If you are selling merchandise, remember that the big companies mail to their best customers up to 50 times a year. Why does this frequency help rather than hinder?
The answer lies in studying the prospect, customer, or donor. You’ve got to look at the opportunity from their point of view.
Fund-raising is the easiest to explain. Your prospect probably goes to church each week and supports the collection plate. So, it is safe to say that most people give to a charitable cause at least once a week. That is 52 times a year.
From that point of view, giving on an average of every six weeks doesn’t sound out of reason. The point is, somebody is ready to give to somebody more frequently than you think. It might as well be you.
The older we get, the more we give. The more we feel that our days and years are numbered and wonder if we have done our fair share, the more we give. The more frequently we are asked and the more we are reminded of our responsibilities, the more we give.
Many large fund-raising mailers have worried about the possibility of increased mailings having a negative effect on a total year’s giving or on long-range giving. Test after test proves frequency helps, not hurts, total programs.
The commercial world must be approached differently. Several factors come into play simultaneously. I’m offered what I want to buy; I’m offered when I want to buy it; it has not been offered to me from other sources more attractively; I am offered it when I can afford it; I liked it so much, I want more; I need replenishment. These factors are all self-explanatory. But, there is another factor that must overlay all of these. I am subject to other advertising about your product or service from other sources. The dripping water slowly takes effect and I finally decide to buy. If your offer reaches me at that particular time, I’m going to buy from you. At any given moment of time, enough people you’ve reached are at that point to give you the response you need.
We should not mix up two different facets of this phenomenon. My mail box is too full because I’m receiving mail from so many different places, versus my mail box is too full because I’m hearing from you too often. I’ve not seen tests on this, but common sense dictates that the former case is far more common than the latter.
Some wise person once defined junk mail as advertising mail you had no interest in. Prove it to yourself. Think of your favorite catalog. What if you received a new and different one twice as often as you now do? Wouldn’t you read it? If you read it, there is a good chance you will buy from it.
One final note on frequency. Here are two ways to do it. Repeat what you are doing exactly the same way, or tell the story from a different point each mailing. Either can be successful. It is important to test and keep track to determine what works best for you.
In catalogs, most successful mailers find they can mail their fall holiday gift catalog twice, by just changing the cover. Readers will not remember receiving the previous one and will read it through, although the inside pages are the same, and will purchase at a profitable rate-often a better rate of response than an inquiry list mailing. This success happens because your catalog was there when the prospect was ready to act. Perhaps your previous catalog caused them to almost buy. This time they couldn’t resist the temptation.
No discussion of frequency would be complete without referring to “X” dates. In business mail and insurance mail there are what we call “X” dates, or expiration dates. That is the date their present insurance is to expire, and the only time a prospect would consider changing his program of insurance. Unfortunately, the “X” dates are usually unavailable on mailing lists. Enough mailings must be made to cover the entire year so that at least one mailing arrives close enough to an expiration date and the new offer is given consideration.
Fortunately, frequency can be easily tested to find the right frequency for you.