10 Steps to Effective Direct Mail

Think about your message

What are you trying to say and why? Obviously this is important for any form of marketing, but particularly where you are trying to generate a response. Does your message tally with organisational objectives? Will your sales team thank you for sending it? Does it comply with all relevant product/ service updates? Ensure other relevant departments have sanity-checked your message before it goes out.

Be clear about what success looks like

What do you want to achieve, and how will you measure this? Be very clear about this upfront, otherwise you will not be able to validate whether the campaign was a success.

Do you know who you’re talking to?

How clean is your data? Thirty five per cent of B2B data erodes per year, due to people moving job or companies moving offices. If your data is more than six months old, you should think seriously about having it cleansed.

Be creative

Grab people’s attention with compelling images and messages. This can be expensive, but remember that in B2B, spending more money on a lower volume campaign can ultimately reap bigger rewards. If you have a limited creative budget and can’t afford gifts, try the opposite route: write them a letter. It’s often the most effective way of generating cut-through amongst hard-to-reach people. Whatever you do avoid creative cliched library images such as businessmen shaking hands or running in a race.

Keep it clear and simple

Whatever else you do don’t bombard your audience with complex or confusing messages and make sure the call-to-actions are clear and obvious.

Integrate with other media

If you can run an email campaign to the same audience with the same messages, great. Definitely make sure your website references any offers made within the direct mail piece and ideally, establish a dedicated landing page or micro site. Follow up the mailer with telemarketing to ensure it was received and to arrange appropriate follow-up action.

Timing is everything

Think about when to send and when to arrive. If there’s a big industry event taking place around the time of the mailing, think twice, or try to factor it in.

Take advantage of mailing discounts

There are a number of alternatives to Royal Mail these days, but the national carrier is still leading the way in terms of innovation in B2B DM, and has plenty of ideas which will cut costs. You can also use the latest mailing technology to personalise your mailing and add impact to your envelope.

Think long term

Remember, B2B is all about relationships. Even if you don’t get a sale immediately, if your mailer was appropriate and any good, it will have placed your company in a positive light for positive future interaction. If you can engage them in dialogue, possibly through your website or through a sales person, all the better.
Get feedback. Did they like your proposition? Did they like the communication? If not, why not?

Measure for measure

Make sure you are able to measure the response to your mailing. If you’ve met your targets, use this as leverage for more resources to run more and better campaigns in future. If not, conduct a thorough postmortem, but don’t give up and try something different next time, because practice makes perfect.