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3 Do's and Don'ts of Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns

Posted on: September 20, 2016
Tags: Marketing strategy, Direct mail campaigns, Marketing tactics
3 Do's and Don'ts of Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail - I'm sure you've heard of it right? While certainly not considered the #1 most used marketing tactic today, direct mail can still be a powerful way to share your message, if done correctly.  Here are 3 Do's and Don'ts when it comes to direct mail marketing...

The Do's...

1. Follow the 40/40/20 Rule

This rule dictates that the success and 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 other factors (design, the copy/text of the mailing, the images you’ve chosen, delivery date and method, etc.).

Don’t overthink the design or rush to develop the offer. Spend time defining who your target audience is and developing a compelling offer. Consider using an offer code for tracking purposes.

2. Test The Market

This requires thinking ahead and ties into the first 40 of the 40/40/20 rule – even if you have a 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. Select one (or in a very large city, several) small areas to test out the market. Start small and measure the effectiveness and ROI every step of the way.

3. Create a Compelling Call to Action

This ties into the second 40 of the 40/40/20 rule – and to most people, this should be a no brainer.  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 mail however, you might as well be sending cash to people if you don’t have a compelling call to action.

The call to action doesn’t necessarily have to be a sale or discount – it could be advertising a contest or promotion, or incentivizing people to conduct an online survey. Do not use a direct mail piece to simply inform people of your presence – it’s too expensive, too time consuming, and too hard to efficiently track metrics and ROI.

The Don’ts...

1. Fail to Proofread/Quality Control

Even though this falls into just one many items in the 20% portion of the 40/40/20 rule, it is also one of the most important. Nothing will get your direct mail marketing piece tossed into the trash more quickly than an obvious typo, poor print quality, or a noticeable formatting issue. Proof read, proof read and finally....proof read! Be sure to engage a good designer and printer for your project. Trust me, you will save time and money in the long run.

2. Forget to Follow Up

Assuming you followed all of the "Do's" above, you should see new customers walk into your door or call as a result of the compelling message in the direct mail piece they received. Hopefully you included a way to track the mail piece that is easily managed. This will allow you to re-engage with those customers with whom your mail marketing was successful.

To follow up, consider sending them a thank-you note or adding them to a “VIP” list that you can use later, 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 to do it – these people are worth their weight in gold when undertaking your next mail campaign.

3. Forget To Drive Traffic Online

While some business owners have moved away from direct mail marketing altogether, a more transitional option would be to reduce the amount spent on direct mail marketing, but refer the recipients of the mail to your business website.

Some options for driving traffic to your website via the direct mail piece include: incentivizing and encouraging people to follow you on social media, hosting an online sale with coupon codes, using QR codes to unlock small freebie items, or giving additional entries into a contest hosted on your company website. These are all great methods that not only give your direct mail piece a strong call to action, but drive traffic to your website as well, which is the ultimate goal for most businesses today.

Click here to read the full article by Jerry Whitehead.




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