They say that a prospect has to see your business message up to 12 times before they will respond. This theory is especially true for direct mail marketing. A company or business that is in front of their audience on a regular basis will get more business than if they stayed silent and hoped for the best. But, the trick to getting to the prospect with a message they respond to can be the trick! Direct mail has been confirmed as a great marketing tool to reach new customers, but those customers don’t come out of nowhere. You have to build a direct mail database or mail list before your marketing messages can be sent. Putting your efforts into just your marketing materials is great but, who you target is just as important. The following is a list of tips to build a strong direct mail database.
First, you need to know your target demographics. Demographics can be the age, gender, ethnicity, location, marital status, education level, income and occupation of a prospect. Then, there are their interests, hobbies, lifestyle, and attitudes. To figure out your target market you need to look at your current customers and then try to find common links between them all. Then, analyze your competitors by looking at who they are advertising to. List the benefits of your products or your services and figure out who would want them. Then, layout what geographic map you want to reach. It doesn’t matter if it is just the immediate neighborhood, the town, county, state or whole country, you will need to state your reach.
Researching trade journals and industry publications can help you figure out exactly who your customers are. Many of them have already done the research for you and can dig deeper into a target customers behaviors and actions. You can even try surveys with your current customers to get a better understanding of what they are looking for and this can help you determine your target audience’s demographics. Once you’ve identified your target market, you’re ready to build your mailing list.
Building your database can be done by asking your customers to sign up for a subscription to a blog or a newsletter or even the mail list itself. You can use promotions and other incentives or offer a free product, service, or discount to get more names. Then, with the new names coming in, you can gather information for your direct mail campaigns. The quality of that list matters because the information needs to be current and correct in order to get the response that you want.
When you have sent out a mailer and considered the response, you may want to send the same mailer again a few week down the road, but this time you should segment your list. This gives you a better idea of who is responding. Target a particular neighborhood or a specific demographic that may be a better fit for your products or services. You could also try removing certain address types such as apartments, P.O. boxes, and businesses. Or you could mail to households that have a particular income, a certain property size, age group, car type, and so on. You need to understand who your perfect customer is, their demographics and the behavior patterns so that you can get your information to the right prospect.
Your mail piece is your mouthpiece and you need to analyze it as much as you do your mailing list. When you have numbers to work with after a particular campaign, you will need to figure out if the offer you made on the mailer was good enough. The design, the way the message was written and displayed, the colors and the paper itself all play in the way someone responds to the piece. Customers respond when they feel the offer as too good to pass up. So, your mail piece has to appear so valuable that your prospects can’t say no. Ask yourself if the call to action was clear enough and was the explanation of your service thorough enough. And, very important, answer the question “Did your piece stand out in the crowd”.
Each time you send out a revised mailer, you will want to keep track of each version with a special code. It can be a particular phone number, URL address to your website, a coupon code or even certain colors you may use. This will give you an idea about which piece works and which ones don’t. Remember to test different characteristics on the mailing piece. Maybe a different call to action or a new image will get a different response. Each variation needs to be tracked and measured for its performance.
Tweaking and testing your direct mail piece is an on going job. You need to evaluate regularly so that you can grow your numbers and grow your mailing list. The response numbers should impact your decisions for any changes. Over a period of time, you will understand what influences your customers to respond to a certain piece and which designs make it stand out from the competition.
At Everest Direct Mail and Marketing, we can provide highly-targeted mailing lists for your direct mail campaign. We base the lists we aggregate for you on your desired zip code or general area and the types of prospects you’d like to target for mailing. Our mailing lists are highly reliable and contain the most up-to-date addresses as provided by the United States Postal Service. And best of all - our mailing list costs are some of the most affordable out there! No high per-record fees or hidden charges. We also offer the service to run your mailing lists through an NCOA Update, which takes the names and addresses in your lists, scrubs it agains the available USPS data, and updates all your records with appropriate forwarding addresses, as well as appending Zip+4 codes. We pride ourselves in providing mailing lists that are highly accurate - resulting in less return mail, fewer wasted material costs and spoiled postage - and ensuring your direct mail gets delivered to the right house every time!