How to Create Direct Mail that Can’t Fail

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Direct Mail Success

The Buffalo Printing industry is much more than a commodity provider. Printers with Marketing Services capabilities, like Marketing Tech, bring added value to each one of your projects. This article covers our recommendations for creating great direct mail and is an example of the insight we bring to every project.

Think about direct mail. A good direct mail program can quickly reach the people most interested in your offering, tell them (or even show them) how your product or service will meet their needs, and provide an easy way for them to take an action such as complete a survey or make a donation. To make sure your direct mail doesn’t fall flat, focus on these four things:

  • Audience
  • Format
  • Message
  • Response Mechanisms

Reach the right audience

As my Dad used to say, “You can’t sell sneakers to a snake.” Take the time up front to identify and target your strongest prospects.

  • Obtain good lists. You can rent qualified lists from a number of reliable sources, including list-rental companies, magazine publishers, associations and local organizations.
  • Maintain your in-house lists. Your current customer and prospect list is like gold – IF you keep it up to date.
  • Personalize your mailing. Which are you more likely to open – an envelope addressed to your name or one addressed to “Occupant”? Direct mail is the place to get personal. And at Marketing Tech we offer several personalization techniques. Just ask us.

Pick the right format

There are many kinds of direct mail – a personal letter, a postcard, a catalog, or even a three-dimensional package. Which one is right for your mailing?

  • Consider cost/benefit. The cheapest mailing option is not necessarily the best one.
  • Consider the cost per piece, how many pieces you will be mailing and the projected return on your initial investment. If your mailing could result in two $100,000 sales, a $10,000 direct mailing to 20 good prospects might make sense.
  • Assure effectiveness. If you’re introducing one product or service, a simple postcard with a picture or testimonial may be the quickest, most effective means to reach your audience. If, however, you’re offering a broad range of products, a full-color catalog may be your best option. Determine the best way to showcase your offering.
  • Include convenient components. If you want your reader to place an order, try your new product or send a donation, include a free sample, a coupon, a pledge card or other easy response tools.

Make your message count

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink…unless he’s thirsty. Make your audience thirsty for your product with attention-grabbing visuals and headlines that speak to their unmet needs.

  • Find their “hot buttons.” Conduct surveys, interviews and focus groups with customers and sales people to find out what matters most to the people who buy your products or services.
  • Talk about benefits, not features. Use your insights to tell them how you can make their life better or their work easier. Get specific. Explain how your offering can solve their problem or enhance their daily experiences.
  • Appeal to their emotions. Make them laugh or cry or remember or imagine. Make them care.
  • Make an irresistible offer. Answer the age-old question of all readers – “What’s in it for me?” Offer a discount, a free gift or a no-obligation demonstration. Make it easy for them to give you a try.
  • Create a sense of urgency. “Act today!” “Supplies are limited!”
  • Include a P.S. It’s often the first thing people read.

Make it easy to respond

Once you’ve captured your audience’s interest, make it easy for them to respond – with a toll-free phone number, an interactive web site, a simple reply card or a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Some other things to consider:

  • Ensure a smooth follow-through. They took the bait. Now it’s your chance to prove yourself – with excellent service and a quick fulfillment process. Don’t let the big ones get away!
  • Track your responses and analyze your results. Use the information to show management how good you are AND to make your next direct mailing even better.

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