3 Easy Ways to Instantly Reduce Your B-to-B Direct Mail Costs
In today's economy, businesses wants to improve efficiency and cut costs in every department. This is especially true for B-to-B direct mail marketing.
Paper, printing and postage are all on the rise. Prospects have become more choosy about responding to offers. And mailers have become especially sensitive to tightening their belts and stretching their dollars.
But how can you cut costs without sabotaging your response? Here are three easy ways:
1. Print more efficiently
Your direct mail piece may be well-written and beautifully designed, but is it efficiently produced? Can you make small changes in the layout that will allow you to use more of the paper stock and create less waste? Are you using an odd shape that is making production or postage more expensive? Is the piece printed on unnecessarily expensive stock or stock that requires a special order and extra freight charges?
Be practical. Do you really need UV coating or die cuts? Can you eliminate a piece or combine two pieces to lower weight and cut postage? Would a lighter stock work as well with your design?
Often features you like don't affect results. And in B-to-B, you generally don't need all the bells and whistles anyway.
2. Go digital
There was a time when you had to print on a four-color press if you wanted full color. But today, digital presses are common, especially for small print runs. No, they won't give you art book quality printing, but the final product looks good for most mailers and can be faster and cheaper.
Digital presses can also let you do on-the-fly personalization and versioning for more targeted and relevant messages. If that doesn't cut your cost directly, it can certainly improve your return on investment with potentially better response.
3. Try smaller formats
When budgets are tight, it's tempting to reduce or eliminate testing programs. But that's penny wise and pound foolish. When times are good, you should be testing. When times are tough, you MUST be testing. Only through testing can you discover what mail pieces give you the most bang for your buck.
Try removing your brochure. Sometimes it doesn't affect response if you have a strong letter. Try turning a 6" x 9" package into a #10. If you're generating leads, have you tried a postcard or flyer? Could you remove an order form and send customers to a Web form? Does your letter have to be 8 pages or would it work just as well at 6 pages? There's almost always something you can cut, shrink or modify.
While it's true that costs are more of an issue now than a few years ago, there's an upside: There could be less competition in the mailbox. Some mailers are reporting higher response because competitors have scaled back.
The key for B-to-B mailers is to never give up. Print smart and keep testing.
Dean Rieck is one of today's top direct-mail copywriters and has created sales and generated leads for more than 250 companies, including Intuit, Rodale, Sprint and American Express. For a free copy of his white paper, "Getting Response in a Down Economy: 4 Key Principles to Boost Your Direct Mail Profits in Today's Difficult Market," visit www.DirectCreative.com.