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When you are building a business, you have to promote it. Hundreds of books have been written about different ways to promote your business, but this article will look at just one of them. (The principles discussed may apply to most of the rest as well.) Let us look only at printed promotional materials being sent in bulk: brochures, letters, post cards, or anything else.
One theory says that quantity is the most important factor: It s a numbers game, they say. Another theory holds that limited but targeted mailing with very expensive, very professional pieces produces a higher return on investment. Other theories fall somewhere in the middle. So it is time to look at the logic behind them all.
Quantity: one thousand pieces mailed will produce a higher response than one hundred pieces.
Quality: one thousand high quality pieces will produce a higher response than one thousand low quality pieces.
The obvious conclusion is that both quantity and quality are factors in response. Anyone stuck on the idea that the best way to increase response is to increase quantity is missing half the equation, and costing the company a bucketload of money.
The best way to increase response is to increase both quantity and quality. And when you have a limited budget, it is a whole lot cheaper to increase quality first, then increase quantity as the budget permits. Even if you have a big budget, why would you send out more of a promotional piece that could be better? Make it better first, then send out more of them.
What does better mean? What is higher quality? Quality is a range, from awful to stunning. It is usually fairly easy to move anything in the direction of better, at least a little.
Promotional pieces, unless they are already nearly stunning, are especially easy to make better. Just proofread them, or have an experienced proofreader do so. An astonishing number of mailings contain misspellings, grammatical errors, missing words, wrong words, or inconsistencies, all of which a good proofreader can catch. Like it or not, these flaws reflect on your company. They demonstrate, in black and white and color, that your company does not place much importance on quality. You may not want to believe it, but an upside down apostrophe can cost you a sale.
Now the question becomes, if you have to choose between higher quality and higher quantity, how do you make the choice? For instance, you could use a better printer who costs a little more, but therefore you won t be able to afford as much postage. Or maybe the proofreader costs you $50 that would have gone to postage.
The answer again responds to logic. Decreasing quantity decreases response. Increasing quality increases response. So do everything you can to increase quality first, without decreasing quantity. Do the free things, at least, like reading it and re reading it, looking for errors. Get many opinions on the design and wording. Rewrite it if you can make it better.
Meanwhile, increase the quality of the mailing list. Go over it with a fine tooth comb, to make sure names and addresses are spelled correctly (yes, it is true: some potential customers will throw away a mailing piece if you misspell their name or street name). Every error, again, reflects on your company. Take names off the list when their mail comes back. The money you save in wasted postage can go to increasing quality of the mailing piece. Or to replacing the bad names with good ones.
To sum it up, there is no battle of quantity versus quality. Both are needed, and both deserve your attention. Send out more, but send out better also.
Don Dewsnap has spent years studying quality and its principles and applications. Now he has put his knowledge into a readable, useable book: Anyone Can Improve His or Her Life: The Principles of Quality. Find out more about this book at http://www.principles-of-quality.com .
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