If direct mail weren’t working at all, there wouldn’t be so many success stories. But the companies who are really succeeding today with direct mailings probably don’t want their competition to catch on. Direct mail is still a powerful opportunity to interact with the clients and customers you want and need to grow your business. Of course, direct mailing involves a certain degree of creativity and experience. Because it’s not just about the printed products themselves, it’s about the quality of the mailing list, the knowledge of who the audience are, and how to see the bigger picture as well as the details of a campaign.
There are, of course, also stories of failed direct mail campaigns, and a lot of professionals in many industries have personally been involved in failed direct mail projects — or shall we say, projects that really didn’t have the intended result for the client, and didn’t deliver the expected ROI.
The fact is, direct mail is a specialty that business really need, but because the need is there, many professional print companies and direct mail specialists exist. The question is, which of them are really getting results for their clients?
But let’s get back to the central question: Which element of a direct mail campaign is most important?
Most professionals would tell you the mailing list is probably the most important element, if you have to choose only one. Because you can design the most attractive mailing that offers a great promotion, and the people out there who really want that promotion aren’t getting it, because your mailing list wasn’t right. Many of the addresses on may not even have been current. Reputable companies will of course not do this, but there have been plenty of bad mailing lists that have circulated, and people have paid good money for them, and have not had the best success with their direct mail campaigns.
If you don’t reach the right mailboxes, the campaign will not be successful, no matter how perfectly executed the design and message may be. But if we break it all down, the other elements of a direct mail campaign are also vital. It’s important to understand your audience and what you’re trying to say, what value you’re offering them, why they should interact with your business. Translating this into a direct mail message and getting the material printed and circulating is a big job, and requires a wealth of knowledge from past projects — including what has succeed and what has failed.
Direct mail is a great opportunity for businesses. But mining the value in direct mailing is all about the specialist you hire to help you do it. If every business could have its own direct mail marketing division, it might be able to accomplish the same results on your own. Unfortunately for most businesses, that is neither possible nor desirable.
Pay close attention to client reviews and social review scores when you look for a direct mail specialist. These are tech savvy companies and should have a good presence on social media, with feedback from past clients.