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Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP

 
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:25 PM   #41
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


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Originally Posted by tonyc56 View Post
They claim that 84% open RSVP and over half go online to research that company. However, hasn't online basically made Direct Mail obsolete.


http://rsvppublications.com/
Direct mail is not obsolete, it's probably the most used media in existence.

I suggest you have RSVP add you to their mailing list so you can see who advertises there. You could contact some of those companies and ask them what results they get.

My guess is you would be better off doing your own mailing as opposed to being in a package with a bunch of other companies.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:55 PM   #42
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


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Originally Posted by roofmaven View Post
Stephen H. I am quite impressed with your post about direct mail. At this time I am looking for new business. We do not want to close our doors. I see that you know a lot about how to use direct mailers to your advantage. Would you mind sharing a few pointers with us? Who do you use for your direct mailers? Did you design the card?

I do apologize if this sounds quite na´ve and I hope I will not get blasted for this post. I am just looking for help to keep our roofing business in business.


Kind Regards,
Erica
Erica,
If you PM me a physical address, I will be happy to send you one of our post cards so you can see exactly what we mail out.

In the meantime--- I can tell you exactly what we do, how we arrived at this point and WHY we do things the way we do them. If this info helps you--- great!
If it doesn't help you--- maybe it will help someone else.

when writing this--- my challenge is to figure out what NOT to bother writing, because you need a lot of background info and I can't simply say " do items 1,2,3,4,5 and the money will come flowing in----------------------- it's more complicated than that.

But--- here goes.
We got into direct mail slowly.

Back about 2007-2008 I was interested in leaving the roofing business. I had spent the majority of my career working in about a 10-12 block radius of my home. Each and every day I would run into former customers at the grocery store, the bank, the post office, the gas station. They were family,friends, neighbors etc. If I was asked to quote a roof- I could generally stand in the prospects front yard and point to 3-4-5-6 roofs within view that we had roofed over the years.

VERY strong referall base, to say the least.

but around 2007-2008 I was in my mid 40's and tired--- and more than a little bored with roofing. I had put my kids through private school, put my wife through college, owned a nice home and had retirement investments---------

so--- I could either scale back my lifestyle and retire outright---- or I could switch directions , and work 1-2 days per week.

1-2 days a week work in combo with my wifes job and my investments would see us right. I figured I would just do small carpentry jobs---windows, doors, porch floors,stoops etc.

pretty much what I started out doing years before ( and before I went into roofing)---

so in 2007-2008 I was easing sideways into light carpentry--- but then a major hailstorm hit exactly in my neighborhood.

This hailstorm was a once in a lifetime event----and it destroyed a lifetime of my work. Pretty much every roof I had ever done----gone.

and my phone started ringing---and ringing and ringing and ringing. pretty much anyone I had ever done a roof for was calling...........

If this happened today I would handle it differently---- but at the time I felt an obligation to these people.

After all, they were my neighbors and THEY were the people who had sent my kids to private schools and rented beach houses for me, and built up my retirement nest egg.........

So my wife and I talked it over---and we agreed I would try to personally help as many of them as I could-----and so for the next year or two I was back in roofing bigger than ever. Really---the most miserable year or so of my life------

by 2008-2009 it was over and time to get out of asphalt roofing. By then I realized that going into light carpentry was not for me. A LOT of estimates that go no where---a lot of pricing out things that you are never going to use again---- even a decent sale was a lot of work for much lower $$$$ than I was used to......

and I had decided to focus on slate and ceramic tile roofing.

All through my career I had always done a bit of it---- maybe 5%/year----and the tools I owned for it were my fathers and grandfathers( we STILL use,each day some of my grandpas equipment!)

So I was entirely committed to getting OUT of asphalt shingles and INTO slate and tile. prior to the hailstorm we had begun experimenting with door hangers etc. we tracked everything.

We learned that OUR doorhangers worked in some neighborhoods--- but didn't work in others. We learned that the people who responded to our doorhangers shared similar characteristics. We learned that people bought some things from doorhangers----and DIDN'T buy other things ( more about that later). We learned that when the doorhangers worked---- the response rate was EXACTLY what all the books indicated it should be AND we learned we got almost 100% closing rates from those responses

the most important thing we learned was what we needed the average sale to be to make the program worth while.

for example--- you can have a textbook 2% response rate----close 95% of the responding prospects---- but if you have an average sale of $300 it ain't worth the effort. change the average sale to $2000 and it's a different ball game.

