It's not even Thanksgiving yet. You have plenty of time to send cards and packages…
Before selecting a direct mail vendor, ask these critical questions to ensure you’ve found the right fit.
If you aren’t using direct mail, you should be. It’s a marketing channel that provides a 29% return on investment. But when you do a quick search of direct mail vendors, there are countless options. How do you choose the best one to meet your needs?
One of the keys steps to making a good choice is asking some vital questions of the service providers you’re considering. These answers will help you determine whether the firm in question is a good fit for your company and your marketing plan.
Here are five must-ask questions when trying to find a direct mail agency that can deliver the results you need.
1. What industry experience and expertise do they have?
You’re trusting your direct mail provider with a significant portion of your marketing efforts, so you need to make sure the agency has the experience and expertise to get the job done.
Start by asking about the vendor’s experience. You’ll want to learn not only about the company’s history in the industry but also how they choose their employees and what kind of qualifications they have.
Next, ask about your specific industry and their experience with similar businesses. For example, if you’re an insurance provider that’s looking to attract new customers within a multi-state area, make sure your direct marketing agency understands the consumers you want to draw and can handle a job of that size.
Finally, inquire about past problems your direct mail provider has encountered and how the company was able to solve them. Direct mail isn’t always a smooth process, so you want a vendor that can make the necessary adjustments along the way.
2. How do they use analytics?
How will you know if your campaign is working?
Your direct mail agency should use analytics for insight into the performance of your campaigns. If one aspect of your message isn’t working, it’s essential to make changes before sending out the next round of mail. It could take time to optimize your direct marketing to gain the best results.
A/B testing is a great way to try multiple messages until you come across the one that gets the most significant returns.
Keep in mind that the needs of your customers are constantly changing, so even if your mail performs well to start, you’ll need to continue analyzing your results and adjust if the numbers start to slip.
Ask how your vendor uses analytics and the company’s experience in doing so.
3. With whom will you work?
An under-the-radar question to ask any direct mail agency that you’re considering is who’ll be in charge of your account. Unless you’re speaking with a freelancer, the agency will have multiple employees and likely assign one as your account manager.
Find out who would be assigned to your account and ask about that person’s experience, as well. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing to work with someone new to the direct mail industry, you should be aware if your contact within the company is inexperienced.
In many cases, there will be additional support in place for your account manager, so ask how your experience with the company will look throughout the campaign.
4. What are their timelines?
One of the most critical aspects of your direct mail campaign is its timeline, so ask potential partners how long it typically takes them to get advertising in the hands of customers.
Faster isn’t always best, but having a clear understanding of the agency’s process and the time each phase requires is important.
Make the timeline clear to your direct mail agency and see if they can meet your goals before you sign with a vendor.
5. What will it cost?
Finally, you’ll want to know what the direct mail campaign will cost you.
Often marketers familiar with digital channels and new to direct mail are surprised by the budgets that direct mail requires. Digital allows for small tests at the start with the opportunity to grow over time. However, direct mail is most successful when you “test liberally, but responsibly.”
Be sure your direct mail agency partner provides you with clear, itemized budgets. It’s important to know the cost per piece and the agency hours involved in any campaign.
A full-service direct mail company
For the best results, consider using a full-service direct mail provider. This ensures that every aspect, from design to mailing to analytics, is on the same page. Full-service providers, like Gunderson Direct, can walk you through the entire process, ensuring that you get the right message to your customers, and can track your performance throughout.
Please stop by our contact page for more information on our direct mail services!