Increase Repeat Business And Referrals With Direct Mail
by: Joe Niewierski
So you have been writing mortgages like crazy now for the last few years. You have a pretty big database of customers and hopefully you have been getting and keeping full contact information for them. An organized database is the first key to customer retention.
The next step is to put together a direct mail campaign to keep these customers thinking about you when they think about mortgages. It is often years between times when each customer needs a mortgage professional, and it takes far less than that for them to forget your name. As well as fighting time, you are fighting indifference. Customers who get great service are often reluctant to pass that information along, while customers who feel they have gotten poor service will tell everyone. Most of the time good customers need to be reminded of their experience. By following up with each customer on a regular basis you will not only stay in the front of their mind but you will also start to build a reputation as a solid and responsible business.
So how do you get started? Below are a couple of the most frequently asked questions when starting a campaign to keep in touch with past clients.
What Type of Direct Mail Piece Works Best?
There is a great debate amongst Mortgage Professionals about what type of direct mail will work best for getting new business. Many swear by letters for their appearance of professionalism, while others like the low cost and high visibility of postcards. Overall, both seem to work adequately for bringing in new business. You just need to find which works best for you personally.
For keeping in contact with past customers, however, the way to go is postcards. This is due to the fact that if your customers are not currently looking for a mortgage for themselves, they are far less likely to take the time to open a letter. That causes most of your “keep in touch” promo that is in envelopes to get thrown out before it ever gets read.
Since the goal is recognition and not direct action you only need to get them to read the message. Postcards have the message visible when mailed, which means that while your customers are deciding what to read and what to throw out, they are already being exposed to your message.
How Often Should I Send Promo?
You will want to mail a piece to your database every 30-60 days. Any longer than that and they may have already forgotten you when their friends are looking for a mortgage. Since you will want to send promo out often, you will need to keep your costs down. With postcards there are no envelope costs, no assembly costs and the postage is 30% less than letters. When using a mail house to send your postcards you can often get postage rates as low as 18¢ per piece.
What Should Be On My Brand Recognition Pieces?
There are some basic rules for the design of a brand recognition direct mail piece.
Rule #1: Keep color consistent.
Many times people fall into the trap of changing the look of their promo for the seasons or for the holidays. The thought is that people are thinking about Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day so they will respond better to promo with those colors. The truth is exactly opposite. Their senses are so flooded by those images that they actually start to skip right over them. Pick a color for your company and stick with it. You will do much better in building recognition.
Rule #2: Make a logo and use it on every piece.
Having a clean, professional logo is best. It may be a little pricey to have designed but in the end it is well worth the money. Experienced designers can often charge up to $2000 for a corporate identity package including logo, letterhead and business cards. If you aren’t looking to make that type of investment simply pick a type style for your company name and use it every time. Consistency is key because your logo is your main identification point.
Rule #3: Make it Informative.
Every piece should have something useful for your customers. Whether it is new information about the mortgage industry or even possible investment properties in their area, it can even be completely unrelated to the mortgage industry. A calendar or list of emergency numbers, even the old recipe card trick still works pretty well. Anything that is likely to be kept around will help to build recognition in the minds of your past customers.
The mortgage industry has experienced a huge amount of growth over the past few years. Unfortunately this growth cannot last forever. At some point it is going slow down and the only way to keep your income in the range that you have become accustomed to is to ensure that you retain as many past customers as you possibly can.
A direct mail campaign is the best way to do this, but remember, this type of program is a long term process. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t directly calculate the amount of money that you bring in right off the bat. What you are doing is burning your name into the minds of your customers. Eventually it will work out to you seeing less attrition and far more referrals.
About The Author
Joe Niewierski, VP Marketing at PostcardMania, became a published writer after graduating with a BA in Advertising from USF. Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998.
This article was posted on September 06, 2005