Done correctly, direct mail can meet many objectives:
- Awareness – Get your name out there. Create a buzz about a new company, new logo, or new product or service.
- Announcement – Promote an event such as a seminar or open house, announce a change in management or new equipment.
- Marketing – The most common use as "direct marketing". The objective here is to get a response to the mail piece.
You can think of many other uses for direct mail as well. Direct mail is one of those things that you either love it or hate it. Many businesses and nonprofits use it as their primary method of marketing and have experienced phenomenal results. Others have tried it and have not been happy. Ask them and they'll say "It never works!"
The biggest mistake in direct mail is the "One-and-Done". An organization will find a list, mail something one time, get little to no response and then complain that direct mail doesn't work.
The minimum number of touches should be three times and more likely twelve. Some experts suggest up to twenty-five times before making judgment.
Think of all the things that could go wrong with just one mailing:
- The USPS might suck. Your intended recipient might not have ever received your mail piece in the first place.
- Your timing might suck. Your target might be perfect for your direct mail pitch, but it may have arrived at the exact WRONG time in their life.
- Your design might suck. I have seen some of the ugliest postcards in my life. But if the customer loves them, I'm going to print and mail them. I do tread lightly and try to make suggestions. Do yourself a favor and let a pro design your postcard, brochure, etc.
- Your copy might suck. Copy is slang for the message on your direct mail piece. If the message isn't clear or too wordy or just plain stupid, don't expect a good response. Again, consider getting some professional help.
- Your offer might suck. Have you given your recipient enough motivation to respond? Is there a deadline? Is the savings worth getting out of the house on a cold winter day?
- You might suck. Be sure not to send a direct mail piece that's all about you. Even if the piece is about self-promotion, stress the benefits the recipient will receive from doing business with you. It's about what they get, not what you do.
From the top…done correctly, direct mail works. Get your design, message and offer right, and then mail to a targeted list multiple times. That's a recipe for success.
Advantage Printing is a commercial print & marketing services provider serving small and mid-sized businesses, nonprofits and churches.
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