Whether you use direct mail to generate new prospects, clients or customers, this medium remains one of the most powerful ways to generate a lead or a sale.
For both consumer and B2B marketers, it provides a low cost per lead or sale.
This is especially the case when you use an integrated, multichannel approach and new digital technologies.
Although I use other media like banner ads, email blasts, display ads and broadcast radio and TV in my clients’ marketing efforts, repeatedly we find that the power of direct mail – even in this online age – is still the #1 most effective way of marketing for immediate, tangible response.
So why is it that so many people don’t get the type of ROI they should expect from direct mail? Why do you look at a mailing package and think it’s going to work, but it doesn’t?
In this issue of Direct Marketing Update and the next, I’ll give you 6 blunders some marketers make that result in a depression of response using direct mail.
The first blunder is the costliest.

Blunder #1:

The #1 destroyer of a great direct mail piece is a poorly constructed offer.
It’s unbelievable how much money is wasted because marketers do not have a powerful offer.
The offer is what the prospect or client gets…it’s his perceived value of what you’re presenting.
That offer should include:

  • The right pricing … or construction of a FREE offer
  • A FREE premium … usually editorial
  • A discount, if it’s a direct sell and appropriate
  • An ironclad guarantee, if appropriate

So in evaluating a mailing package, one of the first things I look at is the offer and ask myself…is that powerful enough?
But that’s not the only reason direct mail doesn’t perform the way it should.

Blunder #2:

The second major blunder is not having a quality mailing list.
Many marketers don’t conduct a list audit properly. You must consistently analyze your list for performance.
New lists, updated lists and revised lists are often overlooked by marketers.
Another common mailing list error is using a compiled vs. a direct response list. Direct response lists are 3 to 4 times more responsive. If you only use a compiled list, you’re losing out on higher response rates even though the size of the mailing list may be larger than a direct response list.
This is because a compiled list consists of data aggregated from various sources such as multiple directories.
A direct response list is composed of prospects who have previously responded to a direct mail offer. They are highly direct mail responsive.
But the most important new development is the amazing improvements in creating a look-a-like audience with advanced data modeling – mailing lists on steroids.

Blunder #3:

Not having direct response copy.
Direct response copy is what makes direct mail really work. The difference between great response and mediocre response is the difference between copy that captures readers’ interest and pulls them through to the offer, and copy that “just lies there,” (i.e., doesn’t motivate).
In past issues, we’ve covered what constitutes great direct response copy. It’s not advertising copy. It’s not editorial copy.
Direct response copy is the use of words that are personal, conversational and turn features into benefits. It’s sales psychology in print.
Make sure to check our next issue for the remaining 3 blunders.
In the meantime, check out my video briefing: Direct Mail Breakthrough in an Online World. It’s abut 9 minutes.
See here.

If you’re ready to supercharge your response rates in your direct mail piece, give me a call at (310) 212-5727 or email Caleb at caleb@cdmginc.com.