Direct Mail: Is Bigger Better?
When it comes to direct mail, you need to treat the mailbox like the toughest piece of real estate to occupy. The four keys to success include understanding your data, the size and dimension of your mail, the content inside the envelope and testing.
It begins with determining a budget and best-case response rate results. The two go hand-in-hand. When you build a new house, you set the foundation before adding the walls. In this case, the desired response rate is the foundation and your budget represents the walls. The budget begins with the type of packaging you will use and what kind of offer or incentive you plan to include. Make sure to include postage and handling charges, which can be as much as 70 percent to 90 percent of the total costs.
Test Your Limits
Only the strongest mail offers survive. Testing helps you better understand your customer and prospect lists. Start with a small sample program before moving full-speed ahead on a major project.
1. An effective test begins with a targeted audience. You should have a clean, updated list to work from. When you run a small test sample, give yourself a potential 100 percent return rate without returns due to bad addresses or moves. Any mail house must use National Change of Address data to qualify for USPS presorted rates. Always request addresses back with changes—this way, you can update your database and assure its accuracy.
2. I would test by splitting the groups using different packaging and offering a separate incentive. Does a $1 off coupon get the job done, or will a two-for-one coupon tied to a website promotion work better?
3. Size does matter and testing bright colors is always recommended. Using standard #10 white envelopes will guarantee a low response rate, unless you are giving away money. That might work for blast mailings, where the response rate is measured to the right of the decimal point. Use testing to see what combination of size and colors stand out to your audience.