Making sure mail marketing delivers

Junk mail. It’s probably sitting in your mailbox right now. And if you’re a marketer, perhaps you’ve even sent some to your own customers and prospects unwittingly.

Of course, you’d never consider your own corporate mailings “junk,” but if it’s not resonating with your target audience, then it’s nothing more than that. The key to creating effective mailers is knowing your audience and targeting your message accordingly, say experts.

“If it’s well targeted, it’s not junk,” explains Sandra Blum, author of “Designing Direct Mail That Sells” (North Light Books, $29.99) and president of Blum & Co., a Fairfield, Conn., ad, direct-marketing and marketing- communications agency. “It’s mail that your prospects are interested in.”

Targeted approach

To be sure, one of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make is casting too wide a net, notes Greg Demetriou, president of BiCounty Mailing and American Mail Communications in Farmingdale, which specializes in direct-mail marketing.

“You need to be able to segment your data and pitch your offer to a very narrow part of your marketplace,” he explains.

You can rent a list of prospects or create your own, says Demetriou, noting the latter generally produces the best results.

That said, even with a strong mailing list, if you don’t have a clear call to action or compelling offer, you’re not going to generate a good response, he says.

“You want to prompt them to act,” he notes, adding your offer can’t be perceived as false or meaningless, like “Win $1 million.”

Testing and tracking

Oftentimes, businesses pay too little attention to developing the offer, says Blum, who offers more direct-marketing tips at learn.pbmarketingservices .com. Even the slightest difference in the way an offer is expressed can impact response rates, she notes.

Tracking offers is key, attests Max Krotman, managing partner of Melville-based Global- force International, a mergers and acquisitions consultancy to the accounting field and an executive search firm.

“You need to see which offers work best, otherwise you’re just left in your own arrogant self-thought,” says Krotman, who has been using direct mail for 20 years.

Globalforce has sent out mailings with such offers as a free consultation.

Recently, the company sent out a direct-mail coupon for free admission to a May speaking engagement by Krotman in Manhattan on mergers and acquisitions and selling your accounting practice.

The bottom line is that your offer has to have value to your audience and be relevant, explains Neil O’Keefe, vice president of multichannel segments for the Direct Marketing Association in Manhattan. For instance, you wouldn’t mail a landscaping postcard to an apartment house resident, he says.

Clean Files

To help avoid such mistakes, it helps to work with a reputable list data processor if you choose to rent a list, he notes.

Make sure you have a clean customer file with current addresses, no misspellings, etc. he says.

Also make sure your prospects actually want to receive the mail you’re sending. The Direct Marketing Association allows consumers to opt out of receiving certain types of mail and many list processors subscribe to this file.

Lastly, if you want to get the best results from your directmail campaign, use a multichannel approach that combine direct-mail efforts with e-mail marketing campaigns, etc., says Demetriou. It helps to broaden your exposure.


Making sure mail marketing delivers – LI Business – Jamie Herzlich