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Direct marketing is the most powerful weapon in your sales arsenal in terms of return on investment, second only perhaps to word-of-mouth marketing overall – which, in large part, is difficult to control. If you've engaged in direct marketing and failed, or at least not realized the results you had hoped for, chances are you're doing something wrong.
You probably know you need a good offer; that you need to espouse the virtues of your benefits; and, of course, great design helps you get noticed. But there are several other critical elements that factor into direct-mail marketing success. Read on to learn more about common direct marketing mistakes and to identify five things you're probably doing wrong.
1. Poorly targeted mailing list
How do you compile your direct-mail marketing mailing list? Do you pull out the white pages, community directories or other generalized population lists? If so, your mailing list is poorly targeted, and your promotions will fall short of your goals. Identify who your best customers are, then compare their demographics to identify common characteristics. Those characteristics can then be used to build a highly targeted mailing list of pre-qualified potential customers who are likely to buy.
2. Too many options
Many inexperienced marketers try to cater to customers by giving them as many options as possible in terms of how they can take advantage of a given offer. The problem is that these options become confusing. Customers can find it difficult to compare the value of one offer over another. Ideally, you put one offer out at a time; if that offer has options (such as an annual subscription or a monthly subscription), limit those options to two to make it easy for customers to choose.
3. Overpaying for printing
Premium printing is integral to any successful direct marketing campaign – your brochures, postcards, flyers, posters and greeting cards should display quality graphics and text, and feel robust in your customers' hands to lend the utmost credibility. But the necessity for premium printing doesn't mean you have to pay a fortune. Look for affordable prices from a reputable online printing company, and keep an eye out for special deals. PsPrint, for example, routinely offers professional grade printing on direct marketing materials for as much as 60 percent off or more.
4. Failing to test
You should test different designs, headlines and offers against small portions of your target customer base to compare results before you launch your full campaign. Doing so allows you to learn which direct marketing piece gets the better response, and therefore you will earn a higher return on investment on your full campaign.
5. Not tracking
It's important to use coupons, coupon codes, response cards, and other means of tracking your response and conversion rates for your direct marketing materials. Again, tracking these figures allows you to identify which pitches work best; not only that, they can help you identify which pitches work best on which portions of your target customer base.