5 Common Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes – And How To Avoid Them

direct mail marketing mistakes

With so many marketing channels competing for the same customer, it’s more important than ever to foster the type of personal connection that leads to a sale. Direct marketing, by definition, is a method of contacting customers and potential customers personally, rather than having an indirect medium between the company and the consumer. This type of marketer-and-consumer relationship can lead to a sale, but you have to do it right.

One of the most prominent platforms of direct marketing is direct mail. Though direct mail is sometimes thought to be the ancient dinosaur of marketing, it still consistently provides a strong ROI, among other benefits.

Like any other marketing format, there are common mistakes that direct marketers can make, which unfortunately can cause the overall campaign to be ineffective. Below are five direct mail marketing mistakes and suggestions on how to avoid them.

  1. Marketing to the wrong list
    The biggest mistake a direct marketer can make is to market to a bad list. Not only is it ineffective – it also wastes valuable dollars. Some marketers falsely assume that marketing to a large list will reach more people, thus resulting in more sales. Wrong. Very rarely does sending a direct mailer or an email to a hefty-yet-demographically vague list pay off. The best way to avoid marketing to the wrong list is to segment your list, allowing your marketing to be tailored to a specific group of consumers who are more likely to find relevance in the piece. (For more on how to segment your customer database, check out the post “How to Create an Effective Database List in 3 Simple Steps.”)
  2. Poor copy
    There are multiple ways direct marketers can trip and fall into the pit of defective copy. One of the most common copy oversights is not knowing when to utilize long or short copy on a direct mailer or email. There are differing opinions on this matter because some experts think that modern consumers’ attention span is too short to read through longer copy. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, experts such as Dr. Charles Edwards believe that, “the more facts you tell, the more you sell.” The best way to avoid this mistake is to know your audience and cater to them. Surprisingly, another common error that happens more than you would think is bad grammar or spelling errors within the copy. Avoid these mistakes by having multiple colleagues look over the piece with fresh eyes to ensure there are no mistakes before the piece is sent out.
  3. No call to action
    A lot of new businesses want to send out a direct mailer as a way to introduce themselves to potential customers. However, as the goal of direct marketing is to elicit a response, the consumer needs a nudge to direct them on what to do next in order to ensure that the next level in the customer-marketer relationship is obtained. According to CRMtrends.com, “you can't assume the reader will do what you want him to do, right now … So spell it out and make it easy. Ask them for the action you want – tell them exactly what to do.” Not having a direct call-to-action sets you up to lose your potential consumers and stunt your ROI. Always include an offer on your direct mailer – anything from a coupon to a complimentary consultation can work.
  4. Failing to integrate with other marketing
    Direct marketing as a whole is most successful when all of the direct marketing channels are intertwined. Failing to integrate your direct mailer with other direct marketing efforts such as email means you are missing major opportunities to amplify your campaign coverage. A proper consumer database contains a mix of contacts with only a tangible address on file, contacts with only an email address on file, and contacts with both. As a marketer, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to connect with all of your consumers and therefore cannot disregard an integrated direct marketing campaign.
  5. Poor follow-up
    Not following up after your campaign is the easiest mistake that you can make in a direct marketing campaign. Leads can disintegrate quickly if they are not followed up with in a timely manner. You can increase your ROI drastically by incorporating multiple communication touches. For example, send a mailer, then follow-up with an email, and finally a phone call. Direct mail works best with multiple points of communication – you need to be proactive if you want to turn your mail campaign into a sale.

If you want to start increasing your direct relationship with consumers, contact our full-service agency today to learn more about Conduit, our direct marketing software tool, and receive a free demonstration.