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3 Secrets to Adding Direct Mail to Your Online Sales Funnel Direct mail can be the best way to get prospective customers to your website and into your sales funnel.

By Craig Simpson

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The Sydney Morning Herald | Getty Images

If you want to get prospects to a website, all your direct mail piece has to do is whet their appetite. You can create an entire online sales funnel for your potential customers, but the very first step is to get them to your website.

Over the years I've worked with many online marketers who were very successful at finding prospects through direct mail. My experience with them has taught me a lot, and now you will benefit from it. I'm going to share with you three of my best secrets for using direct mail to supplement an online sales funnel.

1. Use the right length of copy.

Out of all the mailings I do, one lesson that has come home to me again and again is that you have to get the length of the sales copy right. When it comes to getting people to visit a website, I've had the most success mailing postcards, tear-sheets, small self-mailers, check letters, and short 2-page letter packages. Each of these pieces is limited in size, and looks like it would be quick and easy to read, but it can still be filled with plenty of copy. The idea here is that you whet the appetite of your readers, who will then rush to see what else is waiting for them online.

Too much can be overkill. You don't need a 12-page sales letter to drive prospects online for a free report. And you do not want to use a magalog, long form envelope package, or digest piece to try to drive prospects online. The cost to mail out a long-form sales piece usually outweighs the return when the goal is to drive prospects online.

You have to make sure the length of your copy matches your call to action. If the call to action requires spending a lot of money from the sales piece itself, you'd better make sure the piece gives plenty of justification and incentive.

But, if your goal is to drive prospects online where you will do the majority of the selling, a long sales letter is not only unnecessary, but it may actually be counterproductive.

2. Provide multiples calls to action.

People don't always read your sales pieces with the care you would like them to. In many cases, they scan it and go back and forth looking at the copy – and they may miss the critical detail of the URL that you want them to go to.

So, if you are mailing a small postcard in order to drive prospects online, don't just give one mention of the URL. Make sure you mention it a number of times. If you are sending prospects a postcard, you should put the call to action and URL at least once on each side.

For example, a few months ago I sent a postcard promoting one of my teleseminars. The postcard was only 4 x 6, and it was full of copy. But I still managed to put the URL on that little card three times.

If you are mailing a larger card, maybe 8.5 x 5.5 or 11 x 6, you should have the call to action on it at least two times on each side.

You might be thinking... this is something easy to do... and it is, BUT I can't count the number of postcards that I receive that only have the call to action printed on them one time.

Don't assume that the prospect will look for and find the call to action. Your job is to make it easy on prospects to find the information you want them to see. So, make it very clear by putting it in the piece a number of times.

Believe me, I've tested this over and over, and I know what works – you MUST put the URL on your sales piece multiple times when your goal is to drive prospects online.

3. Sell the sizzle, not the steak.

I often see marketers trying to give too many details about the product or service in the postcard or self-mailer that is used to drive prospects online. This is a mistake.

Don't attempt to do a full selling job on the product or service IN the postcard, self mailer, check letter, etc. Instead, sell the prospect on the idea of your product or service. Intrigue them; make them wonder if this is something that could really enhance their life or solve a problem. If you get them excited about the possibilities, they will eagerly go to the website for the full story.

Keep in mind that your main goal is to get prospects to your online sales funnel so that it can take them to the next step in the process. If you reveal too much too early, you may over qualify prospects; they will make a decision whether or not this is for them too early in the game and may decide it's not worth it to them to follow up. Remember the power of inertia. It tends to keep us from taking action. If you tell prospects too much about the product or service too soon you may give them ammunition to follow the law of inertia.

To summarize, make the point of the postcard to get the prospects to go online. Don't try to sell your product or service. Let that be Phase 2 of your sales funnel.

Craig Simpson

Author and Owner of Simpson Direct, Inc.

Craig Simpson has managed thousands of direct mail campaigns and grossed hundreds of millions in revenue for his clients over the past 15 years. Simpson is the owner of Simpson Direct Inc., a Grants Pass, Oregon-based direct marketing firm, and a respected speaker/presenter on the topic of direct mail. He is the co-author with Dan S. Kennedy of The Direct Mail Solution. He blogs at http://www.simpson-direct.com/blog/.

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