A few weeks ago, an email subscriber asked a great question. It was about whether direct mail is a good option for connecting with architects.
My answer started with the ever-frustrating, "It depends..."
But I didn't leave him hanging. And today I'll expand on the most important part of my answer, so you can benefit as well.
What's the most important starting point of any direct mail campaign?
The effectiveness of direct mail to architects largely depends on how you developed your mailing list.
Did you go through the phone book or local AIA directory to develop your list? If so, it probably won't be as responsive as you'd like.
Do you have a product or a service that's most applicable to residential architects? Your "catch-all" mailing list would include a lot of commercial architects as well. So a large percentage of your mailing could fall on deaf ears.
However, if you did your homework and narrowed it down to just the residential architects, you'd have a better start. Your message would have a fighting chance...
But you want more than a fighting chance, right?
I'll assume you do. That's why you're reading this...
So, how can we help your chances?
We need to tighten up your list even more. And to do that you need to start thinking about three simple letters:
Go ahead and Google it. You'll find it stands for the three-dimensions to help determine customer value:
Recency – How recently did they buy something?
Frequency – How often do they buy?
Monetary Value – How much do they spend?
So, the obvious question is how this can be applied to your list of architects you're going to mail to.
Let's look at each of these dimensions and how you can apply it to your list.
R is for Recency
If you're a building product manufacturer or supplier, you know the architect is rarely the actual buyer of your product. They specify or recommend the products, but someone else is doing the actual buying.
So, for all three of these factors, look at project types and possible uses of your product or service.
For "recency," how recently did the architects on your list have a project using a product or service like yours? Or how recently did they have a project that should've/could've used your product or service?
I imagine you already have a way to find projects out there in various stages of design or construction. I know several of my clients use ConstructConnect to develop their leads. But you should use what makes the most sense for your situation.
Anyway, recency is the most important factor to determine how effective your list will be. The more recently the architect had a need for your product or service; the more relevant your message will be to him or her.
So take the necessary time to vet out this part of your list as you're tightening the screws.
F is for Frequency
Once you've tweaked your list of architects to the most recent specifier of your product, you need to look at how frequently they specify it.
For example, let's say your product or service is specific to projects with a food service or kitchen component. You should be looking at architects whose projects frequently include kitchens.
It seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how often I receive postcards or emails about products that don't apply to me or my project types.
Another example might be looking for a particular building type. Like banks or hospitals. Is your message is particularly relevant to a specific building type? If so, fine-tune your mailing list to architects who frequently do this project type.
M is for Monetary
This last factor can have a couple different dimensions or angles you'll want to look at.
One would be the straightforward look at just how much of your product or service they've used.
Combine this with recency and frequency and you'll have a much hotter list than when you started.
Depending on the nature of your product or service, here's the other angle you could look at. How much money could they have saved their project if they'd used you?
What's an example of this?
Maybe you're seeing a lot of firms sticking with a traditional method of solving a particular building design problem. But you have a new, innovative product that solves it more simply and could have saved the project 100 hours in labor costs.
Focusing on this angle in your list management could also help guide the copy you're putting into your mailing piece.
Wrapping it up and putting a bow on it...
This should be a good start to helping you tighten up your mailing lists.
And don't be afraid to start segmenting your lists. This can make or break your marketing efforts. Create different mailing lists for your different products or services. Or it might be the same product, just positioned in your mailing piece, so it's more relevant to a specific segment of your list.
There's a LOT more that could go into this conversation, but I try to keep these tips at a manageable length for you. So if you have more questions, or would like my help honing your list, let me know.
I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time...
Make it a great marketing day!