How to Design a Direct Mail Campaign
Direct mail is an effective way to market your small business because it provides you with the ability to better target your audience. Using lists you purchase or rent, you can send an in-depth message to current customers or potential clients. Careful list selection and test mailings help you increase the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns. Work with a list broker and your post office to increase your chances of success with direct mail campaigns.
Develop a target audience. In order to executive a successful direct mail campaign, you'll need to send your materials to the right audience. Write a list of characteristics your audience has in common. Include gender, age, marital and parental status, geographic location and other facts to target your exact, desired audience.
Contact a list broker or other owners of lists to see if they rent or sell lists of people with the specific demographics you desire. List brokers act as intermediaries between list owners and you. For example, after they get your list of demographics, they may match you with a magazine subscription list, trade association membership roster or a charity's donor list. Contact these types of associations or organizations directly to see if they will sell or rent you their lists. Contact the post office if you wish to mail to households in a particular zip code, rather than by demographics
Create a budget for your direct mail campaign. Include the cost of copywriting, design, layout, printing and mailing. Mailing costs include sorting the pieces, postage and return postage on pieces that come back with bad addresses if you want to track that for future mailings.
Determine the form of your mailing based on your budget. You may wish to place a letter in an envelope, send a postcard or create a self-mailing brochure. Once you know the form of your piece, you will know how much room you have for copy. Meet with your post office to determine the requirements for direct mail pieces.
Create your message, dividing it into different sections. If you use a brochure or flyer, different portions of your message will appear on different panels of the document. This will require you to break your copy into stand-alone sections. Determine where you want to place each section on the document. For example, if the piece will contain a registration form, the information on the back of the registration form will be mailed back with the form. Place information, such as the mailing label, here if you want your recipients to keep other information on hand.
Develop more than one piece and test each. Rather than committing to one message, design or type of format and mailing it to your entire list, create two or more different messages and test mail 100 or more pieces of each to see if one works better than another. Based on your test results, decide which piece you feel will be most effective.
( Rick Suttle, Demand Mania)