Despite the digital marketing renaissance of the 21st century (and all that comes with it), direct mail has remained relevant as a way to reach people. This comes as a surprise to many business experts, who thought that traditional ways of marketing would be completely overwhelmed by the digital side of things.
It’s certainly true that digital marketing is now a huge part of running a business, but it hasn’t replaced direct mail. In fact, direct mail is gaining more relevance as inboxes are increasingly flooded with spam. The question of how to reach people effectively, and deliver messages that are both timely and impactful, has kept non-digital means of marketing in the conversation.
Once businesses realize this, they often find themselves asking another question: Why is direct mail such a difficult thing to do well? Why do so many campaigns fail?
There have always been good direct mail campaigns, average ones, and those that leave a lot to be desired. That hasn’t changed, and many of the challenges that existed thirty years ago are still challenges today. But given the importance of maximizing your marketing budget, it’s worth taking a fresh look at why direct mail campaigns sometimes fail in the 21st century—and what you can do to make sure your campaigns are successful.
1. The mailing list looks better than it is
Mailing lists have a reputation for being the used cars of the marketing world—and for good reason. There are a lot of poor quality lists out there, and a lot of people trying to sell them for good money. Brokers, agencies, mail companies—it’s difficult to make sense of it all. Many campaigns fail because people and companies don’t do enough research. They buy a mailing list without really investigating its credentials or contents, and the result is an expensive mailing with very little impact.
2. Things are done in the wrong order
Reputable direct mail specialists will tell you that the quality/nature of your mailing list and the design of your mailing go hand-in-hand. Many businesses decide what the mailing will look like and then go about formulating a list of people to receive it. In fact, the mailing list should be established first, and the various demographics understood, before the marketing message is crafted and the mailing is produced.
3. Mistakes are repeated
Success in direct mail marketing isn’t about sending one mailing. It’s about incorporating direct mail into your long-term strategy and refining your methods over time. Since there is no exact science to eliciting the kind of response you want from direct mailing, it’s all about testing what works and what doesn’t. It’s about making the process as clear and predictable as you can. The most qualified direct mail specialists and analysts can show companies how to go about this.
4. The design, copy and execution are no good
Of course, you could have the technique down and the design perfected, but it won’t get you very far if the copy, design, and execution of the mailing aren’t up to snuff. That’s why you need partners in direct mailing who will bring your efforts up to an absolutely professional standard. That way, when your message hits the mailbox, people focus on your offer and the benefits available to them—rather than poor execution.
Avoid common direct mail mistakes!
When it comes to designing a direct mail campaign that has an impact, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of detailed planning, clear strategizing, and quality partnerships with reputable mailing companies. Now that you know some of the main reasons why direct mail campaigns fail to achieve their objectives, you can focus on how to design a campaign that produces clear, tangible benefits for your business.