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6 Elements of an Effective Direct Mail Piece

direct mail campaign

The impending death of print has been foretold since the late 1960’s. And while we would be the last ones to downplay the value of our own proven digital strategy, we can also assure you that a well-executed direct mail campaign — that’s right, printed snail mail — can pay a healthy return as part of a comprehensive marketing program. Why? Because we have the statistical data to back up that claim. With that said, here are our tips for creating effective direct mail pieces to implement in your marketing strategy.

Elements for an Effective Direct Mail Campaign

1. Know Your Intended Audience

At first glance, this may appear much simpler than it is. Define your customers. You can probably create a pretty good list of attributes. Which of those attributes, if any, differentiate the people who become your customers from the people who don’t? That’s a little more challenging. And which of those attributes can be used to filter a list of potential mail recipients? This brings us to our next recommendation.

2. Use a Targeted Approach

Assuming you do not have an unlimited budget, you probably want to reach the greatest number of legitimate prospects for your dollars spent. List filtering is as much about who will not receive your mailer as it is about who will. Depending on your type of business, for example, you might wish to include households with children but exclude apartment dwellers. Household income, marital status, and education attained are also common filtering criteria, but this only scratches the surface.

3. Try These Direct Mail Design Tips

Will you mail a letter? A multi-dimensional package? A postcard? There are many possibilities. Here are just a few considerations for creative effective mailers.

Obey the triple constraint. Between quality, timeliness, and affordability, the general rule of thumb is that you can have two out of three and one of these will always be the primary constraint. Knowing your constraints up front may save trouble later.

Convey your purpose early. Many if not most people go through their mail over the trash can. To make this all-important first hurdle, whatever you mail has to give its reason to be kept before it is even read. Headlines and visuals are all you have at this point, if that much. Show value, appeal to emotions, and unless it expressly suits your brand, avoid cheesy gimmicks at all costs.

Entice without overwhelming. Whether you are mailing a 3”x 5” postcard or a multi-page letter, avoid the temptation to fill every available ounce of space with words and images. People don’t need a particularly strong reason to discard one piece of mail and continue to the next one. The key is to consider three elements of print instead of two. Give your audience words, graphics, and space.

4. Integrate Your Content

The keyword here is content, not pitch. Yes, your space is limited no matter what dimensions your mail piece takes. All the more reason to use that canvas wisely. Go beyond making a pitch. Tell your story—every legitimate brand has one—and do so in a way that is consistent with all other components of your marketing mix.

When you convey a consistent message across all channels of communications, you create a consistent experience and build brand integrity. And just as you would everywhere else, include a call to action, expressly instructing your prospect to respond as you have intended them to.

5. Consider Timing, Frequency, and Interval

When should the mailing go out? When the prospect is most likely to respond. How many times? This depends on your industry, of course, as well as on what else you are doing with regard to executing a comprehensive marketing strategy. As a rule, the answer is almost never once. As to the interval, the amount of space between mailings, some industries have a fairly specific window of opportunity. Do not allow mail to land before the window opens or after it has closed.

6. Set Objectives and Demand Measurements

Know in advance how you will know whether a given campaign has done well or poorly. The answer will be a number. Why? Because direct marketing in all its forms is by definition, measurable. What can you measure? The key indicators are usually response (leads) and closings (sales) as a function of the total audience.

Spring-Green’s Industry Leading Marketing

This has long been a component of the Spring-Green way. No matter what the outcome, from instance to instance, from year to year, take into account all that has transpired and learn something from it so that you will be just a little bit smarter and possibly attain a better result next time.

Since its inception in 1977, Spring-Green has strived in an industry built on the principles of effective direct marketing.  Spring-Green’s industry-leading marketing and technology is backed by 40 years of experience.  Call 1-800-777-8608 or visit us at www.growmygreenindustrybusiness.com to learn more.