Mailout response rate?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by rabhobbes, May 13, 2009.

  1. rabhobbes

    rabhobbes TPF Noob!

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    2 part question:
    I'm thinking of doing a (very) targeted mailout, wondering what any photographers here have seen as their response rate for doing mailouts? I see widely varying accounts from 0.2 to 5%from doing research, but they are for all types of other businesses.

    and

    Would it be worthwhile to do a mini mailout (50-100) using a targeted list, just to see what happens, and follow up accordingly with a larger mailout? Or just send them all out at once, say 250-450? Pros/cons?

    Years ago I used to do small mailouts (20-30) to local businesses to try to get product photography work, and I do remember getting a few jobs here and there. (That was when it was about half the cost to mail, though!)

    I do know other variables come into play (size, what the offer is, etc), just thinking about numbers.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jim Gratiot

    Jim Gratiot TPF Noob!

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    It's impossible to give numbers without knowing your list, your offer, and how skillfully you can make the offer to your list.

    Don't focus so much on response rate... focus on return on investment.

    Say you mail 1,000 pieces out at a cost of $1,000.

    If you are selling a $50 item/service, you need a 2% response rate just to break even.

    But if you're selling a $500 item/service, if you get a 2% response rate, you've made a profit of $9,000. To break even you'd only need a 0.2% response rate.

    In your case, the most important variable is the targeted list. If you can get that, I'd start with a mailing of at least 200 potential clients... anything else isn't going to give you a very scientific result as to whether you want to mail it out to more people.

    Also make sure that your mailout addresses the specific needs of those people you are targeting. PM me if you need somebody to take a look at your mailout (I'm a marketing strategist with significant copywriting experience).

    Good luck!
     
  3. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    Jim's right. At my former company we did a lot of direct mail marketing. It cost us a lot of money and they told us that the response rate would be only a few percent if it was good.

    I thought that was bad, but then I thought about the size of the audience we sent to and it didn't seem so bad. If you think about when you get junk in the mail, you instinctively throw it away, so thinking about a mailing of say 10,000 people, and you get a 2% response rate thats 200 people. That means that 200 people didnt throw your mailing away and acted on it. Which if you are thinking about doing photoshoots...that's a lot and it would pay for your mailing quickly...and then some. Not to mention word of mouth if one of the 200 people starts talking, then you've got more business.

    When you're doing direct mail, you need to make it inticing for them to open. If they open it, that's one step closer to getting them to act on it. A lot of times, we would put messages on the outside of the envelope saying "Limited Time Offer" and "Special Deal/Bargain/Offer" or something like that to make them think "Oh its limited time, I better see what it is!" or "Wow a special deal for me? What could it be?"

    Also, another tactic we utilized is making something that was an odd size. Either we used a big 10"x13" envelope with materials stuffed in it, or another envelope different than a standard #10 business envelope. If you think back to when you pick up the mail, about 95% of the junk is in the #10 business envelope size, but if you have something different, it would help it stand out fromt he other junk that they are throwing out. Be careful though, because changing sizes will effect your postage rates and can cost you more money, so check with the local post office for rates.
     
  4. rabhobbes

    rabhobbes TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the ideas and info, guys.
    Jim, I am in the middle of desiging my piece and will take you up on your offer!
     
  5. rabhobbes

    rabhobbes TPF Noob!

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    I just finished designing my piece, I'm sending out 250 to start.

    Just wanted to say a big thanks to Jim for the help he gave me off-board! Lots of good ideas and pointers :thumbup:.

    (I will post a shot of the piece here after June 1, since it ties in to a magazine cover I shot and the images are kind of under wraps until then.)
     

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