The purpose of any direct mail marketing campaign is to help achieve some business goal. Direct mail can help you:
- Generate leads.
- Directly increase sales.
- Improve customer retention and loyalty.
What is the business challenge you want to address with this campaign? It could be something like:
- No one knows who you are.
- There is a mistaken perception about your business – prospects may believe you’re unapproachable or too expensive, for instance.
- You have new products, services, key staff or a new office location to announce.
- You want to fill in seasonal dips in revenue generation.
Anyone who has studied business or marketing remembers the “SMART” acronym, and it’s pertinent here, so let’s review. SMART stands for:
Vague goals like “more patients” or “more revenue” are not measurable. If you get three new customers, is that “good”? It could be if you’re an auto dealer, but it’s not a worthwhile return if you’re promoting a brand new restaurant. What makes sense here depends entirely on your typical transaction amount and your business goals.
For this campaign, what do you want postcard recipients to do? You’ll need to spell it out specifically, otherwise prospects may be confused, in which case they won’t bother to follow up. Be specific about benefits, too — why should they follow up? No offer is a hot enough deal if people are hesitant to do business with you.
You can measure response volume, revenue generated and ROI. Measurable goals also enable you to set a reasonable budget. Marketing has to be cost-effective to be successful.
Sure, you want to have a million dollar year, but is that reasonable? If you set outlandish goals, you guarantee failure.
Based on your goal for this campaign, who do you need to reach? Keeping your persona in mind will help you create postcards with messaging that resonates and an offer that inspires action. With the “who” in mind, you can finely tune your mailing list, which is critical to reach your goal. Outdated or off-target mailings waste resources.
Goals without a timeframe are very difficult to measure. If it takes all year to attract those three new customers for your auto dealership, you haven’t gained much. Timeframe is important for production planning, too.
If you creating a holiday-focused campaign or promoting your annual sale that takes place on a certain date, you’ll want to mail at least three or four postcards, about a week apart. Knowing when you’ll need to get all the details in place to allow for proofing, printing and delivery to the post office ensures you won’t be scrambling around at the last minute or, worse, that you’ll fail to get the word out in time.
There’s another type of timeliness, too. In order for your campaign to motivate response quickly, you’ll want to impart a sense of urgency for prospects, by limiting offer availability or using an expiration date.
Review your past year’s marketing.
Did you reach your goals? What aspects of your direct mail worked the best? You want to repeat the offers, calls-to-action and graphic elements like headlines and photos that have generated the biggest response for you in the past.
What new goals are you focusing on this year? If you’ve been in business for several years, perhaps it’s time to create a campaign to reconnect with patients or customers you haven’t seen in quite some time. Win-back marketing can be surprisingly effective, perhaps because former customers are flattered that you’ve singled them out for attention with your direct mail postcards. (And a great offer certainly sweetens the pot!)
No matter what your marketing campaign goals, they’re only SMART if you present yourself professionally. So make it a priority to work with a top-of-the-line direct mail company that can deliver superior quality work as well as sterling advice.