Direct Mail Pieces: Tips To Get Your Direct Mail Seen And Earn The Best ROI 

As residents and homeowners, we undoubtedly see direct mail flyers in our mailbox on pretty much a daily basis. Our behaviour with how we interact with flyers can vary based on our mood that day, our personal opinion of junk mail or simply our proximity to a recycling bin. At Chatterson, we help our clients send direct mailers strategically and design them thoughtfully to get the maximum return on their investment. Here are our dos and don’ts of executing direct mail campaigns.

What to avoid when planning a direct mail piece.

From budget and design to messaging and audience, here are a few tips on what not to do when sending out a flyer to your prospective customers.

DON’T send a direct mail just for general brand awareness.

Direct mail pieces are expensive. If the goal of your marketing strategy is to build brand awareness, a direct mail piece is just one of many tactics you can utilize to get your name out there. Digital display ads and social media platforms act as online billboards for your brand, and are affordable to produce, run and track engagement. Utilize online mediums to build awareness of your company first and use direct mails strategically for specific call-to-actions, promotions or events.

DON’T put all your eggs in one basket.

In the world of marketing, there are so many tactics to generate leads and grow your business. When creating your annual marketing strategy and allocating budget, be sure to consider your target demographic and what tactics are most likely to reach them and convert them into customers. This could include a direct mail piece, but also digital ads, a social media campaign, out-of-home signage, email marketing, or guerrilla marketing, to name a few. Local environments can change rapidly – maybe there is a local election, off-season weather or a community event that would pull attention away from your direct mail piece. Diversifying your tactics ensures you are utilizing other efforts to grow your business should one tactic be unsuccessful.

DON’T send your direct mail piece everywhere.  

As we said earlier, direct mail pieces can cost a pretty penny, so even though you may want to attract leads from every corner of the city, it is important to invest wisely and avoid blasting areas where you are less likely to see returns.

For example, you run a furnace repair company, operating city-wide, and you’re offering a promotion for furnace cleanings & tune-ups (small ticket jobs) in the hopes of earning business for furnace repairs and replacements in the future (large ticket jobs). For your best return on investment, it would be wise to avoid newly built communities where homeowners are less likely to need furnace repair services for a while, and better to target homes aged closer to 15 years that are likely going to require your services for the first time soon.  

DON’T try to say everything at once.

One of the most common mistakes seen with direct mailers is trying to say too much on a single page. Think about it. You have a stack of flyers in your hand and you give yourself literally nanoseconds to decide if it’s worth your time to read. The first thing you would think might be “is this for me? And, if yes, what do I do?”. A direct mailer with too many qualifiers or too many messages will become cluttered and confusing, so keep the design[JR1]  simple and entice the reader to take action either by contacting you directly or learning more information online or on social media.  

What you should do to get the most ROI from your direct mail piece.

Now that we’ve shared what to avoid when planning a DM, let’s talk about what you should be doing with your direct mail piece to see the most reach and return on your investment.

DO send a direct mail when there is an event or promotion.

Direct mail is a branding tactic that goes hard and heavy in a short amount of time, typically resulting in a spike in traffic, so you should use your direct mail piece to promote a limited-time offer, event or promotion. We know now that your customers will take less than a second to decide whether your direct mail piece is relevant to them. A promotion or event is a direct call to action that is time-sensitive. An offer gives you, the business owner, something specific to say with your direct mail but also provides value to your potential customers.

DO include a tracking number, offer code or unique URL to track success.

One of the most frequent questions we hear at Chatterson is “how do I know if this worked?” Well, this is how: tracking, tracking, tracking. There will always be an immeasurable amount of brand awareness attributed to direct mail, but you can absolutely include tracking devices on your direct mail pieces to pull hard numbers. This can include a unique tracking phone number that only appears on that flyer, a unique promotional code or a unique URL which pulls data on visits to your website through Google Analytics. Even the old-school “bring this flyer to the store” approach will help identify who is engaging with your tactic. Whatever tracking you enable for your direct mail, always begin with a target in mind and make sure you’re using the RIGHT strategy to achieve your goals.   

DO target your ideal customers where they live.

It’s 11 o’clock in the morning, do you know where your customers are? If you don’t, you might want to do a bit of digging before planning your direct mail piece. To see the best reach and return, think about who your ideal customer is; their lifestyle, their income level, their family situation. Are they more likely to live in a condo downtown or an acreage in the country? A trendy and hip suburb or an older, more established neighbourhood? Working with a marketing team with access to enviro-statistics can help save you unnecessary mailing costs and ensure your direct mail reaches your ideal customer.

DO be bright, be brief, be valuable. 

Designing a successful direct mail piece doesn’t mean that you need the fanciest cut-outs, the thickest booklet, or the longest paper in the bunch. If you try to be too flashy, too busy, or too elusive with the design, then you risk the reader being unable to qualify themselves (“is this for me? And, if yes, what do I do?”). A successful direct mailer is about delivering content that is valuable to the reader in a clear, concise, visually appealing way. Be bright, be brief, or be in the bin.

Key Takeaways for your next direct mail piece

A direct mailer can be an excellent marketing tactic to promote your business, but like any other business decision, approach the choice to send a direct mailer with intention and a target goal to measure success. Direct mail is just one part of a robust marketing strategy, and at Chatterson we work with you to make informed decisions for your business and ensure whatever tactic we execute will see the maximum return on investment.