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Stamp of Approval - Direct Mail Options and How to Make Them Work For You

Looking for a marketing campaign that will get your name in front of new customers? Direct mail takes you right to their mailboxes.

Entrepreneur magazine - June 2005
By Kim T. Gordon

Marketing aimed at customer acquisition has leaped to the forefront in 2005 as many companies move away from more generalized branding efforts toward programs that yield measurable ROI. Measurement and account-ability are today's watchwords, and a conspicuous increase in spending on direct-mail programs is the result.

Direct mail produces a relatively fast and measurable return, and it's a great prospecting tool. Here's a look at the best ways to use direct mail to win new customers.

1. Plan for large mailings. There's a big difference between a sales letter and direct mail, which is generally sent to lists of at least 5,000 at a time. Your lists must be large, since even good response rates may fall between 2 percent and 4 percent. There's another difference, too. Direct-mail campaigns are built around a single goal--an action your prospects must take in order to move farther along in the sales cycle. Not surprisingly, mailings that are designed to produce leads yield higher response rates than those designed to close sales.

2. Choose the best format. In addition to catalogs, there are three basic types of direct mail: postcards, letters and packages (called dimensional mail). When creating your annual campaign, you can choose one type or all three. Postcards, preferably oversized to grab attention, can be an inexpensive way to alert prospects to an upcoming event. Successful direct-mail letters, on the other hand, are complex packages: They generally consist of a teaser envelope--which promises something appealing inside--a one- or two-page cover letter, various inserts expanding on the offer and often a business reply card with a return envelope. And if you want to virtually guarantee your mail gets opened, you can put it in a box. Last year, dimensional mail averaged the highest overall response rate--5.49 percent--of any direct-response medium, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

3. Assemble your campaign. Direct-mail marketing is rarely a do-it-yourself job. The steps include: designing and printing the creative pieces, choosing the lists, and delivering them both to a mailing house for labeling and distribution.

With customer acquisition as your primary goal, direct your team to create pieces that are relevant to the needs of your target audience and contain a strong offer. Studies increasingly show that interesting-looking packaging, as well as mailings that tout a special offer or discount, yield the best results. Also, be sure to provide alternative ways for prospects to respond, including a business reply card, a toll-free number, an e-mail address and a website.

A basic list allows you to pinpoint your ideal prospects according to geography and demographics or Standard Industrial Classification codes and job titles. Decide exactly whom you want to reach, and then obtain rental lists through list managers and trade and business publications or associations. Or engage a qualified list-broker to pinpoint and negotiate for the best lists for your campaign. It's a good idea to mail multiple times to the same list, and you can reduce your costs by negotiating for duplicate mailings at the time your initial list purchase is being compiled.

For best results, engage a mailing house that can personalize each piece with the name of the recipient and apply tracking codes to the response mechanism. And while metered mail is the norm, campaigns that require that extra bit of personal attention will get it if you choose to have stamps applied instead.

4. Test and measure results. Direct-mail success is measured one campaign at a time. It's essential to test various components of the campaign--the lists, your offers and creative approaches--in order to continually improve your response rates. The key is to test just one component at a time and make incremental adjustments until your campaign produces optimal results.

Contact marketing expert Kim T. Gordon, author of Bringing Home the Business, at Her new e-book, Big Marketing Ideas for Small Budgets, is available exclusively from Entrepreneur at

Online Advertising Leader AzoogleAds Grew More Than 100 Percent in the First Half of 2005, Dramatically Outpacing the Overall Growth of the Industry

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 10, 2005--

AzoogleAds Reports Nearly 46 Billion CPA Impressions and 10 Million Unique Transactions, Underscoring Its Position as Leading CPA Advertising Network

AzoogleAds (, a leader in performance-based online advertising, today announced that during the first two quarters of 2005, the company improved revenue and EBITDA by more than 100 percent as compared to the first half of 2004. In 2004, AzoogleAds' revenues surged to $64 million.

In the first half of 2005, the AzoogleAds Network, which has more than 7,000 websites and publishers, generated approximately 46 billion cost-per-action (CPA) impressions. It generated 461 million unique click-throughs and facilitated almost 10 million transactions or sales from January to June 30th. These metrics illustrate that the AzoogleAds Network is one of the industry's largest CPA networks.

Much of this growth is attributable to AzoogleAd's fraud-proof model in which the company pays publishers only when verified actions are generated. This model enables AzoogleAds to deliver one of the most cost-effective and risk-free advertising tools available to customers such as, Omaha Steaks, Netflix,,, MatchNet, and Ask Jeeves.

"Our focus on maximizing revenue and guaranteeing return on investment for both advertisers and publishers has enabled AzoogleAds to grow into one of the industry's largest CPA ad networks," said Joe Speiser, AzoogleAds co-founder. "That volume and reach, coupled with the quality of leads generated and a performance-based model, deliver a return on advertising dollars unmatched by other providers and other advertising vehicles."

Specializing in all forms of online media, AzoogleAds offers high-impact direct marketing response and fast return on investment through banner network and site-specific advertising, online promotions, data-capture and co-registration programs, campaign management and advertising measurement. A pioneer in the performance-based advertising industry, recent network metrics illustrate that AzoogleAds has the largest network of quality traffic, with network partners reaching billions of impressions monthly.

The online advertising industry continues to grow exponentially, mushrooming to $2.8 billion in first-quarter revenues, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. And the rate doesn't seem to show signs of slowing. Forrester Research predicts that online advertising will increase by 23 percent, reaching $14.7 billion in 2005, and growing to $26 billion by 2010.

"The rapid growth we've experienced is a good illustration of the industry's trend toward allocating more and more of the ad budget toward new and more measurable forms of advertising that fuel amazing growth," said Alex Zhardanovsky, AzoogleAds co-founder. "The model of the AzoogleAds Network enables us to offer effective solutions for clients and positions us to capitalize on this industry growth and maintain our leadership position."

About AzoogleAds

AzoogleAds, founded in 2000, is a profitable and rapidly growing online advertising network that delivers customers and generates revenues for its customers. A pioneer in the performance-based advertising industry, AzoogleAds now has the largest network of quality traffic. This highly effective network coupled with proprietary technology and unparalleled industry expertise enables the AzoogleAds team to deliver the most comprehensive and cost-effective strategic online marketing campaigns for advertisers of all sizes and across all industries.

For publishers, AzoogleAds provides high-impact campaigns that enable publishers to maximize earnings on their inventory. AzoogleAds customers include, Omaha Steaks, Netflix,,, MatchNet, Ask Jeeves and Intermix, among others. The company is privately held and venture backed by TA Associates and the Stripes Group. For more information, please visit AzoogleAds' website at


Regina Barboza (Media), 973-313-1689

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