Guest post by: Brian Morris
Want to be a better direct-mail marketer and achieve the kind of return on investment that competitors will envy? Religiously adhere to the following 10 commandments of direct-mail marketing.
1. Thou shalt target.
Your message should be targeted to a specific customer – your best customer – and your mailing list should include only those who fit your best customer demographics. The 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing even states that 40% of your success depends on the quality of your mailing list.
2. Thou shalt create a powerful offer.
If you want customers to respond, you need to craft a powerful, time-limited offer they can’t refuse. A substantial discount or add-on is a great way to do this. And guess what? The perceived quality of your offer is responsible for the next 40% of your success. That means 80% of your direct-mail marketing success is tied directly to your mailing list and offer. Get them right.
3. Thou shalt craft compelling copy and design.
The remaining 20% of your success relies on everything else; primarily, this is your marketing material, design and copy. Attention-getting headlines and design will motivate customers to read your direct-mail pieces. Oversized postcards and mixing up your marketing materials will help you get attention – and response. If you’re not a great writer or designer, outsource these tasks. Ultimately, the investment is minimal in comparison to the return it can generate.
4. Thou shalt test.
Test different versions of your direct mail postcards and other marketing materials on small segments of your mailing list so you can determine which will yield the best response. Once you pick your pony, you can send it to the masses. Over time, you’ll be able to send larger campaigns with predictable response rates. Continually test new ideas to see if you can beat the response for your control.
5. Thou shalt track.
Track your response rate, sale, and conversions that result from each and every direct-mail marketing campaign. Know which pieces get the best response, and know who responds. Not only will you be able to send more mailers with confidence, you’ll also be able to streamline your list to yield even greater response rates.
6. Thou shalt try something new.
It’s easy to get stagnant by relying only on what has historically worked. But if you want to grow your business, you need to also try new ideas. Test different postcards against your control. Send a catalog or sales letter instead of a postcard. Try a new offer. Don’t give up what works, of course, but augment it with new ideas and you’ll undoubtedly find other profitable ways to market your business.
7. Thou shalt brand.
All of your direct mail marketing materials need to feature your brand. Include your logo on postcards, print custom envelopes and letterhead for sales letters, and even print branded stickers to give customers a chance to display your brand. Promote your brand philosophy, and find solidarity with your customers. Effective direct-mail branding can make your company a household name, and ultimately the go-to in your industry when customers need what you sell – whether you’ve sent a mailer or not.
8. Thou shalt persevere.
Not every direct-mail campaign will succeed, especially at first. Start small and learn from your mistakes. Above all, persevere: if you test, track and tweak your direct-mail marketing campaigns, you’ll learn the nuances of how to build a successful and profitable campaign within your industry. Then, direct-mail marketing can become one of your most profitable endeavors.
9. Thou shalt solve problems.
Rather than simply try to make sales, your direct mailers should be positioned as solutions to your customers’ problems. When you can make your customers’ lives easier, they will respond.
10. Thou shalt make it easy to respond.
Speaking of response, make it easy for your customers to respond to your direct mailers. If they have to jump through hoops to take advantage of your special offer, your marketing materials will be trashed. The easier it is for customers to respond, the better the response rate – every time.
What tips would you add to these direct-mail marketing commandments? Please leave a comment – we’d love to hear your ideas.
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