Direct Mail Mistakes to Avoid: Planning, Data Quality, and Postal Rules 

Direct mail is powerful but improper execution of a direct mail campaign can produce disappointing results. While design and great copy has a lot to do with effective direct mail, quite a lot can go wrong with a campaign beyond the design process. As part four of our “Direct Mail Appreciation” blog series, the pros at Pel Hughes discuss common direct mail mistakes that happen outside of design and printing. 

The following top three direct mail mistakes listed below can be avoided with proper planning, accurate data, and advice from seasoned printing companies.  

Top 3 Direct Mail Mistakes 

Inadequate Planning 

Effective direct mail campaigns involve a significant amount of planning. Before you dive into making design and stock decisions, it’s important to take a measured approach to determining what you want/need from a direct mail campaign.  

Broad objectives such as “increase sales” or “boost donations” really isn’t a great starting point. Instead, define more narrow goals. For example, perhaps you have a consumer good that isn’t selling well with certain demographics. A direct mail campaign targeted to specific consumer groups with incentives to purchase a specific item could help you determine whether low sales of a particular item could be improved with targeted messaging.  

When you combine direct mail with robust cross media marketing, direct mail can be used to reach specific consumer groups, push particular goods and services, and drive recipients to your digital channels.  

The best direct mail campaigns involve proper planning with carefully selected objectives.  

Inaccurate or Poor Data 

You can have a great plan and beautifully designed direct mail campaign fall short with inaccurate data. When targeting specific demographics, having access to high quality data is a must. Relying on poor data typically yields unfavorable response rates, which wastes your already limited marketing budget.  

When it comes to quality data, it is important to work with an experienced full-service printer like Pel Hughes. Our team has access to consumer databases of the highest quality; we also utilize sophisticated software to analyze your data and ensure that your addresses and recipients are up to date.   

Postal Rule Violations 

Violating postal rules can cause excess surcharges or rejections from the USPS. In either case, violating postal regulations could cost a sizable chunk of change. For example, exceeding margins by a fraction of an inch or placing a return address in the wrong spot could translate to surcharges incurred on every mail piece you send.  

We strongly encourage our clients to carefully review the USPS’ regulations for direct mail and to pay special attention to mail classes, address placements, aspect ratios, and standard sizes. The USPS also offers Mailpiece Design Analysts who can review your mailers and provide valuable feedback on any regulatory issues.  

Don’t let common direct mail mistakes negatively affect your campaigns. Consulting with the friendly experts at Pel Hughes can ensure that you make the most of your marketing budget. We serve businesses in an array of industries along with higher education institutions and non-profit organizations. Give Pel Hughes a call at (504) 486-8646 to learn more about our direct mail services.