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Listen up, Fools! Don’t be deceived by the name. Direct marketing isn’t just direct mail anymore. It really encompasses all channels – email, phone, social, snail mail and door-to-door. What it definitely is NOT, however, is a blanket statement targeting the masses (think billboard or TV commercial). Direct marketing entails crafting a carefully thought-out message targeting a specific segment, or buyer persona. When creating a new piece of content, most marketers send out an email and do some promotional tweets, but a good campaign shouldn’t stop there. Have we become so mobile-obsessed that we have forgotten about the good old USPS? What goes around comes around, and just like the overalls trend from the 90's (Hey there, Donna Martin from 90210!), direct mail is back and should not be ignored.

Put it this way, B2B companies are so busy competing in the online world that the market is pretty saturated. Type your core service into Google and how many pages of search results appear? We all know that the top 3 positions are the most coveted; everyone is so busy trying to stay ahead of their competitors in rank that they’re overlooking what was once a revolutionary marketing technique – and quite honestly, is still garnering great results today.  But, how many direct mail pieces have you received in the last year?  Scratch that, how many RELEVANT direct mail pieces have you received?

In the spirit of April Fools’ Day, here are three mistakes you should avoid when creating a direct mail marketing strategy, along with some important reminders and tips to help you succeed!

Mistake #1. Using a Disorganized Contact Database

A good, clean database is key! As with any good direct marketing campaign, the list of prospects needs to be up-to-date and relevant for what you are trying to sell. After all, if you want John Smith, VP of Finance of a Fortune 500 company’s attention, you better make sure he is still actually, I don’t know…there. This is your chance to fine-tune your list of contacts and make sure your message gets in front of the right people. Still unsure? Then just chunk it out in small batches to see if it gets the results you are hoping to achieve.

Moreover, when reaching out to a large audience or running a re-engagement campaign, it’s important to segment your audience and keep the contents of your direct mail as targeted as possible. Consider attributes like industry, job title, geographic location, age and any other qualities that help you define your target buyer – and let those qualities influence what type of content or material you are sending them. Sending John Smith the same thing you would send a recent college grad working at a startup doesn’t make sense, right?

Mistake #2. Underestimating the Power of Packaging

There is no longer a magic hour to send emails to guarantee you’re first in someone’s email inbox. But, if your print packaging is unique it will definitely stand out. Like we quickly trash an email with an unappealing subject line, we are apt to throw out a standard white envelope without even looking at its contents. This is your chance to separate yourself from the pack – use it wisely! Creative packaging will guarantee you catch the eye of your intended recipients. 

Recently, we created a direct mail campaign for a client around the theme of “being in the dark.” So, we incorporated this dark theme throughout all elements of the campaign, including the packaging – we scoured the web for the perfect black boxes and we reversed the standard black font on white mailing label so that the mailing label itself was black and the name and address was in white. The impact was pretty dramatic and we received feedback that it certainly caught the attention of the niche audience we were going after.

Mistake #3. Limiting Yourself to Boring Fliers and Brochures

These mediums aren’t likely to hold your audience captive for very long. Have some fun with your direct mail marketing strategy! After all, that’s why we are marketers and not actuaries (sorry, Dad!), right? Consider something branded that your audience will actually use. By giving them something tangible – with a real function – chances are your recipients will not only keep what you deliver, but actually use it, thereby building and reinforcing brand awareness. Hilary Gallagher of Spry International says, The demand for promotional products continues to grow in the $18 billion dollar industry. We are seeing numbers that suggest receiving a promotional product sees a 69% increase in brand interest and an 84% increase in creating a favorable attitude towards the brand.” Those are some pretty significant stats!

So now that you’ve bought your ticket for the direct mail marketing train, perhaps what is most important to keep in mind is this: Know your ultimate Call-to-Action!

All the above tips aren’t going to guarantee success unless you have nailed down your overall campaign goal. What do you want the recipient to do with your message? Are you looking for them to request a demo? Then include a unique URL for them to visit, or an 800 number with a contact name to call. Create a unique landing page that incorporates a message match with the content in your mail. A direct mail marketing strategy isn’t living on an island all by itself. Always remember to fluidly integrate your direct mail campaign with the rest of your marketing efforts – and you’ll see much better results!

Free Download: Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Even the Smartest Companies Make

About the Author

Kerrie Clark O'Mara | Account Manager
Kerrie Clark O'Mara, Account Manager

Kerrie O’Mara is an Account Manager and mixed marketing arts master. She loves combining old and new marketing techniques to help clients get the results they need. She’ll usually be avoiding blogs at all costs, but when she’s forced to sit down and write, she’s doing it for the reward of her readers learning something new!

 Tags: B2B Marketing Marketing Strategy and Planning Branding Relationship Marketing

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