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Step by Step Guide to Direct Mail  

Get a great list

That means a list with correct names, titles, addresses and postcodes. A list that has no duplications or goneaways. And a list that has been cross-referenced with the Mailing Preference Service and The Bereavement Register. It doesn’t matter how fabulous your direct mail piece is, if it’s going to the wrong people your campaign will fail. So your No.1 direct mail tip is getting a great list. 

Use a reliable mailing company and pay them a visit

There are mailing companies and there are reliable mailing companies. The best advice we can give you is to go and visit any prospective mailing companies. Find out whether they do all the work in-house or if they sub-contract? Ask them for references and test their expertise by asking for their advice on how to improve your campaign. 

Always send a covering letter

Did you know that a covering letter with your direct piece can increase the response rate by up to 9 times? Your covering letter should briefly explain why you’re sending your brochure or sample of your product. It needs to outline the benefits of your product (not just the features) plus testimonials from satisfied customers. Remember to include a call to action. 

Write to a real person

Always address your customer by name. ‘Dear Mrs. Jones’ will always get more of a response than ‘Dear Subscriber’ or ‘Dear valued customer’. Your letter should be personal and informal and really ‘speak’ to your reader. 

Start the sales process on the envelope

You’ll get a much better response if you start the sale process as early as possible. Use teaser copy on the outer envelope and your customers will find your mailing hard to resist.

Use a return address

A return address on the envelope will help you keep your database clean by allowing you to remove the returns you get from your mailings. This will save you money in the long run as you will not mail them again. Many mailing companies will be able to update your mailing list on your behalf.  

Don’t make it too creative

It’s easy to get carried away with an all-singing all-dancing expensive direct mail piece. But remember: who your piece gets sent to is more important than how it looks. Quite often a simple, well-written sales letter or a postcard is all you need to get a great response.  

Get the timing right

Have you noticed how much information you receive about holiday destinations right after the New Year? It’s important to target your customer when they’re most likely to be thinking about your product.  

Follow up

If possible, and the numbers aren’t too huge, it’s worth doing a follow up call. Check that your customer received their direct mail piece and remind them of the call to action i.e. what they’ll receive if they respond by a certain date.

If it works, do it again!

The great thing about direct mail marketing is that it’s easily measured and tested. The responses can be simply collated to work out your ROI. And you can test what works. Perhaps one headline pulls in more responses than another? What offer works the best? How about different coloured envelopes? Find out what gets the best results and do more of it.

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