Last week’s post was all about why you should consider sending direct mail. And why it’s such a powerful marketing tool in the digital age. This week we’re looking at how to go about sending an effective direct mail campaign. We’ll cover the practical considerations and methods. And talk about some of the things to consider from a marketing/design perspective. 

So let’s get straight into the nitty gritty of creating a top-notch, eye-popping, direct mail campaign.

Who?

The first thing to consider is who your campaign is going to be aimed at. Direct mail is different to regular marketing in that it’s aimed at a very specific audience. In fact, you could even say it’s aimed at an ultra specific audience.

So it’s not just about targeting a general demographic, like, for example, 35-40 year old women. Most of the time with direct mail you’ll be sending it to a particular person within an organisation. Like the marketing manager, buyer, or even the business owner themselves. This gives you the big advantage of being able to tailor your campaign to that person. Of course you might not (and probably won’t) know them personally, but that’s not an issue. It’s all about capturing their attention, and making them feel as though this little package that’s come through the door has been made just for them.

The thing to ask is: Who is this person, and what will make them pick up the phone to call me? 

Determining the ‘who’ should be affected by what you want to get out of the campaign. Let’s say you’re wanting a retailer to supply a new product you’ve invented, then you’ll likely want to get in front of the buyer’s eyes. If you’re a photographer, however, and you want to use your skills to help improve a business’s marketing efforts, then it’s the marketing manager you’ll be looking for.

What?

So, once you know who your direct mail campaign is going to be aimed at, you can start to think about what the campaign should entail. In a tangible sense, this means: Will it be small or large? An envelope or a package? A text-heavy document or a novelty item? These questions are all important, and again they hinge on the sub-question of: What response do you wish to provoke?

If you want an immediate reaction, then you’ll need a compelling call-to-action, which is usually best-served alongside a good amount of text. If, however, you just want to get under your target’s nose in a more indirect manner, without necessarily requiring an immediate response, then something physical may serve you better.

For example, let’s say you’re a photographer and you’re targeting a dream client who you’d love to work for. You may decide to send them a bespoke desk calendar featuring several examples of your best work. This might not elicit an immediate response, but if it’s nice enough maybe it’ll find a home on someone’s desk. And as a result your name, brand, and work will remain on that desk for the foreseeable future. So the next time they need to outsource photography, someone notices your beautiful calendar sitting there on the desk and thinks, “Hm. Maybe I’ll give this person a call”.

Why?

You know who and you know what. Now comes why. For this one we’ll need to engage in a bit of empathic thinking. Put yourself in the shoes of that marketing manager, buyer, or business owner. 

Imagine sitting down at your desk on a Monday morning and rifling through the daily tower of mail, most of which is probably junk and bills. You’re tired and you’ve got better things to do. You’re hardly even concentrating. Then, just beneath an insurance sales brochure, you see it. Something that catches your eye and sparks your imagination. You feel excited. You can feel your heartbeat rising and your palms sweating…

What was it? What stuck so far out of the mud pile that it woke you up and made you pay attention? Throughout the entire process of creating your direct mail campaign, you need to constantly ask yourself: Would I take the time to open this if it came through my letterbox, or would I throw it straight in the bin?

If you can honestly say that you’d be intrigued. If you really think that you would open up that letter or parcel or whatever it is you’re sending, then you’re on to a winner.

Wow! 

A direct mail campaign is your chance to really pull out all the stops and go for the “wow” response. In fact, wowing your target audience is one of the only failsafe ways to ensure they’ll transfer you out of the ‘junk mail’ pile and into the ‘read this pile’. And whilst nothing can replace quality, original, content, there are a few tricks you can use for aesthetic enhancement.

Luxury print is the first of these tricks. Because nothing screams junk mail like poor quality paper. If you’re sending off parcels in luxurious packaging, or letters in luxurious envelopes, chances are they’ll be opened.

Furthermore, if what’s inside the package is also made of luxury material, then the recipient will probably keep it. So whether it’s foil blocking, embossing, laser cutting, or spot varnishing, luxury print won’t let you down. It will also add a personalised, bespoke touch to your campaign, showing that you care about what you do.    

Another method for wowing: be unique. Send something that’s so relevant to your brand that only you could get away with sending it.

Let’s go back to the photographer for a moment. And let’s say the photographer decides to send out a handful of chocolate cameras as a direct mail campaign. This would be easy enough to pull off (there’s a company out there that actually makes chocolate cameras). But what it says to the recipient is that the photographer actually put a bit of thought into their campaign. It’s not just a generic box of chocolates, bearing no relation to the advertised service. It’s a chocolate camera sent by a photographer. That’s guaranteed to put a smile on someone’s face. 

Final words

The personal approach offered by direct mail gives you the opportunity to really make an impact. And if you’re trying to win new business, or get your name in front of some big clients, it could be the way to go. If you didn’t read part one of this two-part post, about why direct mail is a good marketing strategy, you can find it here. And if you’re considering sending out a direct mail campaign but would like some guidance, why not get in touch for a free consultation?