Sell Direct Mail that Delivers for Clients
Industry professionals offer tips for creating successful direct mail campaigns.
The whole idea behind direct mail is to deliver messages that command attention and inspire a response. Manufacturers and distributors experienced in direct mail sales know that specifically targeting likely prospects—rather than appealing to the masses—and speaking to recipients with highly personalized messages increases the chances of eliciting that response.
There are also some basics with regard to project planning and design that industry professionals pay heed to. For starters, both Michael Weinzierl, president of Professional Graphic Communications, Sewickley, Pa., and Dan Reid, marketing manager for Thorn Hill Printing, Freedom, Pa., stressed the importance of effective mailing lists for successful campaigns. Weinzierl explained that after clarifying customers' objectives, distributors typically secure the mailing list. "It's one of the services that a distributor provides on direct mail projects, and it offers good profit margins," he said.
One reputable list broker that Weinzierl partners with is Fort Meyers, Florida-based AccuData (www.accudata.com). The company provides a comprehensive service for targeting consumers in a variety of categories, including age, income, hobbies/interests, profession, gender, birthday, credit, children and pets. "You can target just about anything but religion," he added. A good list company can also offer valuable assistance to distributors.
Reid pointed out that, on occasion, the customer will provide the distributor with some type of mailing list. But, regardless of who secures the list, establishing the target group and determining the count is essential to the quote process. "Without a target, you don't know if you're dealing with 2,500, 25,000 or a quarter of a million pieces," he said. "Once distributors have a count in the targeted area, they can go forward with the quoting of mailing services and printing."
Weinzierl suggested planting "seeds" in mailing lists and running test mailings to monitor some quality control elements, including on-time delivery and initial impact. "Distributors can have mailers sent to themselves to make sure that the piece is, in fact, delivered and on time," he explained. "Also, doing a small mailing—perhaps to only 5,000 prospects out of 100,000 total—helps to gauge response before the remainder are mailed out." When working with a new mailing list, Weinzierl urged distributors to conduct mailings three or four times within a few weeks so that recipients can become familiar with the sender.