ByStacy Gilmore, Staples® Contributing Writer
Some have discounted direct mail as antiquated, too expensive, and not of the digital age. However, when done correctly, it can be an impactful, cost-effective way to generate leads, acquire new customers, drive traffic to your store or website, and get your existing customers to shop more.
In order to make the most of your investment, you need to plan and prepare. Below are some tips to consider when planning your direct mail strategy.
1. Determine Your Objective
Are you looking to generate new leads? Acquire new customers? Generate traffic to your retail location or website? Inform existing customers about a new product or service? Pick one objective. Expecting your direct mail to meet multiple objectives will result in poor performance and a wasted investment. Allow your one objective to shape the rest of your strategy, including target audience, offer and message.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
The most important component of your direct mail strategy is your target audience. You could have a great offer, compelling design and copy, and a strong call to action, but if you send it to the wrong people, you may as well have thrown your money out the window.
To determine your target audience, refer back to your objective. If youre looking to generate new leads or acquire new customers, youll need to rent a mailing list. Working with a list broker is often helpful. This person can help educate you on the various lists that are available, from subscriber and association lists to compiled lists. They can also make recommendations on individual lists, selection criteria and targeting strategies that will best meet your objective. Be sure to include leads that you've collected from trade shows, past inquirers and former buyers.
If your goal is to grow share from your existing customers, use your own customer file. Youll always get the greatest response from your existing customers. Make sure its up-to-date with the most accurate names and addresses.