The optimal use of email marketing is to follow-up with leads you generate through outlets like direct mail or television, etc.
So when planning your business marketing strategy, start thinking about your Valentine's Day Promotion or your Fourth of July promotion early - very early. Say - on the day before Thanksgiving.
When scheduling your promotions, it's kind of like a game of chess: You should always be thinking at least three moves ahead.
In this case, each "move" should be one month. Therefore, you should be thinking about your Valentine's or February promotions as you fall asleep after your big turkey dinner.
There are a few reasons why you need to have your promotions figured out that early. Getting direct mail out the door to the post office and into the hands of your prospects TAKES TIME.
By having it all worked out months in advance, you give yourself enough time for the logistics. Getting the concept down, figuring out your offer, getting artwork put together, printing, and mailing all have to be done - and this can take several weeks from being an idea in your head to being a piece of promo in your customers' hands. You are also going to want to have the piece in your customers' hands at least two weeks before the sale or event, so be sure to factor in this time as well.
Get the Message Out Multiple Times
Repeat, repeat, repeat. You need TIME if you want your list to get at least three mailings, right? Getting your postcards out early lets you drive your message home through repetition.
Take Christmas and Hanukkah, for example. If you start mailing to your customers in the beginning of November, you will be able to cement your company name in their heads because you will be able to mail to them multiple times before they have to make their holiday purchases.
On the other hand, if you start mailing to them in late November or early December, you will not have the time to do multiple mailings. Nevertheless, getting one mailing out at that stage will still be much better than not sending anything at all, but nothing works better when promoting than multiple mailings with the same message to the same list.
In this life there are three kinds of people:
- Those who show up early
- Those who arrive on time
- Those who get there late
Now, we are all given the same 24 hours in a day. But clearly the people who show up early use theirs more effectively. Where do you fall on this list? Chances are, if you are the type of person who shows up on time or even late, then so will your postcards. So learn to manage your time better to get those cards out earlier.
Keep a calendar and flip ahead. The minute you finish one mailing, schedule the next. Always make sure to stay three moves ahead - or three months ahead of the season. This way you'll always be early!
Free Up Your Time for Running Your Business
Most people who own a business do their own marketing. Thankfully, marketing is one of the few things in a business that you can do far in advance. By scheduling your holiday promotions ahead of time (consult your calendar!), you will make yourself available to do all of the other jobs your business requires of you.
Scheduling promotions can seem like a huge task, but some things are just worth the extra thought. Think back to the calendar idea. When you really get down to brass tacks, it really isn't that daunting. After reading this manual you will truly be an expert and, once your scheduling is done, you'll have time to put your ideas and energy into other areas that need your attention so you can maximize your efforts toward expansion.
I find the easiest way to plan in advance is to go backward. So let's go back to our last section and pick up where we left off: Get a calendar; either a day planner or the kind with a box for each date/day. First, you're going to choose the "hit date," meaning the date you want your list to actually receive your postcard in their mailbox.
On that date on the calendar write "Mail Hits."
Next, go four days back in time on the calendar (not including Sunday or a national holiday, as the Post Office is closed those days). On that date write "mail drop" - meaning this is the day your mail house is to drop the postcards at the Post Office.
Following is a seven-point list written backwards. In other words, the last detail is listed first. By writing each of these on a date, you can control when your mail will hit and thus begin the process of predicting results - and income:
- Choose target market and get mailing list count
- Place order for quantity needed
- Design and layout complete and approved
- Printed product complete
- List processed and postage paid
- Mail addressed and dropped at the post office
- Mail hits homes and businesses
When choosing a company to work with, make sure they know you have a deadline and your intention is to get these points done on these specific dates.
Ensure they are in agreement and it can be done. I highly recommend NOT rushing. Why? When you put a lot of stress on creative types, when you completely stress them out with a major RUSH job, you won't get the best they can do.
At our company we guarantee three to five business days for a full conceptual design to be delivered for approval. This is considered rather fast, but we've found through experience that it still gives the designer time to research and come up with a brilliant idea.
So, make use of that calendar and give yourself time to do it right. It will be worth it in the end.