One of the trademarks of direct mail has always been the use of “novelty” mailings – you know, those pop-up phone holders and automatically-inflating balloons that sing and dance when you open the envelope?
We’ve seen some real humdingers in our time, but is there actually value in spending tons of money on these items? Do they produce better results than your average marketing letter?
Here’s a look at the real, key criteria for a successful campaign using novelty items:
#1: Adding a Letter
Research shows that a direct mail package containing a letter usually gets a better reception than one without, regardless of how appealing your mailer is. That’s because it takes a direct communications approach, while a novelty item without an accompanying letter just seems like advertising.
#2: Verifying the List
One of the biggest wastes of money is sending expensive novelty items through direct mail to people who no longer exist. Not at the address on your records, anyway. Verify your list as thoroughly as possible, using methods such as:
– Telephone checking – use an intern or a student and spend some time calling the numbers on the list. Even a random check helps you to identify how accurate the list is.
– Comparison with sales records – you’d be surprised how often marketing doesn’t talk to sales and vice versa. Ask for the latest customer records and import them into your mail program, then weed out any duplicates.
– nexpensive test runs – you might still pay for the postage but at least you won’t send out multiple novelty items that don’t get to the right person, so it helps to control the cost.
Make sure that when you send out your direct mail campaign it goes to your actual target audience—and reaches them!
#3: Staying on Message
It’s really easy to fall into the graphics trap—you know, the one where you begin to believe it’s all about how exciting the item is that you’re sending! Your purpose for sending out a marketing campaign is usually not to just intrigue your recipient, but to deliver a message. When the focus shifts to the design of your high quality bulk printing instead, the message can get lost. Evaluate frequently whether your novelty direct mail presents the message you need it to.
#4: Getting Results
You don’t spend this kind of money without expecting a return, so make sure your recipient knows what he or she is being invited to do. Include a strong call to action in several locations in the direct mail campaign, so the customer can’t miss it because it’s not obvious enough. be remembered, build brand awareness or generate a sales lead. For the best response your mailing should include a well-considered offer, and the piece should sell the offer in addition to the product.
We aren’t saying you shouldn’t use novelty items in direct marketing campaigns. We’re just saying that if you’ve got the funds to spend on producing the items, make sure your ROI measures up in terms of results. Or you’ll simply be wasting your money.