The Top 8 Direct Mail Mistakes

5th December 2016

Direct Mail is one of the greatest tools in a marketer’s toolbox, but too many campaign managers are failing to make the most of every mailshot; poorly planned and poorly designed mailers are going straight from the doormat and into the bin without the recipient even acknowledging the content.

Make sure your recipients are taking notice of your mailings and increase your campaign response by avoiding the following direct mail downfalls.

Bad targeting

To send direct mail you need data, but to send good direct mail you need good data; unfortunately some marketers concentrate so much on the mailing creative and message they are sending that they don’t pay attention to who they are sending that message to.

Marketing to people who are not interested in your business, product, or service, is a waste of time, effort, and money; this includes door drops and blanket mailings.

Don’t make the false assumption that your business appeals to everybody, no matter how broad your offering is there will always be a group of people who could be your fervent supporters but there will also be a group of people who will be your detractors.

Make sure you know the kind of people who will be interested in what you are offering; profile your existing customers and find out what characteristics they have that makes them such a good match for your business, then go out and spend some time identifying similar people who are just waiting for you to contact them.

Not cleaning your data

Although great data on its own may not produce a great response, poor data will always result in a poor response.

Once you’ve taken the time to source the right data for your mailing, clean the data!

Remove duplicates, deceased persons, and goneaways; if you’re sending a cold mailing make sure you run your data against the Mailing Preference Service. If the addressing in your data isn’t great, consider PAF correction.

Don’t waste money printing, producing, and mailing out of date, bad quality data.

Not including a clear Call to Action

Simply put a CTA or ‘Call to Action’ is the action you want someone to take after reading your mailing item.

CTAs are very commonly used in advertising and marketing as the final push to convince a lead to convert into customer; but if you don’t have a CTA or you have a weak CTA the recipient won’t know what to do after they’ve read your mailing and in all probability they’ll simply do nothing and forget about you.

If you want the recipient to contact you by phone, make sure you have a message saying “Call us now on…” and have your contact number in a large bold font; if you have sent out a voucher and want the user to call in to make a purchase with the voucher make sure your CTA says: “Bring this voucher to your local…to redeem your offer.”

Not personalising mail items

In this era of modern digital print technology there is no excuse for sending out mass mailings of generic carbon copied leaflets or letters; these types of mailings lack that one to one feeling that can so easily be achieved by personalising your mailing.

People love seeing their name in print, put your recipient’s name in a large bold bright font in the headline on the front of your mailer.

If you have other data insights about your target audience use them to change imagery, offers, and showcase products that are relevant to the recipient.

The DMA Response Report 2015 says that 80% of people are more likely to open a direct mail piece if it has been personalised; conversely 44% of mail is immediately discarded if it isn’t considered relevant.

Not designing for the demographic

Avoid the temptation of sending every demographic group the same font size and contrast; the older demographic needs bigger, clearer messages that are easier to read.

Make sure the imagery and style of your mailer and copy are relevant to the group you are contacting; older persons don’t want to see images of young people partying, and young people don’t want to see older people taking it easy; if you have a mixture of age groups in your data consider splitting them out into separate packs or use digital technology to change the content on the fly.

Complex messaging

Is there anything that’s more of a turnoff when it comes to direct mail than receiving an item that has greater word count than the entire internet?

Keep your messaging simple and use simple language. The more you complicate something, the smaller your audience becomes.

Not building a relationship

Direct mail shouldn’t be a one off event, you may have to mail a customer several times before they decide to interact with your business, but some companies only contact their customers when they want to sell them something.

Consider using a soft approach and send your customers birthday cards, thank you cards, or anniversary cards, which can help to build a relationship with your customers.

These “keep in touch” points are great at keeping your brand in the mind of your customers.

Only using direct mail

Although direct mail has a response rate that is much higher than digital advertising*, it is crucial to integrate and distribute marketing efforts across multiple channels including direct mail, email, website content, social media, online ads and PR content to achieve the best possible uptake and visibility.

When a mailing campaign, its themes and messaging are consistent across multiple touch points customers are far more likely to interact with or consider your brand when choosing their next supplier.

*The DMA Response Report states that direct mail outperforms all digital channels combined by 600%.