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5 Things You Won’t Hear Successful Direct Marketers Say

Direct marketing professionals have a wealth of knowledge and advice to give on the path to achieving success with their campaigns, but we’d venture a guess that you’d never hear these phrases pass their lips.

Here is our list of five things you won’t hear successful direct marketers say:

  1. Direct mail costs too much.While it is true that direct mail can be an expensive medium to employ, your return on investment is much more critical to your bottom line. If a higher quality piece is sent to a higher quality, targeted list and returns more dollars, the initial cost doesn’t really matter because you did it right. However, if your investment is not bringing in the response you need, no matter what the cost, that’s when you might want to bring in some expert help to diagnose why.
  2. Let’s just send email.Savvy marketers know there are a few critical drawbacks to relying solely on email. First, while email can be a cost-effective way to keep in touch with your house list of opt-in names, it is notoriously difficult to use for new lead acquisition due to CAN-SPAM and GDPR regulations. Second, email is the new junk mail. Many people are so overwhelmed with their emails they have multiple inboxes just to manage the influx. And this is reflected in response rates: direct mail response rates to an existing customer average 9%, and for email, 1%. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not print vs. digital. We are big believers in using email as a part of your marketing mix in conjunction with your other tried and true channels to create a cohesive omnichannel marketing campaign.
  3. “Visit our website” is our CTA.Unless your marketing goal is solely to reach high numbers of website visitors, you’d probably rather sell something or raise funds for your cause. If so, then why would you waste your opportunity to reach customers on a call to action (CTA) that sends them on a wild goose chase to your website home page? If you do want them to go online, make sure the page they visit directly relates to your mail piece – either create a unique landing page or tweak your homepage so they can easily find the information you reference in your direct marketing. To make it relevant, rethink your CTA: What do you REALLY want them to do? Purchase something? Join your mailing list? Sign up for something? For e-commerce of course, a coupon code can also do the trick – which means your true CTA is really to redeem that special offer.
  4. We’re sending the same letter to everyone in our database.Keep this phrase in mind: Right Message. Right Person. Right Time. We are inundated with marketing messages every day. Your message needs to stand out. Successful direct marketers know the best way to do that is by targeting and personalizing your message. The more relevant it appears to the recipient, the better chance you have of response. This means digging into your data a little, to see how you can segment it, and how you can add personalization to the message itself. Today’s digital printing and direct mail technology allow you to do sophisticated versioning and custom variables with little impact on overall costs. Most of the time, highly customized messages can even run in the same mailstream.
  5. I heard about [insert shiny object here] idea! Let’s do it!We all love the latest and greatest thing. Marketing trends and technology are important to follow. However, direct marketers who achieve consistently strong results know that new technology should be tested before you are ready to go all-in. Testing is the best way to see if the latest idea will lift response enough to justify any added cost, or if the tried and true comes out on top. So try to keep your impulsive side in check and test new approaches, messaging or technologies before you risk wasting your marketing dollars on technology that isn’t a good fit for you.

The Bottom Line

If you find yourself saying any of these five things, you could be holding yourself back. Viewing them through the lens that we have provided could give you the tools you need for direct marketing success.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2015. It has been updated for accuracy, relevance, and comprehensiveness.