Five Steps to Running a Successful Direct Mail Campaign
Direct mail is still one of the most responsive communication channels in existence and, according the British Marketing Survey, this still remains the top communication channel over TV, Magazine/Newspapers and the internet with a visible increase in people responding over the last year.
Running a successful advertising campaign sent directly to prospective customers via mail, often know as direct mail; junk mail or admail, is not as simple as it seems. It is all about testing the campaign and finding both the right target audience and the right offer.
Step One: Target Market and Data Selection
The first step to running a successful direct mail campaign is to find your target market and the right data to use. This can be extracted from your existing database or a new data set can be purchased using a profile of people who are most likely to respond to your campaign.
Before you purchase data you should decide how you wish to send the mail shot to, for example: to a named individual; household or just a blanket door-drop. This decision will have effect on the variables, or fields of information, you require to be provided by your data supplier.
Data can be profiled using various demographics such as age, income, gender, marital status, mail order buyers, or financial status. Once you have decided all this data can be purchased.
Step Two: Design and Packaging
A good mail shot should include a good, clear message with a variety of ways the respondent can respond, e.g. Mail (pre-paid envelope), telephone number, email or web address.
Good mail shots include good incentives to entice the customer to respond such as money off coupons, discounts or even samples.
Step Three: Testing
Before running the full direct mail campaign, sending out 1000’s of mail shots, a variety of mail shots, also known as ‘creatives’ should be tested to small target markets to test the response rates and identify the most responsive design.
These are often tracked using a different code for each design or offer, enabling you to determine which is the most responsive and, therefore, cost effective.
Step Four: Data Purchase
It may be advisable to delay the purchase of the complete data set until testing is complete, just in case you need to ‘tweak’ your selection. Most data suppliers will be happy to sell you with a test sample in advance of you placing a full order and should also be able to give you a count of the number of records in their database meeting your target market.
It is advisable to ask for your data to be screened against the MPS (Mail Preference Service) file to avoid the cost of sending to addresses who have requested not to receive unsolicited mail. The slight additional cost of this will be offset by the obvious cost savings of reduced wastage.
Remember that even the best databases can not be 100% accurate as people move house and families change on a very regular basis. Your data supplier will be able to give you information on this during your discussions so that you can manage your expectations.
Step Five: Measuring Success
Once you have determined the above the campaign can be run, but making sure measurements are in place to able you to analyse costs against response rate and you are able to conduct a simple breakeven analysis.
To summarise...... a successful direct mailing campaign is always carefully planned with clear objectives; defined target markets; offers determined and tested; and measurements put in place to evaluate the success.