5 tips for starting a direct mail campaign

Even though direct mail might not be the flashiest resource, it may be one of the best tools for marketing your business. While digital options like social media and email have gained popularity in recent years, postal advertisements have been a stable presence for many small business owners. Dismissing the channel as junk mail is a mistake that some entrepreneurs have come to regret because they missed out on a strong advertising platform. There are some basic steps you have to follow if you want to use direct mail for marketing purposes. Follow these tips to capitalize on this analog medium.

Target the right leads
As with all marketing tools, direct mail is most efficient when you target the best prospects. If you’re haphazardly choosing leads, then your campaign likely won’t earn a strong response rate. Research your best customers to see what traits you should be looking for in consumers. Any demographic similarities between top buyers can be used to generate a strong lead list. For instance, if you notice that most of patrons live in the same town, you can buy a mailing list for that area.

Developing a well targeted campaign can help you earn stronger returns than if you cast an overly wide net. Microsoft Business notes that it costs the same to send multiple mailers to a small audience a few times as it does to target a large group once. The difference is that the targeted leads are more likely to develop brand recognition and become loyal customers.

Include a call to action
A mailer shouldn’t include a lengthy sales pitch. After all, it’s unlikely that a consumer will make a purchasing decision based on a single postcard. Your advertisements should pique prospects’ interests so that they want to find additional information. To that end, Realtor Magazine recommends including a call to action on your mailer so readers know where to learn more. For instance, you can include your web address. Alternatively, you can direct smartphone users to your page by including a Quick Response code. No matter what method you choose, ensure that your call to action is clear and tells potential customers exactly what actions you want them to take.

Use the space
Unlike other advertising platforms, there’s no limit to what you can do with direct mail. While Twitter confines your messages to 140 characters, your mailers can be as long or short as you want. This allows you to include all necessary information to entice consumers. Tom Foti, director of direct mail and periodicals at the United States Postal Service, believes businesses should take advantage of this practically unlimited space.

“Tell customers the complete story; mail is not limited to a 30-second sound bite,” Foti said in a statement.

Start with emotions
Target Marketing Magazine points out that consumers usually make decisions based on emotions, not logical thinking. You should appeal to readers to create an emotional response rather than simply factually stating why your business is great. Write about how you can help overcome an everyday problem or what sets you apart from other businesses. Consider using customer testimonials on your mailers so prospects can learn why others think you have such a great company.

Have a schedule
A single advertisement will rarely convert a lead into a buyer. You need a long-term plan to gradually influence buying decisions to find new customers. Create a schedule for your mailers so consumers can’t forget about your brand. Sending two or three advertisements per month is usually sufficient for bolstering exposure and generating excitement for your business.

Does your company use direct mail? What do you think the best practices are?

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Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.