These guys can help you with sales. (Photo: Flickr)

These guys can help you with sales. (Photo: Flickr)

OK, so the headline isn’t the result of a rigorous academic study, but we do think it’s feasible to create new and ongoing streams of revenue by using just a few direct mail strategies that work. It’s all about building value for the customer.

When you decide to embark on a direct mail campaign, you can’t think of your correspondence as just awareness advertising. As with social media, which we wrote about yesterday, a direct mailing has to deliver something useful to your audience: In this case, usually that’s a way to give them more value or save them money. If you do this, you’ll make the customer feel valued, which makes them loyal.

Craig Simpson recently wrote in Entrepreneur that your mail should “increase lifetime value.” That means offering your existing or potential customers new products and services that make buying from you convenient and easy in the longterm. His advice includes offering auto-renewal billing (like the Starbucks Card, which reloads as you use it — or better yet, like a magazine subscription that automatically bills each month). This incentivizes customers to keep coming back — and to keep coming back to you. His other tips are: offering premium services at a higher rate for some customers who might splurge, offering complementary services like oil changes or detailing, and sending them direct mail at the moment you expect them back.

For example, if it’s been three months since their last oil change or two winter-time weeks since their last car wash, it’s a good time to send them a 25 percent off coupon reminding them to stop by. (Simpson says 10 percent, but that’s no way to build real loyalty. If you’re going to discount… discount.)

When you’re about to start a direct mail campaign, we recommend setting a budget, setting the goals you’d like to accomplish with the campaign, and then contacting a professional to help you do it right. Often, a business owner’s time can be better spent growing the business than running the marketing.

Have you tried a direct mail campaign that worked?