Direct Mail Goofs Costing You Money?

January 11, 2016

Here are the top 5 mistakes and how to avoid them.

By Laurie Hileman

“Learn from the mistakes of others; you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself,” said Eleanor Roosevelt. And when it comes to direct mail campaigns, your business can’t afford to make costly mistakes that suck the life from your investment.

After all, direct mail continues to be one of the most effective tools for generating leads. Companies spent more than $44.9 billion on direct mail in 2013, an increase over the previous year.

Fortunately, you don’t have to sift through hundreds of do’s and don’ts floating around the Internet to get your next campaign on track. Here are the top five mistakes along with five easy fixes that are sure to generate additional responses, convert new leads, and add directly to your bottom line.

5 Big Mistakes (with 5 Simple Fixes!)

Mistake No. 1. Miss with the list.

You live and die by your mailing list; don’t settle for a generic list.

The Fix: Identify and target your ideal customers. Segment, and then test your list.

Mistake No. 2. Settle for less than the best copy/creative.

You’ve got seconds to make an impression; don’t risk it all with a weak headline or confusing copy.

The Fix: Consider professional copywriters and designers with a proven direct mail track record.

Mistake No. 3. Dilute the call to action.

Readers need to understand the time to act is N–O–W.

The Fix: Whether it is to sign up, visit, call, or order, make the next step clear and convincing.

Mistake No. 4. Forget to test and track.

Resist the urge to mail and hope for the best.

The Fix: Run small tests with the list, offer format, and even colors. Be sure to include tracking mechanisms, such as a personalized URL (PURL), to gauge success.

Mistake No. 5. Fail to follow up.

Mailing is just step one.

The Fix: Make following up a part of the campaign. You may get referrals from those who buy—and learn where you can improve from those who don’t.

Response is one of the five keys of successful direct marketing. And if you have that, the other four don’t matter.

~ Dean Rieck, Direct Creative