Direct Mail Strategy: The Great Response Influencers
I recently revisited the columns I’ve written for Target Marketing in the past few years and noticed that several of them focus on specific direct mail tactics such as creative postage options, postcards and other direct mail formats.
After a recent meeting in which all my client wanted to talk about regarding his upcoming mailing was the format, I thought it time to offer this gentle reminder to both clients and readers: An effective direct mail strategy is based on the synergy of multiple key elements working together to generate cost-effective response—not just one or two tactical pieces.
Focus on only one—such as the format—at the expense of the rest, and you’ll dramatically limit your response.
Yes, direct mail formats are important and unique to the medium. They’re also important and powerful enough to test. But if you start and end your discussion of a mailing (postal or e-mail) focusing only on format, you’ll overlook the combined impact of these response influencers.
Who is your audience? Answer this question before you do anything else. Once your audience is defined, communicate the definition to everyone working on your mailing, including print production and your creative team.
Why? If you’re not mailing to the right people, it doesn’t matter what format you use, what offer you make or the message you communicate. Defining your target and developing a plan for reaching it gives you the advantage of ruling out the tire kickers and tailoring all aspects of the mail piece to those most likely to respond. Mailing smart is your No. 1 response influencer.
What is your offer? Once you’ve defined your audience, what are you willing to give these folks in exchange for the time and effort it takes for them to respond?
The offer is the direct marketer’s secret, and often misunderstood, weapon for dramatically influencing response. And yes, your offer is more than just your product, an add-on free gift or a discounted promotional price.