I often ask people when I meet with them if they’ve tried direct mail? Often I get the same response. Direct mail doesn’t work. Most of their response issues can be traced back to these mistakes. I liked this article because it highlighted the most common direct mail mistakes.
Direct mail is one of the most powerful ways to market your products and services, but it’s easy to sabotage your efforts. Here are 10 pitfalls to avoid:
1. Not identifying your audience. Mail gives you the ability to target specific individuals, so take advantage of that strength and decide which segments will most likely respond.
2. Leasing a bad mailing list. Sending mailers to people who don’t match your intended criteria is wasteful and could prove embarrassing, too. List brokers can help you find up-to-date lists that are tailored to your needs.
3. Relying on unclean data. Scrub your house list to ensure you’re not mailing pieces to inaccurate addresses, the deceased, people who have asked to be taken off your list and targets who have moved or changed jobs.
4. Not presenting a compelling offer. You’re sending a piece to motivate people to act, but your mail will do just the opposite if an offer is absent or lackluster. Tweak your offer — and the benefits of your product or service — to appeal to different segments.
5. Being impersonal. Personalizing your message can make targets feel like you value them individually and understand their needs and interests. Greeting them by name is one way; offering a personalized URL (PURL) is another.
6. Failing to indicate a call to action. Clearly spell out how people can take advantage of your offer (By phone? By e-mail?) and provide lots of choices. Create a sense of urgency so they’ll act fast.
7. Using mediocre creative. Copy and design that aren’t engaging, relevant or easy to comprehend could turn off recipients before they even get to your offer. Professional copywriters and designers can help you best communicate your message.
8. Not continuously testing. Your campaign can always improve, but you’ll never know how if you don’t conduct small tests of variables like your list, offer, format and colors.
9. Omitting tracking mechanisms. You need to trace responses back to a piece to gauge how well it performed. Options include embedding codes on coupons and creating a special toll-free number.
10. Poor follow-up. Be prepared to quickly fulfill any orders or requests generated by your piece. If you disappoint a target who has raised his or her hand, why did you go through the effort at all?