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Crafting an initial communication to a prospect who is planning an extension or other renovation is more art than science – but these 5 steps should help you maximise any home improver mailing response…
1. Clear Headline Message
Many prospects will have a natural response of scepticism and distrust to unsolicited mail. There will be those who will read the letter with a mind set of “Bin it”! You have probably no more than seconds to capture their attention.
The aim of an envelope is to get the recipient to open it. The aim of your headline message (heading/sub-heading) is to get your prospect to read the first paragraph. The aim of the first paragraph is to convince them to see your call to action (see point 5 below).
Make your headline message clear and simple. Avoid any marketing hype or qualitative bragging!
2. Don’t Oversell
A prospect will not become a customer on opening a letter. Make the aim of your communication realistic. Don’t attempt to sell the final contract at first contact. You want your prospect to contact you, or provide you with the means to contact them - and that’s all – at least at this stage.
To maximise the chances of that response, you need to:
offer something of interest (why this?)
be credible (why you?)
be relevant (why now?)
incentivise a response (why right now?)
Planning Pipe helps you partly answer the why this? and why now? questions… but you need to focus on all questions.
3. Communicate with your prospect
Does your letter read more like advert than a personal communication? If you want prospects to have a conversation with you, you need to start that conversation. But creating a successful dialogue with a potential customer requires some understand of their situation – some empathy.
This means focusing on the interests of your reader. Your letter should convey what responding will do for them – it should not be a monologue about the qualities of your firm or attempt to tell them what to do.
4. Never Underestimate Customer Anxiety
You know how good you are. Your prospect has no idea - but probably won’t believe you if you try too hard to persuade them. Do all you can to reduce their anxiety. Third party testimonials, trade accreditations and specifics will always perform better than subjective, unspecific and unsupported claims.
You need to be simple and clear about why they should contact you. You need to focus later on in the sales process why they should choose you over anyone else. But never lose sight - at any stage – that the customer has anxieties throughout the process.
5. Clear Call to Action
Your prospect may see what you have to offer as relevant and timely. They may view you as a credible prospect for them. But unless you make it clear what the next step is and why there is realistic urgency, then you may well lose them as a prospect.
If you can incentivise that response and/or incentivise a response in a given time-frame, your response will be improved.
Crafting the right approach is an art not a science. There is no single templated correct approach, but avoiding some common pitfalls and following some of these simple guidelines for an initial mailing should help boost your response.
Planning Pipe provides cost-effective construction project leads and planning information to the UK construction industry.