Credit to Alex Palmer for this great post! Read more of his work here. …
For 20 years, we’ve helped clients send billions of mailings to mailboxes worldwide. This experience has given us valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t in a direct mail program. We’re now sharing our expertise in a free book, Beat the Control.
There are many books on how to do direct mail. We didn’t want to write one of those (although we certainly could!). Instead, this book is about the little — and not so little — things it takes to think through and constantly improve a direct mail program.
Whether you are starting your first direct mail program or beating an established control, you’re sure to be inspired by many of these tips and suggestions.
For you DM novices, a “control” in direct mail is any creative, list, offer, or other component of a program that has proven itself to be a winner at meeting (or beating) marketing goals. It’s what we strive for… and then what we strive to beat.
1) Getting Started: Direct mail can be complex, making just getting started seem daunting. Here are some ideas to consider as you begin your direct marketing program.
2) Testing: Test, learn, and retest. It takes the discipline of a well-planned testing strategy to establish and beat a control.
3) Targeting & Data: Even a mailing with a clear value proposition and a great offer is going to tank if it doesn’t reach the right audience. Poor data, bad analytics, or uninformed data decisions can reduce response, so be sure you understand your data and how to analyze it.
4) Creative: Direct mail offers endless creative opportunities, because it’s the only mass marketing channel that engages prospects with both a tactile and a visual experience.
5) Offers: Offers turn intent into action. Whether your goal is an immediate sale or to generate a top-of-funnel lead, make sure your offer demonstrates the value of taking action NOW, not later.
6) Production: Your creative is done. Your list is finalized. Now, you’re ready to produce your mailing and send it! Make sure your mailings are produced by experienced professionals to minimize delays and avoid potential costly errors.
7) Analysis: Upfront planning and design of analytics is essential to optimizing direct mail. Consider these tips for making sure your attribution and workflows allow for making better and faster decisions in the future.