of our clients has a list of potential customers that has 54 names on it.  The service she sells is only relevant to a very specific list of people with a very specific need.
Having a short list need not be a handicap. In fact, it can be a huge advantage.


Examples of Direct Mail Advertising

Let’s say there are 54 specific people who are likely to need your product or service. You know who they are.
In this case, there is no reason to spend time or money chasing the entire readership of Plane & Pilot Magazine. Or the entire membership of NBAA or AOPA.

Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

You can take the amount of money it would cost for an ad in a magazine, and spend it much more effectively. Create a direct mail campaign directed toward this small number of people.

You may remember that the three components of a successful marketing campaign are these:

  • The List
  • The Offer
  • The Presentation

The List

If you have a short list and a large ticket product or service,  you have customers that are worth a lot to you. Your customer lifetime value (CLV) is much higher than that of people who sell more general products and services.  With that in mind, you’re justified in spending more on a marketing campaign that is sure to get their attention.

ABCI sells high-end consulting services, only to aviation related companies. This is our “short list.”  We can make that list even shorter by using lead scoring software. We have a list of people that visit our website and open our emails most often.

So, we decided that we need a certain number of customers by the end of the year.  We decided (took and educated guess, really) that ten percent of the people that we send a campaign to will respond. We also estimated that five percent will become clients by the end of the yea


The Offer

So, we take the top, say, fifty names on our list and analyze what we know about these folks.  Our intention is to create an offer that will really serve their needs.

  • What problems do they have that we can solve?
  • What do they worry about?
  • What is different about their business this year than last?

What is your “call to action?”  What do you want your recipients to do, know, feel or buy?

We decided that the best offer we could make is our Marketing Flight Plan.

The Presentation:

How do we get their attention long enough to read our materials and realize that the Marketing Flight Plan is the solution to their problems?

We know that direct mail is still the most reliable method of marketing to a short list. We also know it takes several contacts to achieve a response from a busy professional.  (They don’t drop everything and respond the first time they hear an offer from you!)  We know that email and social media are the most cost effective.

So we created a 30-day campaign beginning with a direct mail package and then extended to email and social media.

B2B Campaign Examples - Direct Mail prospecting package We know that traditional direct mail or “flat mail” has a low success rate.  Envelopes containing marketing materials seldom get opened. and postcards don’t convey enough information. So we put together a package that included the following:

  • A packet that makes a pot of (very good!) coffee
  • Two biscotti (Personally, I would have preferred a chocolate bar, but they tend to melt!)
  • Two vials of creamer that don’t need to be refrigerated (one plain, one vanilla)
  • Two packets of sugar
  • An inexpensive plastic box to keep the contents from getting crushed
  • An invitation to our workshop in October
  • A sales letter (rolled, rather than flat, and tied with a ribbon) explaining our offer
The cost for materials, printing and postage was about $8.50 per box, making the total for a campaign of 50 come to $425. This was lower cost, and much better targeting, than a magazine ad, an “email blast” or email marketing to 600,000, or a postcard to 1000.

The campaign is still ongoing, (we’ve completed the first part of the direct mail portion and one email) but our responses to date:

  • 10% of the recipients have responded (as we predicted.)
  • We’re still waiting on the actual sales, but we anticipate at least a five percent conversion rate.

There are additional direct mail, email and social media components that we believe will raise the response rate.

Companion Multimedia Advertising Campaigns

Since every advertising media has it’s strengths and weaknesses, we like to use at least three media for every marketing campaign.

To accompany our direct mail marketing campaign we will also target the recipients to deliver ads via digital marketing in their Facebook feed, and send emails.   We could also follow up a week or two later with a postcard, with a photograph of the box.  “Did You Get our Box?”

These often get good results because the recipient was busy the day the box arrived, or intended to respond but was interrupted and forgot.

So, speaking of  B2B Campaign examples, did you get one of our “coffee breaks in a box?”   What did you think?



Feel free to comment below.

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