If you’re going to do direct mail, you need to make sure you are doing it right:

The Dos…

1. Follow the 40/40/20 Rule

This rule dictates that the success and eventual ROI of your direct mail marketing efforts are going to be dependent upon three factors – 40% of your success will come from how effective your mailing list is, another 40% will depend on how compelling your offer is, and the remaining 20% will come from everything else (design, the copy/text of the mailing, the images you’ve chosen, delivery date and method, etc.).

Don’t waste time on the design

This is more of a guideline than a hard-fast rule. It should show you where your efforts need to be placed when undertaking a direct mail marketing campaign. Often times we see business owners spending an inordinate amount of time on coming up with the flashiest, snazziest, most eye-catching design that they are sure will blow everyone away, and then they will rush to put together the offer and/or the list of folks to send it to. This is one of the most common mistakes of a mail marketing campaign.

Focus on defining who your audience is

Unless you have a limitless marketing budget, simply blanketing an area or zip code with your offer is a great way to waste money.

You will want to make a list that is targeted, and will require you to spend time coming up with this list. This is important so even if it means you might lose a bit of money on it you need to be thorough. The underlying goal of any marketing campaign is to gain new customers, and it’s worth it to significantly reduce your profit margins to gain said customers. Once you have a surgically-honed list and an amazing offer, then you can spend some time on the design, copy, delivery methods, postage rates, date of delivery, size of the mailer…there are a lot of other options to consider, but following the 40/40/20 rule you can see how important audience and offer truly are.

2. Test The Market

This ties into the first 40 of the 40/40/20 rule – even if you have what you feel is a great and well-defined target list, you won’t truly know how great it is until you test it. If you operate a business in a smaller community, this won’t be as critical – but if you’re in a medium or large city, it can be crucial. 

You can (and should) run several tests with small tweaks to find the most effective combination of audience, offer, and design before sending it out wide – just remember to only change one variable per test or you won’t know what caused the changing result.

3. Make a Great Call to Action

This ties into the second 40 of the 40/40/20 rule. With other forms of advertisements or marketing, it is perfectly acceptable to only go after impressions – a billboard in a highly-trafficked area or a TV spot that is more of a teaser in nature can sometimes go a long way toward educating the public of your existence, which is the first step in getting them to engage. With direct mailings however, you might as well be printing cash to send out to people if you don’t have a compelling call to action to give people.

The call to action doesn’t have to be a sale or discount – it could be advertising a contest or promotion, or incentivizing people to conduct an online survey. Regardless of the nature of the call to action, there must at least BE a call to action. Direct mailing is most certainly not the avenue to send out a blank postcard or flyer that simply informs people of your presence – it’s too expensive, too time consuming, and too hard to efficiently track metrics to garner simple impressions.

The Don’ts:

1. Fail to Proofread/Quality Control

Even though this falls into just one of the myriad of elements in the 20 portion of the 40/40/20 rule, it is arguably the most important. Nothing will get your piece of direct mail marketing throw into the trash bin more quickly than a glaring typo, a noticeable formatting issue, or an overall poor print quality. If you’re writing the copy, be sure to not only proof it yourself but also have some of your more linguistically-inclined friends and colleagues give it a once over, not only for grammatical and punctuation mistakes but for overall ease of reading and flow. Don’t be afraid to seek as many trusted opinions as possible, and be sure to have thick skin to prepare for any constructive criticisms.

For the design element you’ll be either using a pre-existing template from your printer or having it designed by a graphics designer. The templates from your printer will more than likely have an effective eye flow and a solid ratio of graphics to text – if you go the designer route, be sure to get several mock ups and again seek the opinions of those around you whose opinion you value. And finally, print quality should be self-explanatory – be sure to go with a printer that offers some sort of guarantee on quality, or at the very least one that will offer you a refund or reprint if you’re not 100% satisfied. The last thing you’d want to do is have to settle on a poorly printed mailer to save costs.

2. Forget to Follow Up

After all is said and done, you’ll be left with a handful of people that have come in and transacted business with you based purely on your piece of mail. You can track this in any number of ways (coupon codes, requiring them to bring the mail in, comparing sales numbers from highlighted items on sale versus when they’re not, etc.), but be sure to track it in an easily manageable fashion. This will allow you to re-engage with those customers with whom your mail marketing was successful.

It can be as simple as sending them a thank-you note or adding them to a “VIP” list that you can use later and will be comprised only of folks that you know are responding and acting upon your mail marketing efforts. Regardless of how you do it, don’t forget it – these people are worth their weight in gold when undertaking your next mail campaign.

3. Forget To Drive Traffic Online

Even though this article is focused entirely on mail marketing, let’s be honest – it won’t be long until direct mail is pretty much a relic of a bygone era. And that’s perfectly okay – changing times call for changing tactics. While some business owners have opted to chuck mail marketing into the trash bin altogether, a more transitional option would be to reduce the amount spent on mail marketing but direct the recipients of the mail toward your business’s online front.

A simple and cheap postcard that incentivizes and encourages people to follow you on a certain social media platform, hosting an online sale with coupon codes that are distributed via mail, using QR codes to unlock small freebie items, or giving additional entries into a contest hosted on your business’s website are all great methods that not only give your direct mail a strong call to action, but drive traffic to your online footprint as well, which will only continue to grow in importance through the years.

Contact Us:

At Dynamicard, we create professional-looking mailers, complete with your own logo. We feature high-value content to get the best reach possible for prospective clients. Our mailers are fully customizable and allow you to connect with your community. This customization makes our mailers even more informative and effective. The possibilities are endless! Mailers can advertise new membership services, provide coupons or even show off new facilities! Direct Mail Marketing is a powerful way to build and maintain your client base.

If you’d like to find out more information about how your business can benefit from direct mailer, or if you have any additional questions you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.

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