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14 Tips to Ensure an Effective Direct Mail Advertising Campaign

Posted December 6, 2011  |  written by  |  Tips and Trends from the Experts

Direct Mail Advertising: 14 Tips to Ensure Success

Direct mail advertising campaigns can make a serious impact. Take a look at these 14 tips before you start one.

While new marketing techniques such as running Facebook contests and QR code advertising are popular nowadays, direct mail advertising campaigns are still effective.

That said, a direct mail advertising campaign is much different than marketing and sales done on the Internet, over the phone, or face-to-face.Here are 14 tips for a successful mail advertising campaign.

  1. Direct Mail Advertising

    Start with your budget; that will determine the extent of your campaign.

    Create a budget. While mail campaigns can be more expensive than other campaigns, they can have a major impact when properly executed. Create a budget for the campaign before you do anything else. The budget will dictate the offer as well as how large and how long of a campaign you run. Remember to include the cost of materials, shipping and printing in your forecast.
  2. Partner up. If you lack the budget to initiate a direct mail campaign on your own, partner with another business to issue a cobranded mailer and enjoy potentially half the cost and twice the reach! If you can’t find a suitable partner, you can always consider going with a direct marketing firm such as Valpak or MoneyMailer.
  3. Craft a consistent message. Why are you running a direct mail campaign? The campaign should complement your marketing message across other channels. Will the mailer send recipients back to the website? Make sure the design and messaging of the mailer is similar, When it comes to marketing, cohesionis key.
  4. Check the list. The mailing list is the most important element to your direct mail campaign. While every marketer would relish sending an applicable message to their entire customer base, doing so is cost-prohibitive. What’s more, each demographic will have a unique reaction to marketing efforts. That’s why it’s crucial to select, refine, and profile customers according to their location, demographics and purchase history. The better targeted the list, the better your chances at converting.
  5. Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Make sure you have a good reason to send recipients a mailer. More importantly, make sure recipients have a great reason to contact you after they receive it. Offer a discount, exclusive sale, special consulting–something bound to elicit a response from recipients.
  6. Write clear, direct copy. Direct mail advertising is than the web, email, or other forms of marketing. Content should be well written, clear in its messaging, and direct in its instructions. While the rules of grammar can be bent, they shouldn’t be ignored entirely. Most importantly, be sure to triple-check for spelling errors before sending the mailer to print; there’s nothing worse than a glaring typo in an otherwise carefully-crafted mailer.
  7. Remember the call to action. After you’ve established your offer, determine how recipients can act on it. Next, make sure the messaging of the mailer consistently underlines this call to action multiple times.
  8. Track responses. In order to gauge the effectiveness of the advertising campaign, a direct mailer must contain a coupon code or some other datum that recipients can use to identify themselves, thereby making it easy to determine who is responding to the mailer.
  9. Make the design do the work. Underscore key points of the marketing message by employing color, capital letters, and bold fonts in the mailer. Use graphics to catch a recipient’s eye or drive home your call-to-action.
  10. Direct Mail Advertising

    The outer packaging of your direct mailer is as important as what's inside.

    Judge the book by its cover. Imagine if your mailer were in a stack of mail. Would it stand out? What would convince someone to open your item over another one? The envelope or packaging you use for your direct mail campaign is as important as what’s inside.
  11. Perform a trial run. While not always possible, running smaller batch campaigns will help you gauge what elements of the campaign (the offer, the call to action, or the design) are more effective than others. What’s more, a trial run can also help you fine-tune your mailing list so that you are targeting only the most desirable customers.
  12. Stagger your mailings. According to the Association for Direct Marketers, response rates for direct mail campaigns can be less than 5%. Improve the likelihood of a response by sending recipients multiple mailings a few weeks apart. Multiple touches will warm a customer to your message.
  13. Enhance your campaign with a promotional product. You can improve your campaign’s impact by including a related product in the mailing. Review our favorite direct mail campaign products for ideas!
  14. Don’t be afraid to try again. Just because you built it doesn’t mean they will come. If you don’t have success with your first mail campaign, don’t be discouraged to try again and perhaps employ some of the tips you’ve read here.

The Bottom Line

When strategically developed and methodically deployed, a direct mail campaign can become a powerful component to your marketing plan. Follow the tips above to create a campaign that recipients will not soon forget.

The tips above only scratch the surface of direct mail campaign best practices; if you have a direct mail advertising campaign tip of your own, share it in the comments!

Mailbox image credit | Budget image credit | Book image credit

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