Direct mail is one of the most powerful ways to market your products and services, but it’s easy to sabotage your efforts. Here are 10 direct mail mistakes we see on a regular basis at Select Mailing:
1. Not identifying and targeting your audience. Mail gives you the ability to target specific individuals, take advantage of that strength and decide which segments will most likely respond.
2. Using a bad mailing list.As the old adage goes “You Get What You Pay For” and you can easily acquire cheap Internet lists, but sending direct mail to people who don’t match your intended criteria is a waste of time and money. Select Mailing can help you find up-to-date lists that are tailored to your needs.
3. Relying on “dirty” data. Scrub your “in house” lists to ensure you’re not mailing to inaccurate addresses, to deceased people (they just don’t spend that much money), people who have asked to be taken off your list (always a joy to get that call) and targets who have moved or have had job or life changes.
4. Lack of a compelling offer. You’re sending direct mail to motivate people to act, but your mail will do just the opposite if an offer is absent or weak. Tailor your offer — and the benefits of your product or service — to appeal to different segments.
5. Being impersonal. Personalizing your message can make targets feel like you value them individually and understand their needs and interests. Greeting them by name is one way; offering a personalized URL (PURL) is another.
6. Failing to indicate a call to action. Clearly spell out how people can take advantage of your offer (By phone? By e-mail?) and provide lots of choices. Create a sense of urgency so they’ll act fast.
7. Using mediocre creative.Copy and design that aren’t engaging, relevant or easy to comprehend can turn off recipients before they even get to your offer. When in doubt bring in professionals (copywriters and designers) to help you best communicate your message.
8. Not continuously testing. Your direct mail campaigns can always improve, but you’ll never know how if you don’t conduct small tests of variables like your list, offer, format and design.
9. No tracking mechanisms. You need to trace responses back to a piece to gauge how well it performed. Options include embedding coupon codes on coupons, creating special toll-free phone numbers, and specific web landing pages.
10. The lack of follow-up. Be prepared to quickly fulfill any orders or requests generated by your direct mail. If you disappoint a target who has raised his or her hand, why did you go through the effort at all?