Mailing Tactics

by Tommaso Occhiuto, Progressive Direct Marketing

I’m sure anyone who has tried to figure out the best strategy/tactic to use in direct mail has left in frustration.

That is because there is no single right answer. There are many ways to attract the recipient’s attention. This is particularly true when making specific decisions about your tactics.

Once a decision is made on the overall strategy, you must consider the particulars on how to generate or motivate your response. So, how do you determine the tactics? Where do you start?

Start with a trusted source…your mail box. Yes, your own mail box. Every day you get bombarded with offers (and packages). Start here. See what you like and why. Which package attracted your attention first? Was it the size, the design or the teaser on the outer envelope, or possibly the color scheme?

Keep checking your mail box as one of these packages could yield the clue to developing a very powerful campaign for your own company.

When you create your own mailing, look at it with the same objectivity as the recipient. If you wouldn’t open or respond, who will?

Start with the proper timing of your mailer. This is from when you drop it off at the post office to the delivery in the homes. If the arrival conflicts with some other event, such as holidays, elections, graduations, vacations, then adjustments need to be made.

Your carrier envelope should create a good impression. Teasers are often used to create curiosity which creates readership. The letter and text should be long enough to tell your compelling story without any added “fluff”.

Date your offer. It’s an effective way to increase and speed up response times. Get your respondent engaged. Interaction increases response.

Decide if a brochure or buck slip should be included. What about premiums? If used, make sure they support your strategy. They can increase response rates from 15% to 20%.

Follow ups are equally as important as the original mailing. They should be done in a timely manner (4 to 5 weeks max). Make sure you offer the recipient several ways to respond; phone number, email, fax, or include a BRC or BRE.

And always remember to thank them. A thank you goes a very long way toward your next campaign. And don’t forget the most important ingredient in any direct mail effort – the list.

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