Direct Marketing

How To Prepare For Your Direct Marketing Campaign

Bill Nichols

June 01, 2022

Bill Nichols

June 01, 2022

According to Data Targeting Solutions, direct mail boasts a 4.9% response rate, which is about five to nine times higher than any other advertising channel. That rate can even increase by personalizing your mail piece! If you’re thinking about starting a direct marketing campaign, you need to prepare. You can’t just wing it. Well, you can, but you would regret it.

Two of the most important, yet often overlooked aspects of a direct marketing campaign are:

  1. Creating a detailed schedule to make sure your mail piece goes out at the perfect time.
  2. Narrowing down your target audience so that your campaign reaches the right people.

Keeping these two things in mind will help you avoid any money-sucking marketing blunders. Let’s work backward from when your direct mail should arrive in mailboxes to define a timeline.

Timing Is Everything

Step 1: Set your delivery schedule goal

When should the direct mail piece be in mailboxes? Think about the optimum time for delivery: too early and customers will forget an upcoming sale; too late and they won’t have time to fit your sale into their schedule. Don’t try to pinpoint an exact delivery date; instead, come up with a three to four-day range for delivery.

Step 2: Calculate mailing time

Mail delivery times vary by class of mail and the mail’s destination. For example, presort standard mail could take three days (local), 5-6 days (statewide) and as long as two weeks (nationwide). Your local post office or third-party mail service should be able to provide realistic estimates of delivery times. Most will give you an estimate that is a range. (For example, 1-3 days for local delivery). It is critical to have your direct mail piece to the post office on schedule. Otherwise, you might have to send it first class to get it to your customers on time. Doing so will increase the mailing cost by around $150 for every 1,000 pieces mailed.

Step 3: Determine print turnaround

The time needed to print a direct mail piece depends on the complexity of the piece, type of printing (digital printing can speed up the process and be cost-effective for smaller quantities) and a printer’s schedule. The time required for printing will shock those who haven’t worked in marketing. Printers always calculate project completion in terms of “working days.” Make sure you understand what that means in each printer’s case as workdays and holidays observed vary from printer to printer.

Step 4: Set a deadline for design

Here’s another variable that is hard to gauge. Whether the design team is in-house or you work with an agency, ask for realistic estimates on project turnaround, and be sure to factor in slowdowns that result from reviews and revisions by you and your staff.

Step 5: Add a few more days

After you’ve worked your way back to a start date, back up another couple of days to give your schedule a cushion. A project typically has a bump or two–a snowstorm slows down mail service or the CEO takes an extra day to review a postcard’s copy, for example. But by working in this fashion, you will be able to stay on track and get your direct mail delivered in a timely fashion.

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Learn about your customers

Taking a look at your existing customer database can help provide direction for future marketing messages. You may not realize it, but your customer base has a personality. Identify any similarities in your data, like demographics and shopping habits. These similarities will craft your campaign from the tone of the message to the offer.

Find a reliable data providers

Inaccurate data will kill your marketing campaign. Having the right partner to help source reliable, compliant data is imperative. Ideally, your data provider will also help you compile your records and offer advice on creating a database if you don’t have one. Here at Bluegrass, we strive to be an end-to-end partner. You can purchase a mailing list based on your target audience or slice the pie of the general public and divide them into a target audience that makes sense. We help our customers compile their data as well as create a strategy to best reach their intended audience for every campaign.

Getting new business

The end goal of a direct marketing campaign is to get new customers, no matter your industry. Direct mail is a great way to generate new leads, but also a great way to nurture those leads. Makes sure when planning your strategy to look at your customer life cycle, then step back and make sure that your messaging fits in the big picture. Before you write one word of copy, write down the purpose of your direct marketing piece. It should just be a sentence or two. Perhaps the mailer is designed to drive new customers to your landing page. Or, its purpose is to increase sales for the first quarter through a limited-time discount. Based on your clearly stated goal, write your marketing copy. Give the most important part of your message the most emphasis with a compelling call to action.

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