mailing-listIn the wake of the global economic slowdown, small businesses are faced with a big challenge: how to cost-effectively build their business with an extremely limited budget. Many of these businesses should consider a “DIY” (do it yourself) direct mail campaign.

Sometimes small businesses balk at the idea of spending money on a mailing list, especially when they are unfamiliar with direct mail marketing. Hopefully this article will shed some light on how easy and cost-effective it can actually be.

Get a 10% – 20% Response Rate on a 500 Piece Mailing For Under $400

Challenge: How can a small business owner on a limited budget use direct mail to cost-effectively market their business? Secondarily, how can a small business increase their odds of obtaining a meaningful return on their investment?

Background: Most small businesses lack the funds to do a large-scale direct mail campaign. Even a mailing of just 5,000 pieces can cost upwards of $2,500 for a simple postcard. Add another $1,000, or more, if you want to send something in an envelope via First Class Mail. Many companies offer small direct mail campaigns (called “short run” in printing vernacular) however the unit costs on these small campaigns can be as high as $2 per mailed item.

Solution: Create the mailing in-house and break the mailing up into smaller, manageable pieces.

Handwritten envelopes have been proven to increase response rates by upwards of 500%.Add a First Class stamp and a local return address and some businesses see a 1,000% increase versus machine-created bulk mail.

Many small businesses obtain a 10% – 20% response rate when using this method of direct mail marketing. That’s 50 to 100 new potential customers obtained from sending just 500 mail pieces.

Creating a Cost-Effective DIY Direct Mail Campaign is Easy

  1. Work with a mailing list company that offers low minimums on smaller mailing lists. Look for a $50 minimum which can get you up to 1,500 names depending on the list. A New Movers list will allow you to target new people to your area who probably aren’t familiar with your business.
  2. Create your marketing materials in-house or use a freelance designer to do a quick and easy design. Many freelancers will have direct mail templates to which they simply add your copy, contact information, etc.
  3. Use your own color printer to print your marketing materials or find a printer who specializes in combining (“ganging”) multiple small print jobs into a single, larger job for cost efficiency.
  4. Buy closed-faced envelopes and a roll of self-stick “Forever” stamps that are good for life even if postage increases before you use them all.
  5. Buy an address “stamper” with your business name and return address to use on the envelopes.
  6. Hand address the envelopes, stamp the envelope and insert your marketing materials.
  7. Send out as many or as few per week as you like.

Do the Math

$ 50.00 Mailing List
$210.00 500 “Forever” Stamps
$100.00 Marketing Flyer / Product Sheets printed on color inkjet printer
$ 30.00 500 Envelopes
$390.00 Total

With less than $400 you’ll be on your way to generating sales leads for your small business!

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