Is Direct Mail Still Working for MSPs?

Is direct mail a viable marketing solution for managed services providers?

Yes, but….

Direct mail for MSP marketing works significantly better when it is combined with other prospecting initiatives.

In a time when you are unable to do other things (like in the middle of a global pandemic, for example), it might make sense for you to try direct mail marketing campaigns.  Like any MSP marketing campaign, before deciding if you want to proceed, you should consider all your options, review your budget and marketing goals, create a plan, and add your plan to your managed services sales playbook!

Learn what has worked and what hasn’t worked for some of your peers – join us on February 23 at 3 PM ET to hear about some success stories and some failed attempts – or come and share your own experiences!  (Please note, this is not a forum for complaining about  vendors and anyone doing so will be removed from the event immediately.)  


What Do Good MSP Direct Mail Metrics Look Like?

As with any MSP marketing investment, a high percentage of your prospects won’t engage in the way that you’re marketing to them.

I get paid online, I pay bills online, I read the newspaper online – there is nothing showing up in the mail that I want or need.  With one exception:  greeting cards.  (I don’t have an Amazon account, so I don’t get any packages…)

Direct mail, like any other prospecting activity for MSPs, can work for you if you are consistent, and when you do it with enough volume to make an impact.

Put a different way, mailing out 50 form letters or postcards to 50 people who have never heard of your MSP and then calling those fifty people one time to ask if they received your mailer is not a reliable business development strategy.

Is Most Direct Mail Success Just Dumb Luck?

You do get lucky sometimes.  We sometimes schedule a sales appointment in our first week of prospecting for an MSP.   We would never attribute that appointment to the talent of our team, or to the process we spent seven years developing. We just call it what it was: lucky.  You can get lucky from time to time with any marketing initiative, including direct mail.  Luck alone won’t create a repeatable or scalable marketing process for your MSP.  Luck wins you one deal, process wins you regular deals.  If you want to know if you are skilled at marketing or lucky, just look at your results for the last year of your direct mail programs.  Did you close one deal? Or did you close one deal a month?

Don’t knock luck.  It seems to increase as your commitment to marketing consistency increases.  Great marketing is repeatable, but we’ll never turn our noses up at a lucky one-off win!

Here are some things to consider before you invest your time and budget in direct mail campaigns:

Is your direct mail list full of garbage?

Do you even know if the people you’re mailing are real businesses, real prospects or really a fit for managed services?  The quality of marketing lists available online is low, and most are at minimum 30% inaccurate.

(Read why building a high quality marketing list for your MSP is essential for direct mail success!)

(Thinking about buying a list?  Read this first!)

Are people reliably receiving direct mail? 

We stopped accepting checks as payment last year because sometimes checks arrived two days after they were sent, and sometimes they arrived 28 days after they were sent.

Unpredictable does not make for repeatable process, and all successful marketing initiatives are essentially repeatable processes.  Remember, luck isn’t a business development strategy.  If you can’t predict when your mail will arrive, you can’t time your follow ups.  If you can’t create a process, you can’t improve upon that process.

If prospects are getting their mail, are they reading it?

This doesn’t matter.

You’re going to call them anyhow, right?  The conversation will go a little like this:

“Hi there, it’s Carrie calling from ABC IT, we sent you a letter last week, did you see it?”


“Oh, that’s too bad – let me send you an email version of it.  How many computers are you supporting there?”


“Great, we’d love to provide you with a quote for IT support.  How many computers are you supporting there?”

(Looking for a script for your MSP?  You can download a simple outbound cold calling script for prospecting for managed services opportunities here!)

If you are going to call them anyhow, and the conversation is going to go the same way anyhow, why bother sending the direct mail at all?  You can get the exact same results just asking people if they received it.

The direct mail piece is a nice security blanket for people who find making cold calls difficult.  It gives you a way to begin a conversation.  The mailer being received will not impact the results of your follow up campaign.

(Are you nervous when making a first time cold call to a new prospect?  Learn more about overcoming call reluctance on the SalesTuners podcast!)

What if, instead of spending time and money on the mail drop before your calls, you sent a personalized hand written note card to any qualified prospect that takes your call?  There will only be a handful every week, so you will not overextend yourself.

If a prospect is not currently interested in talking about changing I.T. providers, they may be a good source of referrals and they could very well become interested later if you keep in contact with them and nurture that opportunity.   A personal “thank you for taking my call” note card goes a long way towards making your conversation memorable – and your card likely sits displayed on a shelf for a while – especially if it was funny or particularly beautiful.

(Learn how to ask for more referrals in this on-demand webinar!)

All Marketing Processes Take Time to Work

Most marketing campaigns – direct mail included – get abandoned well before they should be, labeled by the people that tried them as “doesn’t work.”  Marketing processes take a full year of consistent activity to generate a return on investment.   “Doesn’t work” usually means “didn’t give it enough time to work”.

Don’t Criticize a System You Didn’t Actually Follow

Sadly, even more marketing campaigns fall into the “wishful thinking” category.  You had good intentions, but you didn’t actually do all the work required, or follow the process as outlined.  In this case, “doesn’t work” actually means “didn’t try it”.

If someone asks you about your experience with a marketing provider, process or solution (like direct mail campaigns) and you tell them how ineffective it was for you, don’t forget to tell them about the part where you didn’t actually make your follow up calls on time.  Or the part where you didn’t follow the process as outlined. You can’t purchase a process or system, and then do whatever you want instead of following that process and then complain that it doesn’t work as advertised.  That’s the equivalent of purchasing a toy that uses batteries, refusing to put the batteries in, and complaining that the toy doesn’t work.

Join us on February 23, 2021 at 3 PM for a strategy brainstorming webinar: 

Is Direct Mail Working For MSPs?  Register to attend live or watch on demand at a time that works for you!

If you’re interested in working with Managed Sales Pros to make sure you’re getting the most out of your direct mail investment, we’d love to talk to you about our lead generation programs:

Lead generation programs include 20 hours a month of calling – use these dials to follow up on your direct mail campaigns, qualify leads and identify new opportunities.  The best part?  If you choose not to send any direct mail that month you can use your calling hours to support any other marketing intiative!

Call us at 844-466-2624 to learn more about our lead generation program, or any of our outbound calling programs!  We love to talk on the phone!  Or fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you quickly!

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