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5 Point Direct Mail Checklist: What You MUST Do Before You Mail

If you are new to direct mail marketing the process may seem a little intimidating.  A successful direct mail campaign really involves five key points that make the difference in your response rate.

Direct mail response is determined by The 40/40/20 Rule.  Responses are impacted 40% by the quality of your list, 40% by your offer and 20% by the quality of your mailer.  Follow this checklist and use The 40/40/20 Rule to your advantage.

Point 1 – Want Great Results?  Build a Great List.

Direct mail results are built on the quality of your list.  You can build a list from your own contacts and past customers or you can purchase a list from the internet or various sources.  No matter where you obtain the starting list, spend time making sure your list is error free and properly targeted for your demographic.  Consider the following questions to fine tune your list.

  • Should this list be purged for duplicates, deceased contacts, or bad addresses?
  • Have individuals on your “Do Not Contact” list been removed?
  • Would separating the list by demographics like gender or age allow you to more accurately target your message to your contact?
  • Is the list current?

Remember your marketing plan and the purpose of your direct mail campaign.  If your ultimate goal is lead generation, then including former or current customers might not make sense.  If your goal is order generation, then targeting individuals with decision making power such as buyers or homeowners is more profitable than random individuals within a group.

Since 40% of your response rate depends on the quality of your list, take the time to get it right before sending out your mailing.   It’s just too important to cut corners.

Point 2 – What’s Your Offer?

You’ve set a goal and you’ve decided who to contact.  The next step is creating an offer than will motivate your contacts to respond.    Consider your offer from the viewpoint of your target contact.  Can the reader at one glance easily understand what the offer is?  Is it powerful and relevant enough to make them want to take the next step?

Powerful offers typically involve one of these three little words… FREE, SAVE or WIN.  Give away a promotional item or sample, offer a discount or coupon, or create a contest entry and you have a potential winner.

  Point 3 – A Creative and Compelling Mailer

A compelling mailer is all about creating an amazing first impression.  You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of your contact and entice them to consider your offer.  Using simple but emotionally powerful imagery is vital.

Once you capture their attention, you need compelling copy.  Simple, powerful sentences and concrete terms are most effective.  Draw your contact in with an emotional appeal or a story.  Surprise them with an unexpected twist or make them laugh.  Give them a reason to continue reading.

Remember, your mailer is selling your offer not your business.  A common mistake in direct mail marketing is loading the piece with extra information that is not relevant to the offer itself.  Instead highlight the benefits of your offer and tell them specifically and clearly how to respond.

Point 4 – A Clear Call to Action

Make sure your contact gets the message with a clear call to action.  Use bold fonts, colors, and exclamation points to make sure your call to action stands out.  Encourage a response by giving multiple ways to take action such as a personalized URL, a phone number, a link to social media, or an invitation to your store.

Repeat your call to action at least three times in your direct mail marketing piece.  Make sure they don’t miss it.  You might even consider adding a post script to remind them to take action right away to get the benefits you offer.

Point 5 – Are You Ready For The Response?

Before mailing make sure you are ready to respond quickly to responses.  If you’ve offered a URL verify that the links work and the landing page is ready and waiting.  If you are encouraging a visit to your store or use of coupon, be prepared with the promotional items or products you’ve offered.

Direct mail marketing usually doesn’t stand alone.  Are you planning to follow up with an email campaign or an electronic newsletter?  If so, make sure you are prepared to immediately follow up as planned.

Make the most of The 40/40/20 Rule and respond to each lead promptly.  You’ll turn responses into revenue!


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