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Cut through the junk! Five easy steps to a more effective direct mail campaign


Since the invention of stamps one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing has been direct mail.

But in today’s overcluttered, junk mail-heavy world, has direct mail become more of a communication invasion than an informative sales tool?

Not necessarily. You just need to get a little creative.

To help your message cut through, here are five easy steps to create a more effective direct mail campaign.

1. You talkin’ to me!?

The first step is to determine exactly who you are talking to when your direct mail piece hits someone’s desk.

Whether you are purchasing a database or building it from scratch you need to decide who is your most probable customer – the person most likely to buy from you. Then, make sure that you have their name (spelt correctly of course), their title, postal address and contact number.

Nowadays, you can purchase a targeted database tailored to industry, business size, location and number of employees from around one dollar a name.

2. Get creative

The US Environmental Protection Agency found that 44 percent of direct marketing mail is binned even before it is opened. So, it is vital that your promotional material stands out from the crowd.

Think outside of the square when you are designing your campaign – include a product sample, send a glossy postcard instead of a cheap flyer or at least make it bright and colourful so it jumps out of the letterbox.

3. Keep it informative

Believe it or not there are a lot of people who actually love receiving junk mail. A study by the Australian Institute found that in 2005 $428 million was spent on unaddressed promotions and an amazing $1.54 billion on addressed direct mail.

Make sure your marketing message includes some interesting information about your product or service and a ‘to the home or business owner’ exclusive offer.

4. Hit the phones!

Direct mail as a marketing strategy generally achieves a take-up rate, if you are lucky, of only one to three percent.

This low response rate however improves substantially when you follow up your direct mail with a telemarketing campaign.

By using a current and correctly populated database you should have both mailing and phone data for all of your prospects.

Wait a few days after sending out your marketing piece and then call up each contact to follow up.

Start each conversation by checking that they received your leaflet and then ask them what they thought of your promotional offer – this approach makes the call sound less like a sales pitch.

5. Measure and massage

Every marketing strategy needs constant improvement to ensure that you are achieving the optimum results you can.

Measure the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns and make adjustments as needed. For example, try your telemarketing script with the first ten callbacks and gauge the response, then if necessary try a different approach for the next ten and compare the results.

Finally, remember that this really is a great time to start doing junk mail promotion. With the rise in popularity of the internet there’s now even less competition in the mailbox.

Tony Eades is the Creative Director for BrandManager, a full service creative agency based in Sydney and Perth.

Image by Michael Coghlan