The Never and Always of Direct Mail Marketing

It’s time. Catalogers are gearing up for the season of direct mail marketing. Just a couple more months before Halloween hits and after that, sales for retailers will begin to flourish. Yep, it’s definitely approaching that season. But lucky for us the hustle bustle isn’t here yet and you know what that means? It means we have time! Oh and opportunity too. So here’s the deal, postage is expensive and the last thing your company needs to do is spend oodles of money wastefully sending out catalogs. How do you ensure that this won’t happen? Let’s examine some dos and don’ts of direct marketing to help ensure that your mail is reaching its intended audience.

Never…

Try Once and Give Up: One of the most important pieces of marketing is the follow through. You must show your consumer that you genuinely care about them. Don’t just send out a catalog and assume it will make you millions.

Always…

Track the behavior of your consumers and learn what causes them to place an order. Sending out smaller catalogs (such as slim jims) offers a lower postage rate and can help advertise key products or your larger catalog. Maybe include a QR code on them that states: “Like what you see? Visit us on the web and request your free full size catalog today!” This is a great way to test your mailing lists and see what kind of response you can expect from them. Once you commit to a mailing schedule, don’t disappoint your customers. Make sure they get what they need to become a Lifetime Valued Customer.

Never…

Be Sloppy: Okay, so this might sound like common sense; but, if you’re using loose staples to save money on postage and manufacturing or if your catalog is a bunch of wholesaler catalogs cut up and spiral bound together, you are likely not to get as much of a Return on Investment as you otherwise would if you had sent out a well-planned, well executed creative piece of mail; one that your customer will appreciate having. Remember, your catalog is the face of your business. Respect your own brand and use your catalog and other direct mail marketing efforts to represent the quality of your company. You don’t want it to appear as though you don’t care.

Always…

Follow the Rules of the USPS: So many people think they can beat the system. Well the truth is the people at the post office end up with as much “junk mail” as the rest of us. All that you spent on direct marketing is now down the tube of nonexistence. The best thing to do is make sure your mail gets to where it needs to go.

Never…

Stop prospecting. Steve Lett writes about prospecting in an article titled “Getting Back Into the Prospecting Mode.” In the article he explains: “As we emerge from the recession, those companies who continue marketing and mining for new buyers will be in a much better position to take advantage of the rebound.” Steve explains in this article that catalog sales are beginning to decline because prospecting has declined. If you have not done it recently, it’s time to start prospecting again.

Always…

Calculate Your Return on Investment (ROI): There are a few good ways to track your ROI. If you have not done this, now is the time start. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • QR Codes
  • Personalized URLS
  • Response Codes
  • Coupons

The beauty of it is that by using these practices you can calculate a ROI almost anywhere. Tradeshows, Direct E-mail Marketing, even shopping malls; this allows you to determine which technique is the most beneficial to your companies and that is where you can put more time and money. If you are not getting the ROI that you think you should, perhaps it’s time for a new mailing list.

Keep trying, keep perfecting and don’t give up. As long as you keep the mail flowing, you will always have advantages over e-tailers. Stick to these tips, do it right, and reap the rewards.

About the Author: Jim Gibbs

Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Dingley Press. Jim has been with Dingley since 2002 and lives in Maine near our Lisbon, Maine plant location.