Generating leads is one of the oldest strategies in business. It allows a business owner to introduce his product or service to as many prospects as possible with the intention of following up with the strongest leads at a later date. Mass mailing is one form of lead generation, and it has advantages and disadvantages.
What Is a Mass Mailing?
Mass mailing entails sending the same message to a large group of people, straight to their mail boxes. It is a form of direct mail generally not targeted to a specific audience. The concept is based on throwing out a broad net to capture as many leads as possible. In the Internet world, these mass mailing attempts are sent via email and often are tagged as spam.
The U.S. Postal Service says direct mail advertising is effective because it's less costly than television and radio advertising. It reaches more people without the distraction of other advertisers. The USPS reports that "98 percent of consumers bring in their mail the day it’s delivered, and 77 percent sort through it immediately." Mass mailing effectiveness can be tracked. Because the production of the material can be done on a computer, the greatest expense is printing and mailing, which can be reduced with bulk discounts.
Mass mailing doesn't address the recipient by name or appeal to individual interests. Traditionally, mass mailings have a low conversion rate because there usually is no follow-up--which is critical in marketing--to maximize the lead generation potential. The expense of sending out mass mailings may not be justified by the response you receive. Businesses should perform an analysis of the potential return on investment to measure the risk versus reward in a worst-case scenario.
Internet mass mailing eliminates the shipping expense and the cost of printing. In "The Complete Guide to E-mail Marketing," Bruce C. Brown notes that email offers more flexibility for testing before sending the mass mailing. Email mass mailing opens the door for permission-based marketing. You can send an email to ask the receivers if it's OK to tell them more about your products and services. Brown says that email mailings are easier to track and can provide you with "real time statistics, deliveries, bounces, and open rates."
Mass mailing lists often are purchased through brokers, who collect them from list sellers. List sellers can be websites that have captured customer information and ask for permission to pass it on to partners, prospects who've filled out information request forms or any number of scenarios. There is no way to tell whether the list will be worth the money until it's bought, paid for and used.