“Much effort, much prosperity.” – Euripides (Hippolytus, 428 B.C.)
Your customer list should be mailed to at least twice a year. If the list is good and reasonably large, you can mail to it once a week — even once a day.
Prime prospects are people who, for one reason or another, you believe SHOULD buy your product. The best reason for such a belief is that these are people who have bought similar products at similar prices in recent years. But, sometimes, compiled lists of demographically sensible prospects will work too. (For example, if you are selling $500,000 condos you’d want to maintain a list of million-dollar homeowners, since there is a good chance that some of them will want to “simplify” at retirement.)
You should mail to your prime prospects as often as such a mailing is profitable.
I have an interest in a real-estate business that is selling multimillion-dollar townhouses in Coconut Grove, Miami. My friend EP, who runs the marketing program, has done a wide assortment of advertising, but he’s had the greatest success, by far, with a very modest direct-mail campaign.
He took the time to thank me for encouraging him to do the direct mail (generally an afterthought with real-estate developers), but he admitted he had no immediate plan to do another such campaign. “EP,” I said. “You just made 10,000% on your investment. If you made that kind of money in any other kind of business, wouldn’t you do the same thing again?”
You should mail to your prime-prospect list over and over again until the list is worn out. Don’t worry about offending them with your advertising. The reason these people are on your prime list is precisely because they like the kind of advertising you’re doing. When you give people more of what they like, you don’t wear them down, you turn them on.
A good idea for prime prospects comes from DM guru (and acquaintance) Jeffery Dobkin: “Write a series of six to 10 letters to your best prospects. Use a soft-sell approach initially, then make it progressively harder.”
How big should your prime-prospect list be? Ideally, big enough to replace the customers you traditionally lose through attrition. If, for example, you have a martial-arts business that needs 60 students to profitably grow and you lose half of them a year, you need a prime-prospect list big enough to give you 30 new students a year.
How big is that? It depends on past test results. If, to take this same example, past mailings to 100 prime prospects produced five inquiries and one sale, your martial-arts studio would need a prime-prospect list of 3,000 to produce 30 new students.
What’s the size of your prime-prospect list?[Ed. Note. Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]