Questions to Ask When Planning Direct Mail Campaigns

In order to create direct mail campaigns that ignite more response, you need to ask the right questions at the planning stage. Your ROI is dependent on the choices you make in your mail strategy. The wrong questions can lead to poor direct mail response. The right questions help us empower our team to think outside of the box and create better mail pieces.

In order to create direct mail campaigns that ignite more response, you need to ask the right questions at the planning stage. Your ROI is dependent on the choices you make in your mail strategy. The wrong questions can lead to poor direct mail response. The right questions help us empower our team to think outside of the box and create better mail pieces.

What questions should be asked when planning a direct mailing campaign?

  1. What are our goals? Make a list of each goal so that everyone on the team knows them and why they are important.
  2. What are the advantages from our last mailing? List any of the good things from the last mailing. This could be results, mailing list, images, etc. Make sure to be specific.
  3. What are the disadvantages from our last mailing? List anything bad about the last mailing, and be specific.
  4. What ideas do we have to improve? List out improvement suggestions. Do not filter any out at this time, just write them all down.
  5. What do customers expect from us? Make a list of your customer’s expectations of you and your product/service. If you don’t know, you need to ask them.
  6. What is our customer’s greatest pain? In order to solve problems for your customers, you need to know what they are. List them in order of biggest to smallest.
  7. How can our product or service fix that pain? Use the list you just created to solve the problem for each one.
  8. What are the most powerful benefits our product or service creates for customers? List all your benefits in order of most significance.
  9. How certain are we about whom our customers are? Are you just making assumptions? Find out how you know information about your customers and make sure that it is true.
  10. What are the design possibilities? Now is the time to get creative, list all the fun ideas you can. During brainstorming do not scratch any off the list, just compile all the ideas to whittle down later.
  11. What are we missing? There is always something lurking that we forgot. Make sure to take the time to try and find out what that is.
  12. What are our competitors doing? It is a good idea to sign up for the mailing and email lists of your competitors. You can do that under a different family name if you wish, but keeping tabs on what they are doing can help you shape your mail strategy. You can exploit their weaknesses.
  13. What resources do we need? Many times you will not have everything you need, having a list of all resources will help to ensure you stay on top of everything in a timely manner.
  14. Do we need help from outside the organization? Most companies are not able to execute a mailing campaign without outside help. Make sure you have trusted resources that can complete items for you when you need them.

After you answer all these questions and document your strategy, it is a good idea to reach out to your mail service provider to get their input. You may need to make some changes before you print and mail. They can guide you on postal regulations, as well as what has worked well for others. The better planning you do before you mail, the better your results are going to be. Are you ready to get started?

The 5 Steps of Direct Mail Marketing 

All too often, we receive direct mail pieces that have been thrown together at the last minute. You can tell which pieces were rushed, and your prospects and customers can, too. So let’s clean up your future direct mail campaigns by planning them better. There are five steps to take before you send out your campaign.

All too often, we receive direct mail pieces that have been thrown together at the last minute. You can tell which pieces were rushed, and your prospects and customers can, too. So let’s clean up your future direct mail campaigns by planning them better. There are five steps to take before you send out your campaign.

Counting hands (one to five)Step 1: Position

Where are you now compared to the competition? Where do you want to be? What is your competition doing? Can you do it better? Set your goals accordingly.

Step 2: Permission

Do you and your team have the authority to plan and execute effective direct mail campaigns? In other words, are you being told what to do, or can you decide what needs to be done, and then do it? If you do not have the authority, find the person who does and work with them to plan out the strategy. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas.

Step 3: Creation

How are you going to go about design, copy and offer? They must work together to make an effective mailer. Will these components be produced in-house or do you need help? Who is going to do what and what will the timeline be? Keep in mind that postal regulations may limit your creativity, so make sure you know the rules.

Step 4: People

Who are you going to send to? This needs to be heavily considered. Do you already have a list or do you need to find a list of the right people for your offer? Should you employ different versions to better target people? Have you built personas so that you know details about who you want to target?

