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Bob Stone's Checklist for Direct Marketing Success
Bob Stone’s Checklist for applying the Six Big Keys to Direct Marketing Success. All of these factors apply to all forms of mail order (land or email) as well as many other direct marketing media. The list has been annotated with factors which also apply to the Internet.
A) The product or services you offer
1) Is it a real value for the price asked?
2) How does it stack up against competition?
3) Do you have exclusive features?
4) Does your packaging create a good first impression?
5) Is the market broad enough to support a going organization?
6) Is your product cost low enough to warrant a mail order markup [in today’s world, this question should address all direct marketing media]?
7) Does your product or service lend itself to repeat business?
B) The media you use
1) Your customer list
a) Is your customer list cleaned on a regular basis?
b) Do you keep a second copy of your list in a secure place to avoid loss?
c) Have you developed a profile of your customer list, giving you all the important demographic characteristics [in today’s world, psychographic and lifestyle characteristics should be added as well]?
d) Have you coded your customer list by recency [frequency, and monetary value] of purchase?
e) Have you worked your customer list by the classic mail-order formula: recency-frequency-monetary [value]?
f) Have you thought of what other products or services may appeal to your customer list?
g) Do you mail your customer list often enough to capitalize on the investment?
h) [Have you determined how often you can profitably mail your customer list?]
2) Your prospect list
a) Do you freely provide facts and figures to one or more competent mailing list brokers, enabling them to unearth productive lists for you?
b) Have you worked with competent list compilers in selecting names of prospects who match the profile of those on your customer list?
c) Do you test meaningful, measurable, projectable quantities?
d) Have you measured the true results of prospect lists, computing for each list the number of inquiries, the quantity of returned goods, net cash receipts per thousand mailed, and repeat business?
e) Have you determined how often you can successfully mail to the same prospect lists?
3) Print or Electronic Media (Internet)
a) Have you matched your offers with your markets and used media with good direct response track records?
b) Have you measured the true results of the media, computed the number of inquiries [orders], the quantity of returned goods, net cash receipts per insertion, and repeat business?
c) Have you determined how often you can successfully use the same media?
a) Have you selected broadcast media that best fit your objective:
1) to get inquiries or orders;
2) to support other advertising media?
b) Have you measured the true results of broadcast media, computing for each station the number of inquiries [orders], the amount of returned of good, net cash receipts per broadcast schedule, and repeat business?
c) Have you determined the proper times and frequency for broadcasts?
C) The offer you make
1) Are you making the most enticing offers you can within the realm of good business?
2) Does your offer lend itself to the use of any or all of these incentives for response: free gift, contest, free trial offer, installment terms, price savings, money back guarantee?
3) Does your offer lend itself to the development of an “automatic” repeat business cycle?
4) Does your offer lend itself to a “get-a-friend” [referral] program?
5) Have you determined the ideal introductory period or quantity for your offer?
6) Have you determined the ideal introductory price for your offer?
7) Have you determined the possibility of multiple sales for your offer?
D) The format you use
1) Direct mail
a) Are you mailing packages in character with your product or services and the markets you are reaching?
b) Have you developed the ideal format for your mailing packages, with particular emphasis on mailing envelope, letter, circular, response form, and replay envelope?
c) Do you work with one or more creative envelope manufacturers?
d) Are your sales letters in character with your offers?
e) Are your circulars graphics, descriptive, and in tune with the complete marketing package?
f) Does your response form contain the complete offer? Is it attractive enough to grab attention and impel action?
a) Does your "From" line include your company name or brand?
b) Is your "Subject" line the right length? (5-8 words, 40 characters including spaces)
c) Does your "Subject" line incorporate a specific benefit?
d) Does your "Subject" line include your brand (if for some reason your "From" line does not)?
e) Does your "Subject" line create a sense of urgency?
f) Is your email personalized with the recipient's first name, last name or both, if appropriate?
g) Is your email copy clear and concise?
h) Does it contain a strong call-to-action?
i) Does it focus on benefits?
j) Does it create a sense of urgency?
3) Print or Electronic Media (Internet)
a) Are your ads in character with your product and services and the markets you are reaching?
b) Have you explored newspaper inserts, magazine inserts, bind-in cards, tip-on cards, Dutch door newspaper inserts, plastic records?
a) Are your commercials in character with your products and services and the markets you are reaching?
b) Have you determined the efficiency of stand-up announcer commercials vs. staged commercials?
c) Have you explored the efficiency of noted personality endorsements?
E) The test you make
1) Do you consistently test the big things: product, media, offers, and formats?
2) Have you tested to determine the best timing for your offers, the best frequency?
3) Have you determined the most responsive geographical areas?
4) Do you consistently test new direct mail packages against control packages, new ads against control ads, new commercials against control commercials?
5) Do you use adequate test quantities?
6) Do you follow your test figures through to conclusion, using net revenue per thousand as the key criterion?
7) Do you interpret your test figures in the light of the effect on the image and future profits of your company?
F) The right analyses
1) Do you track results by source, computing front-end response, returned goods factors, and bad debt factor for each source?
2) Do you analyze results by ZIP codes, by demographics, [by psychographics and lifestyle segments]?
3) Do you compute the level of repeat business by original source?