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How does your direct mail pull

How Does Your Direct Mail Pull?

Assuming you have a great graphic artist who designs your marketing materials, mailers and collateral (which is a big assumption, I know)…

Where do you go to get them printed and/or mailed? How do you know which messages will be better to use? How often should you send mail out to your list?

Many small business owners I know typically do mailings hap hazzardly, meaning they plan a promotion or sale quickly to get business in the door or plan a workshop to happen in 2 weeks and then they say «I have to get a mailer out to my list».

Does this sound familiar?

I’m suggesting you plan your mailings annually along with your sales, workshops and promotions (even holiday mailings or annual update letters). Then if you can plan the design, messages, who it’s going to, how you’ll get it printed and mailed it will not only go much smoother BUT I’ll bet you get a much higher response too!

You will give yourself time to come up with a strategy rather than throwing together quick mailings which might not:

— flow with your brand
— get a clear message across
— include all pertinent info
— make them take action

Many business owners will also go to Kinko’s or Office Depot (which are great resources for some things or really last minute jobs) for their printing and then fold, stuff, label and stamp their own mailers. NO, NO, NO, depending on the number of mailers you have it could be much less expensive and less time consuming to go through a professional printer, print broker or even online and then to go to a local or online mail house for mailing services.

You don’t have to do it all yourself.

Besides, what is your hourly rate? How much is your time worth? You would most likely be better off outsourcing these types of things rather than spending your valuable time when you could be working with a client or attaining a new client instead.

While I’m on the subject, how many people do you have on your mailing list or current database? Are you including EVERYONE YOU KNOW? If not, WHY THE HECK NOT? Everyone you know will either be a prospect for your business OR a referral source without question. They all need to know what you’ve been up to or what you’re doing now in case they need your services/products or know someone who does.

I could go on and on with suggestions on who to use for printing, mailing, and all the services that go along with doing this but we’d be here forever. So, here are —

5 tips on how to manage your direct mail efficiently:

1. Plan for large mailings.

Your lists must be large, since even good response rates may fall between 2 percent and 4 percent. If you don’t have a very large list — meet more people!

2. Choose the best format.

There are three basic types of direct mail: postcards, letters and packages. Successful direct-mail letters are complex packages and if you want to virtually guarantee your mail gets opened, you can put it in a box or some bulk mailing package.

3. Assemble your campaign.

Direct-mail marketing is rarely a do-it-yourself job. The steps include: designing and printing the creative pieces, choosing the lists, and delivering them both to a mailing house for labeling and distribution. Most mailing houses will be cost effective for a minimum of 500 or more pieces for your addressing and postage handling and some can even do printing as well.

4. Test and measure results.

Direct-mail success is measured one campaign at a time. It’s essential to test various components of the campaign- -the lists, your offers and creative approaches—in order to continually improve your response rates. The key is to test just one component at a time and make incremental adjustments until your campaign produces optimal results.

5. Contact a Marketing Expert.

They can help you put a PLAN together. You don’t need to research it all or figure it all out yourself, they love to do that part. A marketing expert can help you with the campaign itself, what the message or design will be, who to send it to, when and how. They can also find the best printing, mailing and delivering resources available based on your time frame, your budget and your quantity.

I hope for your sakes you’re doing direct mailings pretty regularly in your business for part of your follow up and ongoing marketing to your list. Email is great but it certainly doesn’t reach everyone all the time so it’s not that reliable for your ONLY source of follow up marketing.

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