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Implementing A Direct Mail Campaign

Oct 15, 2007
Direct mail can be an incredibly effective strategy for touching new potential customers. It takes repetition and a commitment but the end result can be effective once a campaign has been running for a while. But as usual, the hardest part of a campaign like this is getting it started. Taking these steps for the first time is always a learning experience and I hope this article makes those initial steps a little easier.

The first thing you'll need is a list of people to send your marketing piece to. This is a science because you want to get the most targeted list you possibly can but the level of detail you seek is correlated to the price you'll pay. In fact, you'll pay for it one way or another anyway.

Let's think this through. If you buy an open list that includes thousands of random people, your conversion ratio will be lower and you'll make fewer sales. Whatever your product is, it won't appeal to everybody so a broad untargeted list will only deliver a small number of sales. Meanwhile, you have to pay for the mailings promoting your product and they can be very expensive.

If you try to get a list that's better suited to your product, you'll have to pay more for it. In fact, the more pieces of information you get with a list of customers, the more the list will cost. So if you find a source that has the perfect list for your product, it'll cost you more money to get your hands on it.

A good resource to be aware of is Reference USA. This database is the same one used by Info USA and you can pay a heft sum for one of their lists. But most people aren't aware that the same database is publicly accessible from most public libraries across the country and it's free. Get a library card and browse through the screening options available through Reference USA. You might end up saving yourself a lot of money.

The next thing you'll have to do is design and print your direct mail piece. A lot of the print shops have design services available and many have a variety of templates to consider as well. These templates are generally very good and you can customize your message and initiate your order directly over the internet.

One of the golden truths about direct mail is that the average recipient won't even realize you exist before they've seen your marketing piece at least 7 times. That said; it might make sense printing enough to satisfy 7 mailings all at the beginning. You'll get a better deal buying in bulk and can leave all the printed material at the print shop.

The last major decision you'll need to make is which mail house you want to use for your mailing. Not surprisingly, there are tons of them out there and they all have one advantage of another. But I encourage you to visit the USPS website and select NetPost, one of their services specifically designed for direct mail campaigns. NetPost has a number of template-driven design options as well and they'll even give you a 5 on your postage if you use them to mail it out. It's a tremendous service and I would recommend it to anyone.

Regardless who you choose to do the mailer, structure your budget to make sure you can do 7 mailers to the same audience before you evaluate your response. Even at 7, the true response will only begin to materialize. Always remember that people need to see your marketing piece at least 7 times before they realize you exist. Repetition is the key and a campaign of just 1 mailing is generally money wasted.
About the Author
Tactical Execution with Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a strategic company focused on growth marketing and program implementation across business markets. Visit the website for more specific tips to start generating revenue today.
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