Many companies feel that direct mail is too expensive but a carefully executed, strategic campaign can make the cash register ring cha- ching! Don’t send out thousands of run-of-the-mill letters or postcards before reading this or you might be disappointed.

Here are “some” tips.

1) Use A Highly Targeted List.

Problem: Many companies use outdated means to acquire names and addresses. They guess (and usually are wrong) at their customer demographic and psychographic and buy thousands of names of people or companies who don’t have the slightest need for, or care about, their product or service.

Solution: Run a fresh customer demographic and psychographic profile of the top twenty percent of your clients who bring in eighty percent of your income. Then buy more of THE EXACT SAME profiles. This has worked time and again for us and our clients.

2) Have A Fantastic, Can’t Refuse Offer And Don’t Let Your Ego Get In The Way.

Problem: Companies send direct mail, and other marketing communications, that explain how great the company is when the fact is NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR COMPANY THEY ONLY CARE WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM. The offer should be so great they cannot put the letter down. It should have them running for the phones and credit cards.

Solution: Think carefully about your offer. Have a few people you trust review it and see if it’s as exciting as you think it is then make sure your offer is customer-centric not company-centric. You should include company info but that should not be the focus of the message.

3) Add A Guarantee.

Problem: Not enough calls or sales from new customers.

Solution: If possible take the risk out of trying your product or service by offering a 100% Money Back Guarantee if they are not completely satisfied. Unless your product or service is of low quality, the statistics are about 1 – 2% of customers will take you up on the guarantee. If you are in retail that is probably a low number when compared to in-store returns.

4) Poor Use Of Copywriting Techniques.

Problem: The physical layout of your offer is a mess.

Solution: When writing a direct mail piece it’s important to know that you MUST use techniques that are designed to get the reader to move down the page and act. There are many other things you should take into consideration including Personalization (with variable data), Headlines, Sub Headlines, Image Captions, Post Scripts, Call To Actions, Etc.

5) No Call To Action.

Problem: Nobody is calling.

Solution: Did you know that just by placing a strong call to action within the offer can increase calls. A strong call to action example would be; Call 732-555-1212 now and receive $20.00 off your purchase. You must hurry as this offer is only valid for the next 3 days! Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity! Visit our website for a special offer just for you! You get the idea. Put a call to action throughout the entire piece as some people will not read the entire message. You have to tell people what to do next.

6) Poor Addressing.

Problem: Your direct mail looks like direct mail so it ends up in the trash.

Solution: If you are using envelopes when sending direct mail then I suggest you rethink how you will be addressing them. The goal of your envelope is to get it to the right person and to GET THEM TO OPEN IT. To get a better response have your addresses hand written. If possible get your return address hand written also. WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU THREW A HAND ADDRESSED ENVELOPE IN THE TRASH WITHOUT OPENING IT UP? I’ll bet never. There are companies we use that will hand address an envelope from 0.08 each!

7) Not Testing The Campaign.

Problem: You are getting some responses but not as many as you expected.

Solution: Test everything! Test the envelope, the offer, the headlines, the copy, etc. Let’s say you have a list of 10,000 that you want to send your offer to. Create two pieces but on one of them change ONE thing. Send both to 1,000 names. Then whatever piece gets the best response send the rest out with the offer that pulled the best results. If you can afford it test more frequently, but DO NOT CHANGE MORE THAN ONE ELEMENT AT A TIME. If you do you will not know what worked.

8) You Did It Once And It Did Not Work.

Problem: Your direct mail campaign failed from lack of frequency.

Solution: One shot marketing RARELY works. When creating a direct mail campaign you MUST be in it for the long haul. You should mail at least 4 times within 6 months to the SAME list. It would be better to mail to 2000 people four times than by mailing to 8,000 once. Research shows that advertising becomes effective after the third time. This is when awareness really starts.

I hope these suggestions help you with your direct mail campaign. Let me know if it helps you get the cash register ringing.

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Looking forward to hearing from you.  As always your comments are appreciated.