Make sure your mail isn’t junk mail

Mailbox Direct mail, be it the old fashioned kind – snail mail or that new fangled e-mail, is still one of the most effective marketing tools around. If you do it correctly. 

So let’s look at how to do just that.

Right Audience

Sending your direct mail piece to the wrong set of people is probably the most common (and most costly) error made in mailings. Spend as much time on researching your list as you do on the creative aspects of creating your piece.

Unless the people on your mailing list have a desire or need for your product or service, they’re going a pretty tough sell. Offering Marlboro products to non-smokers just won’t work. I don’t care how great the copy is!

Right Message

Before you start writing a direct mail piece, make a list of the three things you want someone to get from the contact.  No more than three.  Rank them.  Now, eliminate one.

At best, people are going to remember one or two things.  If you want them to take action or remember a benefit – don’t muddy up your message by hiding it among many messages.  Be clear about the result you want.  And then, don’t get in its way.

Right Timing

Naturally, you need to tell them how much it’s going to cost. And you think the price is a real steal. But, make sure you share the price at the right time.

No matter what you’re selling, a price has no meaning until your audience knows what they’re getting and why they would want it.

Once you are ready to talk money, you need to tell readers what makes your price so great – in terms of benefits to the reader. Remember, all they care about is what’s in it for them. So tell them!

Right Call to Action

As you create a direct mail piece, you should know exactly what you want the recipient to do. Call for more information, log onto your website, bring the postcard in for a 20% discount – whatever.

But be reasonable. No one is going to call up and buy a $50,000 car after one postcard.  Match your call to action with where the audience is, at the moment.  Good direct mail is about getting to the next step (asking for a sample, coming in for the test drive, answering a 5 question survey, etc) but to do that…you need to identify what the steps are and strategize how you are going to systematically move from one to the next.

Also, don’t assume they know what you want them to do. You should tell them several times exactly what you want them to do. Be specific. Let readers know exactly what action you want them to take — tell them, and tell them again.

Where do you need to improve your direct mail offerings?  Which one of these could have the most impact on your ROI?

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0 comments on “Make sure your mail isn’t junk mail

  1. Covering a little of my territory, Drew! No objections from me, but I would add this.

    80% of any direct mail effort is going to be based on the selection of the list and the offer being made. The remaining 20% comes from the creative effort (that includes the copy and the design.) I would, however, finesse the percentages a little and add timing of the mailing to the mix.

    If your recipient gets a postcard touting a fabulous sale after the sale is over, that’s a waste of money and everyone’s time.

  2. Roberta,

    I think of this post as the DM 101 sort of thing. Your posts are at the Master’s level! So, think of this post as a prereq. for reading your blog!

    I know who the Queen of Direct is and have no intentions of competing! ;}

    And you are right in your comment. Talking to the right people at the right time is more than half the battle. If you don’t get that right, nothing else matters!

    Drew

  3. Ramsey,

    Now why do I think you didn’t just type all of that especially for my blog post?

    Are you just commenting on all blogs tagged “direct mail?”

    Drew

  4. Singapore —

    Thank you. Glad you’re enjoying the conversation.

    Drew

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