11 Questions That Make Direct Mail Pay for Itself

A “bright shiny object” … is that all you need to get attention?

Just like any aspect of your business—whether it’s financial, marketing, developing a new product or hiring a sales staff—your direct mail needs to have a plan. This especially holds true in marketing: You are investing your hard earned money (or the owner of your company’s money), and you need to get a return on this investment.

Here are some of the things you need to look at to have the highest potential for success.

  1. What do you want to accomplish?
  2. What is a customer worth?
  3. What is your budget?
  4. Who are you targeting?
  5. How will you follow up?
  6. How will you track the results?
  7. What basis will you use to determine success?
  8. What is your offer?
  9. What format will you use?
  10. How will you communicate the program to your staff?
  11. What is the time frame for your program?

Let’s look at each of these individually

1. What Do You Want To Accomplish?
This is your strategy! You might be trying to set up appointments to demonstrate a new software program or trying to get your existing customers to come back to your store for a special new product preview. Each approach would have its own unique messaging, offers and, most importantly, financial models.

2. What Is a Customer Worth?
What are you willing to pay for a new customer?

Before you spend any more money on advertising, you need to know this number.

Let’s look at an example: If I were to bring a busload of customers to your business, how much would you be willing to give me for each one of those customers? The bus is fully loaded with 64 passengers, and every one of them was prequalified, ready to buy your product or service with cash, checks and credit cards in their pockets. How much would you be willing to pay me for each of those customers? $10, $100, $1,000? Or how about $10,000? Any one of those answers would be right depending on your business model. You need to know your number.

Related Content
  • Bill Loeber

    Nice summary article. I think the single most important thing to consider (assuming this fits with your customer lifetime value model and marketing strategy) is thinking of a mailer as simply a tool to capture a prospect’s name and info. List building. Its a lot easier to get people to respond to a "free report" or something of value that to purchase directly from a mailer, especially these days. When I am starting a direct mail campaign, or advising on one, I always start with "name capture" as the goal, and unless I am dealing with a product that is low-ticket and of the type that might be purchased "right now", I push name capture pretty hard.