Thursday, September 8, 2011

Direct Mail Marketing: The WOW Factor

This is a follow up blog to my previous post Direct Mail: The Forgotten Piece.

As a marketer, I often sign up to receive junk mail from many different companies, as I like looking at the creative aspects of certain marketing campaigns. I am always amazed with the effort many companies put forth in their direct mail pieces, and unfortunately we all know where the majority of those direct mail pieces end up (in the recycling).

I have used direct mail in many marketing campaigns over the years, and have seen some great success with this form of marketing. On the other hand, I have also encountered many companies who don't see success in direct mail campaigns at all. A few years ago I was working in an industry that specialized in branded merchandise, and was amazed the first time I learned that a 2% response rate on direct mail pieces was considered a success.

There are many factors surrounding the success of direct mail campaigns, so I wanted to share some points on how to make the most of your direct mail campaign:

1. The WOW factor:

Many direct mail pieces simply lack that wow factor, something that integers the target audience to read on. A lot of thought needs to go into planning your direct mail campaign; target audience, proper messaging, and design just to name a few.

I have had the opportunity to examine some amazing direct mail pieces over the years as my boyfriend works at a printing company. Ones that always catch my attention are ones that don't look like every other direct mail piece out there. Using the standard 4 x 6 postcard format just doesn't cut it anymore. Consumers are continuously bombarded with direct mail junk on a daily basis, ask your self "what makes my direct mail piece stick out from the rest."

2. Messaging:

Businesses should clearly state what actions they want consumers to make - ie call, visit a website, email for more information, and so on. All pertinent information should be displayed on the direct mailer, including location, website address, phone number, and email address. A great suggestion here would be using QR codes to help track your offline marketing activities.


3. Design:

Whether it be the shape, colour or design of the direct mail piece, it is all about standing out from the rest of junk consumers receive. I often find that direct mail pieces with die cuts or solid colours catch consumers attention better than the standard postcard loaded with heavy text and images. Design plays a huge factor when it comes to consumers deciding to keep your piece for future reference or just scrapping it.

4. Distribution Schedule:

Believe it or no, timing really is everything when it comes to sending out your direct mail pieces. Certain factors like vacations, fiscal year end, and holiday seasons play a big part in whether your direct mail piece is looked at or not. Keep in mind your target audience, when is their busy season, when they might be on vacations. A great suggestion for those working on sending out direct mail pieces for Christmas promotions, October and the beginning of November are always the best time to send out Christmas promo's. Consider the amount of junk mail sent out throughout the month of December, and with Costco bringing Christmas items out earlier each year, it gets consumers thinking of Christmas earlier each year.

5. ROI

It is always good to keep track of the responses you receive from your direct mailer. This will help you measure the success for future mailers. Many companies are also able to obtain critical feedback from their response rate for the next round of mailers.

A few suggestions for measuring the effectiveness of your offline marketing activities, QR codes and customer landing page domains. Depending on your CMS, many programs allow you to duplicate the landing page while adding a custom or shortened URL to direct your traffic to. This will allow you to keep track of your stats and learn how many people visited your site due to your direct mail efforts.

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