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Ten Crazy Direct Mail Mistakes that Cost You Money

Direct mail can fail. It can also bring you loads of new leads. What’s the difference? Check out these ten crazy direct mail mistakes and see if you’re making any of them. Most of the time, you can turn an unprofitable campaign into a profitable one just by cleaning a few of these up…

1. Mailing only once

Direct mail offers are like potato chips, one just isn’t enough. It takes a few impressions for some of your prospects to respond. If you only mail once, the people who might have responded the second or third time never respond. You’ll lose more money than you could have possibly “lost” by sending a second and/or third mailing.

2. Mailing to People who don’t care

The list the most important part of your direct mail campaign. No matter how good your offer is, it will never sell if your prospects don’t want it. A good qualified list of 500 to 1,000 customers will bring you better results than a list of 100,000 customers who don’t care.

3. Using “cheap” list brokers

Not all list brokers are created equal. Some of them, especially the “cheaper” ones, have never checked their lists to make sure the information is still accurate. If you buy a cheap list of 1,000 leads, but only 60% of them are accurate, you could waste more money than you would have wasted by buying a more “expensive” list.

4. Mailing bulk

Bulk mail (metered) screams junk mail and junk mail goes right into the garbage. Of course, it might be less expensive to send in bulk, but the money you invest into direct mail marketing isn’t what really matters. What matters is how much you make, and bulk mailings simply don’t generate the same response as mailing which use real stamps.

5. Not using the prospects name

Using someone’s first name in a direct mailer doesn’t throw up the “junk mail” warning as fast as something like: “current resident.” Don’t send out generic mails. Use the person’s first name whenever possible, on the envelope and the insert.

6. Having only one response option

If you only have one response option on your direct mail pieces, you’re going to get fewer responses. Some customers won’t want to call or contact your company directly. They might want more information without talking to a sales person. So use a free recorded message and an 800 number or a landing page with a free download to help them get more information.

You can always invite them to contact you after delivering the information, but if you don’t give them this option, they might never contact you at all.

7. Not following up with other forms of media

Using direct mail by itself is great, but in most cases if you follow up with a phone call and an email, your responses rates will more than double. You’ll find multiple case studies on this - some showing up to a 500% increase in response, just from using telemarketing in conjunction with direct mail.

8. Having a poor closer on the phones

If you’re inviting your customers to call your company, have someone on the phone who knows how to answer questions and to close deals. If the person is working for a commission, even better. I’ve seen dozens of companies send out great mailings, only to have the phone number route the customer to someone who didn’t care if the deal closed or not. Don’t make this mistake; put someone on the phone that can turn your new calls into leads and sales.

9. Writing bad copy

A good message is a very important part of your direct mail campaign. If your design is good and your list is good and you avoid ALL the other mistakes in this article, a poorly written message can still make your direct mail campaign a flop. Either hire a professional copywriter or have one of your best salespeople write your copy. If you write the copy yourself, have a second set of eyes look over it and offer feedback before you mail.

10. Scrapping a campaign instead of measuring results and trying again

If you run a direct mail campaign and avoid ALL the mistakes in this article, you call still come up short when it comes to reaching ROI. But don’t give up. You could still have a winning campaign. Measure your results, look at who bought and find out as much as you can about your buyers. Do this every time you run your campaign, and every time you’ll learn something new.

After a few launches, you’ll have a campaign that runs like a Swiss watch, which is certainly better than trying dozens of different campaigns and hoping that one of them finally works.

Get Some Help

So that’s your direct mail checklist. Run your campaign through this list before you mail and correct the errors. In time, you’ll have a campaign that generates new business EVERY time you run it and you’ll be able to invest your marketing dollars with confidence.

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