The basics of direct mail
First, why direct mail? What's your marketing goal?
Begin by identifying what your goals are, what do want to get from your efforts? Do you want to generate leads? Increase sales? Encourage a new purchase by a repeat customer? Build your brand? Solicit volunteers or donations? Setting a clear goal will can not only help you improve your creative, offer and list strategies, it will also help you size your mailing based on expected response rates.
Here are some good examples of direct mail campaign goals:
- Receive 50 inbound calls to make a sale or set up a meeting.
- Generate 75 qualified sales leads over the next 30 days.
- Increase website traffic by 50%.
- Get 100 customers to use a coupon in your store next week.
- Convince 25 dormant, prior customers to revisit your store and make a purchase.
Who are you trying to reach?
The better you understand your customers, the more successfully you can target them.
What do your customers have in common? Where are they located? The more precisely you can answer those questions, the more success you will have with direct mail.
Begin by creating a profile of your current and/or ideal customers. Try to visualize the traits and interests they share. Define the geographic profile. Think of it this way: Every qualifier you can add should be designed to improve the targeting, to increase the response rate, to reduce the number of pieces you need to mail to achieve the goals you outlined above.
Some examples of questions to answer (not all may be relevant to your situation):
- Where do your customers live?
- How far would someone travel to purchase from you?
- Who will see the most benefit from what you offer?
- What is the typical income range of your customer?
- What age is the user of your product? The buyer of your product if it's designed for a child or the elderly?
- How would you describe your customers' purchasing habits?
- What industry can use your product?
- What is your sweet spot in terms of organization size and how do you measure it (sales, employees, other metrics)?
- Who in business makes the purchase decision, whether it be job titles, seniority level, or other way you might describe them?
At Willow Printing Group, we have a team of mailing specialists who can brainstorm with you to answer these questions and help you define a list strategy to reach them.
Direct mail creative
Your mail piece needs to stand out, and that means using all of the best that print has to offer in its design. Consider carefully how you can incorporate colour, die cuts, sizes and shapes into your piece. Great creative makes your piece memorable, demands it be opened, leads to more action when it comes to your call to action. Check out this example by a UK hairdresser: a simple piece that immediately conveys the benefits of a quick visit to the salon to take care of roots. Easy to understand and brilliant.
The offer, or the call to action, is the one next step you want the recipient to take. It might be something of value, like a time-sensitive savings. It could be a white paper or similar tool designed to inform. It could be the opportunity for a free gift. The offer should be designed to put the recipient into your sales funnel, to get them to take the first step that ends with a purchase, a donation, or whatever outcome you eventually want from the recipient.
Willow Printing Group can help you make sure your piece reaches the right audience. Here are the ways we work with you to optimize your list strategy:
- Mail to your list
- Mail to an acquired (rented or purchased) list
- Mail to your list combined with an acquired list
Ways to get it in the mail
Depending upon who you want to target, here are some of the strategies we might recommend for your direct mail piece:
Personalized Mail. With Personalized Mail all items have the same purpose and goal, even if the content is not identical. The primary intention (main messaging) of the mail items is to motivate an individual to take action by:
- promoting a product, service, program or event
- soliciting donations or contributions
- reporting on financial performance, primarily for promotional purposes, or
- supporting your loyalty card program. This includes all mailings relating to loyalty card programs, but excludes credit and/or debit cards with or without reward points.
- be deposited and paid for in Canada for delivery in Canada
- meet the Personalized Mail definition
- consist of a minimum of 100 items for Machineable Mail or 1,000 items for Special Handling mail.
- be mailed in Canada for delivery in Canada
- meet the minimum volume requirements:
- the complete distribution of one route; or
- the complete distribution to only houses, apartments, farms, businesses, or any combination, on a given route.
- be deposited and paid for in Canada for delivery in Canada
- consist of a minimum of 100 items for Standard Machineable mail
- have a unique 2D barcode on each item
- have three quiet zones (address, postage and on back of the item)
- be mailed through your mail service provider.
Mini-catalogues are acceptable as Personalized Mail. A mini-catalogue is defined as printed matter with a list of items for sale containing item description, item numbers and/or prices. Mini-catalogues must contain a minimum of 8 pages or panels and meet Machineable Standard Personalized Mail service requirements.
To qualify as Personalized Mail service, mailings must:
Neighbourhood Mail Neighbourhood Mail is one of Canada Post's targeted direct mail services. It consists of printed and non-printed matter such as product samples that are not addressed to specific addresses in Canada. The service provides the delivery of information and/or advertising material to more than 15.7 million mailboxes. Neighbourhood Mail provides geographic, demographic and lifestyle information to target mailings to neighbourhoods or areas that have the highest potential audience – without a customer database.
By using Canada Post's database, Statistics Canada data and a combination of other data sources, the Neighbourhood Mail service provides unsurpassed coverage of both urban and rural markets. Talk to us about using Willow "On Target" to reach your audience.
To qualify as Neighbourhood Mail service, mailings must:
Postal Code Targeting. Postal Code Targeting service provides customers the ability to target a specific geographic/demographic group at the postal code level. Postal Code Targeting is a Standard Machineable mail item with a unique 2D barcode printed on each mail item. During processing, our automated equipment will spray the address found within the 2D barcode on the item. The mail item will then be sequenced for delivery.
To qualify as Postal Code Targeting service, mailings must:
Consumer or Business Lists. Consumer or business lists can be used to target prospects more selectively. With consumer or business lists, we can help you select from many demographic options including age, gender, household income, home value, presence, age and gender of children, etc. A good example might be a child care center. It want to reach every household that has young children in a specific geographic area. In this example, we'd identify the locales you want to target, and then select based on specific traits, for example, age of children in the household and household income.
There are myriad ways you can target potential customers, donors, whoever you want to reach. A high end car dealership might target household income, a boat dealer might select based on proximity to a body of water as well as income, a private school might target based on the age of children in the household, a boys or girls school might add a gender select. You can also target based on magazine lists, and with the existence of a magazine for just about every topic, you can imagine the potential.
Custom Mapping. With custom mapping, you can target some or all addresses within an area specified on a map. A good example of this might be a communications company with geographical limitations on where it can market.
Radius List. A radius list draws a circle around a given address at whatever radius you choose. A private school might combine a radius list with additional selects, such as school-age children and household income, as an example. We can help you create a resident list by either distance (5 miles, for example) or quantity (i.e. closest 10,000 residents).
Advanced Profiling. If your list is large enough, you can use it to target similar customers based on computer algorithms that analyze your list and look at hundreds of traits you may never have thought of. We call this profiling and can use it to help you acquire an incredibly well-targeted list that's sure to get you the highest response rate possible.
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Direct mail marketing remains a highly effective way for you to grow your organization. To maximize this marketing investment, we can work with you to help you define your goals, develop your targets and a corresponding list strategy, print your piece beautifully and handle all the mechanics of getting it in the mail. Give your salesperson a call to begin harnessing the power of direct mail to reach your objectives.