Direct Mail Campaigns Do Not Need To Be Expensive

Allen Taylor

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Direct mail campaigns don't have to be expensive. In fact, you can do it yourself and save tons of money. Here are a few tips:

First, determine what you want your prospect to do. Are you selling a product? Gathering leads? Inviting them to a seminar? What do you expect the end result to be? Write it down.

Next, who is your target prospect? Make a profile and include age, gender, geographic location, and any other pertinent information about your prospect that will help you understand him or her.

Thirdly, determine the type of piece you want to mail. If you are simply sending a questionnaire, a post card may be all you need. On the other hand, if you are selling a product, a brochure may be more handy. In some cases, nothing short of a catalog will do. Here are the basic direct mail formats:

  • Brochure
  • Flyer
  • Post card
  • Invitation
  • Personal letter
  • Newsletter
  • Catalog
  • Magalog

You can create most of these in a simple word processing program or with a small publishing software such as MicroSoft Publisher. MS Publisher has templates for each format, which makes it easy. You simply insert your graphic and text where you want it and print. You can print them on a standard home office printer for a few pennies per sheet. A brochure need not be fancy, unless your product or service requires it. It can be two-fold or three-fold using a standard 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper. You can use clip art and get it free off the Internet. Do a keyword search for “clip art" to see what you can find. Narrow your search by adding “+" then something that signifies a specific interest. For instance, “religious" or “money. "

A flyer is the easiest thing to create. You can do it in MicroSoft Word. Just write and add some clip art. Then print.

With MS Word, you can design pages using WordArt as well as photos, clip art and other graphics. If designing a flyer using MS Word, however, use text boxes instead of just typing text on the page. It will be a lot easier.

The standard post card is 4.25 X 6 inches, but you can make one of any size. First design the front. Find the graphic you want to use and you can pull it into MS Word or Publisher. I recommend MS Publisher. It is inexpensive enough and easy to use for most types of direct mail. Next, write what you want to say on the back and print. It's that easy. Really, it is.

An invitation is essentially a four-sided post card. If you've been to a wedding or a graduation you've seen them. They are also applicable for business use, especially if you have an event you want to invite people to attend. Again, MS Publisher comes in handy.

A personal letter is best done in MS Word. You type it up like any letter but address it to a specific individual. But if you plan to do this be sure to use a high-grade paper. It will look more professional and the extra pennies you spend on it will boost your image.

A newsletter is very simple. In the electronic age you can create one in MS Publisher using the e-mail template and e-mail it to your list at no charge. Go to “File, " then “Send E-mail" and scroll over to “Send This Page As Message. " MS Publisher will convert your document to HTML. MS Word has the same feature, but I recommend MS Publisher because it is easier to work with using Publisher's design templates.

If you don't want to design an e-mail newsletter you can send a print newsletter as well. Again, you can use MS Word or Publisher but I recommend Publisher. Your newsletter can be 1, 2, 4 pages, or more. Like other formats, you can pull in your graphics and text and format it right in the program, then print.

Catalogs and magalogs are a little bit more complicated, but they can be done. You know what a catalog is; they've been around for a long time. A magalog is a little fancier, more gloss and more pages. It's makes a bigger impression and might be your style if you have a lot of products to sell. I'd recommend investing in a design software like Adobe InDesign or Quark's QuarkXPress. You can do so much more in these programs. They are more expensive than MS Publisher, but more flexible. You will definitely want to use them if you design your own graphics.

Allen Taylor is an award-winning journalist, freelance writer and copywriter. He specializes in world-class marketing for small businesses. For more information about how to make your business shine visit . Be sure to check out Allen's ghostwriting services and sign up for the free e-mail newsletter.


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