If done properly, few marketing channels can offer up the kind of ROI that Direct Mail garners. In a world increasingly dominated by digital and online practices, Direct Mail is a throwback to the days when consumers valued ‘touch and feel’ and responded to it positively. Despite the online revolution, direct mail still plays a very a big and important part in the marketing mix, a part in fact you probably should be paying more attention to if you’re not doing so already.
Well executed Direct Mail allows you to engage with consumers and prospects in a way that some other marketing channels just can’t manage, leaving a lasting impression likely to increase brand awareness and push sales. If it’s done badly however… it can be an expensive lesson in how not to reach out to your customers.
Over the course of this blog we’ll outline a few tips on how to maximise the impact of your direct mail, whilst also highlighting some pitfalls you may want to avoid.
Let’s get straight into it with the Don’ts…
- Never let your campaign leave the door without comprehensive proof reading and quality control – You’ve invested time, effort and perhaps a sizeable portion of your marketing budget putting together a Direct Mail Campaign only to find it banished to the rubbish pile within seconds of landing due to that glaringly obvious typo or poor quality print finish. If you’re enlisting the help of a design agency, ensure you request mock ups prior to signing off on the final version and share them with your marketing team or trusted colleagues for their input. The print element is perhaps paramount, so be sure you use a printer that you trust and preferably have worked with previously. Many printers will allow you to be present at the beginning of the printing process so you can ‘pass the job on press’, affording you the comfort of knowing the campaign is being produced to the standards you expect. And as always with all direct mail campaigns, proof read, proof read and proof read again!
- Don’t overlook the opportunity to drive your target audience online – Yes this is a blog about Direct Mail, but effective marketing requires a blended approach of all the channels in the marketing mix. A Direct Mail piece is an opportunity to engage your target audience, so once you have grabbed their attention it makes sense to utilise the opportunity to drive traffic to your website or even a PURL. Promoting your social media presence or advertising an online sale with mail distributed coupon codes for example are great ways to handhold the consumer on the journey from offline to online, whilst also enabling you to capture opted in data for further marketing.
- Don’t forget to follow up on your campaign – The campaign you laboured over so tirelessly has now landed and all you have to do is sit and wait for the footfall in your stores to increase and your telephones to start ringing. In an ideal world that may be the case but more likely, you’ll need to put some work into the follow up process. If you have included a coupon or voucher that needs to be presented instore or online, be sure to track these instances so you can follow up with a thank you or add the consumer to a VIP List, for example.
Now we’ve taken a brief look at some of the things not to do when compiling a Direct Mail campaign, what are some of the things you can do to ensure you get maximum response and a higher success rate?
The do’s of Direct Mail
- 40/40/20 – In marketing circles, the 40/40/20 rule is often discussed when preparing campaigns. Put simply, the theory is that when looking at any successful campaign, 40% will be down to how effective your mailing is, 40% will be dependent on how enticing your offer is and 20% will be an amalgamation of other factors such as how appealing the design and imagery is, the method you have chosen and the timing of the delivery. With those figures in mind, you should be mindful of not spending a huge amount of time focusing on the design element whilst neglecting the offer itself and the people you’re reaching out to. An eye catching, elaborate, all singing and all dancing piece is great, but if the offer isn’t compelling and the audience aren’t right, the campaign will undoubtedly fall flat.
- Know your audience – If you’re promoting a discounted offer on a monthly subscription to Saga magazine, you won’t want to waste time and money sending your campaign to anyone under the age of 50. Similarly, if you’re looking to ‘blanket send’ your campaign to a specific post code or region without deeper analysis on your customer base or prospect list, you’ll quickly find this is a great way to erode your marketing budget. Carefully consider your offer and the types of consumers within your database it will appeal to based on previous buying behaviour (if you have that info) and other factors such as age, gender, geographic location or hobbies/interests etc. You can narrow down these areas to target by testing the market prior to sending your campaign, by focusing on a small section of your database and measuring the effectiveness and ROI of the campaign, before rolling out to the wider audience.
- Make sure your call to action stands out – A direct mail campaign’s sole purpose should be to engage with the recipient through a compelling call to action. This could be in the form of a special offer or a sale or discount coupon, to promoting an online consumer survey. Regardless of the call to action, simply sending a campaign without one may increase brand awareness but it certainly won’t allow you to engage with your target audience and glean vital information you can then use to better serve your relationship with the customer, not to mention increase footfall to your website or shop.
So there you have it. Of course there are more do’s and plenty more don’ts, but this piece should give you an idea of the kind of things to consider if you are planning your next direct mail campaign.
At Herald Chase we’ve seen our fair share of campaigns from both camps, and we’ll always advise our clients if we feel a campaign falls short of what we feel is an acceptable standard, it’s part of our job after all. As always, careful planning and preparation will pay dividends for you in the end.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog piece, if you need any further info, feel free to contact us on the office number: 0118 474 888.