3 Simple Ways to Make Sure Your Direct Mail Campaign Is Opened
Learn the three things you can do to increase the chances that your sale pieces do their important job of selling your product or service.
Sometimes dropping your mail off at the post office can feel like you’re throwing it into a vast abyss. Once it’s out of your hands, you have no more control over it. Will it get to real people or will it end up in the dead letter office? Will the people who receive it read it or will it end up in the trash unopened?
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to increase the chances that your sale pieces arrive at the right place and get opened.
1. Get Your Mail Delivered
It doesn’t matter how great your copy is, how perfectly designed the sales piece is, or how sweet of an offer you have. If you use the wrong mailing list, your mail will not even show-up at the door. The key element to getting your mail delivered is to make sure you start with an accurate, updated mailing list that you get from a reliable source.
25 to 30 percent of your mail can end up undeliverable if you use a mailing list made up of bad names (wrong addresses, old names that have moved, etc.). One of my clients sent a direct mail campaign using first class mail, so the undelivered mail was returned to them. They knew they had picked the wrong list when they received about 20 percent of their campaign back. Consider the money lost due to a bad mailing list.
Making sure your list is right not only ensures that your mail will be delivered, but it is also instrumental in making sure that you get your mail opened by your target audience. If your list doesn’t target the people most likely to respond to your offer, it can be useless.
Get Your Mail Opened
Once your mail makes it in the hands of your target audience, your next step is to get them to open it and look through it. You want to make sure you are using the right format that will most appeal to your prospects. Every market niche has its own qualities and you need to find out and employ the format that works best for yours.
For example, suppose you are selling joint pain supplements. It turns out that the most successful type of format to get your mail opened in the joint pain niche is a magalog style. On the other hand, if you are marketing an information-based product and the purpose of your piece is to drive customers online, you will have the best results if you use a postcard or a four-page self-mailer.
So, how do you know what format you should be using? Find out who the most successful marketers are in your niche and follow what they're doing. Here's how:
1. Identify the biggest direct mail company in your niche and then see what they're mailing. If you don’t know who the biggest mailer is, contact a list broker and ask them who mails to the biggest lists in your market. Then you can get a sample of what they are mailing.
2. Get samples of their pieces. This is the best way to find out how often they mail and what kind of offers they advertise is to get on their mailing list. When you request to be put on their lists, you can use a less recognizable name and a home address or a PO Box, if that makes you feel more comfortable about it contacting your competition.
3. Research your niche in SRDS. If you can’t find this reference book at your public library, request it and they may be able to get it for you on interlibrary loan.
Keep Your Mailing List Clean
Don’t rely completely on your list provider to give you a clean list. If you are getting lists from several sources, there could easily be duplicates, so always have your mail house run its own list hygiene procedure.
If you don't clean your list you could run the change of mailing to bad addresses, wrong ZIP codes, and duplicate names. About 10% to 15% of every list has these. That means you could easily end up mailing 1,500 names that won't respond out of a list of 10,000. Let's do the math: If you are paying $0.65 for printing and postage, that will cost you $975 of lost money that did you no good at all.
If you don’t clean your list, you can be sure that you will have a bunch of pieces that did not get delivered. That kind of thing wastes your money, ruins your delivery rate, and reduces the number of orders you will receive.
Don’t throw your money away and threaten the results of your direct mail campaigns. Follow the three simple suggestions given here, and your mailings will be much more successful.
Craig Simpson has managed thousands of direct mail campaigns and grossed hundreds of millions in revenue for his clients over the past 15 years. Simpson is the owner of Simpson Direct Inc., a Grants Pass, Oregon-based direct marketing firm, and a respected speaker/presenter on the topic of direct mail. He is the co-author with Dan S. Kennedy of The Direct Mail Solution. He blogs at http://www.simpson-direct.com/blog/.