So- once we decided to focus on slate and tile---we had a lot of info to work with AND we decided to switch from door hangers to direct mail because of the time savings

initially we went out and basically gathered, by hand about 450 or so slate and tile addresses , primarily from the areas we had had good luck with using door hangers. ( in fact ,at one point we would walk down a street hanging slate hangers on one side of the street and carpentry services door hangers on the other side of the street---and track the results.

We put a LOT of thought into the post card. I had a very clear idea of exactly WHAT I was selling and WHO I was selling to. Remember---we are working on roofs originally installed in the 1910's and 1920's. Some of the materials we use---haven't been manufactured since the 1930's---and yet we STILL need to reliably supply those pieces . Our customers tend to share certain traits, certain interests---- they LIKE old houses, they LIKE a certain timeless quality----- and they have a real problem that MUST be solved----and they realize that people who can do all this are in short supply...........

So--- i had a very clear idea of what I wanted to convey with the post card------and the voice I wanted to speak from.......

The actual post card was designed by my oldest son. In all seriousness we probably had about 2 years in developing the post card---off and on. the key was the photo on the front.

We had a clear idea of what we wanted to do---and one day we set up a little vignette which my son then photo'ed. He took( I am sure) hundreds of photos under a variety of light conditions---and eventually he chose just the right one.

when you see the photo----- you are in 1915 or 1920----- or rather you remember what YOU saw in 1915 or 1920----even though, of course 1920 was 40-50 years before you were born. there is nothing anachronistic in the photo---- everything in the photo existed in 1915---and exists today. time has no meaning and what you wanted in 1915, you can still have today...........

pretty heavy, huh erica? !!!!!

Now-----needless to say--- we designed our postcard for OUR situation.

If we were in the HVAC business trying to sell a state of the art 21 century heating system-----we would design a VERY different postcard !

Rest assured ,we would put the same amount of thought,effort and time into the design.

Now--- here is the fun part, Erica.
It's 2009-2010. we have the post card, we have a mailing list of just under 500 prospects( actual houses with actual slate or tile roofs)

I buy 500 first class stamps and there is my first mail drop!

From the very first mail drop through to today----each and every mail drop has been a success.

By that I mean EVERY mail drop generates projects which cover the cost of the projects--- the labor, the materials, the overhead etc. --- cover the cost of the mailings----and earn profit on top of that .

Each and every one
typically there will be one project which makes the whole mailing worth while on it's own----and often more than one project----plus a number of smaller projects.

We started out small with a mailing list of less than 500------ gradually we expanded that to 900 plus---- then we weeded out several non-performing areas we were mailing to------------

then we added more and more addresses . we cover 5 counties now. We bought a mailing list of over 20,000 slate and tile addresses in an adjacent county--and we cherry picked THAT list. currently we have about 6000 addresses we mail to regularly---and EVERY week we send out over 1000 post cards.

Every mail drop earns----and several times a year we will land a project from these mailings---where ONE single job makes the entire years mailings worth while----and remember, EVERY mailing earns, independantly of the big scores.

My oldest son( who designed the post card)---came into the business with me after college.

3 years after that my second son joined us.

My oldest son is largely a finished project ( trained him from the ground up- my second son needs a 2-3 more years. In 2015 we need to hire a new apprentice.....

Everyone gets medical, vacation pay, holiday pay, profit sharing, paid training etc. our only real limiting factors are
1) I need to sell in 5 counties and I can only be in so many places at the same time...
2) the time it takes to train skilled workers. We Need to hire in 2015---and again in 2017 and 2019 to be where we are going to be in 2020-2025
3) the "buggy whip" factor of our core services( although we are also slowly expanding into obsolete exterior mill work.

so, Erica- that's what we do.

If there are any lessons you can apply to your situation, more power to you.

Absolutely my very best wishes,
stephen
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:56 PM   #43
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


I tried direct mail postcards - had them professionally done; looked real sharp. Maybe 1 or 2 calls - no jobs. For way less cost I ran one half page ad in a local magazine that went out to pretty much the same people or at least in the same area. Phone did not stop ringing for a week. I think different stuff works depending on where you are. Try anyything once. If it works do it again. If it doesn't, don't.
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:03 PM   #44
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


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I tried direct mail postcards - had them professionally done; looked real sharp. Maybe 1 or 2 calls - no jobs. For way less cost I ran one half page ad in a local magazine that went out to pretty much the same people or at least in the same area. Phone did not stop ringing for a week. I think different stuff works depending on where you are. Try anyything once. If it works do it again. If it doesn't, don't.
I agree!

