Successful direct mail does not need to be elaborate full color printing or creative design. The major factors contributing to a successful direct mail program are in the planning and implementing of the program. Avoid the following common blunders when developing your next mailing.
1. Ignoring the most important factor in direct mail success: the list.
Not spending enough time and effort upfront when you select your list can lead to wasting money and time. In direct mail, a mailing list is not just a way of reaching your market: it is your market. Get your ad agency or list broker involved in the early stages to help you identify and select the best list.
2. Not tracking or testing. Many marketers seldom test one mailing piece against another. As a result, they repeat their failures and have no idea of what works.
3. Giving up too easily. Marketers need to be patient with mailings. Prospects may need to see your name several times before they take action.
4. Not having an offer. A well-thought-out offer is essential in a successful mailing. A prospect needs something to which to respond. Studies have shown that the most impactful word is “free. ”
5. Too verbose. Get to the point quickly. Prospects are too busy to read and interpret lengthy (and sometimes boring) content.
6. Saving the best for last. Saving the strongest sales pitch for the end and hoping to build to a climatic conclusion will ensure disaster. A typical prospect reads for only a few seconds before deciding whether to continue reading or throw your mailing in the trash.
7. Poor follow-up. Your mailing will yield greater results if you phone your prospects soon after the mailing. In addition, slow fulfillment of literature requests will destroy the initial interest that you worked so hard to build.
8. Not using the magic words. “Free gift”, “no obligation”, “details inside”, “limited time only” are examples of cliché phrases that still get results.
9. Starting with the product – not with the prospect. You or your product is not important to the prospect. The reader only wants to know, “What’s in it for me?”
10. Creating and editing direct mail by committee. The fewer people who are involved the better. Copy re-writes and graphic design changes can cost money and time and typically have little effect on the results of the mailing.
Avery Manko is the owner of The Manko Company, a marketing consulting firm in West Chester, PA. His firm specializes in developing and implementing marketing programs for small and medium sized businesses. Contact him at 610-725-9844 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about The Manko Company, go to http://www.mankocompany.com