Achieving a successful outcome for your Direct Mail campaigns requires patience, time and dedication. Most importantly – it demands careful planning in advance. As an ultimate starting point – you need to develop a clear strategy of why, how, and to whom, you are distributing your materials. Hence we have prepared a 5-Step action plan that can guide you in that process and consequently help you boost the effectiveness of your next Direct Mail campaign:
1. Set Goals – What do you want to achieve?
The common goal of any marketing campaign is to generate leads and consequently – convert them to customers. However, it’s still a good idea that you start out your Direct Mail campaign by listing a specific set of detailed goals that you want to achieve. The more details you include in your list, the easier it will be for you to match them with practical solutions and eventually evaluate the overall outcome of your campaign.
2. Define your audience – Who is your Direct Mail campaign targeted at?
Being fully aware of your Direct Mail campaign goals, it’s time to carefully consider your target audience. What’s the planned outreach of your campaign? What types of consumers would you like to reach? Which are the relevant demographics you need to select?
3. Plan the practicalities – How will it all work?
Decide on the time frame of your campaign and make a thorough calendar of each activity you plan to involve. This way, you will leave no room for unexpected problems with distributors that can slow you down and interfere with your time plans. Furthermore, it’s always a good idea to match the time frame of your campaign with the nature of your business. For example, it will make sense for a local gym to start promoting its services (let’s say – by sending coupons) at the beginning of the New Year in line with common New Year’s resolutions.
Next, there comes the time to define your budgets, or how much resources you are willing to spend on the Direct Mail campaign. Resources distribution is an essential part of planning any marketing activity because it will provide you with greater clarification about your limitations and additionally motivate you to ‘spend wisely’.
After you’ve planned the time to distribute your campaign and defined the allowed resources, it’s time to get your hands on deciding the tangible materials you plan to deliver. Most importantly, you need to match your solutions with already mentioned goals in step 1. Depending on the nature of your business and the exact goal you are pursuing, you can choose from a variety of materials to be distributed – brochures, calendars, flyers, postcards, etc. No matter the type you choose, however, there is a list with 4 universal elements that need to be considered when designing the product:
The average piece of direct mail will have to ‘compete’ for the recipient’s attention with at least 5 more, every time a mail box gets opened. To avoid the unwanted reaction of immediately being thrown out in the trash, make sure your brochure, coupon, etc. is aesthetically pleasing to the receiver and contains design elements that will potentially grab his attention.
- Corresponding to your brand identity
Think of the design of your direct mail materials, as you would of any other promotional piece, such as for example – business cards. Include your standard logo, font type and color scheme. That way, you make sure that whoever gets your brochure, flyer, etc. in his mailbox, will easily recognize your business next time he passes by the same street. The devil is always in the detail.
- A clear message, containing a call to action
It’s harsh, but you need to accept the fact that most of the people who will get your promotional Direct Mail material will have little to no idea about the existence of your business. So be as clear as possible in the message you include with it. Tell them who you are, what you can offer them and most importantly – suggest an action to be undertaken next. Consider including words like ‘come’, ‘see’, ‘go’, ‘do’, etc.
- Attach an incentive
You want people to take advantage of your business products and services? Then give them an incentive to do so! Don’t assume that just letting them know about your existence will automatically make them come by your door. Good practices for incentivizing customers include offers like %OFF, 2 for 1, 1 for FREE, etc.
4. Choose the right partner
Choosing the right vendor to distribute your direct mail campaign is as important for its effectiveness as any other step of the planning process. Make a thorough research into the range of providers and decide whom you will trust most. Some vendors have an advantage of providing you with additional helpful resources. A good example of those resources is imageMedia’s ROI Calculator that helps you estimate your campaigns’ spending vs. profit margins in a few easy steps.
5. Implementation and a follow-up evaluation
After you’ve ticked all the previous actions as done and have finally run the campaign, there comes the time for another important step many businesses tend to ignore – the phase of measuring the effectiveness of the Direct Mail campaign. Once again, take a look at the goals initially set for the campaign and evaluate to which extent you managed to fulfill them. If the campaign didn’t manage to meet your expectations, try to categorize the possible sources of pitfalls: too low budget, poor design, inappropriate call to action, etc.
Developing and following a detailed action plan is a valuable asset in your pursuit of effectiveness with any of your Direct Mail campaigns. Thinking about your own experiences, is there an additional step that you would add to the list?