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Whether you’re trying direct mail for the first time, or looking to improve your ongoing response rates, here are five essential ingredients to have in the mix:
A Targeted, Up-to-Date Mailing List The most essential ingredient is your list. Start by researching your best customers’ common traits and then search for prospects with the same qualities.
A Succinct and Relevant Headline You only have a few seconds to get the attention of your readers. If possible, use words that paint a vivid picture–but a headline that is relevant to your target audience will always attract more potential customers than a flashy or clever headline.
A Valuable and Easy-to-Redeem Offer Offers come in all shapes and sizes; a discount, a free trial, or a coupon are just a few examples, but don’t limit your imagination. Strive to provide real value with your promotion, remove as much risk as possible, and don’t require too much heavy lifting.
A Clear Call to Action Lay out exactly what your prospect can do to accept the offer. Would you like them to call you, visit your website, fill out an enclosed response form, or send you an email? Put your call to action in multiple places throughout the mailer so there’s no confusion about how to get started when they do decide to act.
A Follow-Up Mailing Repetition is crucial–the more prospects see your message, the likelier they are to take action. For the highest overall response rates, mail three to four different times to each prospect. At the very least, follow up your initial mailing with a phone call, an email, or a second mailer within two weeks.
Once you create a mail piece that brings in a good response, you can change one of the variables now and then, to see if the new version performs even better. If the new mailer gets a better response than the first, you now have what is known as a “control” piece in direct marketing. And that’s time to celebrate, because you now have a scientific way of testing and improving your response rate over time.
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