Develop a Successful and Sustainable Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail marketing continues to be one of the most effective tools for reaching consumers and bringing them to action. In fact, a recent study by Temple University shows that direct mail is outperforming digital ads in eight out of nine categories, and direct mail marketing holds consumer attention longer and has a more significant impact on consumer purchase decisions.

However, developing a successful and sustainable direct mail campaign can be more difficult than anticipated. This article provides some of the best strategies for optimizing your efforts, and how these strategies will lead to increased ROI. 


Refine Your Mailing List

A current and comprehensive mailing list is the foundation of any successful direct mail campaign. Indeed, if you have inaccurate or nonexistent addresses, your direct mail goes nowhere. Unfortunately, the mailing list often gets glossed over and receives the least amount of attention in the marketing campaign process. 

Before you even begin crafting your message or putting together your package, go through your mailing list and remove customer addresses that are no longer applicable, ensure that the remaining addresses are accurate, and consider possible addresses you may have missed or are not part of your list. A list that isn’t clean and lean will lead to delays or inaccuracies in mailings.  

Proper organization and a final edit are also important aspects of a refined mailing list. By putting your list in an Excel spreadsheet, for example, you can manage your recipient addresses as well as data for future mailings. Also, wrong punctuation, incorrect spacing, or a missed letter or number means that your mail will wind up in the garbage. A quick final edit can save you from wasted time and money, in addition to failing to reach a targeted customer.  


Creativity is Key

Once your mailing list is refined, organized, accurate and ready to go, it’s now time to start on the message and how that message will be delivered. As you embark down this road, remember one thing: creativity is key. 

Households across the country receive thousands of pieces of mail on a daily basis. Successful direct mail campaigns have one or several aspects that make it stand out from the monthly bills and junk mail that fill mailboxes. 

However, a large mistake that many marketing teams make is trying too hard and delivering a convoluted message that’s difficult to discern. And this is surprisingly simple to do. When considering how to develop a brand and deliver a creative message, many marketers seem to focus on visual elements and believe that copy and format take a backseat to the former. 

This is a mistake.   

Headlines are crucial for communicating your value, and value is what turns recipients into customers. It’s still possible to be creative with your wording while producing a clear and concise call to action. In the same vein, you can be creative with your format while giving your product the space it needs to grab your reader’s eye.  

It may not be the easiest task, but finding that happy medium of creativity and simplicity is what leads to the most successful direct mail marketing campaigns. 


Make it Personal and Follow Up 

70% of Americans say direct mail is more personal than the Internet. Consumers react well to physical mail and enjoy engaging with the story of a product. However, you must find a way to get your reader to embark on the story first. The best way to do that is to make the message personal to them. 

Making your campaign personal is going above and beyond focused targeting. By adding personal names and including data from your (now) organized and refined mailing list (such as interests, past purchases, etc.), you can instantly show your reader that what they’re reading wasn’t just sent to anyone. You took the time to know your customer and personally engage with them. 

This personal touch significantly increases response rates, and with higher response rates comes higher ROI. 

Another technique to make your message personal is to follow up after the initial mail is sent. Sticking with a single passive communication limits your response rate. Whenever possible, follow up with both initial responders as well as non-responders. The quick and easy follow up may show your audience that you appreciate their business and can lead to an increased ROI.