Here are 15 of the best tips to make the most of your direct mail campaign.
1) Select the right list. An inferior mail campaign sent to a good list can make money, but even brilliant mail sent to a bad list will fail every time. Lists of your own current and past customers, called house or in-house lists, generate the highest response rates. Direct response lists consist of people who have responded to other offers resembling yours, and get the second-highest rate of response. Compiled lists use resources such as directories to identify prospects with specific demographic characteristics, and tend to generate the lowest rate of response. Cloned lists seek to compile contacts with characteristics duplicating your current customers. When using a mailing list, understand what type of list you’re using. If you rent a list, choose a reputable broker, and know which type of list they’re renting you.
2) Update your mailing list. According to the National Change of Address (NCOA Link) that is maintained by the US Postal Service, at least 15% of the average mailing list becomes outdated every year.
3) Watch out for distractions. As a marketer, you need to look for anything in your piece that will distract potential customers from your offer, message, or product.
4) Present a call to action and an offer. One of biggest mistakes is burying (or not including) a call to action. Tell your prospect exactly what you want him to do. Offer a coupon or discount.
5) Be consistent and commit. Consumers rarely get multiple pieces from a business. Hit your prospects with different communications about the same thing, or with different products with the same look or feel, or both. This sort of persistence reinforces your presence and adds credibility to your brand.
6) Measure and test the results. Change the strategy of your design and measure the results of all your mailings. Vary the message and determine which produced the best results. Make this message the standard to beat for all future mailings. After poor list choice, the second-biggest mistake most direct mail campaigns make is failing to track results.
7) Include your return address. A return address ensures you’ll get returned mail from the post office and sends a message that you’re an established professional.
8) Go bold. Choose a clear, bold headline and a color that pops for maximum notice. The headline must instantly communicate what you’re selling and be large enough to be seen at first glance.
9) Contact information – phone number and website. Provide your name, phone number and web address directly following the call to action. It’s found that over 85% of people will visit your website first, so make sure it’s prominent on the card. Also, placing a happy photo of you or your staff makes the communication personal.
10) Use your company name or logo. This is important, but shouldn’t overshadow your offer. Customers care most about what you can do for them.
11) A graphic that supports the message – but doesn’t detract from it The graphic should be very easy to understand and complement the headline. For instance, to promote refinances, you can show a house with money spouting out of it…Another option is a short message that doesn’t allow for a graphic, for example, “GOT MILK.”
12) Fully develop your “real estate” to sell the sizzle. If you have a flashy, desirable product, you can crank up the excitement by using every square inch of your mailer, front and back. Show the product.
13) Consider involvement devices. Stickers, tokens, stamps, coins, scratch-offs, lift-up tabs, attached notes, seals and other widgets can be used to good effect if you have the budget, if they can boost response enough to justify the added cost, and if they fit with the feel of your message.
14) If you’re mailing to a business, use a low-key approach. Most business-to-business mail is intercepted by a secretary, assistant, or mail room. If it looks too much like advertising, it may get trashed. You stand a better chance of reaching your prospect if your envelope looks personal, important, and businesslike. Less is also more for offers that may meet some resistance at first glance and need more selling, which is best done in a letter.
15) If you use a blank envelope, make it completely blank. Not a single word of teaser copy. No graphics. Perhaps not even your logo. Just put a street address in the upper left corner and your delivery address. You might include the letter signer’s name in the corner card, particularly if that person is well-known. This makes your mailing look personal and is almost certain to get opened. Envelopes are the “red-headed step children” of direct mail. They seem simpler and less important than they really are. Sometimes, you can boost your response by simply improving your envelope.