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Improve your marketing effectiveness with direct mail.

Like any other aspect of marketing that is done well, a good direct mail program can improve your marketing effectiveness and yield an excellent return on the investment.

Most foundries occasionally have used direct mail to communicate with their customers and prospects, usually with mixed results. However, some foundries have established very effective ongoing mailing programs as an important part of their total marketing effort.

While these success stories are well-kept secrets, they have common elements. They feature examples of unusual castings or cost savings realized through casting redesign. They tell customers and prospects about new equipment and facilities that make important improvements in capacity, quality or delivery. Or, these successful mailing programs spotlight a foundry's high degree of expertise in making highly specialized castings or products for a particular industry.

A Valuable Tool

Sending periodic mailing pieces and other communications to your customers and prospects can be an important marketing tool. For maximum effectiveness, they should go out on a repetitive basis to key customers and prospects in specific markets--perhaps every three or four months. Continuity of direct mail is particularly important in the case of prospects, where you are endeavoring to implant your name and create an image of capability and resources.

Direct mail offers several advantages over other forms of promotion. One benefit is that it goes directly to the people you want to reach. Another is that it provides an opportunity to tell a more complete story. Since you can control the size of your mailing list, direct mail can be as selective or extensive as required for a particular job.

Direct mail is both personalized and confidential. It captures the reader's attention, since it is not competing with other companies' names at the same time. Direct mail also can provide for a fast, simple response from the recipient through the use of enclosed business reply cards or envelopes. And it can be targeted toward a particular region, industry or reader interest area.

In the case of sizeable mailings, where you have a lot at stake, you can use sample test mailings before committing to a large expenditure.

Now let's look at the mailing itself. Suppose you have decided to send your foundry's new brochure to customers and key prospects--a clear objective and a good reason for mailing. It pays to send most mailings to engineering as well as purchasing people. A well-written cover letter, addressed to a specific person, should be enclosed with the brochure. If you don't have the casting buyer's name, as in the case of many prospects, put someone on the phone to get it.

Keep your letter simple and clear. It should be both sincere and informal. Use short sentences, proper grammar, and correct punctuation and spelling. Don't make your letter too long. In your final draft, which may well be the 10th version, replace all the complex words with simple ones.

Seek Responses

Make a bid for action in your letter. Urge the recipient to request more information. Also, you might come directly to the point and ask for an opportunity to quote on an upcoming job.

As far as mailing mechanics are concerned, if it is a large mailing, you would probably be better off to have it processed on the outside by a professional mailing house. Consider using a bulk-mail permit, either yours or theirs. It will save you a lot of money on any large mailing. Don't be concerned that bulk mail will be discarded or create an impression of cheapness. In most companies of any size, all mail is opened in the mailroom or by a clerk. And with a personalized letter, you can be sure it won't get tossed.

Follow up your mailing a couple of months later with another piece. It will increase effectiveness of the earlier one and help pave the way for your salesperson's follow-up phone call. This second mailing could consist of either a letter or simple, one-page folded sheet with a relevant message, referring to the brochure sent earlier.

Keep your mailing lists up to date. Of course, it is a never-ending battle to keep these lists current. But, accurate and complete lists are an important marketing asset, and will improve results and minimize mailing waste.

Frequent use of direct mail will stimulate your marketing program and let your prospects know you're alive and well.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Warden, T. Jerry
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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