General Interest, Small Business

Tips on Creating Direct Mail Services for your Small Business

Direct Mail Marketing is probably the most effective way to connect with customers and to offer them your product or services. More importantly, it represents an opportunity for you to “speak directly” to those customers who are most likely to need your product or service.
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For small businesses, using direct mail has a number of attractive advantages:

You can target recipients very precisely
Mailing list services allows you to create your own list of targeted customers

You can protect against overwhelming response:
If you run an advertisement on the radio, web or in any print publication, you can get anything from 10 responses to10, 000! With the inability to reply to all these responders you’re probably going to kill your relationship with a customer before it’s begun!

By using direct mail, you can market test with modest-size targeted marketing campaigns and better control the response! Because mailing services is relatively inexpensive, you can create a campaign to fit your budget.

Direct mail is a fast worker!

Even small campaigns to targeted customers will start to receive results in just a few days! The response time is way faster than any magazine print campaign, or other vertical marketing effort.

A direct mail campaign can become an important “test ground” for your promotions
By sending different deals and promotional messaging to differing segments of your mailing list, you can see which offer gains the best response. Trying out different offers and different messaging is also a great way to improve your marketing promotions. In each consequent mailing, you should try to beat the winning promotion! You will start to get better and better response rates.

So Many Potential Customers!
You can never run out of potential customers to mail to! Send to people in both the business and consumer sector. Try customers in new locations if you have a retail business.  See which audience your mailing resonates with the most. Design your mailing piece to appeal to those specific targets.

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A few tips to help you create and run a successful small business direct-mail campaign:

1. Use Postcards for your Mailing Campaigns
The postcard is perhaps the most elementary but the most effective of mailing formats. Since a huge percentage of direct-mail letters and packages never get opened, it pays to consider a format that never has to overcome that obstacle. With a postcard, all the recipient needs is a flip of the wrist to read everything you have to say. This can be a big advantage in attracting the typically impatient reader.

You can also produce oversized postcards that give you more “canvas” on which to display your wares and make your sales argument. And while the larger size costs incrementally more in printing, paper and postage, its simplicity still makes it affordable.

2. Develop a Mailing List.

Generate your own target customer list at OvernightPrints.com – this list will be based upon your business requirements. Alternately, if you have your own list of customers you can upload it to our website.

3. A Strong Offer

Add a strong offer to your direct mailing postcard that will spur the recipient into action. All direct mailing pieces need a “call to action” that will impel the recipient to act, i.e., call the 800-number; fax your details; visit your shop in the next two weeks to receive a special discount!

4. Be Aggressive

You can never be too pushy in direct-mail materials. Be creative, clever, or funny but never lose focus on your marketing goal and action. You don’t create a direct-mail postcard promotion to inform – that’s what brochures are for! You should be as creative and graphically appealing as possible, but your goal is to get the reader to respond to the offer. Any graphics that don’t contribute to that are not worth the design and printing costs.

4. Test a Campaign

It’s always a good idea to test a campaign out first to see if it works, especially if you’re new to direct mail marketing.  There are so many variables involved, i.e., seasonality, timing, regionality, etc, that it’s almost impossible to gauge a true response. However, by testing with a few hundred mailers, you can start to see some good or bad results.

Your test will also give you some sense of the rate of customer response. Use that as a gauge for how many pieces you should mail in a given week. Mail only those pieces you can support with your sales effort.

6. Handle customer responses
You can’t handle the fulfillment end of a direct-mail campaign without considerable planning. If you’re asking respondents to request additional information, what are you going to send them? How soon do you want to mail the information out? What else will you do with the responses? In other words, how will you make maximum use of the names you have spent so much money to acquire?

7. Look at the results
The results of your direct mail promotions will tell you a lot about your customers and your business.  The following result aspects will help you to improve your consequent promotions:

•    Did the final results match what you expected?
•    What parts of the demographic responded better than expected?
•    What target audience sets should I focus on for future mailings?

These results will help you enhance your customer base and discover the best audience for your product or service.

This article has been written as part of our Marketing Toolkit promotions; a New Years campaign in support of start up businesses and small business entrepreneurs.

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