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6 Easy Steps To Creating An Amazing Direct Mail Advertising Campaign

Posted Thursday, June16, 2011

The Ins and Outs of Direct Mail Advertising
So, you own a small business. You have been successful, but you want to take things to the next level. Perhaps, you want to continue to grow but are not sure what to do next. Why not test the marketing waters with direct mail advertising?

Direct mail marketing is one of the least expensive marketing options for a small business owner to take in order to contact more customers, and it is fairly easy to keep track of the results and the return on your investment.

But before beginning, a direct mail campaign requires you to make several decisions. Namely, who to target, what format to choose, what to say, and what image you want to present of your company to the public. Do not worry if it seems overwhelming. Grab a cup of coffee; we are about to walk you through each one.

Who to Target With Your Mailing Campaign

This seems like such an easy decision, but there are many factors involved. You should, of course, create mailing lists for your existing customers. There is no reason why they should not be included, especially since they already know and trust you.

Beyond that, think about whom your typical customer is. Online marketing companies exist that can create a detailed, direct mailing list for you based on your business and mailing needs. If you own a service oriented business, like carpet cleaning, your client is probably the woman of the house, married, over 30 and a homeowner. Renters will probably not become a customer because they do not need your service. Likewise, you might try to focus your list on dog owners, if you own a mobile dog grooming business. It is truly amazing how detailed you can get and how marketing companies can create mailing lists based on it.

Alternatively, you may want to target a particular neighborhood where many of your existing customers live if you feel you will continue to get a great response from that area. Think about who you expect that new customer to be and take a moment to jot it down.

Which Format For Direct Mail Advertising

The advertising medium options are pretty limitless in direct mail advertising, but for our purpose we will focus on the marketing envelopes filled with coupons, magazine style advertising and targeted postcard marketing. Each has its pros and cons, like any marketing campaign. You could analyze what your potential customers might read. You could base your decision on which you personally prefer as a consumer or you could just try them all.

The direct mail envelope with coupons that comes in the mail once a month or every other month from companies like ValPak can be have effective results. Try to think about what you (or your spouse) use it for.

What makes you open the envelope and flip through its contents? If you are a fine jeweler, chances are you will not get your customer out of a ValPak envelope. In fact, the next time one comes in the mail to your house, open it and see. If there are 20 other weed control companies featured, you need to take your advertising in a different direction than your competitors. On the other hand, if there aren’t any, you may have found your targeted niche to advertise in.

What to Say In Your Campaign

Again, the options are limitless. Many salespeople that sell direct advertising will encourage you to offer something to the consumer such as a percentage off their purchase, a special price or another discount. Think about your business. This tactic may work initially but beware of becoming a “coupon business”, one where your customers wait until the next mailer before coming in because they want the next coupon or special offer. Also, there is no point to extending a discount to an existing customer because they were willing to pay full price in the past. Try to think of other uses for your mailing, instead of relying on a coupons or a sale.

If you have a new business, new location or are offering a new service, use the advertising to tell them. Direct mail advertising can also be used to announce to everyone that your seasonal business is in full swing or winding down. Lastly, many businesses use advertising postcards as sort of a press release to let everyone know about a new hire. You don’t have to be a large corporation to use this tactic. Think about it; it is not really to announce the new employee. Their smart, well-paid marketing team is taking the opportunity to get their name out in front of the consumer’s face by using the new employee as an excuse. Smart.

Design For Your Mailing Campaign

First and foremost, pay for a great image. If you clean windows, pay for a great photographic image of a house with sparkling clean windows. Do not use chintzy clip art. If you have a logo, use it. Try to create consistency when presenting your business image to the public. Pretend you are one of the big boys; Coca Cola uses red with the white swirl on everything they do.

If you buy an image for your postcards, for example, consider incorporating it into your business cards, any brochures and, even, throwing it up your website. If teal blue is going to be your color, have your crew start wearing teal work shirts. You can create the same consistency and branding, even if you are a small company.

Make sure your design is simple and clean. Consumers do not like to read advertising that is cluttered or crowded. Strive to create negative space or empty space. Make sure your name and contact information is prominent. One should know who is advertising in a quick glance. Lastly, always ask for a referral. You never know when an existing customer might see it and pass it on to a friend.

When to Mail

Deciding when to mail is one of the last decisions you need to focus on. You could make it a policy to start a campaign two weeks prior to your slow season and mail every two weeks throughout it. You could also mail once a month, year round. The biggest issue to keep in mind is that, depending on the business, it takes up to 17 times for a consumer to see your name in a postcard marketing campaign and connects it with who you are and what you do.

Did you finish your coffee? Did you take notes? Hopefully, as a small business owner, you are feeling a little more confident about how direct mail advertising works. Think it over; how do you want to handle your business marketing. More importantly, watch your own mailbox and study your own behavior. What do you, as a consumer, prefer? Save any direct mail campaigns that you like and, just as importantly, save the postcards or brochures that you don’t like. You know your customer by now and should be able to make some educated decisions on what sort of response you will get. Keep track of your results, what works for your advertising and what doesn’t. Good luck!