7 Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

1: Skip the purchased/rented lists – It can be tempting to take the quick way out and rent or buy a list to find an audience. Renting a list has worked out for some people before, but in general it can be a bad idea. There’s no way to tell how any of the names were found or if they are in any way “qualified” prospects that have an interest in your product or service in the first place .You should create your own list of leads using inbound marketing tactics and use predictive analytics to find new prospects. This can include a “house list” of old customers or potential clients who have responded to ads or otherwise shown an interest in your product or service. Creating a list this way rather than renting it guarantees that each name is a qualified lead and will lead to much higher response rates and sales.

2: Focus your campaign – Direct mail marketing has operated on the same principle for decades – send out a ton of mailers in the hope that a few will reply. While seemingly simple, a lot of people take this step too literally and aim their campaign at everyone. Casting too big a net will make your efforts seem impersonal and your response rate will be significantly lower. Use a targeted campaign with variable data printing to focus on specific people, groups and areas for the highest return on investment.

3: Test, test, test! – The most important step that people seem to always neglect with direct mail campaigns is testing. Testing and tracking response rates are the only ways to thoroughly check if one approach is better than another and see what works for the future. What works for one company or product won’t always work for another, so always test first to see what works in your market.

4: Focus on your prospect – When creating a mailer, it can be very easy to get caught up in your descriptions and only write about the product or service and all of its marvelous features. The problem with this is that most people simply don’t care what you have to say unless you can connect it to them in some way. Instead of focusing on the product or service, focus on the problems your client may have and position your product as the solution.

5: Be Bold – While decreasing direct mail rates have made the market less competitive, people still receive lots of unsolicited mail that they just throw right in the trash. It’s important to create a mailing campaign that is interesting enough to grab attention without reading. Use graphics, customization or creative cutout designs to captivate your intended audience so they will want to keep reading your pitch. Try working in different colors to help make your mailer stand out against other mail; get creative with your designs and people will remember your mailer and your company when they’re looking for your service in the future.

6: Follow up! – So you have a great mailer that had an excellent response rate. Now what? Follow up on your leads and call prospective customers as soon as possible. Don’t let your leads go cold because they have forgotten all about you; make sure they know that their business and time are very valuable to you and that your company still wants their business. By keeping your business’ name in the back of your customers’ heads and following up, you can begin building a working relationship with them that will lead to ongoing sales later on. You can also follow up with direct mail pieces, and even include incentives to update information to keep your house list current.

7: Get to the point – People generally don’t have time to read unsolicited mailers, and most just don’t care enough to be bothered. While your design might be beautiful and elegant, most people won’t read beyond five or ten seconds if you haven’t grabbed their interest. Make sure anyone reading your mailer knows why they are reading it early on if you want them to finish reading it.


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