Direct Mail Questions: “Is Timing Really Everything?”

Direct-mail-questions-is-timing-really-everything_.jpgAt one time or another, we’ve all heard someone proclaim, “Timing is everything!” We hear it mentioned in terms of real estate deals. Sometimes people talk about timing with regard to the stock market. Businesses talk about timing for new product releases.

Timing is also important for direct mail success. It may be only one aspect of a good direct mail strategy, but it’s an important one. Let me give you an example:

Just a short time ago I received a promotional mailing from a phone, TV and Internet service provider. That’s not unusual. Most of us get them all the time. But on this particular day, I actually received three mailers inviting me to switch to this particular provider.

I didn’t receive duplicate mailings. While all three had a similar look and feel and design, each was different. The copy and images were unique. There were three different offers. I stared at the three mailers in my hand (albeit while I prepared to toss them in the recycling bin) and thought how bad their timing was.

First of all, it was confusing. Why did three different pieces show up on the same day? Beyond that, I wondered which of the three different calls to action (based on three different offers) I was supposed to respond to.

I’m sure that’s not what this company intended. But there was a second unintended message. Receiving these messages all at once made me think that the company was wasting their money. I also thought, if they can afford to send out mailings in this manner, they’re probably charging too much for their services. What’s more, this experience didn’t exactly instill confidence in this service provider’s ability to run things smoothly.

I can understand wanting to test different copy, images, offers and calls to action. But the company’s timing was terrible. It undermined any testing they were trying to do. They wasted time, money, effort and opportunity.

Direct mail success depends on having a consistent strategy. That includes a consistent message, consistent design and a sound understanding of what your potential customer wants. Testing and refining those elements is crucial to reaching your audience—but it needs to be done strategically. Direct mail success is the result of a solid process. It’s really more of a science than an art.

Having the right timing is a big part of that process.

Direct Mail Best Practices