Direct mail marketing is a tricky business.
If you don’t take the time to do it right, you are just throwing yourmoney into the trash. In today’s tough economic market, all businessesneed to spend money on advertising. Small businesses especially must be carefulhow they spend their advertising dollars. Not all companies can afford to hirean advertising agency for their marketing projects.
A great alternative is to deal directly with a Print and Mailhouse. If you don’t already have your marketing piece designed,then you should look for a mail house that “does it all” …design, list purchase, print and mail. They will make sure that your mail pieceis designed in the most economical way for printing and to take advantage ofthe greatest possible postage discounts. If you are not sure who your targetedaudience is, they can use their experience to help with a targeted listpurchase.
Once you have found the right company, they will take over your project andshould provide you with a hassle-free experience. Here are a few things tothink about before you start: The List: If you do not already have a mailinglist, you need to put some thought into exactly who are the people who mostlikely need or want what you have to offer. Also, do you want to target peopleclose to your business or are you looking to expand your clientele further fromyour business?
A mail house that deals with purchasing lists on a daily basis will have awealth of knowledge in this area and will save you time and money. Design:Colorful or unusual pictures command attention. If you have a business thatmight lend itself to a funny, amusing or cute design, these also work well.
One of the best responses our company got was from a small postcard with adrawing of a little girl in the rain with an umbrella playing in a puddle withthe words “I’ve been thinking….” and on the back ofthe card, “You should be our customer.” Then we listed thereasons why. People just loved the cute picture and message.
Also, remember if you are having someone other than the mail house designyour mail piece, make sure they talk to the mail house to be sure that yourpiece will conform to USPS specifications for discounted postage.
The Printed Piece:
Postcards have been proven to be extremely successful andthey are the most economical way to go.
The size of the postcard can be important. Bigger is better! A small 4x6card will not command as much attention as a 6x9 or 6x11 card and the postagecost is the same.
Fliers give you more space to get your message out. It isvery important that the front of the flier has a message that entices people toopen it.
Letters that are personalized give the recipient the ideathat you know they will be interested in what they have to offer. Do not forgetto put a message on the envelope that compels them to open the letter. Ipersonally am not in favor of sending personalized letters that tend to deceivepeople into believing that they are coming from a legal or government office.Also consider enclosing a note pad or magnet with your information in theenvelope. These items will remain with the recipient long after your letter ismisplaced or thrown away.
This is where many people get stumped. Your thinking should begin with,“What do I have to offer and why should the recipient want to contactme?”
Including a unique offer that is hard to resist with an expiration date is amust. You want people to act quickly.
If you are a family-run business, remember to mention this. Most people liketo do business with family-run businesses. If you have a website, be sure toencourage your audience to visit it.
Offer an incentive for them to visit your website and give you a contactemail address.
Use common sense when scheduling your mail project. For example, if you sellholiday items, make sure your piece is in the mail 2 to 3 months before theholiday. If you own an adult dance studio, spring and summer would not be goodtiming for your mail campaign,. The end of the summer would be your ideal timeto get your message out. Allow Enough Time: Don’t think that you canwake up one morning and decide to get a great mail project with a greattargeted list done in one day. Some companies will promise this, but in realityany successful project takes some time. It is best if you start your project aminimum of 2 weeks before you want it in the mail.
A good design takes time and most likely the first one youstart with will not be the one that you finally choose. Keep in mind that youwill probably need to schedule more than one mailing to your list in order toget the desired results. Consider 3 or 4 mailing projects to the same list.Your mail piece may change from a postcard, to a letter or a flier, but yourbasic message will probably remain the same. In the meantime, the recipientshave now seen your company name and what you offer several times and willhopefully remember it.
Here’s hoping these tips will help make your next Direct MailMarketing experience a good one! Liz Farlow, Colortec Printing and Mailing.
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