How to run a successful direct mail campaign mail can be used by all small businesses to boost sales but there’s more to getting it right than meets the eye. A range of factors – rather than a single ‘light bulb moment’ of creative inspiration – are required to make a success out of direct mail campaign.

Identifying your target market should be the starting point for your direct mail campaign. Once you’ve done this you’ll be able to target the customers most likely to take you up on your offer, whilst also ensuring that you can handle any resulting increases in orders.

An analysis and evaluation of the response to your campaign should be the next stage. Don’t overlook this as measuring the results will tell you whether your approach has worked and who is most likely to respond to future campaigns. Armed with this information, you’ll be better able to focus future campaigns and, hopefully, the returns on your investment should rise.

When it comes to targeting your direct mail campaign, the most important factor is your mailing list. Leeds based told us “You need to get your message across to those who are most likely respond i.e. your current customers.” To win custom from new customers, your direct mail campaign should target potential customers who match the customer profile of your existing customers.

Enhanced refinements can be achieved by further targeting your campaign by dividing your mailing list into sections and sending mailings which have been designed to target customers within a particular group or with specific shopping habits. This will help you identify further who gives the best response, enabling you to buy mailing lists of new contacts who closely match this specific profile.

Ideally a direct mail campaign should trigger a response rate of somewhere between 1% and %5 but a more realistic response rate is usually no higher than 3%. It goes without saying that the higher the response rate, the more new business you’ll win and so the aim of the game is maximise the response as much as possible.

A strong message combined with a clear call of action will help to ensure the success of your direct mailing. When offering an incentive to potential customers you need to make it as easy as possible for them to respond so make sure they know how to get in touch via email, your website, phone and postal mail. To really increase the response rate, why not consider including pre-paid response cards?

Enticing incentives can be a range of things from offers or discounts, through to prizes or free samples and don’t be afraid to creative: by targeting a number of small, different groups of customers, you’ll be able to offer successful incentives to a wider group.

The best way to evaluate and monitor the success of your campaigns is track the responses you receive: this can be done in a number of ways but it’s likely to be easiest to use specific discount or offer codes. Once your campaign is over you’ll have an overview of different approaches and be better able to evaluable which has worked the best. Don’t forget to include the costs of the campaign in your evaluation and working out a cost per response will enable you to decide whether the campaign has been a profitable success.

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