Six Sigma systemization: A marketing example

Yesterday, we discussed the value and process of creating systematic processes and checklists for running your practice. Performance analysis and procedural improvement systems themselves, such as Six Sigma, exist in order to provide a framework for guiding the improvement process.

Today, we’re going to apply this type of process to a specific marketing problem. Let’s start with step one from the step-by-step process we discussed yesterday, which is to define the problem.

Let’s say that you’re looking at the various marketing methods that you use, and you realize that you are getting dismal results from your direct mail campaign. Moving on to step two in our improvement process, you are able to quantitatively measure your results. In our example, let’s assume you’re getting one new lead for every 5,000 mail pieces you send.

In general, if you’re getting less than 5 inquiries out of every 1,000 direct mail pieces you send, then you have significant room for improvement. The problem is that you don’t automatically know what needs to be improved. Here is just a short list of things that can impact the effectiveness of a direct mail campaign:

  • Your mailing list criteria
  • The type of mailing piece you use
  • How frequently you mail to the same list
  • Your headline
  • Your sales copy
  • Your offer
  • Your call to action

…and this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to direct mail.

So, part of the process over evaluating your current system is to make sure that you are fully educated in regards to the subject matter. This is why it helps to bring in experts to assess the situation sometimes (it’s why people hire you, don’t forget).

After some additional education, and perhaps consulting with a direct mail expert, you temporarily rule out your mailing list and several other factors, because it is brought to your attention that most people on your list won’t respond until they’ve heard from you several times. Thus, you implement step four in our improvement process, and create a series of mailers that will be mailed out to the same people, once a week for eight weeks.

After sending out 1,000 mail pieces every week for eight weeks to the same list, you find yourself at step five, and evaluate your results. You now have 35 new leads in place from this series of mailings, representing tens of thousands, if not six figures worth, of new client billings, depending on the services you are offering.

This process can be repeated, and you can begin split testing your sales copy, your offer, and other elements of your marketing pieces themselves, to obtain even greater results as you gradually improve the overall process.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss an accounting process example, so you can see how to make your practice management systems for effective.