Monday, January 13, 2014

Direct Mail Campaigns 101: From A to Z

So you want to do a direct mail campaign? Great! But you've never done one before? That's ok too. Direct mail offers a ton of advantages over online marketing, and generates 10% more new customers than email marketing. And if you're considering creating a direct mail campaign as part of your existing digital marketing efforts, 62% of digital campaigns see an increase in ROI when combined with direct mail. The so called "old school" direct mail campaign still has got plenty to offer the modern day marketer, but if you've only ever done work in the digital world, how do you know where to start? Here's 1- steps for kicking off your digital marketing campaign:

1. Define Your Goals: Start with some very specific goals for your campaign. What type of results would you like to see? These goals will need to be specific ("earning more money than you spend" as a goal isn't going to cut it).You'll also need to set up some realistic goals. Start by doing some research on the average results from a mail campaign (for instance, the average response rate for letters is 3.42%, according to the DMA).

2. Write Up a Plan: There's going to several different factors to keep in mind before you start working on the creative design for your direct mail piece. Think about who will be receiving this piece- Who is your audience? Are they prospective or past clients? What is the offer? Do you have a mailing list ready or will you need to purchase one? You'll want to have all of these details ironed out before you begin creative work.

3. Get Your List Together: Now that you know who your audience is, it's time to put together your list. You have a few different options here. While buying a list can be good, you have to be very careful when choosing from whom you'll be buying the list. If you're using an existing list, you'll want to take in to consideration the age of the list, as well as whether or not it's possible to segment according to your target market.

4. Start with a Concept: Before you start designing anything, you'll want to make sure that your conept is strong and that it effectively addresses your campaign goals. There's no point in starting to work in Adobe Illustrator if there's a possibility you may have to start all over again when you realize your initial idea doesn't hit all the right points. Also consider more practical elements such as the type of direct mail piece (post cards, a standard sized letter and envelope etc.) as well as the colors, paper etc.

5. Create a Strong Call to Action: If you had to choose 1 action that you most want people to take after reading your direct mail piece, what would it be? Whether that action is "visit your website" or "pick up the phone and call!" you need to specifically address this in your call to action. Make it clear and easy to understand so that your reader knows exactly what they should do next.

6. Design Your Piece: While actually creating your direct mail piece is very important (obviously) generally people start with the design first, then worry about the details later. While they are obviously both important, make sure you plan out all of the details of the campaign before jumping in to your campaighn.

7. Test and Refine: The only way your campaign is going to get better is through constantly refining and testing your campaign. You can test your campaign in a number of different ways. One idea is to split test this campaign. Have two nearly identical direct mail pieces, but have each of them feature a different call to action, then send 1 piece to 50% of your list, and the other piece to the remaining half.  Split testing can help you make decisions on follow up campaigns and improve your ROI.


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