Every now and then, someone raises the (very understandable) question about whether or not direct mail still works. The short answer is, yes. But the more accurate answer is, yes—if you do it correctly. The challenges of direct mail marketing are significant. It’s not as cheap as email and it takes longer to see results.
On the other hand, with fewer companies mailing today, your direct mail has a better chance of standing out in the mailbox. Some consumers almost view direct mail as a bit of a novelty. And there is something about a tactile form of communication. People empty their email inboxes without a thought, but sometimes a physical piece of mail will hang around as a reminder to check something out. And direct mail can still be an effective way to reach unknown customers—something email is notoriously bad at doing.
That being said, you still need to get your direct mail to the right people. To do that, start with the right list. After all, direct mail history shows that 40 percent of a mailing’s success depends on the quality of the list. And there are a wide variety of lists from which you can choose: compiled business lists; response business lists; master files; consumer mailing lists; compiled consumer lists; response-based consumer lists; and even zip code lists (which can be very effective if you’re a builder and you want to draw attention to a project you’re doing in a very specific area!).
A list however, is much more than simply a name and an address. You want to make sure you’re reaching people who are likely to respond. That’s why it’s important to work with a list provider who understands your audience and what your specific goals are for your direct mail project.
Even then, you’ll want to check that list more than twice. Direct mail is too expensive to have duplicates going to the same address, so you’ll want to eliminate those. And if you’re after new customers, you’ll want to eliminate any names that are already on your customer list. It also doesn’t do you any good to mail to bad addresses. That’s just a waste of money, so you’ll want to check your list against the Post Office’s national list. Then you’ll want to make sure your mailing is organized so it qualifies for all of the postal discounts possible. Beyond saving money, this will also get your mailing where it’s supposed to go more quickly.
Sound complicated? It can be, but we’ve been working with direct mail and lists for almost 40 years. We can help you get the right list for your mailing. Of course there’s more to direct mail success than just the list. And if you’re thinking about a direct mail project to drum up some new business, you’ll want to ownload 21 Tips to Improve Your Direct Mail Campaign. It’s a quick read that covers some of the essentials for succeeding with your direct mail efforts.
After you do, give us a call. We’ll help you find the right list—and we’ll check it more than twice—to ensure your direct mail success.