The struggles of the United States Postal System (USPS) have been well documented of late. Despite those struggles, direct mail remains a viable and effective means for businesses to get their message out—if they do it wisely. Here are three tips to help you get the most bang for your buck on your next mailing.
1. Mail to the Right People. Sure, this is Direct Mail 101, but a lot of businesses waste money by mailing material to people who aren’t even their customers. If you sell swimming pool supplies, you’re not going to sell much if you mail your catalog or flyer to someone who doesn’t own a pool. That means being careful and selective when renting a mailing list. You get what you pay for. The less specific your list, the less it will cost. But you’ll more than make up for that by spending money on printing, postage, and mailing services to send materials to people who have no chance of responding. And what if you use your own in-house list? Make sure your list is “clean”. Eliminate duplicate addresses and bad (invalid) addresses. While it’s fine to mail to someone who hasn’t purchased from you in a while, don’t waste your money mailing to someone who has moved—or simply isn’t interested anymore.
2. Give Customers a Reason to Respond. Nobody cares how great you think your company is, or how great you think your products or services are. Customers are interested in how you can help them solve their problems. You have to offer them something that makes it worthwhile for them to respond. Saving 10 percent isn’t much of an incentive anymore. If you can guarantee that you’ll solve their problem, however, that might get their attention—and at least start a dialogue.
3. It’s All About Action. Nobody does direct mail just for the pure joy of it. Businesses mail because they expect something in return. Unfortunately, many businesses aren’t clear about what they expect—and it shows in their direct mail pieces. What specific action do you want readers to take after they receive your mailing? Your mailing needs to have a clear call to action. If you want people to call, you need to tell them to call (and make sure your phone number is prominently displayed and that whoever answers the phone is ready to answer questions). If you want people to request more information, make sure you have a URL clearly displayed that will take them to a landing page (not your homepage) where they can quickly find exactly the information they are looking for.