When it comes to direct mail marketing (the real kind that comes with a stamp), things have come full circle. With the advent of email marketing with its instant distribution and measurability, direct mail fell out of favor, helped along by disreputable rental companies whose lists were full of errors and dead ends. But now, with our email inboxes overflowing and digital ads coming at us from every direction, physical mail has returned as a powerful way to stand out and get attention.
At ASHA, we offer mailing lists as a very precise tool for getting targeted information and offers to speech-language pathologists and audiologists who genuinely care about it. And just like many people still prefer real paper books to e-readers, our membership responds well to physical mail when it provides value, insight or opportunity.
Based on our experience, here are some direct mail best practices we recommend ensuring great ROI from every mailer.
1. Deliver Value
What benefit are you offering your mailer’s audience? Is it an early-bird discount? CE credit? Technology that will make their practice more successful? Your message should focus squarely on the value to the audience and how you are meeting their needs.
The benefit you are offering your audience should be unmistakably clear, because this is what will get that second look that leads to a response. Direct mail that is overly generic and doesn’t immediately convey a clear benefit won’t be effective.
If your mailer is sealed, your value message should stand out on the exterior of the envelope or package. Quantifiable messages like promoting a percentage discount or including a time limit are all tried and true methods for piquing audience interest. And keep your specific audience in mind to make your value appealing with a “student special,” “free shipping to your clinic” or another personalized offer.
2. Target With Care
The most powerful advantage of mailing list rental is targetability, given you obtain your list from a reputable source with specific and relevant connection to the audience they are selling. At ASHA, we offer ways for our vendors and list buyers to filter and curate mailing lists to ensure they are spending efficiently and that audiences will welcome the offers coming into their mailboxes. From language spoken and area of expertise to job or purchasing function, the more information you have about your target audience, the more personalized and relevant you can make your mailer, and the better your response rate will be.
3. Keep It Simple
Don’t send four pages when one will suffice. Direct mail should be concise, clearly stating your offer and clearly identifying the next step for your audience, whether it’s a response card, a phone call or a URL. While you should use terminology appropriate to your audience, avoid jargon, acronyms or obscure abbreviations, and keep your language crisp. Make your direct mailer a quick and enticing read that leads directly to a specific action. In fact, many tactics you use online to keep readers engaged apply to direct mail as well, including:
- Fewer words + simpler design = more likely to be read and remembered
- Bullet your main points rather than writing long paragraphs
- Bold the most important stuff
- The offer/value and the call to action should dominate
4. Invest in Good (But Practical) Design
The look of your direct mail piece can make or break your results from the beginning. You need the design to grab attention while still getting the message across clearly. An experienced designer will help you carefully consider everything from the shape of your mailer to the color and photography to maximize response rates and resonate with your specific audience. A professional who is experienced with direct mail will also ensure your design doesn’t cost a fortune in postage or get mangled in postal automation. Think powerful, clear, but mailable.
5. Make It Effortless to Respond
When it comes to getting a response from your mailer investment, you need to make it a no-brainer. A clear URL with a deep link to a product page or an equally clear and targeted landing page is what many audiences expect in the digital age. For some audiences you may want to offer multiple channels for response. Just keep the pathway as easy and clear as possible (and be sure someone knowledgeable picks up the phone.)
Be sure that you can measure those responses. Custom landing pages or phone numbers make tracking online responses relatively easy, or you can apply response codes to the mailer or to any enclosed voucher or coupon. Detailed tracking tells you how your campaign performed and gives you valuable data to inform your next promotion – online or offline.
Talk to the Experts
The ASHA Marketing Solutions team is here to help you curate the right list and offer advice on getting the best results from your campaigns. Our list customers successfully use our cost-effective, targeted and high-quality direct mailing lists for catalogs, flyers, samples, surveys and more. I’m always here to offer direct mail guidance, so reach out any time. Contact me at 301-296-8676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.