There will be times that you receive complaints about your direct mail campaign. In business you have to develop a bit of a thick skin. That means you have to learn to do what’s best for your business in spite of the fact that a few people may complain. Some people will always complain, no matter what you do. But you can’t let them interfere with what you need to do to have a profitable business, or you’ll never be able to do anything.
Of course, if you received thousands of calls and letters from people saying they didn’t want to hear from you, you’d need to rethink what you’re doing. But if you only get a small number of complaints, you have to let it roll off your back and keep going.
Let me give you an example of one of my clients who, unfortunately, let a few complaints get to him. This client is a medical professional who owns a number of clinics. We put together a campaign made up of a series of mailings that invited his past patients to return to the clinics for a follow-up screening. The campaign cost $11,000 to run – but it brought in more than $100,000 in revenue! To me, that was a huge success. I was certain he would be pleased as well, and I recommended that he plan to run the same campaign quarterly. But I can’t get this doctor to run another campaign because he received a few complaints from former patients who did not want to receive any more mail from him.
This doctor is missing out on $100,000 in business each quarter because three or four people complained about getting mail. All he has to do is put the names of those people who complained on his house suppress list, and try another mailing to see what kind of response he gets, but he won’t even do that.
It makes me think of a recent purchase I made on Amazon. If you ever buy from an online store you’ll know what I mean. You search for some product (in my case, it was a new set of phones for my home), and you find one with the highest customer rating, and then you start reading the reviews. The phone has an overall rating of more than 4-1/2 stars out of 5, with great 5-star and 4-star reviews, and then out of curiosity you look at the 1-star reviews, and they are devastating.
You’re almost ready not to buy the phone. And then you realize, the phone has almost 1500 reviews, out of which over 900 are 5-star reviews, and over 300 are 4-star reviews. It actually comes to 85%. Meanwhile only 8% are 1-star and 2-star reviews. I’ve found that people who are not happy are more likely to write a review, than are people who are happy with a product. (Using myself as an example, I’m very happy with the phones, but I have no plans to write a review. But if I disliked them, I might be eager to vent my frustration.) Unhappy people are usually overrepresented in these figures.
What I’m trying to say is, there will always be people who complain, even about the very best product. It would be a mistake to let them block you from seeing the many, many more people who don’t have a problem with you, or who are even happy to hear from you.
If you want your business to grow, you have to keep broadcasting your message to your most likely buyers. If some of them complain, you can arrange it so that you don’t send to them again. But don’t let that keep you from sending to everyone else. That would be a huge mistake and your bank account will not be happy with you!