Tips for Running a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail campaigns can be an incredibly powerful way to get in front of your audience. Whether you are sending marketing materials, employee welcome packages, or celebrating new customers, they make an impact. As with anything, there are plenty of do’s and dont’s to guarantee success. Here, we are going to share four of our tips as a printer for getting the most out of your direct mail campaigns.

1. Maintain Your Mailing List

spreadsheet mail list clean up

Your direct mail is only going to arrive in the postbox of prospects or employees who included their address on tax forms if you keep your list clean. Before, during, and after any direct mail campaign, make sure you have a good maintenance process in hand. This includes double-checking that each data point is in the appropriate field (for example, if using a spreadsheet, first names are in column A and there are no strays in column C). It also means removing duplicates, contacts who no longer belong in your database, and contacts whose mailings have been returned to sender. 

Prior to sending the list to your direct mail service, do a final pass, and then make sure it is formatted to their specifications. For example, if you are sending important tax documents to your employees via FedEx, you will need to provide phone numbers as well as mailing addresses. 

2. Make Sure You Understand Every Step of the Process

Direct mail campaigns don’t sound all that complicated: hand over a list and a PDF, and let the mailing house do the rest. Unfortunately, there are lots of potential breakdowns in the process, so it is important for you to understand each step. If you can’t answer the following questions, then you aren’t ready to choose your vendor:

  • Who prints the direct mail piece? Some mailing houses (like Mimeo) offer in-house printing. Others expect you to print and ship the pieces for them to package. Make sure you know before selecting a vendor.
  • Are there limitations to what you can print and send? If you are planning a direct mail marketing campaign, your creative team may be spinning ideas out of thin air. Make sure you are aware of specifications such as physical size limitations, packaging limitations, and deadlines for sending files to print.
  • How quickly does the mailing house turn around a project? Speaking of deadlines, what can you expect in terms of mailing timeline? Do you need to plan out months, days, or weeks in advance? (At Mimeo, we specialize in printing your direct mail quickly, even overnight, and delivering to almost anywhere in the US as early as 8:30 am the next morning.)
  • What happens to mail that gets returned? You may get to choose whether the returned mail is sent to you (allowing you to clean your list and perhaps reuse the materials), or it may simply get trashed.
  • What will be the overall cost? Price per mailing may not be the total cost of your project. Be sure to ask what other fees will pile on so you have an accurate expectation of how much the direct mail campaign will cost. 

3. Do a Test of the Experience

woman signing of package

Your direct mail piece may be the most creative unboxing experience ever. Or it may be a simple letter explaining employee benefit options. Either way, it is important to make sure what you envision is reality. Ask your print vendor to send you a test of the direct mail piece in its final packaging, so that you understand what your recipient will experience.

4. Know Your Direct Mail Goals

man smiling while opening direct mail

Ultimately, only you can say whether a direct mail campaign was successful. Did it get delivered to every single address on your list? Did it generate chatter on the internet? Did it drive traffic to a website? Did it increase the number of employees enrolled in benefits? 

Before even contacting your direct mail printer, make sure you and your team know what your goals are. Then, map out how you will track success. If your goal is to drive recipients to your website, then set up a specific landing page, so that you know all form fills came from the direct mail campaign. If you want to get even more granular, use personalized URLs so that you can track which person loaded the web page. 

Whatever your goal is, you have to agree on it with your team and have a plan for measuring it so that at the end of the direct mail campaign, you can report on its success.

Direct mail campaigns can be incredibly impactful, especially in the day and age of overfilled email inboxes. At Mimeo, we can help with everything from printing to mailing to tracking deliveries. Schedule a call to learn more!

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