13 Questions for Producing Direct Mail Campaigns in 2016


questions-for-direct-mail-marketing-in-2016.jpgIt’s true: direct mail isn’t going anywhere. With so many direct marketing opportunities out there–from text messaging promotions to direct mail promotional letters—business owners looking to implement direct marketing for the first time are often understandably confused.

That’s why we’ve compiled 13 of the most important questions you need to answer if you’re looking to test direct mail in 2016. We’ll start off this blog by looking at the 6 most common direct marketing questions.

Is direct mail profitable?

Direct mail campaigns offer certain advantages over their less-expensive digital counterparts. We’ll start with the obvious: not everyone is internet-savvy. If your product or service benefits older persons or other people not familiar with online advertising, direct mail is much more effective. Direct mail also tends to have a longer reach, since it may sit on a consumer’s desk for months, thus giving multiple opportunities for your brand to passively interact with a target audience member.

What’s the most effective direct marketing technique?

Limited Time Offers are often quite effective, since a limited time of opportunity incentivizes the consumer to spring into action rather than indefinitely postpone a purchase. Simple, articulate campaigns with a sense of authority are often highly effective. Make it simple for the consumer to respond to your direct marketing offer.

What’s the No. 1 mistake in direct marketing?

Zero follow-up with potential customers will quickly sink your direct marketing investment. We see it time and again (though, not with our customers, of course!) If someone expresses any interest in your first marketing attempt, you should quickly contact them in timely manner by either calling, mailing or digitally reaching out.

Who should I try to reach with direct marketing?

Have you heard the old adage that most businesses receive 80 percent of sales from 20 percent of their customers? It’s that 20 percent of people that your direct marketing campaign should target. This is why it’s important to carefully research your consumer demographics in order to target your best prospects for potential sales.

Can direct marketing help me stand out from the competition?

Good direct marketing acknowledges a tried-and-true principle: you have one chance to make a good impression. Before launching a direct marketing campaign, it’s important to creatively determine how you’ll differentiate yourself from the competition in their mailbox. Will you offer lower prices? Better customer service? A higher quality product? Determine your niche and then emphasize the characteristics of your product or business in those direct marketing materials.

What’s the No.1 make-or-break word in direct marketing?

FREE. If you want to give people a reason to let your direct mail flyer or brochure linger on their coffee table or kitchen counter, give them something free. Time and again we’ve watched consumer response soar when a free offer is included in a direct marketing campaign. The word “free” should be emphasized in your marketing materials and then backed up with something of real value.

4 Questions That Make or Break Direct Mail

Do you ever find yourself caught up in the details of direct mail that you need a way to clear out the clutter? Us, too, sometimes. These are four simple questions we recommend before launching another direct mail campaign.

What’s the REAL point?

Since marketing isn’t about getting just any old message in front of your target audience, it’s helpful to set the reset button on the big message of your direct mail initiative. What is the one thing your audience really needs and wants to know? What’s the real point of this direct mail campaign?

What Should They Do?

The best direct mailing isn’t just about sharing contact information. You need people to do something–the more specific, the better–when they receive your direct mail. Give them a direct call to action that relates to their daily life and your product. This action should be clearly defined before writing any copy or designing any visuals for the direct mail piece.

Is it really possible?

Have you ever had a friend ask to meet up for lunch in 30 minutes, but she doesn’t tell you at which restaurant? Same problem often happens in direct mail pieces. Your target audience needs to have the information to complete your call to action. If your mailing tells them to visit a website, make sure the link works and that it leads them to a landing page with the exact information they are looking for.

Are you motivating your audience enough?

Even with a clear message, an inventive call to action and an easy to way follow through, sometimes an audience isn’t easily motivated. This is why you should make sure that you’re giving them a good reason to take action. Is your offer really something they want? Forget about budget or timelines (two of the biggest barriers to creative thinking) and put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. What would truly be beneficial to your target audience? Think big, think wild, think out-of-the-box. And then ask yourself, “Would I give up my email address or phone number for this?” If not, head back to the drawing board and think about what will motivate someone to respond. Once you have a great idea, take elements of it and reign it inside your initial budget. You’d be surprised how easy it is to brainstorm without constraints and then bring a great idea into reality.

3 Questions Direct Mail Must Answer

For these final three questions in our blog, we’re going to dive into some granular issues in direct mail. It shouldn’t be surprising to realize that most people aren’t anxiously waiting for your next direct mailing to show up in their mailbox. So let’s look at these three questions that your direct mail must answer: Is this for me? Is this beneficial? Is this trustworthy?

Is this for me?

Above all else, the name and address on your mailer must be correct. If you’re using direct mail to engage someone in a significant way (whether selling, asking for a donation, or encouraging involvement) it’s crucial to get that person’s name and title correct. When I receive a mailing addressed to, “Our dear friend Wiz Puwell,” I know two things: I’m not really a “dear friend,” and I’m probably going to throw that piece of mail in the trash. Making sure your info is accurate is really important.

It’s also important that the content is intended for your target audience. Since I don’t own a swimming pool, offers for low-cost swimming pool supplies don’t make much sense. Make sure your list includes the exact people you’re trying to reach.

Is this beneficial?

Just because you know I’m a car owner doesn’t mean I’m interested in any and all things related to cars. To get my attention, you need to speak specifically to the kind of car I own. Will your service help me get better performance from my Shelby Cobra? Can I more easily find replacement parts for my classic Corvette? Are you going to help me do something I can’t do on my own?

Is this trustworthy?

There are a couple sides to this question. First, your direct mail needs to make a good impression on me. If your mailer is poorly designed or poorly written, I’m probably not going to do business with you. Or if you tricked me to get me to open your package, there is no chance I’m going to become a loyal customer.

Beyond that, I need to be convinced that you know what you’re talking about. As a knowledgeable car owner, I already know plenty of people with helpful, accurate resources. Unless I sense the same (or better) knowledge in your services, I’m not going to trust you to help me with whatever I need.

Direct Mail Best Practices