Creating a direct mail postcard campaign may appear simple on the surface. After all, all you do is slap your contact information on a postcard with a stamp, mail it to everyone in the neighborhood and wait for the cash to come in, right? Wrong! The truth is successful direct mail campaigns are conducted very strategically and consistently over long periods of time. Before stamping and sending, agents must first take into account different variables and decide how to best maximize resources. Covering bases ahead of time will not only save time and money, but future headaches.
Below are five steps to creating a successful direct mail campaign.
- Start With Your List
Before beginning a direct mail campaign, you must first determine your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? Identifying your target audience beforehand will not only streamline the direct mail campaign process, but provide a foundation to begin designing your postcard and tailor your message. Agents typically segment their lists between clients and prospects.
- Craft Your Message
A clear understanding of your audience will help shape your message. Tie in specific marketing and sales objectives and you will have a well-constructed direct mail campaign. You may, for example, want to sell Product A because it has a great profit margin. However, if you determine 90% of your customers prefer Product B, you should craft your message accordingly. Simply illustrate the benefits of Product A over Product B and offer a strong incentive to buy Product A.
- Design Your Print Piece
After you prepare your list and perfect your message, begin designing your postcard. Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression. Make sure your postcard is interesting and stands out from the crowd. That doesn’t mean, however, your postcard should be unprofessional. Nab the attention of potential clients, but don’t shock or offend them.
- Measuring Response Rates and Calculating ROI
The Direct Mail Association reports that the average direct mail response rate is 1-2%. That means you could send out 100 postcards and not get a single response! This is because a 1% response rate does not guarantee you will get 1 response every 100 postcards. Rather, response rates represent averages calculated over hundreds of mailings. This is why consistency is the single most important principle in planning a direct mail campaign. To achieve an average or better response rate, you must either mail repeatedly to the same list and/or significantly increase the number of pieces you send.
- Be Consistent
If you sit down to watch TV one night, you’re bound to see the same car commercial five or six times. Ad agencies have spent billions of dollars studying consumer behavior and have found that it takes multiple impressions to generate response to a marketing message. The same is true with direct mail: sending one mailer simply won’t get the results you want. You must mail to the same person repeatedly and consistently to get their attention, reinforce your message and ultimately drive a conversion.