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Newsletter to Market to Prospects

I am working on my marketing plan for 2006 and I would like some feedback from the great marketing and sales minds on this forum. I am especially interested in what you guys have to say since most of you don't work in my industry and probably have an easier time thinking like my customer.

I am a financial adviser in a mid-size town (population approx. 75,000) in the midwest. I have 2 target markets that I plan to focus on and each market will have 500 - 800 households. The markets defined are:
1) Young (30-45 years old) homeowners with above average household incomes ($75k+)
2) Retirees (60-75) Home/Condo owners with $150k+ in assets other than real estate

I use telemarketing/cold calling as a primary means to bring in new business. My basic approach is to call each person in my target market every 3-4 weeks, offer them a specific product or service and describe it with 2 features, then get a "yes" or "no" answer from the prospect.

I want to add a 4-page educational newsletters to my marketing plan. My thought is that by sending a newsletter once per quarter to these prospects it will create more top of mind awareness for me and my company and position me as an expert in financial services. Then when I call they may recognize my name and company more quickly and are more likely to have a positive impression of me. I will not have anything salesy in this newsletter. It will be completely educational other than having my name, picture, and contact info.

Does this newsletter plan sound like it would benefit my cold calling efforts? It is going to cost me about $1000-$1500 per quarter, so I don't want to jump into it without thinking about all of the angles. - by Derek
Derek, what do you perceive as the downside risk to this potential campaign? - by Agent Smith
Derek, what do you perceive as the downside risk to this potential campaign?
The downside is the opportunity cost. I could spend my marketing dollars elsewhere or keep the money as profit. I could do postcards or mail letters or something less costly just to get my name in front of them. My thought is that as a consumer I am more likely to appreciate an informative newsletter as opposed to an obvious direct marketing piece. However, I am biased because I enjoy reading about finances, investments, etc. That is why I am looking for an outside opinion. - by Derek
Could a targeted mailing campaign benefit telemarketing efforts? I'm sure to some extent the answer would be, "yes," but the same could be said for door knocking. - by Agent Smith
Derek, for many years our telemarketing campaign coincided with direct mail (FSBOs) and bulk mail (communities). We eventually came to the conclusion that our time and money was best spent elsewhere. - by AZBroker
Derek,

I'm impressed that you can find enough people in your target area that aren't on the Do Not Call list, and that you can get away with calling them once a month without a negative reaction.

I'd save the newsletter for maintaining contact with existing clients or people you know or have met. To me, it's too expensive an item to use as a direct mail piece.

Do you have a website? You might want to do some direct response mailings to motivate your target market to visit your website for a special report or something about finance that is truly unique.

Also, in thinking about the folks I know in the financial arena, they get a lot of their leads by meeting people vs cold calling. Trust is such a big factor in working with someone on your finances. Are you active in the community? Maybe you could also build your database that way - adding people that you've met and send them something like the newsletter.

Just some thoughts - hope it helps.

Kathleen - by KSA-Mktg
Derek,

Maybe you can consider a melding of your ideas with Kathleen's ideas. I don't agree that the newsletter might be better saved for your existing clients--although given the nature of your business (you continue to sell to and make money off your client base), I suggest you make something for your existing clients as well.

Bald Dog directed me to Robert Middleton and his book InfoGuru and I found his theory very helpful. It's in line with your idea to put information out (for free) to establish trust and confidence. I think this is a powerful tool to gain new clients.

I also think Kathleen was on the money with a website--which is a much more efficient way to distribute your newsletter or it can even provide an information resource for prospective clients. Putting it together may be time consuming in the beginning, but once it is up, it can continue to work for you around the clock, and you can simply add new materials to keep it fresh. I have wanted to do this more with my own business, but have not been able to allocate the time to putting it together.

I included that last statement because I wanted to clarify to you that I have not used this with first-hand success myself, so I am endorsing it "in theory," but it seems like a good one to me.

Cost is always an important consideration. You can burn through a lot of money on trial and error--don't ask me how I know about that :rolleyes: . - by RainMaker
I just got done browsing the site. Did you buy the book? If so, did you apply any of his ideas directly to your business? - by Derek
I just got done browsing the site. Did you buy the book? If so, did you apply any of his ideas directly to your business?
No, I did not-- but only because I am a startup on a tight budget and do not have resources for it at this time. Bald Dog (who doesn't post here that often anymore) highly recommended it. I got Middleton's free stuff and found I got plenty from it. I receive his newsletter (which I enjoy) and will probably buy the book evenutally.

I only mentioned it because your newsletter idea seems to be in alignment with his philosophy and thought you may find it interesting. As I stated, I have not implemented it (although I do offer a free report and think this is a great tool) because I am self employed and am currently wearing too many hats. This will be changing soon. I will let you know how I make out with it if I decide to implement it. - by RainMaker
Does this newsletter plan sound like it would benefit my cold calling efforts? It is going to cost me about $1000-$1500 per quarter, so I don't want to jump into it without thinking about all of the angles.
Derek, out of curiosity, what percentage of your target prospects eventually purchase a service like yours? - by Houston
I use a lot of cards to my existing customer base and although it is shamelessly direct and humorous they know I expect them to help me. By using the battering ram approach I do lose a few cliants but because they see my name and company they will usually call me when they need a newer vehicle. I'm also extremely quick to respond if any of them need help and word does get around. If any call me to complain about the mail I can often disarm the complaint with a quip like " If you don't toot your own horn sometimes your horn doesn't get tooted at all." If someone insist on me not mailing them info and cards I save the money and stop sending mail. - by Rothgar the Pacifist
Does this newsletter plan sound like it would benefit my cold calling efforts? It is going to cost me about $1000-$1500 per quarter, so I don't want to jump into it without thinking about all of the angles.
A well designed (timing, message, etc.) mail campaign to a well defined target market should surely benefit your cold calling efforts to that target market. ;) - by SalesGuy
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