Why run a sales campaign?
Be very clear about why you're running a sales or marketing campaign and what you hope to achieve, for example:
Find 10 new customers
Get £5000 worth of orders
Generate 500 enquiries
Book 25 appointments
Attract 5 new advertisers
Define your target audience
If you’re a start-up business and don’t have many customers at the moment your initial research will have identified the customers who are most likely to buy from you. If you've already got some customers decide if you want to contact all of them or just those who've ordered from you in the last 6 months, or those you haven't heard from for a while.
Source your data
To find new customers you may need to rent or buy a data mailing list. Be as specific as you can about the type of person or business you want to contact and how often you want to contact them. Marketing mailing list providers will include a number of test or dummy mailing addresses to check you're only using what you've agreed.
Before buying your promotional marketing data check:
What information the data contains (phone number, address, email address)
- Whether you get contact names for different functions (sales director, operations director, finance director etc)
Whether it’s been screened to remove people or organisations who've registered with the telephone preference service, corporate telephone preference service or mailing preference service
How often the data is updated
- How much it costs and what format it's provided in
- Whether you have to pay for messages that can't be delivered
What's the best way to communicate
Looking at your objectives, your target audience and what your budget will allow, you now need to decide what’s going to be most effective means of communicating with the people in your marketing mailing list:
Direct mail (ie sent through the post). This allows you to be very creative, but it's expensive and it can be difficult to measure the results.
Email. A low cost option and easy to measure the results if you use an email management system like MailChimp, but its very easy for the email to be overlooked, or deleted from someone's mailbox, or get trapped by spam filters.
SMS. Cheaper than direct mail and the results can be measured, however it is intrusive
Telephone - If done well is a very effective way to win business, build goodwill and get valuable feedback, if done badly it's very irritating for the person being called!
Think about combining two or more for an integrated campaign eg a postal mailshot with a follow-up phone call, or an SMS message followed up by an email.
What are you going to say?
You have a very short space of time to make an impact so:
- Keep your message clear and simple
- Make your offer compelling and highlight the disadvantages of not buying from you
- Include an offer, but not if it's going to cost you more than the potential business is worth
- Give clear instructions on what you want them to do next (a ‘call to action’) for example ‘call our enquiry line on xxxx, ‘email us at xxx for more information’, ‘visit xxx and claim your discount’
When to send your marketing campaign
Think about your target customers and when their busy and quieter times are. If they hear from you during their quieter periods and you'll have more chance of grabbing their attention.
It could come down to what month, what day of the week or even what time of day is best. If you’re using an email or SMS management system you can set the day and hour your campaign is delivered.
It’s worth considering whether to send to a few addresses at a time or a bigger one-off campaign. If you go for the one-off make sure you've got the resource to implement and follow up. If you're concerned about the volume of calls consider using a professional telephone answering service
Measure the results of your sales campaign
Make sure you build in a way to measure how successful the campaign is against your original objectives, even if it's a manual tally.
You could include promotional codes, or use different inbound phone numbers
that give you data on the number of calls received to each number. Measuring the campaign results lets you assess the value of the new business you get against the cost of running the campaign (called measuring the return on investment (ROI)) and will help you decide how to run the most effective campaigns in the future.