Does Your Targeted Mail Hit the Bullseye?

With the prevalence of email, text messaging and IMs, it seems hard to imagine that conventional mail (a.k.a., "snail mail") could be an important marketing vehicle. And yet, millions of dollars are spent by companies each year to create direct marketing pieces that deliver an experience right to your door.

How do you know if you should reach out and touch someone in their mailbox? Just ask yourself three questions:

  • Do you want to touch them? If you want to market to a particular geographic area, direct mail may be your best bet. There are dozens of mail list services that sell lists segmented in a variety of ways. If you're a pizza shop that offers delivery in downtown Cleveland, you can send your menu to potential customers in your city, or even in a specific zip code.
  • Do you want them to touch something? If you want to send a "thing", direct mail is the way to go. Does your mailing include a coupon? A logo'd magnet? A free gift? There's a reason that Easter Seals sends out those preprinted address labels year after year.
  • Do you want them to do something? If you want your customers to connect you to your mailing, this method could be the perfect option. Whether that means sending a refrigerator magnet in your mailing, offering a special discount to shoppers who bring your postcard into the store, or including a scratch-off prize to a number of "winners" to encourage visits to your restaurant, the mailing should tie directly to your promotion and your company.

Assuming you have good reason for entering your prospect's home or work space, what should your direct mail piece look like?

There are dozens of books, blogs, websites and experts who all have opinions about what works and what doesn't. If you don't have time to collect the wisdom of the ages and distill it into a few simple rules, no need to worry; we've done that for you here.

Unlike digital media, direct mail actually shares time and space with us. Your prospect can see and touch it. And with the wide range of design methods and printing technologies, the options for creating a unique and appealing campaign piece are limited only by your (or your agency's) imagination.

Five Rules to Direct Mail Excellence

  1. Say what you mean. Then, say it again. And close by saying what you just said.
  2. Use a great designer. If you skimp on the look, no one will read your mailing. Trust me.
  3. Find the people you want. Make sure you know who you want to reach and where they live, work and/or play.
  4. Keep it simple. Only Publishers Clearing House gets away with complicated mailings.
  5. Don't shower them with love. Make sure you have something to say that's worth the time, effort and expense of creating a mailing.

Creating a winning direct mail piece can significantly impact your bottom line (plus or minus), so work with an agency that's designed mail you would read, and let their expertise work for you.

Next month, we'll deliver the primer on how to create winning print ads.