9 Steps to Increase Your Direct Mail Marketing Campaign Response Rates

600-Secrets-to-a-Successful-Direct-Mail-CampaignHow good would it be if you could rekindle the feeling you used to get as a kid on the rare occasion a letter dropped through the door with your name on it?

It's fair to say that feeling of unbridled joy gets numbed slightly as the years go by.

Great direct mail marketing can reawaken that forgotten pleasure within your audience, however, and be an incredibly effective way to spread the word about your product or service.

While it can be tempting to focus solely on online marketing to get quick results, the old-fashioned methods can still work a treat.

It's not the cheapest form of marketing, though, so driving up your response rates will be essential. Here are nine easy steps that you can take to improve the profitability of your direct mail marketing campaigns immediately:

1. Who's in your sights?

It almost goes without saying, but you need to make sure the mail you send is perfectly focused towards your audience.

In this previous article, I discussed the need to create customer personas that remain at the forefront of your mind whenever you're creating engagement material.

Making sure your material is laser-focused towards solving the problems these characters face will ensure you're constantly reaching out to your audience's needs – and they’ll love you for it.

2. Have something exciting to offer

You need to respect the value of your audience's time. If they're willing to give you a chance – and hear you out by reading your material – make sure they don't regret that decision.

Whether that's new insight, advice, or a service that can genuinely meet their wants and needs – and add value to their lives – they need some kind of reward for choosing to look at the mail you deliver.

Make them an offer they can't refuse. Remember WIFM (What's In It For Me?), and help your audience to understand why they can't afford to not take action.

3. Be totally different and get your mail opened

Your marketing material is a representation of you and your business. Sending something out that is ‘me too,’ and the same as everyone else, is a great way to ensure it ends up in the bin without being opened.

Are you sending your mail in white envelopes, franked by a franking machine with printed addresses on like everyone else?

Be creative and think out of the box. You want peoples’ eyes to widen as soon as they pick up your envelope or package.

4. Have a strong headline

Apart from the envelope/packaging, and any novelty contents, the one other big thing that will get their attention is a jaw-dropping headline.

I cover how to create seductive and engaging headlines here.

5. Tell them what they want to know

Don't mess around – make sure your material makes it clear what the benefits of your product/service are for the reader, and informs them about exactly how you can help them specifically.

Keep it simple, don't use jargon, and don't try to blind them with science – your audience doesn't have time for that.

6. Think about AIDA

Yes I know another acronym! AIDA, if you haven't heard of it before, stands for:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

You should consider this whenever you are composing direct marketing material.

It’s vital to actually get the audience to take action after you've grabbed their attention, interested them and stimulated their desire.

To do this, you need to know what you want to achieve, and make it as simple as possible for them to do what you want them to – for example, by printing an obvious Freephone number in their line of sight with a ‘call to action’ telling them what to do next.

7. Follow up

You can really maximise the value of your investment by following up immediately. Phone calls can be very effective, or contact them again by post, referencing your first mailing.

From my experience, people tend to find it a little disconcerting when strangers call them up and berate them about their post opening habits, so bear this in mind if you do choose to call them.

It's also a great way to include some scarcity marketing (which I’ll cover next Friday), and social proof.

As an example, this could be your message: ‘We sent you a letter last week with this fantastic one-time-only offer code. We just thought we would let you know 90% of the offers have been claimed, but you still have chance to benefit if you act now.'

8. Crouch… and pounce!

If your audience takes action, you need to be waiting to help. Responding to a lead quickly is the best way to ensure the individual gets what they want and converts. Always try and act while the iron is scalding hot.

The chances of engaging with your audience, and them entering your sales funnel, rapidly decreases with the length of time it takes you to respond to enquiries.

In fact, making contact within five minutes of receiving a lead makes it 21x more likely that they will qualify, compared to just 30 minutes later, according to Research by Lead Response Management.

So don't hang around – be a lead ninja.

9. Test, test and test

Make sure you are monitoring every campaign to measure results. If calling a telephone number is the ‘call to action’, make sure the number is dedicated to the campaign, so you can measure how many calls it generates.

Then measure how many sales it generates. Is it working out to be a good return on your investment?


Direct mail can still be very effective, especially with the mass stampede to market online. It can be a great way to reach out to your audience, and the perfect complement to your online marketing efforts.

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