Improving Your Direct Mail Results, At Every Step in the Process
Direct mail is having (another) moment. Even during this roller-coaster of a year, integrated marketers are achieving impressive results and reaching a broader audience than ever. Over 90% of Millennials say direct mail has a bigger influence than email on their purchasing decisions, and more than 36% of the coveted 30-and-under demographic report that they look forward to checking their mail.
Following are some tried-and-true methods for integrated marketers that can help boost results at every step of the way.
Design and Production
Effective direct mail design needs to cut through the clutter and capture your audience’s attention very quickly while, at the same time, reflecting your brand and not making a promise so grandiose you can’t keep it. It really is part art, part science, but we’ve distilled it down into five best practices
- Personalize it: The best relationships are always one-to-one, and that doesn’t mean ‘occupant.’ We’ll discuss automation below, but beyond just getting the name right, your direct mail should feel like it was written and designed for a specific audience.
- Play with size and format: Oversize mailers generate the biggest impact, with a 5% response rate. Postcards and dimensional mailers also perform well. An experienced print vendor can help you come up with a format that will keep your costs low and your response rate high.
- Keep it simple: This refers to both design and copy. Your design should be bold, clean, and branded. In most cases, copy should be as short and concise as possible, and text should have plenty of white space for readability.
- Appeal to the emotions: Direct mail has been proven to have a greater emotional impact than other tactics, so use that to your advantage – build a deeper connection with a powerful narrative, photography, and even your use of color.
- Have a single call to action: Don’t confuse your audience by asking them to take a trial offer, download a paper, or enroll for a subscription. Focus on getting them to take one simple action, then make your CTA stand out on the page.
List Acquisition: DIY or Buy?
Your efforts will be more successful if you start with a well-maintained list of quality leads and contacts. And that means you have to start well in advance of your mailing. Not surprisingly, house lists perform the best – that is, lists compiled of current or recent members or purchasers. That’s compared to a prospect list, compiled of individuals and businesses you think would likely be interested in your offerings but have not previously contacted or sold to.
Going through the United States Postal Service gives you the option of blanketing a specific geographical area or Zip code with Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM).
To reach a highly targeted audience, sorted on features such as age, income, gender, and even health status and favorite hobbies, you can buy or rent from a reputable list broker. Unlike with email marketing, where purchasing a list can impair your efforts, going through a broker or manager can help you maximize your ROI.
Mailing Services Are the Finishing Touches
Mailing and automation services are the steps that your company is most likely to have to outsource, and can have a considerable impact on your response rate and budget. Some of these affect how your letter is perceived – for example, using live stamps gives it an even more personal touch, and automated mail merge and variable printing allow you to customize your letter or your envelope. Bar coding, presorting, and automation processes improve your ROI by keeping deliverability high and making sure your letters reach their intended audience.
If that sounds like a lot, trust us, it is! But getting it right can yield significant results for your business. Take advantage of our expertise: whether you need help with one aspect or outsource the entire process, we’re here to help. Contact us to make your next direct mail project a success.