How To Use Direct Mail

Junk mail is unsolicited mail such as postcards, letters and advertisements.  Junk mail creates billions of dollars and is known by advertisers as direct mail.  And it works.

The best way to learn how to use direct mail is to study pieces in your mailbox.  If you own a business it is a good idea to save samples that you can study and emulate for your business.

There are numerous direct mail pieces.  Companies send out flyers, sales letters and brochures, postcards and other promotional pieces.  Direct response marketing is one form of direct mail in which you can easily measure the results.  It entails mailing a sales letter, brochure and order form to a targeted audience.  The order form can be keyed with the date of the mailing to track inquiries and orders.

Whatever direct mail piece you decide to use, there are some basic steps to follow. 

  1. First, you need to have someone who can write the advertising copy.  There is an art to designing an effective direct mail piece.
  2. Before the copy is written, you need to know what you're selling and its price.  If you want to generate traffic for your retail store, you may advertise a high-demand but low-cost item to pique people's interest.  This is known as a lost leader, which is highly effective.
  3. You need to decide to whom you are going to mail.  If you sell vitamins, you need to mail to vitamin buyers.  If you want to mail to consumers within a five-mile radius of your store, you need to use a list of such people.
  4. The quantity of the mailing is your next consideration.  A mailing of 3,000-5,000 is better than a smaller mailing of 500-1,000.
  5. After deciding on the target audience and quantity, you need to purchase a mailing list.  The Direct Marketing Association has the greatest number of mailing lists available and can target any customer group.
  6. Determining who is going to print, prepare and send out the mailing is another consideration.  There are mailing houses that can do all of the work for you.  They have bulk permits that will save you on postage.  All of these costs should be factored in to ultimately determine if your mailing has been success.

You always need to be testing and evaluating the success of your mailings.  Do more mailings of greater quantities if the test mailing is profitable.


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