Don’t talk to everybody. Talk to somebody.

I heard from my friend Dave last week. You know Dave, don’t you? Well you do if you live in the UK. David Cameron – he of the silky voice, easy manner and impeccable credentials. The leader of the Conservative Party. Dave to his friends. And I’m his friend – along with millions of others. Let me explain.

Vote early and often

Here in the UK, it’s a week of elections. In England, local councillors are up for election to decide how they can spend more of my money on painting pointless lines and implementing ‘traffic calming’ measures. And across the country – in fact, across the continent of Europe – it’s time to elect members of the European Parliament, that vast travelling circus that divides its time between Brussels and Strasbourg. So needless to say, all the political parties are looking for support. But some are looking in the wrong places. The Labour Party pushed a leaflet through my letter box. The Liberal Democrats did the same. And so did the British National Party – in fact, their leaflet doubled up as a handy window poster (no thanks – I’d rather avoid the flying bricks and dark looks).

Tell me a (s)tory

But Dave took a different approach. He decided to do a mailshot. Now the trouble with all mailshots is that they’re only as good as the database list you’ve got. And database lists, as you probably know, have a very short shelf life.  Which is why most mailshots have a less than stellar return. But in this case, there’s a perfect list. One that’s up to date, accurate, and complete – and available free, gratis and for nothing. It’s called the electoral register. It’s a simple but brilliant idea:
  • It’s personalised. As you can see, I got my very own leaflet, addressed to me. It was the only piece of electioneering bumpf I kept (sad, I know).
  • It’s targeted. Everybody on the electoral register is eligible to vote, so it’s as targeted as it can be. Leaflet droppers hit everyone, registered or not.
  • It’s comprehensive. If there are three voters in the house, there are three leaflets – not one, unlike the droppers. So everybody gets one (and nobody wants to throw away somebody else’s mail).
And here’s the result: See – that’s me. Now here’s the thing. I know how they did it. I know why they did it. I know how easy it is to do. I know it’s a gimmick. But it works. I get a warm, fuzzy feeling. And that’s the power of personalisation. So how are you getting personal with your customers? Are you selling lawn-mowers to people in apartment blocks? Are your prospects all called Sir or Madam? Or, worse still, Friend? And are you using the simple solutions that others don’t even see? In short, are you leaflet dropping or doing a Dave? I know which one gets my vote.