Executing a Successful Direct Mail Program
With the new resurgence and interest in direct mail for highly targeted, high-return-on-investment (ROI)-performing marketing campaigns, it’s imperative that marketers follow the fundamental principles of what makes a direct mail program successful to begin with.
The two most important aspects to any highly targeted direct mail program both center on either the mailing lists used in the campaign and the mailing piece being sent, or the creative, copy, and design used in the mailing effort. The more targeted the list in terms of the target prospect based on their prior purchase activity or history, the better. With more than 70,000 lists on the market, everyone is reachable and segmented in hundreds of different ways, but at the same time, with that many lists available, you better make sure you are working with a list professional or list broker that knows what they are doing. It’s said that the list is responsible for 50% of the success in a direct mail program, and if you have a great mail piece or a bad mail piece, the list can absolutely make or break the direct mail program.
It’s not about what you pay for the mailing list; it’s about how appropriate the list is or how well the list targets your prospective target. Shockingly, the demographic variables or components of the individual are typically the least important attribute to the list when selecting one to begin with. On numerous occasions, I’ll speak to marketers that don’t understand why their mailings didn’t work, and they always conclude that direct mail just isn’t effective. But the reality is exactly the opposite.
Google, the leader in search marketing and paid advertisement on the Internet, is one of the biggest users of direct mail in the country for a very good reason: it works for them and it works well. If only Google could get their hands on a list of companies that purchase ad words with Bing, Yahoo!, and other competitive search placement sites—they would fall out of their chairs with the profitability seen from those direct mail campaigns! Believe it or not, there is a high likelihood that you can get the lists of your competitors, whereas Google can’t and still sees success. Work with a pro on your lists and don’t make the assumption that you can guess which lists out of the 70,000 will work for you.
A great list broker will work with you as a strategist for your direct mail program and will have keen knowledge of the type of mail piece or the structure of the offer or response mechanism necessary for the product or service you are marketing towards; this can be as equally important to the success of your direct mail campaign as the lists you choose to use. A blank piece of paper mailed even to the most responsive lists yields no response, but a great mail piece also targeted to the wrong lists has a similar result. Both lists and mailing package are critical to your success, so speak to a list pro and see why companies like Google rely on direct mail as a key part of their acquisition strategy.