Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > What makes an Effective Direct Mail Campaign

What makes an Effective Direct Mail Campaign

An effective direct mail campaign comes with experience… and some hard work.

The key factor that can make your direct mail effective is preparation.

Thorough preparation lays a solid foundation for your direct mail-out and is something your group or organisation should spend time on.

With good initial preparation your direct mail-out will be much easier to organise and more likely to be successful.

With practice, the time it takes to prepare for a direct mail will reduce, which means the more direct mail-outs your group does, the easier it should get.

Of course, it is important your contact list complies with privacy laws. For more information on those laws, refer here.

Preparing for an effective direct mail-out

In preparing for an effective direct mail-out you should pay attention to the following aspects.

  • Know what you want from your direct mail-out.
Before you spend time, trouble and expense on a direct mail campaign, your group needs to know what it actually wants from the mail-out.

Pinpoint what you're trying to achieve through your direct mail-out, and also what action you want the people who receive your direct mail to take.

One way of doing this is to make sure your marketing department (or person responsible for marketing/promotions) is able to quickly and clearly write or state the intention of the mail-out, and how you want people to respond.  Doing this before you start to prepare everything else associated with the mail-out will help your group focus on the task and get everyone "pulling in the same direction".

A number of help sheets in the Planning Direct Mail section of the Media & Marketing Centre can help your group complete this step.

  • Prepare your list.

Make sure you have an up-to-date database or mailing list or have arranged to buy access to one through a list broker and your list is ready for the mail-out.

For more information on either creating a list or buying access to a list, there are a number of sheets in the Mailing and Database Management section of the Media & Marketing Centre you can refer to.

The next step is to use some list management tools like profiling and segmentation to better target your mail-out to those you wish to receive it.

Another way of presenting your list is to divide it into parts that indicate "hot", "warm" and "cold" - or sections that are likely to attract different response levels from those who are receiving the direct mail-out.

For more information on this aspect of databases/lists, refer to the help sheet Hot lists, Warm lists, Cold lists.

  • Prepare your mail contents.

Make sure you know the material you want to put with your mail-out, and can justify why each item is being included.

In other words, unless there is a purpose or strategic reason behind including the information that can justify the cost, then it is probably best to leave it out. Refer to the help sheet Background Material for a Direct Mail Campaign for more information.

Some of these items can include accompanying material like brochures or newsletters, or response devices like a request for donations, a membership form or survey.

These items need to be ready to go before you send out the direct mail. Of course, if you need to print up more copies of an item, the time to do this is well before the mail-out is sent.

For more information on the types of items you can include in your direct mail-out, refer to the help sheet Contents of a Direct Mail Pack, at the Media & Marketing Centre.

  • Prepare and finalise the appearance of your mail.

For your mail-out to be most effective, it needs to appear as professional and as attractive as possible.

You need to review every component of your mail-out – the appearance of the envelope, the lay-out and design of your covering letter, and any accompanying material or response devices you include.

Also allow ample time for any changes that needs to be made, particularly if the lay-outs and designs of your direct mail contents aren't up to scratch.

Remember to factor into the timeline any time needs for changes, as well as proofing, checking and re-checking of direct mail inclusions.

For more tips, hints and information on the appearance of your direct mail, refer to the help sheets What to look for when Proofing, Pushing the Envelope and the two-part Creating an Effective Direct Mail Letter. Also, follow this link to an index of sites where you can access direct mail templates and designs.

  • Prepare and plan the distribution of your mail-out.

Make sure you take the time to check that spelling and details of the names and addresses on your mailing list are correct.

Next, properly prepare the naming and addressing of envelopes, as well as the printing requirements for your letter, your direct mail contents, and your envelopes.

There may be different mailing options that save you money when it comes to your bulk direct mail-out
For more information, refer to the information contained in the Post Direct Mail heading of the Mail Marketing section at the Media & Marketing Centre.

The information contained on this site is subject to change. Our Community will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever coming from reliance placed on all or part of its contents.