The Solution to Running a Successful Direct Mail Campaign
So you have a product or service that you want to offer to a target audience? You can print flyers and put them on people’s cars. But that’s tedious, not environment-friendly, and ineffective. Or maybe you can use the power of the Postal Service and do a direct mail campaign.
Hold that thought.
A direct mail campaign requires dedication — not to mention that pitfalls abound with it. Here are some mistakes you should avoid.
1. Not Sending Frequently Enough
It’s the number one mistake people who do direct mailing usually commit. You simply can’t send a single mailing to a group of people and expect good results. It will take multiple contacts before a prospective customer buys your product, much less show interest.
When you send multiple mailings to your audience, you create awareness regarding what you’re trying to sell. It’s also through direct mailing that you try to establish a relationship with your audience and gain their trust.
Frequency is essential. Send too frequently, and your mails may be flagged as a nuisance (i.e. spam). Send sporadically, and people will forget about your product or service. Sending at least three times and spacing those two weeks apart should be just right.
Think of direct mailing as cold calling, wherein you get a list of phone numbers, you make calls, pitch your product, and hope that people take you up on your offer. And you do it multiple times. This is a proven way to earn people’s business.
There’s a reason why commercials on TV and radio are broadcasted multiple times. The more people these commercials reach, the greater the chances of turning these views into purchases. The same goes for email marketing, cold calling, and direct mail campaiging. Like a fisherman casting his net, the amount of the catch is directly proportional to the size of the net and how often it is cast.
2. Lack of Prior Planning
Direct mail campaigns require proper planning, and that should be done beforehand. You should plan from the beginning to the end of the campaign, before you even send out the first mailing.
Take a holistic approach when planning your campaign. List the content, visualize the design, draft the text, proofread, and redo if necessary. What should your tone be — formal or casual? What kind of content should you include in each mailing? How frequently should you send them out? These are some of the things you should consider as you plan your direct mail campaigns.
As mentioned in the first tip, you should send multiple mailings to establish a relationship and gain the trust of your customers. However, sending multiple times with the same content won’t help you achieve that goal. Each subsequent mailing should build on the previous one. Develop your pitch with each mailing, which should ultimately lead to the prospect being converted into a buyer.
If you have multiple product or service offerings, don’t cram them into one mailing. Some people’s attention spans are short, and putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak, won’t help. Segregate your product pitches in separate mailings.
Direct mail and email campaigns both have their strengths and weaknesses. By combining both in a proper way, you negate the disadvantages. Direct mail can be done in conjunction with email campaigns, to complement the latter and highlight important items.
The mailing campaign is useless if the prospect never takes action. The goal is for that potential customer to finally make a purchase, subscribe, or avail of your service. You do that by including a call to action. That call to action may lead to a mere inquiry at first, but it’s a start. Getting them involved is winning half the battle.
3. Wrong Content, Wrong Media
Too much content in a small frame is just as bad as too little content in a large frame. Both show inefficiency and lack of attention to detail.
People often tend to cram a lot of text onto a small postcard. It’s an advertiser’s nightmare. Less is more, and more is less, as they say. The more text you put in, the less attention it will get. So get straight to the point and stick with one-liners.
Vary the size of the postcards you send to fit your content. Have it custom-cut, if you must. If you have a lot to say, use a larger postcard. If you want to use a catchy phrase, a short one will do.
People receive a lot of mail and postcards every day. Design your mail campaign in such a way that it stands out in your prospects’ mailboxes.
When you want to list the features of your product or service, do it with bullet points. This is much more effective than writing them all in sentences or paragraphs. Bullet points break the reading path, are easier to digest, and direct a person’s attention to the bulleted list.
Again, don’t forget that call to action. It’s perfectly fine to invite the recipient to subscribe to a mailing list or offer them a sample of your product. Remember, the aim is to get them involved.
4. Speaking Too Much About You
Advertising is as much about the product and your company as it is about the target. You should strive for a balance of these two factors.
It’s important to write about the features of your product, but saying too much about it can bore your prospects. Think like a customer and address what is required from their side. List the reasons why they should buy your product, and most importantly, how it will benefit THEM!
Your prospects are more interested in the product and what it can do for them, rather than what they can do for you, the seller. Keep that in mind, and minimize focus on your company.
5. Poor Design
People are visual beings. They tend to be attracted to things that look good. Suffice it to say that prospective customers can get distracted — or worse, turned off — by a poorly designed mailing piece. So, play with ideas on layout, fonts, and font sizes, verbiage, and images. Use colors and patterns to make your mail unique and memorable.
Again, putting lists in bullet points helps a lot. Not only will your mailing piece look organized, but bulleted items are also easier to remember, and brand recall is very important.
Don’t put too much information in your mail campaign. Address only what is needed by your customers. Special features are nice, but they should only play second fiddle to the main ones.
Keep your content short, sweet, and concise. Commercials are short and to the point because they only have a short airtime. In the same vein, your messages should be direct and informative without being too wordy.
It can’t be reiterated enough — you need that call to action in every mail you send. Once you’ve caught their interest, it’s time to get them to act.
6. Not Knowing Your Target
Remember the analogy regarding the fisherman and his net? Knowing which kind of fish to catch helps the fisherman determine what kind of net he should use. This applies to direct mail campaigns as well. You should mail to the right people by sending the right message.
Know your product well, and its market. Conduct extensive research in order to know what your prospective customers want and need. Age range, gender, social class, job — these are factors that you can consider when defining your market’s demographics.
You should also consider your target market’s buying habits. Do they respond well to promotions? Do they buy because of the packaging, the quality of the item, or the after-sales service? Address these factors, and you have a winning mail campaign on hand.
Knowing what people want and don’t want will help guide you on what you should include in your mail campaign. What are the common issues with other brands? What can your product do for them? Tell them how your product will alleviate these pain points.
Procure a mailing list that includes the kind of people that are more likely to buy your product. This will minimize the time, effort, and money you spend on your mail campaign and help you make the most out of it.
At Borns Group, we normally buy the lists from one of our list brokers, after the criteria have been determined. We often go back and forth many times with our client to make sure we’re getting the correct counts.
The Bottom Line
Direct mail marketing campaigns, when properly executed, improve your chances of getting more customers to buy your product. Be mindful of the content, design, and frequency of your mailings, to maximize your marketing efforts. Use the points mentioned here to increase the success rate of your mail campaign.