Scooter Store Mailer Clicks With Seniors

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A direct mail campaign last month by The Scooter Store drew a response rate of 3.7 percent, more than double the expected 1.5 percent.


About 200,000 pieces were mailed Nov. 5-10 promoting the Star scooter, a motorized scooter with a seat for those with problems walking.


"We didn't know what to expect, so we put a conservative estimate on the response," said Dan Gibbens, executive vice president of marketing and information technology at The Scooter Store, New Braunfels, TX. "But the target audience was so good, it more than doubled that."


About 137,000 recipients were taken from the company's list of those who had inquired about a Medicare-approved power chair but didn't qualify for Medicare. The remaining 63,000 previously purchased a mobility aid from the company.


The target audience's average age was 77, with all requiring some level of mobility aid because of a medical or lifestyle necessity.


Pitch letters were split between a piece measuring 12 by 9 inches and another measuring 6 by 9.25 inches. Both contained a VIP number printed in bold above the name and address of the recipient, all of which showed through the envelope's window. "Please respond within 10 days" was printed in bold at the top of the letter. The different sizes were divided evenly among recipients.


For those who previously contacted the company about a chair but did not qualify for Medicare, the letter read: "Recently, you contacted us because you were looking for some help to get around. Despite our best efforts, we couldn't qualify you for Medicare coverage. At the time, we didn't have a mobility solution for you. But we kept working ..."


Though the word Star appeared on all envelopes, the company name did not.


"We knew we would succeed or fail based on the envelope," said Jim Warren, founder/CEO of Warren Direct, Austin, TX, the direct marketing firm that handled the campaign for The Scooter Store. "If we got them to open it, we knew our response rate would be good. This age group is hit with a lot of direct mail, and we knew we would have to stand out and be different.


"The position was this was an introductory offer, and you need it, and we have a relationship with you. These people have heard messages from our client and competitors, so we took the company name off the envelope and launched it by saying this is something they will not know they contacted in the past."


The pitch letter included $100 off the regular $999 price "since you're already a valued customer of The SCOOTER Store," or "since you've already tried to become a customer of The SCOOTER Store."


The letter also contained a test drive offer, a chance to get a free basket ($69 value) if the recipient acted within 10 days and a 30-day risk-free offer. It also contained a price comparison chart and an offer of monthly payments as low as $25. Consumers could choose from Rocket red or Celestial blue colors.


The back of the fold-out pitch letter contained four photos of the item in use. Recipients also learned that "Your STAR scooter disassembles into four lightweight pieces in just a few easy steps -- no tools required! And most people can do it in less than a minute." A photo of the four pieces was included.


Warren said the per-piece cost was 60 to 80 cents.


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