5 best practices of highly effective direct mail marketing strategies


By: John Coon

Direct mail is not dead or in a cryogenic freeze. It has not joined the video cassette or the typewriter as an obsolete relic. Even here in the digital age, implementing a traditional direct mail campaign can still be a highly effective tool in your brand's marketing toolbox.

Related: Direct mail marketing: Does it still work?

Engaging customers through multiple platforms & channels is the ticket for boosting your response rate. Direct mail is a path to success when it's personalized to your target audience and driven by a well-executed direct marketing strategy.

So, what can set your direct mail campaign apart? Here are 5 effective practices you can implement to attract customers' eyes (and dollars) to your business.

Personalize your content

Everyone wants to feel special. Taking an individualized approach with direct mail can create that feeling for customers and potential customers alike. Rather than seeing your mail as junk, they'll feel like you really know them and understand their needs.

It starts with using a recipient's name, but it doesn't end there. Find a way to connect by personalizing the product or service you offer. This can be as simple as adding the address and operating hours for your organization's nearest location. It could also involve tailoring a specific offer toward products that will be most relevant to them based on observable data.

When you break your target audience into narrower niches, then tailor a personalized offer for each person, it will supercharge your marketing efforts. Your content will have a better chance of resonating with your audience and generating sales down the road.

Add more information

A flyer, brochure or insert can feel more permanent than a tweet or an email. Your audience can see it, handle it and read it. A customer is likely to spend more time with a piece of direct mail than with an email or tweet. It opens the door to provide more information.

Include all the information you need to get customers to make the decision you want. There are a few ways to accomplish this goal:

  • Use clear, attractive images that draw the eye.

  • Incorporate graphics & text that mesh with your brand and convey the right message about your products or services.

  • Include authentic testimonials that show a customer why they should choose you over a competitor.

The most important thing is to keep your focus squarely on the customer's needs. You want to earn their loyalty, and your direct mail content should aid in reaching that goal. Concentrate your message on how your brand benefits the customer in terms of value, convenience and quality.

Make your call-to-action count

The goal of direct mail is the same as any other marketing channel. You want to convince a customer that doing business with you will improve their life. That's where a well-designed call-to-action is so essential. It's the glue that holds everything together.

A call-to-action should be compelling enough to spur a customer to take action. You should make it clear, concise and powerful. Keep it in front of them by including the call-to-action multiple times throughout the piece. In this case, don't look at the repetition as being annoying. It actually helps a customer remember your offer long after they read the mail.

So, where should you include it? Use sidebars and a postscript that are offset from the main body of content to deliver a repeated call-to-action. Incorporate a consistent voice that ties back into your core brand messaging.

Keep data fresh

Timing is everything with an effective direct mail campaign. You have to send it to the right people in the right places at the right times to get the maximum return on your investment. The best way to put the odds in your favor is to keep your database relevant and up-to-date.

Accurate data helps you correctly identify your target audience and their interests. It also helps you avoid missteps on building out mailing lists. If a lawn care company distributes mailers to the residents of an apartment complex, for example, it's likely to be a wasted effort because few of those people will need their services. Keeping data up-to-date would help such a company locate neighborhoods filled with homeowners who would love to use their services.

Having correct data will help you understand which stages of life your customers are in and how to best meet their needs. Marketing is most effective when you can offer evidence that your brand fills an identifiable need for your target audience. It sticks with them and keeps your business fresh on their mind.

Integrate with other marketing

Your direct mail strategy should not be stranded on a deserted island among the palm trees and coconuts. Integrate this strategy with your other marketing efforts, so that it's a part of the same marketing plan. This also means sticking with it once you get started.

Persistence pays off in all forms of marketing. One-and-done approaches won't work, because you can't cast a wide enough net to pick up every potential customer. Be prepared to send out multiple mailers to your target audience. Utilize A/B testing to see which content strategies work best, so you can optimize your efforts. It typically takes multiple contacts before direct mail finally spurs a call-to-action.

Align your direct mail campaign with your emails, online ads and social media promotions. Use the same images, graphics, coupon codes and other materials in those digital efforts. It builds synergy and keeps the customers going in the right direction, no matter where, when and how they made initial contact with your brand.

Learn more about the direct mail marketing service in Lucidpress, and give it a test drive.

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John Coon

John Coon is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than a decade of experience. He's a contributing business writer to Utah Business and writes about sports for a variety of outlets, from The Associated Press to The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow John on Twitter: @johncoonsports.

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