Direct Mail Gone Wild

by Josef Katz on June 25, 2007

in Direct Marketing

As you know, I attended DMDays NY last week. I spent a good chunk of my career focused on direct marketing which is why it baffles me every time I go to a direct response conference and the ‘expert’ companies trying to sell their services don’t practice good direct marketing.  It is the old story of the shoemaker’s children.

My biggest pet peeve is when I receive an expired offer.  In the last few days I have received more than 5 mail pieces from exhibitors prompting me to stop by their booth.  Now you can blame the USPS but my guess is that these companies decided at the last minute to toss out a below average mail piece to drive some foot traffic.  There are a lot of details involved in a successful direct mail effort none of which should be taken lightly.  When done correctly direct mail can be one of the most cost effective ways to grow your business.  Here are a few quick tips:

  • Plan your effort
  • If you have a time sensitive offer either mail it first class or give yourself at least two weeks lead time to make sure your recipient gets the mail on time
  • Identify your target and think about what is going to matter to them
  • Create a target list to mail
  • Make your mailing stand out and has a clear call to action
  • Make sure the ‘what’s in it for me’ benefit is clear
  • Test everything you can, read the results, optimize and repeat

To keep this fair and balanced I did receive about 5 extremely creative mailings.  They each contained one or more of the following:

  • Great creative
  • Eye catching mail piece (it stood out in the mail pile)
  • Great messaging
  • Interesting offer or customization.

You can make the mail fun and interesting.  Just take a few minutes to think about your audience.  In this case that was a tall order since we were all direct marketing experts, but it can be and was done successfully by a few companies.

If you never sent out a mailing for your business get some help.  It will pay for itself. Every entrepreneur who has ever told me direct mail doesn’t work usually did it themselves with little thought to the process.

The winner for this year’s best event direct marketing was from Infolure who sent me a golf grip.  It caught my attention and I was interested enough to stop by the booth and talk with the staff.   Now if their follow through is as good as their marketing we might have some business to discuss at some point down the road.

Let me know if you need help finding good direct marketing resources.  I don’t want any of our readers to say direct marketing doesn’t work.

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