It isn’t easy to produce an effective direct mail advertising campaign, and anyone who says it is probably has no experience of doing it. For a start, there’s a lot to get right, including the goods you’re going to sell and the copy you plan to use to sell it. There’s also the important matter of selecting the right direct mail lists, and it’s in this regard that a lot of would-be direct mail marketers give up, because there are so many choices it can seem almost impossible to make the correct one. However, as with most things, the procedure can be simplified. There’s no guarantee you ‘ll wind up with a winning direct mail campaign, but you should be able to avoid the most common mistakes, which should give you much more chance of success.
The first thing to consider is what you want to get out of your direct mail campaign. A lot of people would say the main point is to make money, and that’s right. But the selling process comes before making money, and this will be affected largely by the product you are offering and the market for that specific product. For instance, if you’re trying to sell products straight from a sales letter you need a mailing list with a large percentage of recent buyers, something known as a “hot” list. That said, you could use a less “hot” list if you are just looking to acquire sales leads. For instance, a catalog mailing list would be best if you’re trying to sell to prospects who buy from catalogs regularly.
The next step, when you know what you are trying to achieve, is deciding on which list broker to use. The type of broker you decide on will depend very much on what you’re trying to accomplish, and it’s usually a good idea to choose a specialist broker, one with wide experience of your type of products or the market you’re going for, rather than a general one. By choosing a specialist broker you should be able to get advice about the copy and also the type of mailing you should use.
Lastly, whichever sort of broker you choose, it’s essential to ask questions about the lists on offer to ensure you’re getting a good deal. You should make a list of concerns, though the good list brokers will usually tell you all you need to know before being asked. Some of these could include when was the last time the list was mailed to, how responsive it is, and whether it’s possible to do a test mailing to see exactly how it responds to your particular offer. You should also be able to get hold of examples of effective campaigns as proof that the lists do respond to offers.
It always takes a lot of work to produce a profitable direct mail campaign, and it’s essential to get the correct list. By following the steps shown above you should be able to find a broker who will supply you with a good list, which gives you a good chance of creating a winning direct mail campaign and putting money in the bank.