Direct Mail Tips for Sophisticated Marketers

You need smart thinking and good planning to develop a successful direct-mail campaign. Buying prospect lists and testing mail packages can be expensive. Postage alone usually costs more than an entire e-mail campaign, and if you have complex creative it can cost 10 -15 times more than e-mail marketing. It also takes time to get the results back from your campaign. On average, direct-mail campaigns can take four to six weeks to complete compared to e-mail’s seven to 10 business days.

Importance of DM
However there are some good reasons to persevere with DM activity these benefits include and help;

  • Drive foot traffic into a retail shop
  • Generate traffic for a Web site
  • Target customers who distrust the Web or aren’t online
  • Showcase products and services in ways e-mail cannot
  • Improve customer service
  • Send rich content or news, such as an informational brochure
  • Shift consumer perception of your brand
  • Targeting, smart electronic databases with slice-and-dice psychographics enable laser-targeted customers, making direct mail very effective.
  • The reach and credibility often yield results that are better than other marketing efforts.

Do the maths.
But like any channel campaign do the maths. Calculate the key metrics, Response Rate (RR), cost per mail piece and Return on Investment (ROI) to get your forecast. If you have done the forecast and determined that direct mail is your most effective channel, here are some tips that will help drive direct-mail responses.

Be true to your RFM (and other segmentation).
This stands for “recent purchase,” “frequency” and “monetary (value) profile. An example -If you are looking at retail activity before developing any campaign, you should know when each customer on the mailing list last purchased a product from you or a competitor; how often that customer buys your product or similar offerings; and what amount they tend to spend for the product or services.

The more you know the better where do they live? What are their preferences? What has been their brand experience as it pertains to their business? You need to answer these and other questions before they lay out any acquisition strategy.

Real incentives/ real compelling reasons .
Direct mail works by getting your prospect to respond to an offer. That could mean a sale coupon, a free trial or sample, a guarantee of service or money refunded, a special deal for a certain time period, or some other reward for taking action. When you go cheap on your offer, you waste marketing dollars. Nevertheless, incentives don’t always require a hefty expenditure of profit or inventory. Time truly is money nowadays. Offer time-savers or head-of-the-line luxuries or special shopping experiences as incentives.

Test before you get rolling.
“Testing is everything,” and not just A and B testing, but a constant on-going programme of improvement.

Set appropriate response goals.
Industry averages for direct-mail response rates are not particularly meaningful. Everything depends on your product and your price point. Suppose you get a 10% response, but your break-even is 20%? Or, what if you sell $45,000 widgets? One customer response in six months may be all you need to recoup your return on a direct mail investment. Make sure you’ve set goals that make sense for your business.

Think about when you communication hits the letter box. A weekend mail drop may be the most effective for certain products or services however when it is the right time for B2B vs. Direct to Consumer. Also be aware of events, holidays and other timings that may either enhance or detract from your campaign.