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The 4 Most Common Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes

Direct mail has solidified itself as a key component of any multi-channel marketing campaign. However, those that develop the most successful direct marketing campaigns know how to avoid these four common mistakes. It is important not to overlook the importance identifying your audience, having up-to-date mailing lists, not developing a captivating offer, and finally an overly complicated call-to-action.

Identify Your Audience By Their Response Rate

Not only should you be targeting a specific audience, this group of prospects should have a history of responding well to your marketing initiatives. According to Craig Simpson, author of “ 10 Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes to Avoid,” he states you should, “…spend some time analyzing your best buyers. What is their demographic? What are their other interests? Then use that information to define your most promising mailing universe.” In the end, putting in that little bit of extra work will set your campaign up for an increased chance at success.

Select and Update Your Mailing List with Clean Data In Mind

This piece of your direct mail marketing campaign is the most important. As Robert W. Bly states in his article “ The 12 Most Common Direct Mail Mistakes…And How to Avoid Them,” that “in direct marketing, a mailing list is not just a way of reaching your market. It is the market.” He goes on to say, “a great mailing package, with superior copy and scintillating design, might pull double the response of a poorly conceived mailing. But the best list can pull a response 10 times more than the worst list for the identical mailing piece.” Craig Simpson recommends two things that can help improve your list: make sure if you use a list broker that he or she is reliable and compare the list to the National Change of Address list to ensure you are sending your materials to your prospects current residence. Once you have established the best list for your campaign, then you can go ahead with the design and message of your copy.

Make An Offer They Cannot Refuse

A common mistake is to push the product in your copy and not your compelling offer. Robert W. Bly defines the offer as “what the reader gets when he responds to your mailing.” This can take shape in a variety of forms, but the most obvious way to garner someone’s attention is to entice them with something free. Take their wallet out of the equation, and you increase your prospect’s chances of responding. Bly continues with, “your copy should state the offer in such a way as to increase the reader’s desire to send for whatever it is you offer. For example, a catalog becomes a product guide. A collection of brochures becomes a free information kit.” Consider what you sort of compelling offer you can include in your campaign and place less emphasis on trying to sell the product. Though the sale is the ultimate goal, with direct mail, you want simply engagement and response, which will lead to that sale you ultimately want to achieve.

Simplify Your CTA

When you are crafting your direct mail CTA, you should reduce it down to as few steps as possible. Most people these days won’t bother with following through if there are too many steps or if those steps are not clear enough. In “ 5 Direct Mail Mistakes Marketers Should Avoid,” by Vignesh Subramanyan, he says, “ don’t ask your prospects to complete more than three tasks. For example, don’t send respondents to a web page that asks them to fill out a form. Make your call to action as simple as possible to complete. ” Limiting your CTA to three tasks is a good rule of thumb, but if you can get it under three, your chances of getting a response will only increase.

Laying the Foundation for Direct Mail Marketing Success

By identifying your most responsive audience, updating your mailing lists, crafting a great offer, and implementing a simple CTA, you can build a direct marketing campaign that will have a higher chance of success. Avoiding these 4 common mistakes won’t necessarily mean your campaign will automatically be successful. You still have to put together a complete mailing package after you have put the necessary work into seeing what design or style works best. However, avoiding these mistakes from the beginning will save you from wasting time and money.

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