5 Secrets to a Successful Direct Mail Campaign


Direct mail is alive and kicking, providing something email never can: the satisfaction of something tangible on the doormat or in the mailbox. Make sure you follow through on that little frisson of pleasure receiving a piece of mail creates by making your mailed offer relevant, personal and valuable.

1. Identify Your Audience

With the CMO council reporting that around 44% of direct mail is never even opened, careful targeting plays a huge part in the success of any campaign. The better you know your audience the more able you are to send mail you know will appeal to them. If you’re targeting brand new sources, take a cue from your existing customers and match up the profiles as closely as possible.

2. Follow Up

One of the biggest mistakes is to send out one mailing then stop. Instead, arrange sequential mail shots that follow up on the first, expanding or enhancing the offer each time. Obviously you’ll cross those who respond off the list, but otherwise assume that all contacts are potential customers even if you don’t hear from them first time out. People forget, mislay letters and leaflets or just don’t have time. Give them a second, and even a third, chance.

3. Incentivize

People always want to know what’s in it for them. The promise of something for nothing is a strong lure, even though we all know there is really no such thing. Ways to encourage your recipients to first open, then read, then respond to your mail include:

If you’re not sure which incentive would get the best response rate, do a split test before rolling out the full campaign. Send different offers to different segments of your list and monitor the results. You’ll reduce costs and can more effectively predict the outcome when you rollout the main campaign.

4. Headlines and CTAs

As at the openers and closers of your message, your headlines and calls to action at the end play a crucial role. People are bombarded every day by countless advertising messages, and have learned to filter them out. Attention grabbing headlines that intrigue, excite or play on the emotions will encourage recipients to take a closer look and read what follows.

Closing with a strong call to action that’s clear, direct and simple to carry out, will encourage recipients to respond. If possible, provide a few ways of responding. You could, for instance, offer the choice of visiting a website or returning a pre-paid tear off form.

The secret lies in making it simple and quick. Don’t make it so recipients have to figure things out, or work hard to understand the next step.

5. Track and Monitor

Use codes to help quantify the response rate, which then enables you to calculate the cost per response. Though data collection and analysis you can refine methods, offers, media and list segmenting for future campaigns, building on success and avoiding repeating past mistakes.

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