How To Drive Better Direct Mail Performance

Credit: Getty Images by jayk7

Over the past 30 years, direct mail marketing has gone through drastic changes. There are so many things that we no longer do because they just don’t work now. There are also many new ways we can engage with customers and prospects now. Change is not a bad thing and gives us the opportunity to create direct mail that performs better. If you are ready to improve your direct mail results, let’s look at these four areas.

Four areas to increase direct mail performance:

  1. List – Your list is extremely important. The more you know about your customers, the better. This would include age, gender, type of residence, purchase history, family, general interests, birthday, and so on. The more you know, the more specifically you can target them with the right offer. When purchasing a list of prospects, you can use the information you know about your customers to find prospects most likely to buy from you. You also have the option if you do not know a lot of information about your customers, to profile your list. This will give you demographic and psychographic information about them that you can use to target prospects and better offers to customers.
  2. Design – You must use your design to grab attention and get people to read your message and offer. A boring mail piece will end up in the trash even if it has a good offer. Carefully consider what your images, color, size, and layout should be so that you maximize your direct mail performance. Did you know that larger size mail pieces, otherwise known as flats have a bigger response rate? They do cost more postage so make sure to consider that. There are other postal regulations to consider. It is best to consult with your mail service provider before printing your design. They can let you know of any problems and save you money on postage.
  3. Messaging – First you need to consider your word choice. Messaging needs to be concise and eliminate technical terms. You should also avoid abbreviations or acronyms; they can too easily be misunderstood. Use bullets and bolding on wording that needs to standout. Your focus should be on the benefits to customers and prospects not on your product or service. How are you helping them? Benefits sell for you. Let your images help speak for you. The less copy you have the easier it is for people to absorb and the more they enjoy looking at it. Don’t stress them out with overwhelming copy and design, if you do, it will end up in the trash.
  4. Offer – The offer is what drives people to buy, so you need a good offer. Your messaging told them what to do; now your offer gives them an incentive to do it. Using the word free gets the most response, so if you can give something away for free … do it. Keep in mind the free item does not need to be the one you want them to purchase; it just needs to have value to them. An alternative is to provide a percentage off. Keep in mind that the higher the percentage off, the more people respond. Make sure there is a time limit on the offer. Consider what you can offer that is most appealing to your audience. Offers are usually the first place you start testing. Segment your list and test one offer to a select group while sending a different offer to another. The one that pulls the best is the one you should use on the rest of your list.

All four of these components work together to drive direct mail response, so if one is weak, it affects the entire campaign and can cost you the performance you need. The more time you spend preparing on the front end the better your back-end results will be. Set real trackable goals so that you know what is working and who is responsible for what.

Make sure you are tracking your results! There are many ways to track mail pieces such as, campaign codes, coupon codes, special landing pages, text codes, and phone numbers. You can even ask people to bring the mail piece with them when they make a purchase if you have a location they buy from. You will not only learn what you sold and to whom, but how each person responded. This is great information to add to your data.

Finally, the more ways you give people to respond, the more responses you are going to get. Make it easy for them to order. Once the purchase decision is made, you want them to do it right away. Are you ready to improve your direct mail performance?