"Don't put all your eggs in 1 basket and test the water before you dive in"

I've been advertising for 40 years and I was on top-of-the-world for many years. In the 1970's and early 1980's I would spend $1,000 per month on the Pennysaver and gross $100k plus. Then, that went to zero in the late 1980's.

I made $millions and $millions with flyers delivered door-to-door and during the past two years they are producing only 50%.

I started doing door-to-door canvassing about 5 years ago and I thought I was going to be a billionaire when I first started. During the past year, I've been struggling to get production from my canvassers. This past week, I found a new canvasser who is promising and my mind went into overdrive and I got my mojo back. In my opinion, a professional canvassing crew will blow the doors off of every other advertising media. I started a new canvasser yesterday. We signed a job for $12,000 today to install 9 windows (inserts). We have 5 leads to go to on Monday to paint houses. I met with one of the leads and I am almost 100% positive we will get the exterior painting for $7500. There is no type of advertising as inexpensive as canvassing that can generate the number of quality leads. Canvassing is just too hard to do for most companies.

Last week, I started beefing up my newspaper ads and I don't expect much, but every arm reaching out helps.

I personally do about 2,000 direct mail pieces every week. The letters contain a credit card with $25 credit that can be used for any type of repair on any property and the credit card offers priority service, a 10% discount, up to $2500 in instant credit and up to $10,000 credit with no interest, with a credit check and a Trust Deed for security. My letters are the most-effective I've seen. They produce results over a very long period of time because people hold onto the letter and credit card.

I did several different postcard campaigns and not one produced results that I could measure. My guess is the results were near zero, but I'm sure it depends on your specific product, service, offer and area. I would not dump my entire egg nest on post cards.

Last edited by pcplumber; 09-20-2014 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:35 AM   #45
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


Is there a good service people have had success with? There is a lot of commonality with our customers which I could target.
How many details are broken down for mailing lists? How do I see them.

I have done direct mailing before, but my own method. Drive around in certain areas and see who needed roof work. Send them information.

Couple of years ago, sold a roof to a customer with my mentioned efforts for $60,000.
Want to expand this and be more targeted with age, income, etc.....
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:18 AM   #46
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


There are companies that collect all of that info and would be happy to sell you lists.
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:37 AM   #47
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


I used RSVP in the late 80s, it was ok. I dumped that and went to a strict regiment of HOA newsletters and HOA resident directories ads. About twice a year I would update the ads by listing the families names that I worked for in those neighborhoods. After 10 years some of these areas had 20 or more residents listed. Great way to have a permanent referral sheet and of course a lot of the work was visible from the street.
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Old 02-08-2015, 01:35 PM   #48
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


As others mentioned,I think direct mail works more for some trades than others. My two sons have a landscaping business.They mail out postcards (about 5,000) each spring and fall,gets their phone ringing off the hook. Definitely worth it for them.
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Old 02-08-2015, 02:34 PM   #49
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


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Originally Posted by Shellbuilder View Post
I used RSVP in the late 80s, it was ok. I dumped that and went to a strict regiment of HOA newsletters and HOA resident directories ads. About twice a year I would update the ads by listing the families names that I worked for in those neighborhoods. After 10 years some of these areas had 20 or more residents listed. Great way to have a permanent referral sheet and of course a lot of the work was visible from the street.
Couple years ago almost went with some news letter ads as well. Never followed thru....
Plans are to up the efforts and try some proven as well as new approaches.

Need names of who to contact for the lists for targeted mailing.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:24 PM   #50
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


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Originally Posted by red_cedar View Post
Couple years ago almost went with some news letter ads as well. Never followed thru....
Plans are to up the efforts and try some proven as well as new approaches.

Need names of who to contact for the lists for targeted mailing.
guess I will try RSVP. n the process of asking fo more information from 'Direct Mail'
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:02 PM   #51
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Re: Has Anyone Used Direct-Mail RSVP


Direct Mail is far from ineffective. Technology made it even more effective. Mass mailing to zip codes is cheap and has poor results.

It's all about using the right consumer database and demographic filters to target likely buyers like: age of home, date of home purchase, number of credit lines and credit rating, presence of a 1st or 2nd mortgage on their credit or premium credit account, age, sex, job title, interests, types of cars owned, ect...

I've literally targeted recently divorced and single women with college degrees between 30 and 56 who earned $60k-$250k, had bought high end health food in the last twelve months and lived within 11 miles radius of a new medical spa and plastic surgery center. There were 1,117 names that matched!

You get much better results when you know your best customer's profile, have names on the post card, address women in the household and do multiple touches to the same list of addresses.
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