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One great aspect of direct mail is that you can communicate with anyone, with no opt-ins or subscriptions required to reach your target audience. That also means your recipients are barraged with a lot of unwanted mail, and your message will be competing for attention. Here are some tips to help you cut through the clutter and connect with your direct mail audience.

Visual Impact

Design is key to standing out among the many other pieces in a recipient’s mail box. Postcards, self-mailers and envelopes with enclosures are just a few of the many options accepted by the United States Postal Service. For local mailings, you can even use Customized MarketMail to send custom die-cut mailer shapes such as dinosaurs, stars, palm trees, pizza, etc.

Make sure you understand the cost of the shape, size and weight of your desired mail piece for your chosen mail class. For example, a large 11” x 6” postcard can mail inexpensively via Market Mail (formerly called Standard Mail), but that same postcard mailed First Class may cost nearly triple in postage. A marketing agency or mail house can help you understand what’s accepted by the USPS and compare the cost of various options.

Relevant Message

Okay, you have a great, stand-out design, now what? The success of your direct mail campaign depends on having a clear, concise message. Most people won’t bother to read an entire mail piece unless something really catches their eye, and personalization is a great way to get your recipient’s attention. Consider using variable text such as salutations or personalized offers, or variable images that will resonate with the unique demographic of each recipient. The more targeted your message is to the end recipient, the more likely it is the get noticed and elicit a response.

Know Your Audience

Your customers aren’t identical, so how can you speak to them on a personal level? A marketing agency can analyze your transactional data to determine the demographics of your customer base, understand who your best customers are, and develop copy that will speak to your direct mail recipients in their own terms. In addition, your agency can then use your customer profile data to purchase direct mail records for prospects that match the demographics of your best customers. Refining your prospects in this way also provides cost savings because you can mail to a smaller group of vetted prospects rather than blanketing a larger generic audience.

Measure Results

If a response or reaction is desired, you should have a clear call-to-action using language tailored to each recipient. Use a unique offer code to track redemptions or responses, per recipient or per campaign. Perform a trend analysis on responses/redemptions to determine ROI. What worked? What didn’t? Consider using A/B testing to determine what works best for each demographic. Record the details and results of your direct mail campaigns so you can develop a historical reference that will help guide future campaigns.

Remember, direct mail doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. The more informed and strategic you are in the planning of your campaign, the more successful it will be. Research, insight and creativity are all that’s needed to develop a thoughtful and personal message that will connect with your recipients.

Laurie McCormick

Author Laurie McCormick

Laurie is a Direct Mail Marketing Manager at InQuest Marketing and handles all things data. She compares the excitement she gets when working with a giant data file to the feeling of solving a mystery. Outside of the office, Laurie designs and creates custom clothing and jewelry. Her favorite meal (at any time of day) is a classic diner-style breakfast and her favorite movie is The Shining.

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