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5 Steps to Direct Mail That Actually Works

Direct Mail That Actually Works
5 Steps to Direct mail That Actually Works

While some marketing firms and analysts believe that direct mail has become a relic of a bygone era, many still espouse a direct mail campaign as a marketing tool that is still incredibly effective, if done right.  The first goal of a direct mail campaign is for the advertisement to remain in the recipient’s hands longer than the disorganized sheaf of chaotically colorful print ads that typically has a shelf-life of the time it takes to reach the nearest trash container.

E-mail marketing campaigns currently have a return-on-investment (ROI) that is three times higher than direct mail, but a direct mail campaign is thirty times more likely to solicit a response.  The basic math in those statistics tells you two things; first, e-mail has a higher ROI because it is less expensive than direct mail and, second, direct mail is much more effective at motivating someone to respond.

Creating a successful and robust marketing strategy for your company should include utilizing as many marketing channels as possible.  While this may incorporate several different online channels like social media, e-mails, and optimized landing pages, you should not discard direct mailings as a potentially powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal.  The key, of course, is creating a mailing campaign that works.

Step One: Creating/Obtaining a Targeted Mailing List

Before you can send out direct mailings, you need a list of recipients.  There are several ways you can acquire a list, such as through a sign-up form on a website landing page. Some companies (less ideally) use a list broker to procure lists of individuals with specific characteristics or from a particular demographic that suits their marketing purposes. Rather than sending out reams of paper advertisements to the four winds in a haphazard fashion, you want to use targeted mailings to increase your odds of success.

Step Two:  Simplicity Works, So Do More With Less

When starting out, you might want to resist creating a costly direct mail campaign with multiple glossy pages, stuffed envelopes, and higher postage, instead using a simplistic yet well-designed postcard as your mailing of choice.  A postcard has the advantage of letting your recipient know exactly what you are advertising at a glance (which also means that it must pack a punch with the content).

Postcards are also very effective at culling the window shoppers out of the lead pool and enabling you to develop a powerful mailing list for a more serious and involved direct mail campaign.  You can do this via surveys, sign-ups, and enrollments offered on the postcard.

Step Three:  Offer Something for Nothing (or, People Love Freebies!)

As part of your direct mail campaign, make it clear that your recipient can get something for nothing.  While there will naturally be a requisite “something” they must do to get this free offer, like enrolling in a trial membership, signing up for a regular newsletter, or offering contact information to download a useful and valuable eBook or guide, it will cost them nothing.

Step Four:  Make Your Call-to-Action Enticing and Valuable

The key to getting people to do what you want when you are selling something is to make your offer appealing to them in an irresistible way.  Your product or service must satisfy a need they have (or didn’t know they had), and it should be so compelling that they have no choice but to act on your advertisement.

While direct mail campaigns should not be your sole advertising avenue, you should definitely incorporate them into your marketing strategies. Combined with your other marketing channels, and when done correctly, they can provide you with a noticeable increase in successful lead generation and conversion rates, thereby increasing your profitability.


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