With the ever increasing hype surrounding online and particularly social media marketing, it might be easy to conclude that traditional direct mail campaigns have had their day. But they continue to be widely used by marketers for the very good reason that when properly planned and executed they can still deliver a great return on investment.
Recent statistics suggest that direct mail (or print marketing) is still one of the most commonly used marketing media, particularly for local retail businesses and, importantly, that young adults are the most receptive to these campaigns.
Campaigns may involve mailing sales letters, postcards, brochures, catalogs, coupons or a combination of any of these. But whatever method is chosen there are certain key elements which are crucial to success.
1. Identify Your Prospective Customers
Perhaps the most important factor is careful targeting. With the cost of printing and postage, and perhaps hiring a copywriter, direct mail campaigns can quickly get expensive if you’re simply mass mailing by zip code, city or state.
Generally, it’s far more effective to mail to a list of people who have previously bought or expressed interest in a product or service similar to your own. There are many brokers who sell such lists, with relevant demographic and socio-economic information, which can help you plan your campaign.
The exact number of people you mail will depend on your budget and the potential profitability of your product, but to get any meaningful statistics you probably need to perform an initial test of between 10,000 and 25,000 pieces.
Also be aware that people today are increasingly suspicious of and resistant to anything they see as “junk mail”. So, however, good your offer, it can be difficult to get your mailing read. Ideally, therefore, you should mail your initial list a minimum of two or three times.
It needn’t and shouldn’t be the exact same package, but the different results you get back will give a good base on which to expand your campaign as appropriate.
2. Personalize Your Message
Mailings which are personally addressed to the recipient by name stand a far better chance of being opened and read than those which simply say “Our neighbor at …. etc.” If at all possible, it’s also great to try to personalize your marketing content by driving the prospect to a particular page of your catalog or website.
3. Include A Clear Call To Action
But whatever format you’re mailing package takes, you need to make it as clear as possible what you want your potential customers to do, and as easy as possible for them to respond. So give them the chance to return a postcard, use a coupon, visit your website or pick up the phone.
A good direct mail campaign can be used to generate leads or immediate sales, but whatever your objective, an effective call to action should be repeated several times throughout the package.
4. Use Professional Creative Services
Direct mail is not a simple business, and requires the application of numerous different skill sets if it’s to work effectively. Amongst many other things, you may need:
- a highly skilled and experienced marketing copywriter
- a good graphic designer
- skill at direct mail production
- the ability to analyze results
There are very few businesses which can afford this kind of expertise on their full-time payroll, and the short-term hiring of specialist contractors can also be expensive.
That’s why Ballantine has prospered since 1966 by offering a one-stop solution to these problems. We can help plan and deliver a profitable direct mail campaign which will seamlessly integrate with your website and email campaigns and will also help build your brand.
Contact us today to start planning your direct mail campaign.
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!