Tricks of the Trade for Direct Mail

by AllBusiness, Inc (Business Solutions)

Direct mail experts spend ample amounts of time reviewing and testing direct mail pieces debating the colour, texture, print, tone, wording, phrasing, size of the piece and numerous other issues. Direct mail is unique in that it is a tangible item that your recipient can hold, read, save or throw out, depending on his or her need for the product or service and the interest created by the piece.

A 5% return on investment (ROI) is considered extremely good when embarking on a direct mail campaign.

Here are some valuable tricks of the trade for direct mail for small business:

Use all the elements: Paper quality, size, color and texture are all part of the presentation, not just what you have to say.

Don't over-design: Graphic designers often get carried away with the overall look and forget that someone has to be able to pick up the piece and actually read it.

Don't try to fool readers with "announcements" on the envelope such as "Sweepstakes Winner."

Send a separate mailing to your regular customers with special offers, promotions or advance notice of upcoming sales. Make them feel important.

Find the best name to send to if you are mailing to a business. Sending to just a title or a company name is usually an exercise in futility.

Write conversational copy that focuses on what your product or service can do for the reader.

Avoid technical jargon and rhetoric.

Make valid claims and promises that you can keep.

Make the process simple and the instructions very clear if you are requesting a return by mail.

Reply cards are often more effective than phone contact unless you have competent round the clock phone operators on hand. Even then, offer different options for contact.

Include your web site address on all direct mail pieces.

Add a personalized touch - no "dear occupant" letters. Include a signature that appears personalised.

Watch your costs closely. A successful direct marketing campaign is contingent upon generating a profit, so track your spend versus your ROI.

If you are successful with an income-generating piece, use it as a template for future mailings.