You have spent a lot of time, effort and money building your business. Now you are considering the best way of attracting more customers to call or visit to purchase your products or services. There are so many options and so many “experts” out there that will tell you their way is the best, but who can you trust to give you the real skinny?

I am here today to discuss one of those options and 5 important things you should consider when looking at direct mail advertising.

When it comes to marketing, the old WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and HOW applies very nicely.

1. WHO…is your ideal target audience? This is a big one that you should have really thought about when you were in the early planning stages of starting your business. I think we all fall into the pit of any business is good business, but after a short time we all figure out that there are definitely clients/customers/patients that we much prefer to spend our time working with. There are several important criterium here. Can they afford you? Do they appreciate and value what you are offering? Do you enjoy working with them? If you can check all of those boxes then they likely fall into that target audience you should spend money and time to attract more just like them.

2. WHAT…offer, information or service will attract the folks we talked about in #1? You can throw out offers and information to one group of people and they won’t even stop to look, whereas you can throw the same at another group and they will eat it up and want to engage you to take advantage of your knowledge, skills or products. So knowing your audience and what will make them react/respond is critical to the success of your direct mail campaign. I suggest polling your favorite clients with a couple ideas and see what piques their interest.

3. WHEN…is the best time to send out your advertising to have the best chance of a good response? You’ve heard the saying, “Timing is everything” right? Well I’m not sure it is everything, but it sure ranks near the top of important things to consider when sending direct mail advertising out. There are the obvious timing rules, like don’t send things the day before a holiday or don’t send outdoor construction advertising out during the dead of winter, but what about time of the week or month? In my experience, if I receive something in the mail on a Monday it will get less attention as I am getting my week set up, getting back into the normal schedule running kids around, etc. By Wednesday or Thursday I am in the swing of things and have the mental capacity to handle thinking about something outside of my regular life and work obligations. So, although direct mail drop timing is far from an exact science, being wary and really thinking this out, can help your odds of a positive outcome/response

4. WHERE…should you send your mailer to reach your demographic? Direct mail is awesome because you can reach people in their homes or businesses directly, therefore direct mail…The question that comes up though is, “Should I buy a very specific mail list based on my ideal target demographic” or “Should I target neighborhoods around my business” ? The answer is yes! Depending on the type of business you are promoting determines your specificity in where you actually mail. There are a number of options when mailing, but the 2 that I prefer are Every Door Direct Mailing with the USPS or simple bulk or first class specific address mailing. EDDM mailing is great if you want to target neighborhoods or postal carrier routes. The advantage with this one is that you don’t have to buy a mailing list and postage is significantly less. You will lose most of your ability to target specific demographics, but often times the difference in cost will offset that desire and you will decide to go for a more “cast a large net” approach. Specific mailing list mailing is a great way to only target those you think fall into your “ideal target” category. The thing with this method is that buying the list with very specific demographic criteria adds $.03 – $.06 per piece as well as an increased processing and addressing cost, and postage is quite a bit higher as well. It all goes back to “you get what you pay for”. If you want more control it will cost you more money!

5. HOW…are you going to get your mailing done? This is one of those questions that often would seem to be relatively simple for your office manager or you to fulfill. In my years in the business, I have seen time and time again that DIY in direct mail is a lot more tedious and difficult than expected. I highly recommend reaching out to an expert in the field of printing and direct mail to get the result you want. If you try to handle your own direct mail campaign, you can save yourself a little bit of money, but you will want to pull your hair out and swear that you will never do that again!

Companies like mine, RSVP, are a good place to start as we have all of the resources necessary to handle your design, direct mail consulting, printing, mail processing and we likely have relationships to make your campaign as successful and efficient as possible.

Happy Mailing!