When you hand over the responsibility for your direct mail campaign to an external service provider, it’s normal to feel a twinge of concern about whether the final product is going to meet your standards. Implementing a quality campaign takes close cooperation between you and the mailing house, and using this checklist of 5 ways to ensure quality control will help make the end result meet your professional standards.
1. Provide Comprehensive Information
One of the most difficult aspects of putting together a direct mail campaign is to ensure that every aspect of the offer is covered. The more information you can give the mailing house, the less likely they are to create an offer that doesn’t contain the most important aspects. Set up a brief that covers:
- Details of the product or service
- Benefits of its use
- Branding elements, such as logo, images and pay-off lines
- Special promo information, such as discounts available and timelines
Make sure the designers have everything they need to create a mailing that sells your offer effectively.
2. Review Creatives
Unless you’re a graphic designer yourself, don’t try and tell them how to design. Many a direct mail campaign has failed to deliver on its potential because non-marketing people insisted on using their own ideas in the creatives. Your mailing house uses designers that are trained in the techniques of grabbing attention, drawing the eye and capturing interest. Review the creative designs they produce for accuracy of information only, to ensure nothing has slipped through that could be wrong or give a false impression.
3. Check Prepress and First Proof
They aren’t called gremlins for nothing, and they get in everywhere. Even though printing no longer requires manual typesetting, it’s still possible for something to go wrong between the signed-off proof and the printing press, so make yourself available for signoff at both the prepress and first proof stages. This goes a long way towards reducing the time and frustration of having to redo something because a gremlin caused strange things to happen.
4. Get a Finished Sample
This is particularly important if your direct mail campaign makes use of a complex design that requires binding, folding or a high-gloss finish, for example. You wouldn’t sign off a repaint of your home without checking how it looks once it’s dry, would you? So why sign off a mailing without seeing how the finished article is going to look when it goes out to prospects? You may have an expectation of how it looks based on the specifications, when in fact what you have in mind may be impossible to fold and insert into mailing envelopes. By checking the finished sample before it goes out, you’ll know exactly what your prospects are going to be receiving.
Work with your mailing house to finalize and deliver the direct mail campaign in the projected time line and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing the quality is every bit as good as it should be.