James Roloff by

3 Keys to a Successful Direct Mail Campaign


Mailing campaigns, like virtually all other marketing campaigns, are what you make of them.  You can have wildly successful mailings that draw in large numbers of new customers, giving you a great ROI on your project; OR you can have a mailing that may give you a slight fizzle of new customers, just breaking even on your investment.

Fortunately, there is a no voodoo magic necessary to make a successful direct mail campaign.   It’s actually quite easy to create a direct mail piece that will drive your business to the next level.  In a simplified form, there are three considerations:

1. Your Audience Matches Your Offer

It’s safe to say that over half of the success of any direct mail piece is the offer and the audience you are providing it to.  If you either provide the wrong offer, or send your piece to the wrong audience, you can expect little return.   It’s critical that you are able to determine what kind of offer your audience would be looking for in a mailing piece.

For instance, let’s take the example of a pizza company.  They have a decided that they want to send out coupons to residences in the surrounding area after hearing that a franchise in a nearby town had great success doing so.  They are all set with their offer, a piece with coupons for buy one get ones, free breadsticks etc..

The owner and management team prepare for the heavy influx of customers from their mailing piece.  The mail piece is a sent out mid-week, with extra staff scheduled for the weekend when the coupons begin to arrive.  They wait, and wait, and wait, but the customer never come!  The management team is puzzled; they were expecting close to the same excitement and buzz that was generated from the other franchise’s recent mailing.

The problem of course was the audience.  Upon reviewing their list, they found out that their offer was sent to addresses that were not appropriate.  A significant portion of their mailings ended up going to businesses.  Another group went to the senior living apartments just down the street.    All the while, the college apartments and young family residences were left without the offer.

It’s critical that with every direct mail campaign that you do, your offer and audience align.  If the pizza shop in the example had ensured that their address list was appropriate, they could have had record sales.  Instead though, they were left with expenses.


 2. Design and Clarity

Almost all of the recipients of your direct mail piece are going to scan over it briefly.  Now, it’s up to the design to draw them back to give it a second look.  The design very well could be the difference between your piece being thrown out after the initial scan, and it being put into a save pile.

Put yourself in the shoes of the recipient of your mail piece.  What would interest you more, a jumbled postcard that’s hard to read, or a professionally designed piece?  As consumers, we value pieces that are done professionally more than those that were clearly just thrown together as quickly as possible.

Additionally, your design needs to effectively showcase your offer and brand.  Viewers should be able to quickly discern who you are, and what your offer is.  Using the right design techniques allow you to do just this.


 3. Printing

The printing really does matter.  As was talked about in our previous post, recipients of direct mail pieces enjoy having items (that aren’t bills) mailed to them.  The quality of the print job will partially reflect this.

Choosing the correct paper type, size and color options is an important aspect of doing an effective mail campaign.  You want to send out a piece that your customers, or potential customers, will hold on to.  You need to work with your print provider to ensure that the piece is going to be printed on good material using the right techniques.