Three step marketing is a cost effective way for you to sell your products or services. It's also a cost effective way for you to test various offers. And surprisingly, few marketers use this marketing technique.

With three step marketing, you'll be selling to people who contacted you asking for information about your product or service. And you'll be building your own mailing list from people who are interested in your products or services.

Because you're building your own mailing list, you'll be able to send several offers to the same prospects. Being able to follow-up with the prospects who first asked for information from you is the key to three step marketing.

Your objective with three step marketing is to locate new prospects and then follow-up with an intensive direct mail campaign.

Your sales literature doesn't have to be expensive or full color, it simply has to look professional. Make sure you have written something good, have checked it for proper spelling and punctuation, and have provided a meaning behind your products or services. This gives reason for the customer to order your product.

If you have a computer, build a database of customer inquiries so you can track who actually purchases, and then send follow-up letters to those who don't.

Follow-up sales are where you are going to make most of your income. Your ad draws the inquiries, the first order establishes a good customer, and the rest of the orders are the selling points.

Your second sales packet should be mailed a month after the inquiry was received and another a month after that.

Testing is the only way to find out which plan works best for you in getting orders. You'll need to find out which sales package works best and how often to make mailings.

How elaborate you want to make your response pack depends on how successful your product seems to be selling and how much money you want to invest.

Always start small. A simple one page offer can work as well as a conglomerate pretty letter. After you've built up a few good selling products, you might print up a single page brochure. Even at that, you don't have to go to color unless your product warrants it.

You don't need an advertising agency to put together your sales packet, but you can use one if you want. Be sure to investigate the type of agency and what it can do for you before hiring them.

Your lead generating letters should target the market most likely to be interested in what you're eventually going to offer them. Your letters must state a major benefit that appeals to the readers' interests.

The main purpose of your sales message is to arouse curiosity and to get the reader to move to the second step of the process. Your sales letter must make the reader want to know more. For best results, your letter should offer something at no cost, but realize to keep your ROI at interest.

Studies show that 80% of all people, that's 4 out of 5 people, who inquire about a product buy that product within one year, but not from the company that made the original contact.

The reason they don't buy from the company that made the original contact is because the company did not follow-up. Statistics show that you must make at least three contacts with a prospect who expressed an interest in your product or service before they'll buy from you. Very few marketers realize this.

So the next few steps in the three step marketing process are to send follow-up mailings to your prospects. Repetitive follow-up is the difference between mediocre success and huge success in marketing. If your initial mailing is successful, you can realistically expect an additional 50% in sales with your follow-up mailings. That's an additional 50% of income you would not have if you didn't follow-up.

Now you're ready to mail your direct mail response pack to your prospects by first class mail. Your goal here is to close the sale.

The prospects you send your first direct mail response pack to are broken down into the following three steps:

1. A little bit interested. Gather leads through lead generating direct response advertisements.

2. Very interested and ready to buy. Send follow-up mailing to prospects. State a major benefit.

3. Very interested. but not ready to buy. Send follow-up mailing to prospects. State same message with different headline or call-to-action.

Three step marketing allows you to be in front of your prospects when they move from the "not ready to buy" category to the "ready to buy" category. It allows you to build a relationship with your prospects and when they are ready to buy, they'll buy from you.

The good news about three step marketing is you don't have to create a completely different mailing package for each additional step in the process.

Make minor changes to your initial mailing piece. One technique that works well is to mail a different cover letter along with a copy of your initial mailing piece. Try to keep your cover letter to one page.

Another technique is to change the headline or the opening paragraph of your original letter while reminding the prospect that this is another notice.

How many times you should mail will depend on whether it's no longer profitable. Always remember to include any back end sales and the lifetime value of your customer. Your largest expense was getting the prospect. Now is the time to follow-up and grow your business sales.

Abe Cherian is the founder of Multiple Stream Media, a leading performance-based Internet advertising company dedicated in helping small businesses create online presence, brand recognition and online automation. Main company web site:
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