Whether you’re a seasoned direct mail pro or a newbie thinking about launching your campaign. Here are a few things to consider before getting started. After years of helping clients launch campaigns in many industries, we put together this article to guide your campaign in the right direction.
What Are The Campaign Objectives?
The first step to creating a direct mail campaign for your business is clearly defining the objectives. Stay away from vague goals like “I want more people to know about my business” and use pick ones that are measurable like “I want 10 new business inquiries next quarter.” Writing a brief statement summarizing the campaign objectives is always a great starting point and helps to get everyone on the same page.
Full Service vs Print & Send Yourself?
Now that your objectives are clear, you have a very important decision to make which is whether to go with a full service mail company or start lining up all the vendors needed to manage a successful direct mail campaign. Usually, the headaches begin coordinating all of these potential players:
- Data Company
- Design Company
- Print Company
- Postage Company
- Tracking Platforms
Some companies might have the luxury of having a designer on staff or a trusted printer the firm uses regularly but few of our clients have all of these resources at their disposal. Even fewer have the time and expertise to deal with it because they’re not marketers. Full service mail companies like ours exist because we make the whole process seamless. You can pick up the phone or email one person when you have questions and trust that your campaign will be executed correctly. Data, design, print, postage and tracking. Set it and forget it.
While you might save a few pennies per piece handling print and postage on your own, you’ll experience a few headaches along the way and probably question if it was really worth it.
Are Options Like EDDM A Good Value?
We’re constantly being compared against EDDM and asked why our service is more expensive. We actually think the opposite is true! For most businesses, sending mail to every mailbox on a postal route is a gigantic waste of money. While the price per send is significantly cheaper, it adds up very, very quick when you’re mailing every house on the block. EDDM also has hidden time sucks like pre-sorting, bundling sends into stacks of 100s and the time it takes to go to the post office. In the end, we think EDDM costs more than data-driven direct mail because we can use more sophisticated targeting to reduce the amount of sends and various personalization techniques to make the mail perform better. Not to mention In short, EDDM is cheaper because it’s a less sophisticated product.
Careful of the pricing game. Some companies like to use EDDM pricing to lure people to their website, then jack up the price with all sorts of options.
What’s The Data Play?
Direct Mail works much better when it’s powered by data. In essence, data is used to filter down a giant list of people to a shorter list of people with traits that make them more likely to buy. For example, in order to find potential first time home buyers, a broker might want to target renters with an income over $100k. Data can also be used to automate a “triggering event” that sends mail. For example, a homeowner that lives in the same neighborhood as a proximity of a real estate transaction can receive “just sold” postcards. More sophisticated triggering events such as criminal arrests, court filings, traffic accidents are difficult to obtain but available in some states.
Picking The Right Neighborhood Real Estate Postcard Farming
How do you pick the right neighborhood is another question we get a lot from real estate clients. We start by telling clients to pick areas they know and can service well. It makes little sense to go after listings in a neighborhood 20 minutes away that you know little about. This will become apparent when you’re late for showings and fumble questions about local schools. Start close, start with what you know then fire up MLS. Take a look at neighborhoods with higher turnover rates. If a neighborhood has lots of sales by the same agent it’s probably not a great place to start mailing. Make strategic decisions by looking at MLS and Demographic data to determine where to start postcard farming. Ask us if you need some assistance.
Am I Thinking Long Term?
“It’s a marathon not a sprint” or insert your favorite cliche about perseverance here. Direct mail works best for most industries when executed in 3 – 6 month campaigns where targets receive multiple mailers or “touches.” Longer campaigns also allow you to use creative messaging to tell a story or develop a theme. We help clients design “sequenced messaging” campaigns with dynamic, personalized creative and often advise against one offs. Our pricing is designed to encourage clients to use multiple sends and becomes less expensive with more volume.
How Will The Campaign Be Tracked?
Our last bit of advice is to spend some time thinking about how you will track your direct mail campaign before investing time and money. All of our campaigns come with integrated call tracking software for you and your team to use. In addition, we often recommend using trackable links, texting short codes and simply getting into the habit of asking customers how they found you. You might be surprised how many times you hear “you sent me a postcard.”
We are experts at helping companies use direct mail to accomplish their goals. If you have an idea for a campaign please get in touch with us. We’re happy to help.