Direct Mail Marketing To Reach Local Affluent Customers: Interview With Paul St-Jacques

The other week I had the pleasure of an hour long conversation with fellow Canadian marketer Paul St-Jacques from Maverick ROI on the topic of direct mail marketing. This isn’t a service we offer and to be honest, I kind of forgot this was an option until Paul really opened up my eyes.

Since then we’ve started aligning our businesses to help each other and while I’m not going to pretend I know where to start with direct mailing, Paul has been a good sport to give us a primer. This is an area we here at Luxury Branded are going to explore going into the future and after you read the interview, I think you might give direct mail a shot as well.


Luxury Branded: Tell us who you are and a little of your history.

Paul St-Jacques: Hey! I’m Paul St-Jacques, born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. I originally got into the world of direct marketing when I joined a real estate startup wearing multiple hats. As the all around “tech guy”, I ended up doing lots of marketing, and absolutely loved it. So I ended up learning everything I could from the direct response greats like David Ogilvy, Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, Gary Halbert etc, and haven’t looked back since.

I specialize in both offline and online direct response marketing, and I’m the founder of Maverick ROI, the place marketers, entrepreneurs, and service professionals come to learn how to use modern direct mail marketing strategies to generate quality leads and customers for their businesses.

Question 1)

Luxury Branded: What is direct mailing for those that don’t know?

Paul St-Jacques: Direct mail is advertising that is distributed through the mail. The most common formats used are postcards, sales letters inside envelopes, self-mailers, catalogs, and packages. It’s highly effective for reaching targeted audiences.

Question 2)

Luxury Branded: How can you target UHNW individuals through Direct Mail?

Paul St-Jacques: Direct mail has some of the best targeting options available today. In fact, direct mail might be one of the most effective way to reach UHNWI’s. Here’s how:

Many magazines will rent out their subscriber base mailing list. With a bit of research, you can compile a list of all the magazines out there that UHNWI’s would read, and talk with a list broker to see if you can get access to their mailing lists, or similar magazines. Some lists even have “selects” to target your ideal audience even further, this could include their household income, marital status and so forth. I do recommend working with a reputable list broker as they can save you a TON of time.

Question 3)

Luxury Branded: Direct mail is expensive, how do you make it profitable?

Paul St-Jacques: To make direct mail profitable, it’s always a good idea to figure out your customer lifetime value (CLV). CLV is the projected profit your business makes from a client over time. If you know how much a client is actually worth to your business, you’ll get a better idea of how much you can spend to acquire a client, and to retain one.

You can calculate your CLV with this basic formula: Client revenue MINUS the cost to acquire and serve your client.

Question 4)

Luxury Branded: What advice do you have for getting their attention and not end up in the waste bin?

Paul St-Jacques: The brutal truth is that the majority of your direct mail pieces will end up in the waste bin. With direct mail, you’ll typically see a response rate of 1 to 2%. If you’re new to direct mail and are mailing a cold list, aim to hit a 1% response rate as a benchmark. That being said, you can certainly make direct mail work extremely well with these low response rates. You just have to figure out your projected ROI in advance.

I always recommend using direct response strategies when using direct mail. Direct response is one of the two major types of marketing strategies. The other being “branding” or “image marketing”. Direct response marketing is designed to elicit an immediate response and to persuade prospects to take a certain action, such as being driven to a website, calling for more information, or placing an order. And you’ll definitely want to be able to track and measure that response.

Who you’re mailing to is very important, if you mail the right piece to the wrong audience, your campaign will be a dud. You’re going to want to talk to a list broker to help you find the best list to mail to that would match your ideal customer. You’re much better off mailing to a tight and highly targeted list. Privacy is dead in North America and other parts of the world, so you can easily hone in with laser precision on your target market. It’s almost frightening how deep you can go.

With regards to the mail piece, you should always test different formats, and creatives. More often than not, having personalization will helps increase response. If your goal is to drive traffic online to a landing page, then give postcards a try. If you have a product you want to sell immediately, you can try sending a long form sales letter to a targeted list.

Also, you should always do multiple mailings. The “accepted” school of thought is that it requires 7 touches for your marketing to be effective. It’s no different with direct mail. At the very least, try 3 separate mailings to the same list. Keep an eye on your response rates for each individual mailing, and if it drops significantly you can try a different way kind of mail piece. Like most marketing, you’re going to want to test, test and test some more. Once you find a winning combination, you’ll be able to scale up your campaign immensely.

Question 5)

Luxury Branded: Where do you see this marketing platform going in an increasing digital world?

Paul St-Jacques: I’ve had lots of success driving direct mail traffic online to landing pages. I love using direct mail for lead generation, and using email to follow up. It’s hard to beat the low cost of email. Mix in a bit of retargeting advertising to those who visited your landing page also makes a huge difference to your bottom line.

We’re already seeing that direct mail marketing is slowing more difficult for small businesses to afford the upfront investment, but again, once you figure out your CLV, you’ll be able to effectively and profitably use direct mail to grow your business.

Question 6)

Luxury Branded: Where can we find you online?

Paul St-Jacques: paul st-jacquesYou can find me online through the following links below as well connect with me on Twitter to get a discussion going. I’d be more than happy to give you a free consultation to go deeper into direct mailing and what we can do for the area you’re wanting to reach.

Twitter: @MaverickROI
Email: [email protected]

Ryan Clark
[email protected]

Ryan Clark is celebrating 10 years consulting for luxury brands across the globe helping them reach UHNW individuals online and off. He specializes in luxury digital marketing, SEO, PR and luxury viral marketing. Connect with me to talk about your luxury marketing strategy and how our services can help you achieve more this year. I offer a luxury gaps audit to determine where you're falling flat and where I see you can improve in your marketing efforts.   To connect with him online you can follow on Twitter @LuxuryBranded, connect on LinkedIn Ryan R Clark and read his column on Luxe Getaways Magazine where he covers the world of luxury.