Aaron Dunn

Potential customer angry at direct mail marketing campaign

If you’re preparing a new direct mail campaign for your business, you’re probably brimming with excitement to see the results. This is perfectly natural – every business wants to spread brand awareness and benefit from their efforts. But direct mail isn’t as simple as putting your logo and phone number onto a piece of paper, applying a stamp, and shoving it in a mailbox.

There are plenty of ways for your direct mail marketing strategy to succeed – just as there are plenty of ways it can fail. If you’d like to avoid a marketing catastrophe, check out this list of the most common mistakes businesses make in their direct mail marketing campaigns.

Unrealistic Expectations

Think about direct mail marketing as more of a marathon than a sprint. You should never dump all of your budget into one particular channel with high expectations – that’s an easy way to get burned. Instead, take your time and figure out what does and doesn’t work for your target audience, and recognize that you’ll build up success over time.

This concept applies especially to new businesses. Whether you’re in the B2C or B2B space, you have to work your way up to achieving success in your direct mail marketing campaigns rather than achieving it right away.

Forgetting About Testing Direct Mail Campaigns

A/B testing is a critical part of any business’s marketing efforts. In other words, you should never have an A mailing without a follow-up B mailing period. Otherwise, you won’t have anything to compare your success (or failure) to.

Keep careful track of response rates to your direct mail marketing campaigns. Learn what works and doesn’t, and build every subsequent campaign around those previous successes. If you introduce something new, monitor the results to determine if you should stick with it next time around or abandon the concept altogether.

No Direct Mail Call to Action

Without a call to action, your mailer has no choice but to fall flat. It’s nice to send out some material letting people know you exist as a business, but you need a hook – something that encourages readers to give you a call, schedule a meeting, or drive to your location.

Your best bet is to clearly state your intentions and what you want your potential clients to do next multiple times. The content of the mailer should encourage readers to take the next step and engage with you further to get whatever you have to offer.

Weak Content in Direct Mail Campaign

There’s nothing worse than a piece of direct mail material without any content. All the graphics in the world can’t make up for a lack of imaginative, well-written, and most of all informative copy.

The purpose of direct mail is not to be pretty. Another way to look at this is to avoid being superficial with your direct mail efforts – your biggest focus should be on generating a response with specific, authoritative, and well-worded content.

Moving Too Quickly

Direct mail campaigns can last upwards of 10 weeks, from initial design to completion. This includes creative processes, proofing, printing, personalizing, mailing, analyzing data, researching and comparing, and reaping the results. If your mailers are more complex, you need to recognize that your timeline may be even longer.

This means you should never rush your direct mail marketing campaign. If you do, you’ll be throwing away your chances of a homerun success for smaller, less meaningful achievements.

Improper Focus

Your business likely already has an established brand and value proposition. You’ve probably already hired creative teams for your logos, slogans, copy, and other brand elements. While it’s possible to simply slap all of that onto your direct mail and call it a day, you should still open your mind to new ideas to ensure each piece of mail is opened and engaged with.

If you focus on one idea for who you are as a company and how you interact with potential and existing customers, you could be setting yourself up for failure long-term. Don’t let that happen.

Failure to Look Ahead

You expect your business to last for many years to come, right? If so, why would you look at any marketing campaign as a one-and-done effort?

Each direct mail campaign with print marketing materials should be seen as a test of concept. If it works, fantastic. Otherwise, go back to the drawing board. Eventually, with the right team, the right ideas, and the right partners on your side, you’ll achieve marketing success.

For more information on direct mail and other print marketing campaign strategies, check out the Linemark blog each week!

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