In some ways, poets, filmmakers and creative marketers inhabit the same general world. Marketers, when they do their job well, aim to read the psyche of the consumer and find clever ways of reaching them, just as artists do.
As with any art form, marketers perform best when they have a framework to follow. It focuses the mind, and helps make sure that no one veers off script. If your direct mail marketing plan lacks a script, you need to develop one. Here’s what you would put in it when managing a direct mail campaign.
Begin by clearly stating to yourself what your objective is
Direct mail campaigns tend to work towards a number of different aims — to generate enough interest among consumers to have them request quotes and leave their email address is one possibility. Other aims may be include attracting hundreds of paying customers in the store. In other cases, the aim could simply be about having people download a research report whose message you are interested in spreading awareness of.
Whatever your goals may be, you need to define them in clear terms: how many customers you would like to see your direct mail campaign generate, how many downloads you would consider success, and how many email addresses you would like to see added to your mailing list as a result of the success of your campaign. Clearly stated aims help focus effort.
Clearly define your target audience
Every type of target audience that you have on your list will need to be reached in a different way. Consumers and business clients, for instance, tend to respond differently to a given set of marketing materials. Within target client groups, you may go further, drilling down with age, gender, income level, and so on. If it’s a business client that you are targeting, you may go deep with industry type, turnover, and job title. The more research you put in, the more accurate your results.
Work on your mailing list
Your mailing list is the core of your campaign. A good mailing list full of quality leads nearly guarantees a successful campaign. The best way to build a good mailing list is to make contact with a mailing list broker and manager. These aren’t the same as sellers of meaningless, general-purpose lists. These are services that have expertise in collecting mailing lists from the right sources, and fitting contacts on them.
Think about the best way to make an offer
When people see a piece of direct mail, they expect to see an offer — something that creates excitement, or the desire to act immediately. It could be as simple as discounts and free gifts or samples, or hard-to-find information. It’s important to think your offer through. Sometimes, if companies cannot think of an offer they can truly motivate recipients, they tend to team up with other companies to make joint offers.
Your offer should neatly end in a call to action — an invitation to make a phone call, request a quote, sign up to an email and so on. A lot of thought usually goes into coming upon the right kind of call to action. Most companies try different ideas with different batches of direct mail materials to judge which method works the best.
Think about the design
Whether you use email or print, the design of the promotional materials that you send out can have a great deal of effect on the response of the recipient. With direct mail, you get more room for expression, which should be used to the best possible effect. Printing envelopes with a call to action in one popular possibility.
Finally, think about the timing
If you’re targeting business customers, you want to time your campaign to budgets that are yet to be finalized. If your campaign hits right after businesses adopt their budgets you could have trouble persuading clients to try you out.
Marjorie Garcia is a marketing consultant and is always keen to share her insights and ideas on different marketing methods with an online audience. She writes regularly for a number of marketing and B2B websites.