Five Steps to Direct Mail Success

direct mailDirect mail is still a very powerful method to grow your business when implemented correctly. But, just like every other tactic on the planet, the success of your direct mail campaign(s) is largely determined by the work or the strategy you develop before the very first piece is delivered.

First, let me address all the marketing gurus and other naysayers that don’t promote this tactic and worse claim it isn’t effective anymore . . . . . you’re wrong! I was going to write this in a different, much softer, more diplomatic way, but decided against it. I have used direct mail marketing to acquire new customers, promote events and build businesses for over 20 years. And I still use direct mail as one of my marketing strategies and guess what? It still works!

But like every tactic, there is a right and a wrong way to approach direct mail campaigns. But, be aware at the outset that it takes commitment, action and persistence for direct mail campaigns to succeed.

5 Steps To A Successful Direct Mail Campaign

If you have read this far, here are the five critical things you need to do right at the outset to ensure your direct mail campaigns will be a success:

  1. Develop a strategy -your strategy should include at the minimum

    • What are you trying to accomplish with your campaigns. This can be very simple . . . . to acquire new customers, build awareness, invite to an event, etc. But, you do need to be very clear on this point.

    • Budget – the amount of money you will devote to your campaign over a given period of time

    • Frequency – the number of times you will mail to the same group of prospects over a given period. I suggest mailing to the same group at least one time per month for six months.

  2. Use only direct response direct mail campaigns – Direct response refers to what the name implies; all mailings should have a ‘call to action’ or request a direct response. There is nothing that sabotages a direct mail campaign more than to not give the recipient a ‘call to action’. Tell them what to do next . . . . visit the website, call, email, pick up the phone, etc.

  3. Refine and narrow your list – One of the greatest benefits of using direct response mail as a tactic is your ability to narrow your target list to the degree you choose. Whether it is by geography, industry, income level, gender, the success of your direct mail campaigns depends upon you limiting your mailings to those most likely to use your product or service.

  4. Follow a formula when writing copy – there are a number of formulas that you can use to produce effective copy, but the easiest one out there and probably the simplest to use is the tried and true AIDA formula. AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. If you follow this formula when writing your copy, you will produce better copy.

  5. Test your copy – always test your mailings with a small number of mailings before sending out “the” campaign. A simple method to accomplishing a test is the A/B split test. This is where you have a small sample size of say 200. You mail 100 hundred of your target market a mailing with one headline; and the other 100 a mailing with a different headline to see which mailing will get a better response. An important note for you to remember. If you use the A/B split testing method, you can only change one element of your direct mail piece at a time so that you can determine what factor made one piece more effective than the other. The three parts of your mailing you may want to test include the headline, the call to action or the P.S.


The benefits of using direct mail include:

  • Less competition -because direct mail is not the new shiny object that is promoted these days, there is less competition and a great opportunity for you to stand out from the pack by using this vehicle.

  • Precise target – you can precisely target your messages to a very specific audience.

  • Control of the message – you have total control of the message you would like to communicate to your target.

  • Control of the timing – you can time your mailings to coincide with the purchasing timing triggers of your target audience.

The most difficult part of developing a direct mail campaign is getting started. So commit to start your campaign today!


Thanks to Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, Joe Costantino, for this article



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