Often when businesses think about their direct mail efforts, they focus on the tips and tricks that they think will get them better results. That’s not a bad thing. And in today’s marketplace, you’ll want to take advantage of anything that will boost your mailing’s performance. It’s one of the reasons we offer free tools such as the Best Direct Mail Practices in an Evolving Marketplace eBook.
But before you zero in on how to make your mailings better, it’s important to think through the essentials of what it is you want your mailings to do. There are four things every direct mailing has to do in order to have any kind of success. On the surface, these four things may seem obvious, but if your mailing doesn’t do all four of these things, you’re wasting your time and money.
Nobody can afford to send out mail that’s undeliverable. You pay for printing, postage, and mailing services whether or not your marketing piece actually makes it to someone’s door. A lot of direct mail goes out as “Presort Standard Mail” (what we used to call “Bulk Mail”), and unless you pay extra, you won’t even know if the mail gets delivered. The USPS simply destroys (or recycles) undeliverable mail. That’s why it’s so important to run your list through address verification. That way you don’t pay for materials that can’t be delivered. Who wants to pay for something that has no chance of generating a response?
Just because a mailing is successfully delivered, however, is no guarantee that you’re going to get a response. We’ve all heard the stories about people who dump their unsolicited mail straight into the recycle bin without even opening it. You have to have a compelling reason for someone to look at your mailing and open it to see what’s inside.
Even getting your mail opened doesn’t mean you’ve achieved success. Unless someone actually reads what you’ve sent, they’re not going to take action. Your mailing has to engage your recipient and pass on important information. And you better get to the point quickly. You only have a few seconds to entice your reader to find out more. Again, a mailing that gets opened—but not read—has zero chance of paying off.
Get a Response
This is where the rubber hits the road. Your mailing needs to generate a response. The response may not be a sale (at least not initially), but your mailing needs to motivate people to take action. It could be a phone call. It might be an online request for more information. But your mailing has to generate some kind of measurable response. That response may be delayed. Sometimes it takes repeated efforts to get the response you’re after. But at some point, your mailing needs to result in action.
Make sure your direct mailings are accomplishing all four of these critical steps. We can help you do that—and then we can also help you with some of the tricks and tips that will help your mailings do those things even better.