Increase Your Direct Mail ROI with the Right Timing Tactics


When your direct mail campaign has no particular time sensitivity, for instance if you are sending a general product catalogue, getting your timing strategy spot on isn’t so crucial. There are times, however, when an unexpected hold up can totally ruin the campaign.

Here are the major considerations to make sure your mail arrives in-home with perfect timing.

Create a Timeline

How much time you need to get everything together depends on the complexity of the campaign. A single postcard is much easier to organize than a sequence of mailings, but there is still a multitude of things to think about.

  • Graphic design
  • Images and photographs
  • Copywriting
  • Size and format
  • Printing
  • Mail times
  • Landing pages to capture recipients details
  • Telephone staff to handle calls

That’s a lot of different departments to deal with, often in different companies. Make sure you know the turnaround times for each element in the project so you can build a realistic timeline with doable start and finish times.

,Choose Your In-Home Date, Then Work Backwards

Knowing when you want your mail to arrive allows you to do two things:

  • Liaise with the mailing company so you know when to start the drop
  • Organize your team so they’re ready when responses come in

When you’re figuring out your preferred in-home date, don’t forget the human element. Research has shown that weekends are often the time when people open mail they’ve set aside for later. Once you know your in-home date, and you have a good idea of how long it will take to design, write and print the materials, you can work backwards to figure out an ideal start date.

Remember to factor in time for any unexpected delays. You don’t want to be working to such a tight deadline that a few days lost to design changes, for instance, will derail the entire project.

Plan Your Follow-Ups

Repetition produces the best results as people can forget or mail can go astray. It also gives you more chance to get the timing right, as individuals’ circumstances change from week to week and matters take on new levels of importance or interest.

Sequential mailings of 3 to 4 weeks apart work well, but it does of course depend on the offer you are making. However, assuming you are planning a sequential mailing, multiple timelines are needed to keep the ball rolling.

Other types of follow-ups include phone calls, in which case you’ll need to plan the optimum time to ring and make sure the staff is available. Using the Intelligent Mail Barcode, tells you exactly when mail is delivered so you can staff call centers and put in place other response channels such as text messaging or email. If you need to bring in temporary staff, arrange this early in the timeline.

Creating a logical, actionable timeline for your direct mail campaign makes sure all your time sensitive offers arrive before the event, rather than just after.

Direct Mail Best Practices