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Direct Mail Success Depends on Sending to the Right List
 

The biggest mistake you can make with direct mail is sending to the wrong list, according to Barry Feig in a recent article titled “Top Ten Direct Mail Mistakes.”

You can have bad copy and still make money if you get the list right, says David Sklorenko III, who has created a website, http://www.buy-direct-mailing-lists.com designed to help business owners select the right list for their direct mail campaigns.

If the list is critical to your direct mail success, how do you make sure you get it right? Here are some of Sklorenko’s suggestions.

Step 1: Determine who you want to target

Start by determining who it is you want to target with your direct mail campaign. You can download a buying checklist in PDF form here,  to help you answer that question.


Step 2: Partner with a list broker

Your list broker has a vested interest in your success, Sklorenko says. They are experts in picking lists and can help you avoid making mistakes. The more successful your campaign is, the more likely you are to return to the list broker for help with your next campaign.

Step 3: Set a budget for your direct mail campaign.

You can link to a direct mail ROI (return on investment) calculator from Sklorenko’s website, to determine all of the pieces needed for your campaign. The calculator will help you determine how much your list, postage, printing and even
copywriting will cost. Focus first on the quality of the list.

If you think you can not afford to rent a direct mail list, you should know that the cheapest part of a direct mail campaign is actually the list.

“Direct mail marketing may cost money but it is more effective than any other marketing out there,” Sklorenko says. “97 percent of the population has a mailbox and they can’t just
delete their mail the way they can email.”

PostcardA list can range from a cent per lead to 30 cents per lead. A good direct mail campaign will yield about a 1.5 percent response rate. If you hit your target audience 5 to 7 times, they will start to recognize you. Even if they are not in their buying cycle, they will remember you when they are ready to make a purchase.

Direct mail is especially good for restaurants, some retailers, boutiques, churches and other local businesses who are
trying to raise their profile in the marketplace.

One of the strongest lists for such businesses to use is a new homeowners list. A new homeowner will spend more in the first six months than in the next five years. If you get in with those new movers, you are more likely to develop customer
loyalty, he says.

The new homeowner is often more receptive of direct mail because they often do not have family or friends in the area to refer them to restaurants or places to shop.

Step 4: Determine what to expect from your campaign.

A list can range from a cent per lead to up to 30 cents per lead. A good direct mail campaign will yield about a 1.5 percent response rate. If you hit your target audience 5 to 7 times, they will start to recognize you. Even if they are not in
their buying cycle, they will remember you when they are ready to make a purchase.

If you have a good offer and keep hitting your target audience, you can expect about 30 percent of the people who respond to buy from you.

Step 5: Plan Your Campaign

You may want to send a series of postcards to your target market. Or you may want to use your direct mail campaign to warm up a telemarketing campaign. Some business marketers use direct mail to get the attention of their target market. Then in their postcard mailer, they may drive people
to a website for more detailed information, special offers or even coupons.

Once you’ve planned your campaign, get those postcards and letters in the mail. But a word of caution; if you plan to use the list more than once, select the option that lets you mail to the list multiple times. Mailing lists are salted or seeded with tracking records. List owners will know if you market the list repeatedly. You could open yourself up to penalties and big fines. Remember you are renting the use of these records.

The best thing about direct mail marketing is your ability to measure its success. You’ll know pretty quickly how effective your campaign was, allowing you to tweak it to improve the  results or to repeat it to keep the sales coming.

 

Marcia Ming
October 3, 2008

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 Marcia Ming, publisher
Marcia Ming,
Publisher

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