Marketing Blog

5 direct mail mistakes to Marvel at

Written on 11/21/2018 by Jay Siff, CEO

How to be a direct mail superhero

Direct mail is an extremely powerful tool to have in your marketing arsenal. But as Spiderman’s uncle and famous rice chef, Uncle Ben once said, with great power comes great responsibility.

Sure – in theory, it could be cool to swing from building to building via spiderwebs that shoot out of your wrists, but it’s probably only romantic to daydream about. Can you imagine discovering that you have the capacity to do that? How many test runs do you think you’d take before you actually attempted to do it in lower Manhattan during rush hour? What about the mess it would make if you had an ‘accident’ and shot web all over your kitchen?

When done right, direct mail marketing is a lot like suddenly gaining a superpower.

People tend to romanticize the concept of direct mail marketing because they’re inundated with staggering statistics and incredible case studies about its potential to generate revenue for businesses. And truthfully, there is simply no denying it’s potentially high ROI.

The problem is, that statistics and endorsements by tastemakers cause people to view this tool through rose-colored glasses. They overlook the hard work and minute, yet highly important details that make direct mail marketing work for businesses.

Direct mail is effective when done right. Statistics and case studies make it easy to disregard that latter part of the sentence that appears in italics.

It takes trial, error, lots of homework and attention to detail to properly execute an effective direct mail campaign. It’s definitely not like in the movies – where you suddenly just ‘have’ the power to shoot webs from your wrists and are ready to fight crime.

Here are common mistakes businesses make that can deem this super powerful tool utterly useless:

1. Forgetting to include a CTA.

You can play with the colors and copy on your direct mail piece until the cows come home, but if the mailer never instructs the customer to take action, you’re shooting webs in the wind. Make it easy for prospects to take the actions you need them to so that you see results.

2. Failing to research ideal prospects.

Direct mail works when you target people who are likely to have a strong interest in or need for what you’re selling. Demographics such as age and income are crucial factors to consider before you pull the trigger on a direct mail campaign. The first step to doing this is knowing who (in a very general sense) your existing customers are and using it to your advantage.

3. Mailing too far away from your business.

Direct mail marketing only works if it is convenient for your audience to redeem your offer. The further away from your business the recipient is, the less likely they are to check out your business. Don’t fly too close to the sun with your mailing area – it can prove to have a very severe impact on your ROI.

4. Always sending the same offer.

You aren’t likely to get the most out of your direct mail campaign if you aren’t experimenting with multiple offers. Doing so allows you to see when certain offers tend to perform well. It also helps you pick-up on possible trends amongst sub-demographics that you may not have otherwise noticed.

5. Including a weak offer.

People aren’t typically super excited to get the mail each day. It’s your responsibility to make your mailer seem valuable. An enticing offer is the key to achieving this end.

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