UK: Is your mail direct enough?

UK: Is your mail direct enough? - Ensure your company's message gets the attention it deserves.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Ensure your company's message gets the attention it deserves.

The most important rule of direct mail is to target accurately potential clients who want to purchase your products or services. But, having assured yourself that you have the best-quality and most up-to-date list of prospects, how can you make your direct mailshot stand out from the mountain of unsolicited mail?

First, determine your objectives - is this an awareness campaign, a chance to build up your database, a hunt for new business leads or an attempt to sell a specific product or service? Put yourself in your recipient's place. What makes you stop and read unsolicited mail? The chances are that if the envelope is 'hard sell', the mailshot will be binned before it's even opened - over-printed envelopes can actually reduce the response rate in many cases. And, if the layout of the direct mail piece is boring, printed on cheap paper, or contains long-winded copy, you're hardly going to get excited by the message. So:

Find a strong and relevant visual hook to stop people in their tracks.

Surprise people with the contents - you want them to read on, to be entertained, even to smile. Keep the message succinct and clear.

Direct mail is undertaken to elicit a response, so make responding cost-free and as easy as possible for your clients. A freephone number, freepost card or simple-to-complete fax-back form will raise response rates.

Follow up the mailshot with a phone call or personal letter. This is perfectly feasible in the smaller business environment if your mailing is staggered and your hit-list numbers are controlled. This will raise your success rates considerably - it's well worth the extra effort.

Lastly, remember that direct mail needs to work as part of an overall marketing strategy. Key messages, even design content, should reflect all of your salesforce, advertising and promotional activities.

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