5 Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes

Mistake No. 1: Ignoring the most important factor in direct mail success.

Do you know what the most important part of your direct mail campaign is? It’s not the copy. It’s not the art work. It’s not even the format or when you mail. It is the mailing list.

A great mailing package, with superior copy and scintillating design, might pull double the response of a poorly conceived mailing. But the best list can pull a response 10 times more than the worst list for the identical mailing piece.

The most common direct-mail mistake is not spending enough time and effort up-front, when you select – and then test – the right lists.

Mistake No. 2: Not testing.

Big consumer mailers test all the time. Publishers Clearinghouse tests just about everything…even (I hear) the slant of the indicia on the outer envelope.

Business-to-business marketers, on the other hand, seldom track response or test one mailing piece of list against another.

As a result, they repeat their failures and have no idea of what works in direct mail – and what doesn’t. A mistake. In direct mail, you should not assume you know what will work. You should test to find out.

Mistake No. 3: Not using a letter in your mailing package.

The sales letter – not the outer envelope, the brochure, or even the reply form – is the most important part of your direct-mail package.

A package with a letter will nearly always out pull a postcard, a self-mailer, or a brochure or ad reprint mailed without a letter.

Mistake No. 4: Features vs. Benefits.

Perhaps the oldest and most widely embraced rule for writing direct-mail copy is, “Stress benefits, not features.” But in business-to-business marketing, that doesn’t always hold true.

In certain situations, features must be given equal (if not top) billing over benefits.

Mistake No. 5: Not having an offer.

An offer is what the reader gets when he responds to your mailing.

To be successful, a direct-mail package should sell the offer, not the product itself. For example, if I mail a letter describing a new mainframe computer, my letter is not going to do the whole job of convincing people to buy my computer. But the letter iscapable of swaying some people to at least show interest by requesting a free brochure about the computer.

Make sure you have a well-thought-out offer in every mailing. If you think the offer and the way you describe it are unimportant, you are wrong.

To read the full article : 12 most common direct mail mistakes

Creating an Engaging Direct Mailing Campaign

1. Apply email logic: You probably have heard by now that before blasting out an email, you want to make sure you get people to opt-in to your communications. Otherwise you can be labeled as spam. With direct mail, there is a similar reaction – it’s called, “This piece is going right into my trash can.” Before sending out a mass direct mailing, qualify your audience. There are lots of ways to do this, including:

2. Keep that consistent message: Is this starting to sound like a broken record yet? If so, good. This is so important. If you are tweeting to people and then you decide to send that same audience a direct mail piece, how can you let them know that you’re the same company? That you value their relationships just as you indicate online?

3. Make it useful: Just like with email, people are getting bombarded every day by come-ons, little gadgets, catalogs – all kinds of stuff. You know. You get all of that stuff, too. What sticks out in your pile of paper? The thing that can help you solve a problem.

4. Let your audience interact: The people you are sending mail to are hopefully overlapping with the people who are liking your Facebook page and following your tweets. They’ve established that they have insights about your company, your products, and/or your services. Why muzzle them with your direct mail piece? Ask them to respond by posting a video to your Facebook page, or include a survey that could be returned as entry into a contest. Include a link or QR code that takes the recipient to a relevant video. Converse.

5. Think outside the box: This is so important, just as it is with your website, with your advertising, and with all of your marketing. Postcards can serve a purpose, but there is so much more that can be done now with direct mail campaigns. From DVD mailers to things I’ve never seen and can barely imagine, this marketing channel is ready and waiting for a slam dunk, thoughtful, engaging campaign. Are you ready to send one out there?

To read more click here:  5 ways to create a more engaging campaign

Advantages of Direct Mail Marketing

Direct marketing provides you with a way to conduct a test of this market relatively quickly, at a reasonable cost, and with convincing certitude. You’ll know whether this is indeed the gold mine you hope it is.

Perhaps the most common use of a marketing database is to generate a target list for a direct-mail campaign. Of course, direct mail also works with purchased lists. Direct mail provides giant companies with the ability to target defined markets with specialized offers.

For smaller companies, using direct mail has a number of attractive advantages:

  • You can target recipients very precisely.
  • You can protect against overwhelming response. If you run an advertisement, you can’t know whether you’re going to get 10 responses or 10,000. For a small company, a powerful response to an ad can be even more disastrous than no response at all, since a poor reaction to a prospect’s response will likely damage your relationship even before it’s begun. With direct mail, you can start out with a modest-size mailing to study the response and make sure you can handle it expeditiously.
  • Costs can be modest. Or, more accurately, you can create a campaign to fit large or small budgets.
  • Direct mail can happen fast. With a modest campaign to a known target audience, you can acquire a mailing list, develop mailing materials (including direct-mail letter, flier, reply card), launch a mailing and start to receive results in just a few months. This is faster than the typical advertising campaign–and a lot faster than waiting for the phone to ring.
  • You can test different appeals, called “offers” in the trade, to reveal the most potent message. By making a different offer to randomly different portions of your mailing list, you can see which offer pulls best. Go with your best puller until you find a better draw. As you try different offers and different letters, you’ll find one does better than another. Use the better one, and then try to beat that in your next mailing. Eventually, you should get better and better response rates.
  • You can mail to the same list again with a slightly different mailing and still garner worthwhile results. Most direct-mail experts say that companies don’t get enough mileage out of their materials. Use them until they no longer pay their way.
  • You can never run out of prospects. Use your imagination to find new niche direct-mail markets for your products, whether retail or business-to-business. Your list broker or mailing consultant can suggest possible target markets worth trying.

With consumer products, you can often sell them right through the mail…or at least get customers to stop in. With business-to-business products, you usually face a two-step process. First, you get a response to your solicitation with an indication of interest (request for catalog, literature, report or sample). This is the lead-generation phase. Once you mail off the requested material, you then follow up with additional material or a phone call/fax/e-mail to use your skills at transforming the lead into a prospect.

To read the full article click here: How to Create a Direct Marketing Campaign