Step 5: Execution

You are now ready to proceed to sending your mail. Can you facilitate the printing and mailing in-house or do you need help? Make sure to assign someone to track results so you know what is working and what is not. The process does not stop once your campaign has been mailed — it continues on.

In this fast-paced world, it is hard to carve out the necessary time to plan and strategize a good direct mail campaign. However, it is also vital to the success of your mailing. Working through all five steps gives you a chance to conceptualize and build a comprehensive campaign.

The goal is never to just get it in the mail. The goal is response. You decide if that is measured by purchases, sign-ups, appointments or another approach based on what you are looking to accomplish. But the results you track need to match with your goal — do not track sign-ups if your goal is purchases.

The whole process may seem daunting, but when you break it down into steps you will find it much easier. And you don’t have to do this alone; there are plenty of companies that can help you create awesome direct mail. The most complicated part is postal regulations, so find someone knowledgeable to consult when you are designing so you do not have to pay extra postage.

The Power of Focused Direct Mail

Direct mail can be a great way to generate sales for both B-to-B and B-to-C companies — when it’s done the right way. All too often, however, it’s not done right. From overcrowded postcards to too-much-information self-mailers, the vast array of bad direct mail is disappointing. True focus is the key to direct mail success. Here are four key areas to focus on:

focused direct mailDirect mail can be a great way to generate sales for both B-to-B and B-to-C companies when it’s done the right way. All too often, however, it’s not done right. From overcrowded postcards to too-much-information self-mailers, the vast array of bad direct mail is disappointing. Don’t let your next direct mail campaign fall into the bad category. Start your planning now.

Direct mail used to be pretty simple — just send a piece to everyone! However, nowadays it requires much more planning to be effective. Too many times we see direct mail pieces that have scattered messaging — that’s just a confusing piece is trash. Don’t waste your money on trash!

True focus is the key to direct mail success. Here are four key areas to focus on:

1. Targeted

Your product or service is not right for everyone. Don’t waste your money sending to people who will not respond. Take the time to find the right people for each campaign. You will not only save money, but decrease the frustration level of people who didn’t want your offer.

2. Personalized

Start by identifying the key pain points of your customers and prospects, then design your offers to address those points in order to increase responses. When you can solve a problem for them with your product or service, your offer has more value to the recipients. It becomes a requirement for them to respond to you.

3. Message/Offer

You must be clear and concise with your message/offer. Start by writing out everything you want to say. Then pick only the most important thing. Build your text around that one thing with the use of bullet points to highlight only the key information. Then use bold to draw attention to important words the reader needs to know. Your offer needs to be easy to understand, short and appealing. Usually the message/offer planning will take the most time — it’s very important that you build that time into your schedule. You should also enlist the help of someone outside your organization to make sure the messaging is understood the way you intended it to be.

4. Graphics/Images

The best use of graphics and images we’ve seen have been able to convey the message without anyone actually reading the words. This is very hard, and in some cases, impossible. However, your graphics and images must support and enhance your message to be effective. This focused approach will give the reader reassurance that you understand their problem and you can easily solve it. The selection process can take time, so build that into your schedule as well. One pitfall can be when images are able to be interpreted in more than one way. Make sure to consider any unintended references before you use an image.

When you create a direct mail piece where all 4 elements above are synchronized, that is powerfully focused direct mail. It draws attention and elicits a response. So many times we see poor planning lead to bad direct mail — don’t fall into that trap. It is better to have your campaign mailed later than you wanted with your focused message, rather than to mail a bad mail piece on time.

One more important consideration when designing your mail pieces is postal regulations. Postage is your biggest expense, so making sure a design meets the USPS requirements before you print will ensure that you do not pay any more postage than is necessary. Penalties can be two or more times your original postage amount and in some cases you may not be able to mail at all. Your mail service provider can help you spot any problems that may cost you more money.