Direct Mail Tips
Select an Expert
The basic function of a list broker is to help you find the right lists, and handle all the logistics of ordering, delivery and payment. But the key is expertise. In BtoB, you want to to select someone with deep knowledge of your industry, your customers, and your competitors. In fact, it is often wise to select a broker who works with your competitors themselves.
A good broker is going to partner with you. The more information you can provide about your campaign goals, your market, your products, your offer, your past results – the better the broker can perform. This is not the place to be shy, or cagey.
Involve The Broker Early
Call the broker while the target prospect is still being defined, well before the offer and the creative are in the development. The broker might have some good suggestions for how your campaign can be improved. Early involvement will also allow the broker time to do in-depth research, get you accurate counts, and beat the bushes for ideas.
Use A Single Broker
Some mailers like to divide up their business and play brokers off against one another. In the BtoB world, this strategy rarely works. What you earn in loyalty and service by using a single broker trumps the competitive play every time.
Ask For Both Postal And Email Recommendations
The email list industry is rapidly maturing, and brokers with BtoB expertise are now able to recommend files in both media. Take advantage of that skill. Market knowledge is more important that media specialization.
Pay The Fees
Some mailers try to negotiate down the broker’s standard 20% fee. Others try to do the brokerage function in house, demanding the fee equivalent in discounts from the list owner. Neither is a smart move. Brokers easily earn their money, and you don’t need the aggravation. And, when you think about it, the 20% represents only a tiny fraction of the total campaign CPM.
Visit your broker. Take the broker and team to lunch. Get your fair share of their attention and enthusiasm.
Ask For New Ideas
Tell your broker you’re looking for full team membership. That you want not only list recommendations, but all kinds of ideas for how to reach your target market. Be open. And be sure to test some of your broker’s ideas when you get them.
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