Optimizing Your Direct Mail Campaigns

If you were forced to choose only one sure marketing strategy for getting advertising or promotional materials to your new and future customers, that method should be direct mail.

A direct mailing campaign offers many attractive features. It is an effective and convenient way to get information about your business and products to your customer base right in their own homes or businesses. It is easy to catch your customers eyes with attractive brochures, and you can hold their attention as they peruse your ads at their own leisure. It is also a good way to get your information to a large group of people and is extremely economical! In addition, your potential customers will find this marketing technique less annoying than intrusive methods like telemarketing.

There are some downsides to direct mail, however. For one, if not formatted correctly, your customers may perceive your mailings as junk mail and not give them the attention you hoped for. As a result, the recipients might not bother opening your mailings and actually look at your offer.

This risk is more than offset by the huge payoff that can result from direct mailing campaigns. Even if only a few percent of your mailings result in successful sales, the slight cost of direct mailing will be well worth your time and money.

Here is an example of how direct mailing can pay off. Suppose you have an item you would like to market that costs you $50 to make or buy, and that you sell for $200. To inform customers of your product you send out 1000 mailings to past customers and people in your local community. Lets say you can do these for about 50 cents per item (the cost of producing the advertisement and postage). That means your 1000 mailings will cost you $500 total.

Next, lets make a very pessimistic estimate of your return rate. Suppose that only 1.5% of the people who receive your mailing actually end up purchasing your product. This means that you will make 15 sales of $200 each. This might not seem like very much until you analyze the costs and profits. You invested $500 in producing the mailings and $500 to obtain the product. You had a gross income of $3000, and, after costs, a net income of $2000. This is a huge return for what was essentially a very small investment!

The best part of the deal is that this example used a very small rate of successful sales conversion (1.5%). With quality mailings that are adequately focused on your customers needs, you should be able to increase that number up to 20% or more!

As another example, consider a recent popular self-help book. The publishers of this book chose as one of their first marketing campaigns a series of mass direct mailings. After their first mailing, they estimated their success rate in converting mailings to sales at 20%. They then followed this up with a second wave of mailings in which they greatly increased the mail volume. Their success rate shot up to 24%! In a third wave of mailings, their success rate stayed steady at 22%!

This is a good example of a well-timed direct mail strategy. The publisher used the first mailing to get the word out about the book and kick off sales. The second and third mailings were timed to capitalize on the success and recognition that the book had already obtained. Once people had heard good things about the piece of literature, they just needed the extra incentive of the mail advertisement to motivate them to go to the store and make the purchase.

To create your own success story like this, make sure to take care when you create your mailings. A poorly written ad will not increase your sales no matter how many people you send it to. In fact, writing a good ad is difficult to accomplish and requires a good deal of creativity and professional quality writing. You can find books on the subject if you are unsure about your writing and graphical design skills.

The other tricky part of a direct mail technique is to decide who to send the materials to. If you send your mailings to the wrong people, you are wasting your time and money. Do a thorough analysis of your customer base and their purchase records in order to determine who are the best targets for your direct mail campaign.

Direct mail is one of the easiest, cheapest, and most efficient marketing devices you can use. A little thought and care into the creation of your direct mail advertisements will reap you huge rewards in sales and is well worth your time.