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Despite the popularity of e-marketing, direct mail is still an effective way to reach out to prospective businesses and consumers.

mailing lists

It starts with the List.

One of the biggest benefits of direct mail is the ability to target the businesses and consumers who are would be interested in your product or service. Mailing directly to those prospect is much more effective than trying to reach out to a mass audience.

Working with a list broker can definitely help. They can offer suggestions to best determine your target market —whether you are looking for a consumer mailing list with geographic location, age, gender, household income selects or a business list with geographic location, industry, employees size, revenue selects.

Keep in mind, the more specific your list requirements, the higher the cost will be. It will be worth it. A carefully targeted mailing list will provide a better ROI, reducing the printing and postage costs as you will be mailing only to those interested in your service or product. If you do multiple mailings, which is recommended, the savings will be magnified.

Whether you maintain your own direct mail list or purchase one from a list broker, it’s important to have current addresses. No matter how targeted your mailing list is, it’s not going to work if the names are outdated. A list broker will only recommend list companies who regularly check and cleanse their data and will make sure that your mailing list has been updated using the National Change of Address (NCOA) services.

Smaller can be better.

Some businesses find they get a better response rates using postcards.  It’s very easy and cost effective to create simple personalized postcards.  They are generally less expensive to design and print. Postcards provide a pretty big bang for your buck and may be all you need.

Make your Headline Count.

A direct mail piece has about three seconds to hook the recipient. Your headline should cause them to think “what’s in it for me?” When you’re writing headlines, say nothing about your product and everything about what the recipient stands to gain. The benefits are more enticing bait than the features.

Draw Attention to the Important Parts.

Emboldening, underlining or italicizing words can help draw the readers’ attention to the parts that matter most. Just don’t go wild, otherwise your recipients may lose interest altogether. If the recipient is only going to read one bit, which sentence or key phrases would you want that to be?

Use Action Words.

Do! Click! See! Experience! Make! Grab! Gain! Try to create a sense of urgency with the words you use.

Call to action.

What do you want the recipient to do? Call for information? Reply to a survey? Order a product? Visit your store? Too often, direct mailers forget to include a “call to action.” Make it convenient for recipients to act. If you want them to call, clearly provide the phone number and hours. If you want them to respond to a survey, enclose a postage-paid reply envelope. If you want them to visit your website, make sure your URL is front and center or try using a QR code.

Don’t Forget the PS!

In addition to a good headline and effective Call to Action, your solicitation can be enhanced with a good postscript. Believe it or not, the postscript is one of the most read parts of direct mail. After the address and initial headline, people tend to skip straight to the end. It’s smart to include something that will seduce the recipient to go back to the beginning and read the whole thing.

Test everything.

Always do one or more test mailings before you invest in a huge direct mail campaign. The design, the copy, the list you use, and the time of year that you’re mailing are just a few things to consider.

While many think the secret to an effective direct mail campaign lies in the design and the copy, getting the right mailing list is the primary key to a successful direct marketing campaign.  Your direct mail piece piece may look amazing and the message it delivers might by on point, but if it isn’t reaching the right audience, it won’t generate interest or get results.