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August 23, 2022

Setting Up Your First Direct Mail Campaign for Success

by 
Guest Author

Fortunately, with today's marketing automation tools and software, setting up marketing campaigns is much more streamlined than it used to be. Thanks to integrations between platforms, it's easier than ever to sync your data across systems and execute marketing campaigns that are connected, personalized, and measurable. Many marketing platforms have also added templates to help customers turn out campaigns quicker -and utilize best practices in design. Whether you're engaged in digital or direct mail marketing, templates can help you get things done faster and more effectively.

While setting up your first campaign will take some thought, that doesn't mean you'll have to reinvent the wheel each time. With the right data and insight, marketers can drive better results with each campaign as they learn about their unique audience.

Learn how to get started on your first direct mail campaign today.

Research direct mail services

Before you map out your first campaign, it's crucial to have the right direct mail partner - one that is versed in the latest trends and technology and can scale with you.

As you do your research, look for a few key features for your direct mail platform. Your agency or service should offer address verification, which reduces waste and ensures you reach the right people at the correct addresses.

Next, find out about scale and print costs. A quality print delivery network allows you to scale from a few hundred to a few million mailers at your own pace and without penalizing you for sending smaller batches of mail.

Related: The Price of Direct Mail

Data is key to creating a modern marketing campaign, either online or offline, and it's imperative your direct mail platform can access your data or have lists uploaded for personalization efforts. Then, you should also be able to access tracking and metrics to ensure you're effectively measuring the performance of your direct mail campaigns and how they fit into your larger omnichannel strategy.

Lastly, while address verification does ensure less waste, it's also important your direct mail vendor helps you minimize the environmental impact of your campaigns by having sustainability measures in place, such as using eco-conscious paper or printing techniques.

Choose an objective

Once your team has landed on the right vendor, it's time to plan. Depending on where you want to focus your marketing efforts, your objective might be brand awareness, introducing a new product, capturing a new audience segment, or re-engaging lapsed customers. This objective will dictate what your call-to-action will be and who you will be targeting in your own database or if you need to purchase a marketable list. Knowing how many pieces of mail you're sending will help you with the next step of setting up your first direct mail campaign for success.

Create a budget

When it comes to direct mail campaign budgets, there's plenty of wiggle room. Costs are estimated to fall between a few cents and $10 per mailing recipient, meaning you have full control over what you spend.  

Marketers sometimes assume that allocating less budget for direct mail is safer because digital marketing is where it's at. But the data doesn't support this assumption. Direct mail marketing's ROI rivals that of digital channels like paid search and social media. A Data and Marketing Association study found that direct mail yielded a 29% ROI, social media yielded 30%, and paid search yielded 23%. 67% of the marketers surveyed in our own 2022 State of Direct Mail agreed that direct mail provides the best ROI of any channel they use.

Create a design

Designing your first direct mail campaign can be as DIY as you want it to be. Some marketers may have the time and expertise to create mailers. Others may want to outsource the job to a professional designer who understands their brand. Direct mail platforms also provide customizable templates to streamline the design process. No matter who on your team is responsible for creating the mailer, ensure the following before sending out your campaign:

  • Your design creates visual appeal and includes brand logos/colors
  • Your call-to-action is easy to find, understand, and act on
  • Your copy is tailored to the specific demographic you will reach
  • Your format makes sense for what you are sending out (e.g., postcard, letter, brochure, catalog, etc.)
  • Your location and tracking information is included (e.g., QR code, address, website)

Run an omnichannel campaign

Consider the big picture when figuring out how to set up a direct mail campaign. How will this campaign tie into your other marketing efforts? Studies have shown better response rates when direct mail is coupled with other channels, most notably email.

To fully capitalize on your first direct mail campaign, have a follow-up digital campaign ready to go. Target the same audience with a digital correspondence 1-2 weeks later to continue the conversation. In today's highly connected world, customers not only prefer omnichannel marketing from the brands they love - they expect it. Companies using omnichannel marketing report an astounding 90% higher customer retention rate than those without it.

Commit to the process

Once you've figured out how to set up a direct mail campaign, don't just return to your usual marketing efforts afterward. Consistency is key for several reasons:

  1. The more campaigns you send out, the better customer data you gather. This allows marketers to create an iterative process that caters to their customers' true responses.
  2. Sales are rarely achieved on the first try. Research shows that second and third mailers tend to get higher response rates. So rather than blasting out one direct mail campaign to everyone you know, it's likely more effective to segment your list carefully and send three progressive mailers out to the same group.

Recommended reading

The Price of Direct Mail

Mastering Direct Mail Attribution

10 B2C Marketing Automation Tools To Try in 2022

How to set up your first direct mail campaign

Direct mail need not take countless hours to manage, nor should it mean thousands of dollars down the drain. With Lob's direct mail automation tools, marketers get direct mail campaigns up and running quickly with real-time analytics to track results and guide future strategy.

Raise your ROI, reach more customers, and transform your campaigns into intelligent direct mail at scale. Register for our upcoming webinar for a deep dive into how to use direct mail for acquisition campaigns.

This blog provides general information and discussion about direct mail marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.

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