4 Steps to a Cost-Effective Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail is, and always will be, a great way to prospect—and land customers. If you do it right, you can get up to a six percent response rate. That is, if you do it right.

Doing direct mail right means you’ve developed a message and offer that resonate with your target market and you’re able to get that into their hands. Doing those things costs money.

Budget is often what causes people to skip some of the necessary steps in developing their direct mail campaign. They may be more than happy to buy a specialty mailing list, but they balk at hiring a direct mail copy writer and professional designer. Or they spend their whole budget on design and printing, then purchase an outdated list that won’t reach their market. Then they watch response rates drop to less than one percent. A response rate that low cancels out any cost savings that came in creating the campaign

Creating cost-effective direct mail campaigns

So how do you create a cost-effective and compelling direct mail campaign? Here are the four steps you need to take.

1. Define what cost-effective means to you.
Cost effective is different for every business. At the end of the day, you need to make more money than you spent on the campaign. But you also need to know how much landing a new customer is worth to you. Once you know that, you can develop a budget. Say you’re willing to spend $50 to get a new customer and you want to get 200 customers from your direct mail campaign, then your budget is $10,000. Now you have a number to work with. You also know that, assuming you can get a six percent response, you need to send it to approximately 3,500 prospects.

2. Define your offer.
One of the reasons people don’t see great returns on their direct mail is because they haven’t made an offer that resonates with their prospects. Is $10 off a service enough of a discount to get someone to try your business? Or is there something more specific you can offer? What pain are you alleviating for your customers? How can you turn that into an offer for them? If you aren’t sure, ask your current clients. They know best what would make them take you up on an offer.

3. Get estimates for each component of the campaign.
You will need to buy a mailing list, hire a designer and copy writer, print the piece, and mail it. Since prices for design and copy writing can vary depending on the format of the piece, first determine your mailing list costs—you now how many names you need, so now it’s just a matter of finding the right list. Then determine your mail fulfillment costs. The remainder is what you can spend on the design and copy writing.

4. Track your results.
In the piece, include some way to track response. Unique landing pages on your website and coupon codes are two good ways to know if customers are responding to the campaign. If you hit your target numbers, you know you created a cost-effective and compelling campaign…and you can do it again.

Direct mail campaigns can represent a large part of your marketing budget. By taking these four steps, you’ll be on your way to creating campaigns that generate a good response without breaking the bank.

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