How to Set Up a Small Business Direct Mail Campaign
August 8, 2019 | Last Updated on: March 29, 2023
August 8, 2019 | Last Updated on: March 29, 2023
Direct mail campaigns are incredibly powerful. While it might feel like you throw out most of the mailers you receive on a weekly basis, you probably don’t throw out every single direct mail piece that arrives. The ones from companies you’ve already heard of and the ones you patronize get looked at, and if the coupon codes or new product or service or special offer appeals to you, you may even use them. Your target audience is the same way. If you send them interesting information and entice them with a great offer, you could win some new customers for just the cost of some time and postage. So here’s how you get started.
Small businesses run successful direct mail marketing campaigns every day. If you hope to get a high response rate and good return on investment for your marketing campaign, you need to have a clear process to follow. Here is that process.
In order to send a direct mail to potential customers, you need to know who your target audience is and how to reach them. Ideally, the list should include their names, addresses, and whether they’re a fit for a specific product or service, so you know you’re sending them the coupon codes and offers they’ll actually care about.
While your mailer doesn’t need to be a work of art, it is a marketing tool, and you don’t want it to look like junk mail, to be tossed away without being read. Make sure to include a clear call to action, whether it’s “call this phone number” or “visit this website.”
Each mailing batch should have its own unique code or identifier so you know which mailer produced which results. Being able to track the results your marketing efforts are producing will enable you to constantly improve and increase your conversion rate, making your direct mail marketing campaigns more cost-effective over time.
Campaign Before you mail your entire target market list, you should test a portion of it to make sure everything is running smoothly and that your mailing piece is producing the intended results. It’s normal to test 10 percent of the list or 250 mailers, whichever is smaller.
Campaign Now that you know your direct marketing mailers get a good response rate, it’s time to send them to the rest of your target audience list. Make sure to pace the mailing process in a way that allows you to handle all the responses you’ll be getting to this direct marketing campaign, while still taking advantage of bulk rate discounts. Link to bulk rates piece
This is the part so many businesses get wrong. Make sure you have this well planned before you start sending those mailers out. If you’ve asked potential customers to call, make sure you have enough staff trained and ready to handle those calls. If you’ve told them to request more information via mail, make sure you have a system in place to follow up with people once they’ve had a chance to review those marketing materials. Dropping the ball here will cost you new customers who were ready to sign up.
Once you’ve run the entire direct mail advertising campaign, it’s time to analyze the results and look for areas of improvement. No matter how well you’ve done on the first try, there will always be changes you can make to run an even more successful direct mail campaign next time. It’s also a good idea to have a separate direct mail campaign for your current customers to encourage them to come back to your business again and again. Generally, small businesses get a better response rate from current customers, so your return on investment for this campaign should be really great.
Companies like Vistaprint, PsPrint, and Supply & Demand are popular choices for small businesses looking to start a direct mailing campaign. But before you start working with a business and entrust them with something as crucial as an important direct mail marketing strategy, you should make sure they are a good fit for your business. Here are some questions you should ask them.
While some small businesses like to have the mailer design handled by someone else, you might prefer to have your own staff or a designer you already know and trust take care of it. Decide in advance which one you prefer and be sure to ask the company you’re speaking with how they operate. Some companies will have firm policies about using their internal creative team and some won’t have a team at all. Others may be flexible; either way, knowing in advance what you prefer will make the process of finding the right direct mailing company even easier.
There will be a lot of variance in rates and package options between direct mailing companies, so be sure to get a comprehensive list. Then sit down and figure out which package or bundle of services will best suit your business’s direct mailing needs. Shopping around and getting a few quotes is a good idea, because while you want to work with a reputable company, you also want the package that best suits your specific direct mail marketing strategy.
Before you sign up to work with a direct mailing company, you should have a clear understanding of what their workflow looks like and the timeline they will be running the project on. You may not want to work with a company that takes 2 weeks to get back to you with estimates, or you may just want to know that it takes 6 business days from when they receive the designs to send out your marketing materials. You’ll want to know if you’re working with a project manager for your direct marketing campaign, or if you’ll be expected to engage with the website and whichever customer service representative is on shift at the moment. Be aware that your budget may impact the speed and level of service you’ll be getting from a direct mailing company, so if you’re not happy with your options, check with others. You’ll be running multiple direct mailing campaigns every year, so you want to work with a company whose workflow and level of support match your project and budget.