As e-mail marketing picked up over the past decade, direct mail has fallen out of favor. However, there are times when getting a piece of paper in front of people makes more sense than reaching them by e-mail.
Direct mail can work well when done right. Avoid these 10 mistakes and a direct mail campaign could be a successful part of your marketing plan:
- The wrong list: Perhaps the biggest mistake that you can make is to use a mailing list that does not represent your target audience. Too many people send out mailings, receive no response, and wonder why. Make sure that your list is current and targeted to clients who will use your service.
- Poor copy: It may only be 100 or even 25 words, but it needs to use the right words. Look at direct mail by other businesses that you like; use it as a model to get the attention of your clients. Take the time to run your copy by trusted colleagues and find out if your message is clear and concise.
- No call to action: If you don’t tell readers what you want them to do, it defeats the point of sending the direct mail piece. Do you want them to call you? E-mail you? Send in the enclosed postcard? Buy something? Make it clear what they should do or they will not respond.
- Lack of testing: Too many people learn the hard way that their direct mail piece is not effective. It should be common practice to test out anything you plan to use to market or advertise your business to see if it makes an impact. Create a list of regular clients and colleagues who will give you feedback on any direct mail piece that you create.
- Hype: It is all too common to hype your product or service with superlatives. Instead, explain the actual benefits of your product or service in clear language.
- Copy errors: There are too many stories of great direct marketing pieces with wrong phone numbers, addresses, or other key information. Errors in copy are a common mistake. Proofreading is an important aspect of all of your marketing campaigns. If you feel that you are lacking in those skills, hire someone to proof your copy. Or ask a colleague who has a way with words to take a look at your text.
- Weak headlines: One of the reasons we all toss direct mail quickly is because it does not grab us. Somewhere between boring headlines and gimmicks is a smart use of a headline that catches someone’s eye without insulting their intelligence. You only have a few seconds to grab the reader; therefore you need to put great stock in your headline.
- Form over function: One common mistake is to focus too much on the design elements of the direct mail piece, which results in marvelous four-color graphics, interesting shapes, and eye-catching color but a discrediting lack of good content.
- No follow-up: Many businesses send out brochures, fliers, and other materials with no follow-up plan. Call, mail additional information, or at least be prepared to fulfill requests for the product or for additional information that you promise in your pitch.
- No expert advice: Direct mailing has been around for many years because when it works it works very well. There are experts who know the right words to use and the best ways to get results. However, far too few people tap into this bank of knowledge. Do your research and learn from experts in the field.