How to Produce Quality Direct Mailings that Perform Well

By Carol Wright

It takes a different kind of business person, or marketer, to bring direct mail campaigns into their marketing plans. Simply put, this business model is still very applicable and profitable. According to industry reports, this type of marketing is not getting as many responses as it used to. However, only you can determine how much money you want to make. If you are seasoned within this market, then you can earn higher profits. But, do not forget that you can combine direct marketing with your online business. Just until a couple of years ago, internet marketers would have never done this. They blended offline direct marketing with their online businesses and are doing very well.

Part of planning for any direct mailing includes knowing what you’ll need. First, start a budget and then make sure that you are not working with anything that is not in your budget. If you fail to have a mailing list, then rent one. When renting a list, be certain that it has list management services included. At this point you will need both a competent copywriter and designer, but this is where you will have to decide where you want to spend the most money. Of course, you also have to account for the little things that you will need such as postage and printing.

Testing your mailing campaigns and tweaking them accordingly is paramount, a fact you likely know. But maybe you are not sure what needs to be tested and the proper sequence and approach. The first thing you should test is the headline, then the offer itself and finally price. Both online and offline, you’ll find that the offer is the most essential component of a marketing campaign. Since the headline is what gets people to read your offer, you need to test it first.

The fastest approach is splitting your mail list into segments. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to try different headline variations and then do the same for the other two elements. You’ll have to include some tracking code to allow you to test which version is performing better.

Each individual direct mailing can be used to fulfill different marketing objectives. Therefore, you shouldn’t be planning solely your next campaign, but all the others following it. While establishing a brand can be costly, DM allows you to increase brand awareness through your offer.

Direct mail can also be used to expand your customer base by generating new leads. In fact, you could structure your whole campaign for the sole purpose of generating leads. If you have the budget, non-promotional mailings can be used for relationship building. This type of mailing should focus solely on offering the reader value and avoid any promotion. Don’t ever be intimidated by going offline with direct response marketing, or direct mail. Some people don’t like to do sales copy. If this is true, you need to do something else. DM is a great way to generate leads for your website or business webpage. After you are proficient with this, or at least more comfortable, doing a mail out with sales copy would be the next step. You really need to learn about all of your options, and execute them when possible.