If you own a small business, then you know the value of affordable and effective marketing. Unfortunately, many traditional and online advertising methods are becoming quite expensive. This article will explain direct mail guidelines and methods.
Direct mail is an often over-looked method that can be very effective if executed properly. There are three guidelines to follow when conducting an effective direct mail campaign:
1. Catch the reader’s attention immediately. You only have a few seconds to do this before your mail ad is thrown away as junk mail. Therefore, opt for postcard mailings instead of sending your offers in an envelope. If your business is relatively small and unheard-of, the reader will never open it unless your company’s name is familiar to the reader. Envelope advertising is cheaper than postcard advertising but is only effective if you have already built up name recognition.
When using the postcard method, you will need to be able to print images on the card. I highly, highly recommend investing in a quality home photographic printer. You will end up saving money in the long-term, and your printer will be right where you need it whenever you need it. Whenever you have materials printed professionally, you pay for labor, expensive inks, and expensive equipment.
When searching for images to print on your postcards, remember the point of this first guideline: catch your reader’s attention. Of course, you don’t want an offensive image for your cards, but you do want one that is slightly “controversial”. When choosing images for your cards, ask yourself these questions:
Does it stand out among the rest?
Does it contain bold colors (but isn’t an eye-sore)?
Does the image relate to my business or current offers in some way?
Does the image request user interaction? (ex. a face staring directly at the reader, someone pointing at the reader, etc.)
Does the image have enough white-space for some large text?
2. Offer the reader an incentive for responding. Unless the reader is and has been genuinely interested in your services/products for a period of time before receiving your postcard ad, they will never respond unless you offer some sort of incentive. For instance, your postcard could also serve as a coupon; tell you reader to bring in that postcard for a discount. Also, you could use the postcard ad as an announcement for a storewide sale. Be creative when offering incentives to your readers.
Be sure to make your incentive very visible on the postcard. Let’s say, for example, your postcard is also serving as a coupon for 20% on your products/services. Print that “20% off” in large text with the image, along with your product type, such as “20% all dog beds”. Then, on the other side of the card, usually with the recipient’s address, print the discount again with any terms that may apply.
3. Target your readers. The best way to waste advertising money is by sending your direct mail to random people, paying no attention to whether they would actually buy something from you. This is much easier when dealing with business-to-business advertising. When it comes to consumers, find out their interests is a little difficult.
Test out the waters first. A good place to try first is Info USA. They sell mailing lists of consumers and businesses and may provide targeted consumer lists. You may be able to create interest in someone who has never heard of your products before, but when you are starting a new direct mail campaign and you have a very small budget, keep your list targeted. You don’t want to try to sell a website to a business that already has one, or try to sell a dog bed to someone who only keeps cats.
I hope this article has given you some ideas on making your next direct mail advertising campaign more successful.