5 Most Common Direct Mail Mistakes
by: Alan Chait
1. Your direct mail list targeted the wrong customer: Not spending enough time and money on the list itself that targets your best type of consumer is a major campaign deal-breaker. Quite often we throw a campaign together without a thought to what kind of marketing list we are going to use. We find out later that the direct mail piece, the message and the call to action was perfect but the list, which we rushed to purchase without checking the validity and the integrity of the list broker has let us down. Due your diligence and find a reputable list broker and explore the quality of the list. The types of consumers on the list can sometimes change the direction of what kind of marketing message you are going to use if you happen to find another target market ready to buy your product or service.
2. Your direct mail campaign wasn’t tested: Testing your campaign is a necessity. More than half of our customers will give us their direct mail campaign, the list and then fail to provide us with some parameters on changing how the mailing piece looks. There are so many things to test such as the color of the envelope, size of the piece, the message, making it lumpy and so on. To test the headline, the direct mail piece design, the overall message and power of the call to action, put yourself in the mindset of your customer and be a test junkie. You will find you will be consistently doubling and tripling the money brought in on a campaign when you test the effectiveness of the campaign.
3. Your direct mail campaign didn’t separate features from benefits: Stress the benefits to the customer in your marketing message as opposed to the features of your product or service. The customer does not care about the fancy features of your product. As a matter of fact, they do not have the time to listen to how great you are; they want results. What kind of results can your customer achieve by using your product? Features are the objective facts about your product or service (size, color, appearance, usability) while benefits state what the product or service does for a customer (makes money, saves money, heals, saves time, etc.) Make sure you clearly tell your readers what your product or service can do for them and how they will benefits from using it.
4. Your direct mail campaign didn’t have a call to action: Even if the intent of your campaign is to reach potential customers and make them aware of your product or service, you still need to have an offer. What is a campaign good for if you do not have an offer? Even just asking for the order in your message is good enough to get you results. Your readers need to be prompted to take action and it’s your job to offer the right incentive for them to do so. Research what kind of offers you are going to make and be sure it is compelling and benefit driven.
5. Your direct mail campaign was a one-time deal: On average, people need to see or hear an advertising message seven times before they take some sort of action. Mailing out a campaign just once doesn’t do the trick. It’s called a “campaign” for a reason and entails multiple mailings to be the most effective. It’s not your customer’s job to keep your information and recall it when they need it; it’s your job to always be in front of them.