When he started out, he had no idea he was going into marketing.
An English major, he thought he was going to be an editor or a writer or something.
But when he applied for this little publishing company that published newsletters and books, that type of job wasn’t available. So he took a job with in-house list management instead.
That was 33 years ago.
In less than a decade that “little company” did over $100 million in revenue. Its revenues now stand at $150 million dollars a year. If you look at his product portfolio today you’ll see that it includes THE LARGEST paid subscription newsletters in its category in America, built from scratch.
You may even recognize some of the publications that he helped make into giants such as BottomLine Personal Newsletter, BottomLine Health, Boardroom Reports and famous books such as The 30-Day Diabetes Cure.
I’m, of course, talking about one of the most respected business builders and company leaders in the professional direct marketing community—Brian Kurtz. (I’ve got an exclusive live interview with Brian this Friday the 25th…click here to listen live)
Brian says he got a fantastic education by learning direct marketing from the list side of things. He also shares what he learned early on from direct marketing pioneer and consultant Dick Benson who told him “no one ever spends enough time on lists.”
The problem with email is that because it is so cheap to send, often businesses send emails without much regard to timing and what order they send promotions and so forth. But because of the costs of direct mail, Brian found that you have to be very disciplined about these sorts of things. And here’s the thing: if you pay more attention to certain items with your list, whether you are sending direct mail or marketing to your list online, you will improve your response rate.
Here are three things you can learn from your lists that will help you improve your response rate.
1) Where are the markets? You have the ability to segment your lists and test them. (Tweet this!) That means that if you start with a small segment, testing things and finding what gets a good response, you’ll be able to find other names that are similar. For example, let’s say in testing you discover that married couples with children in school and live in the suburbs respond well to your offer. Once you have that information, you can search those names out which fit that criteria in much larger universal lists.
2) What is in demand in those markets? You can learn a lot by how a name gets on a list and by the feedback for what you are doing.
For example, let’s say you send out a series of emails to one part of your list and a direct mail piece to the rest of your list. Your best response comes from the people who were sent your direct mail piece (a sales letter mailed out in a number 10 envelope with a buy one get one free offer.)
This tells you a lot about how they will respond—meaning your list responded better to direct mail than to email. You can even test types of packages. So in this case, even if the demographics are slightly off, if the response is good to certain type of package and offer, then it will be good to other similar formats and offers too.
3) What products do people want? One thing is certain about direct response advertising—it’s measurable. Back in the earlier days of Boardroom, after trying several different models, a successful model was discovered. Previously Boardroom tried selling a series of different business books that were made with various people they had met over the years. These books were about various subjects, but none of them became that big.
Then they put together a book called the Book of Business Knowledge. This was basically Boardroom’s greatest hits. When this did so well, it became the model they would use to sell millions of books. They did the same thing with newsletters. They figured out from their list what people wanted and then created the product to match it.
Spend time learning from your lists. When you do, you will find that you know more about your target audience, what they want and what they respond to. And in doing so, you’ll be able to market better to them which means you’ll get a much better response.
NOTE: Get “The 10 Rules to Transforming Your Small Business into an Infinitely More Powerful Direct Response Marketing Business” for FREE. Click here to claim your customer-getting, sales-boosting tactics.