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Top Tips for Effective Mail Shots

in Direct Mail

Too many companies carry out one mail shot, receive a poor response, and then never carry out another one again. However, all too often they were simply sending out a flawed mail shot, one which would have been effective had the flaws been dealt with.

There are four reasons why your direct mail shot may be ineffective:

  • It was sent to the wrong people
  • Bad timing – particularly relevant for seasonal products
  • Confusion over what was being offered
  • No call to action – recipients weren’t told what to do next

To avoid making one of these mistakes follow our top tips:

Draw up a budget – work out break-even response rate. There’s a myth out there that successful direct mail campaigns should receive a certain conversion rate, such as 3%. This is not true – a direct mailing about installing new kitchens may receive a much smaller response rate but still be profitable. However hard you try you’ll never receive a 3% conversion rate for such a high-value product.

Testing – don’t launch into a full scale direct mail campaign without testing it initially on a small scale. If you send out 1,000 letters and get 10 sales, you can be pretty sure that if you send out 10,000 you’ll get around 100 sales. If this is below your breakeven point look at adjusting the promotional material or mailing list.

Accurate targeting – an appropriate and reliable mailing list is vital. If you have a list of existing customers then you’re sitting on a gold mine. Send out a special offer each month and test the response. It may well be that you can increase the profitability of each customer, thereby lowering the required breakeven response rate for mail shots targeting potential new customers.

The right promotional material – if you are sending out a brochure don’t just hit people cold. Include a sales letter in the mail shot explaining a little more about your company and its products.

Include testimonials – people don’t like taking stabs in the dark. If other people have bought and benefited from your product or service tell this to your prospects.

Call to action – one of the advantages of mail shots is that they can be used to provide a strong call to action, something that outdoor advertising in particular struggles to provide. Include a discount or prize, such as ‘Order before DATE to receive 10% off.’

Follow up – for business-to-business mailings support your mailing with a subsequent phone call. This can increase the response rate by up to 1,000%.

Provide a reminder – including a small tailored business card in your mailing can remind recipients of your company and your offer. People will usually throw away a letter after reading it, whereas they’ll leave a small business card lying around.

Track everything – this is essential. Monitor the returns, response rates, and the resulting orders. It may be that the mail shot was effective at generating a response but your website or sales staff failed to convert this into sales.

Repetition – if it was a highly successful mailing consider repeating it to those people that didn’t reply. A response rate of around 50% of the original can be expected.

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