According to a recent survey, 77% of consumers who were not already customers were driven online to complete online credit applications by direct mail advertisements.  Credit card companies have massive marketing budgets and could focus all of their energies on T.V. and radio advertisements.  However, they have discovered that relentless direct mail marketing is the most effective strategy for reaching new customers.

Credit card companies know that direct mail gives them the ability to reach a very specific demographic of the population at minimum price.  For example, credit card companies know that a college student is very likely to act upon an offer for a credit card.  As soon as a student graduates high school, that student starts receiving direct mail credit card offers.  And usually, within months most students have acted upon those offers.

So how does the process work for a smaller business.  Lets say that you sell red golf widgets:

Step One: Determine who purchases red golf widgets

Your red golf widgets are expensive and your customers are typically men between the ages of 30 and 45.  You also know that most of your customers have an annual salary greater than $75,000 per year.

Step Two: Determine where your customers are located

You know that your customers probably live in houses with values greater than $190,000.  You also know that if you canvas a neighborhood that is located on a golf course, you are going to have a greater chance of reaching customers who play golf.

Step Three: Determine how many mailings

How many direct mail pieces are you going to send out and when?  When selling a more expensive item or service, the amount of time it takes to complete a sale increases.  This means, that a customer is less likely to respond the first time they see an advertisement.  The most effective strategy for red golf widgets is to send out direct mail pieces to a smaller geographic region five times.  Some companies may decide to send out one mailer to a larger audience.  However, the more times a customer sees a business advertisement, the more likely they are to try the product or service.

Step Four: Design and Printing

Its time to develop your fliers and have them printed.  Most printing houses have in house designers that can assist you in designing your mailing piece for your target audience.  After the design, the print shop will print the mail pieces.  If you are unsure of where a good print shop is located, you can contact Better Letter for a referral to a print shop the Better Letter team has worked with in your area.

Step Five: Mailing Your Direct Mail Campaign

After having your mailing piece printed, the next step is to have your mailing handled by a mailing house. A mailing house handles the addressing and sending of the actual mail pieces.  By having just one address, the mailing house can send the mailer to the surrounding area.  Simply give the mail house an address of one of your customers located on the golf course and the mail house will take care of the rest.

Postage is expensive these days.  And if you were to send out direct mail at full price, the cost would be astronomical.  This is where Better Letter comes into play.  Due to the volume of Better Letter’s mailings, Better Letter gets extremely discounted mailing rates.

Better Letter is able to pick up your printed direct mail pieces anywhere in the Atlanta area.  Would you like more information about our Atlanta direct mail service?

Direct mail marketing can be a very effective technique for gaining new sales, whether from new or current customers.  It has been the preferred method of advertising for many large companies, and that is not going to change anytime soon.

1). Research is your friend – leverage what you know about your customer base
By knowing who your target market is and just targeting them, you can increase your success rate dramatically. If you send out 10,000 advertisements for a retirement village and 5,000 of them go to twenty somethings, your success rate is going to be very low. Contrarily, if you send them to people 60 and over, your success rate is going to be astronomical.

2). Slow and steady wins the race
It is important to remember that the most effective direct mail campaigns, are just that, campaigns. The more times a consumer sees your service or product, the more likely they are going to convert into one of your customers. A one time shot in the dark mailer is simply not going to be effective. Go ahead and plan on doing more than one mailing to see the best results.

3). Crunch The Numbers
Determine how much budget you have for this project and prepare accordingly. For example, if you have the budget for a 10,000 piece mailing, break those up into five different mailings of 2,500 pieces. This will be much more effective in the long run, cost less up front, and return high dividends. Especially if you pay attention to tip 1.

4). Determine mail piece size
Print houses make money based on the amount of printing that they do, so they will encourage you to print large fliers and advertisements. However, in many cases, it may be more beneficial to print postcards and hit a larger target audience. If you are planning on sending out 6 mailings, start with postcards for the first 3. As your revenue increases, you could easily create a larger mailing piece for the last 3 mailings.

5). Style is not a good substitute for substance
Graphic artists are great, but you should never substitute the substance of your advertising message for style. Substance is what sells. The substance of a message: “We have the largest selection of wedding dresses in Atlanta at the best price” carries more weight than just some nice graphics of a wedding dress.

Ultimately, you want to give your substance with style. The advertisement should catch someones attention, but the message should stick with them.  The only exception to this rule is if you are selling style. For example, an advertisement for a graphic artist better be top notch graphics, because the graphics are the message.

Overall, if you take the time to research your project and plan out your marketing strategy you will most likely be successful.

When contracting out printing services it is important to do research. Doing research up front can help you make your direct mail campaign profitable with as few headaches as possible.  We have put together a list of questions you may want to answer before going to the printer.

1. Who is your target market?

This is an extremely important question because it helps you answer all of the other questions. Take a sampling of your customers. Identify their gender, race, economic status and as much other information as possible. Take that information and see what your customers have in common. Once you see what the most common factor is, find the second and the third. Than conduct your direct mail campaign to that specific group.

For example, you may find that your average customer is female, older than 40 and live in homes over $200,000. It is much easier to develop a strategy that is effective for that group than a strategy that is effective for everyone.

2. Based on your target market, at what quality should you print?

If you are targeting high end businesses and your flier looks low end, you may not get as many responses as you planned. On the other hand, the expense of high end mail pieces may not be justified if you are targeting lower income individuals.

  • Color or “Black and White” Printing: If you are focused on a high end clients who may spend thousands of dollars with your business you may want to use color because it gives a high level of professionalism. On the other hand, if your customers don’t spend thousands with your business and you depend on mass sales, it may be a better option to use black and white so the cost doesn’t eat up your profits.
  • DPI: Or dots per inch, is a measurement of printing quality. The higher the DPI the better the quality. When getting quotes always ask about DPI, because although some quotes may seem similar, they may be at ver different DPI’s.

3. How much should you spend on printing?

There are often hidden charges in direct mail campaigns. They are not really hidden, they are just not often thought about. For example, letter addressing. Once you have a flier, you will have to address and send it.

Depending on your situation it may be better to lower your printing cost and spend more of your budget on actually mailing the flier. On the other hand, it may be more appropriate to have a super nice mail piece and mail it out to individuals who earn more than $200,000 per year in your area.

If you are in need of printing servces, you can contact Better Letter and we can assist you with your printing needs.