In the age of digitization, you might think direct mail is dead. On the contrary. With 484.8 million direct mail pieces being delivered every day—it’s far from dead. Direct mail is still a highly effective marketing channel for customer acquisition and retention—when done correctly.

In our over 23 years of direct mail and data-driven marketing experience, we’ve seen our share of client mistakes and areas that can be improved upon. Here are seven things to consider for a successful direct mail campaign:

1.) Data

An essential element to a successful direct mail campaign is good data. It’s important to use best-in-class processes for data standardization, data cleansing, deduping, list hierarchy and suppression. For instance, over 40 million Americans move every year, so having accurate, up-to-date addressing is critical. Avoid unknowingly sending multiple direct mail pieces to a household by using an optimal deduping process. When a customer or prospect looks at a direct mail piece, the name and address is the first thing they see—make sure it’s right.

2.) Segmentation

Take the time to understand your customer or prospect list.

  • Use as much data available to help you better understand and segment your customers.
  • Explore adding external data to enhance the view of your customer or prospect to better tailor messaging and offers.
  • Make sure you know your audience and that you speak to them accordingly.

Nothing’s worse then getting a piece of mail from a company you’ve done business with who doesn’t acknowledge you.

3.) Design and format

It’s important to involve your production team throughout the design process to ensure design and production are in sync. This makes for optimal print and production efficiencies and helps avoid costly issues on the backend. In addition, cost is obviously an important driver in any campaign. For example, we’ve seen costly mistakes made by clients deciding to mail a postcard instead of a letter without having tested it first. The postcard may be cheaper but might also generate a lower response rate.

4.) Copy and personalization

Utilize proven direct response techniques such as a Johnson Box to draw the reader’s attention to the key message, and bulleted copy points or a side bar to highlight key benefits. Avoid using industry buzzwords the reader might not know. But most importantly, have a strong call-to-action and make it easy for the customer to respond.

5.) Digital integration

Integrate your digital channels with direct mail to boost the effectiveness of your campaigns. Each channel has a job to do, but if synchronized, they will yield an incremental lift in response rates. Think about using unique landing pages that leverage the creative, messaging and offer from your direct mail piece. Integrated efforts help keep your marketing top of mind.

6.) Testing

Make sure your test cells have a statistically significant sample size to provide for readable and projectable results, and that there’s a sufficient population for rollout. Use appropriate source coding/tracking to be able to read results. Over time, creative gets stale and customer preferences change. Continue to test to make sure you have the most effective direct mail package.

7.) “We tried direct mailit doesn’t work.”

Direct mail is an ongoing, iterative process that requires discipline, patience and a constant thirst to test and challenge your control package to continually find those incremental improvements. You can’t expect to “hit one out of the park” on your first try.

If your sales need the lift our direct mail campaigns can provide, talk with us. We’ll develop a comprehensive strategy for your business—one your prospects and customers will respond to. Call 302.543.8533 or email us today!