Plan a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

If you work on marketing projects, then you know there are many different ways to get customers interested in your brand. One of these ways is conducting a direct mail campaign.

This is a type of marketing campaign that makes use of a mail service to deliver a promotional printed material to your target audience. This kind of campaign has a lot of steps that you need to go through to ensure its success. So here is how you can make sure that your direct mail campaign will be a hit with customers.

Planning your direct mail campaign and setting a timeline

There are a lot of details that go into planning agenda a successful direct mail campaign. If you establish a set of procedures to follow for each mailing as well as make use of a checklist to help you out, then scheduling your campaign should be a much easier task. So here is a list of what you need to do:

  • Write down both the sales and copy designs. Before you can start scheduling the rest of your marketing campaign plan, you have to be sure that you have written your piece.
  • Give the list broker the schedule. You need to plan things ahead of time with your list broker so that he or she is aware of your mailing schedule format. You also need to ask your list broker to make a list of recommendations, and the more time that you allot for this process, the better that list will be once the broker is done with it.
  • Request a printing quote for your sales piece. Be sure to obtain price quotes from several different printing services to help you determine which of them is the best option. Hire the one that offers the most cost-effective combination of price and service.
  • Place list orders with your broker. After you have selected the list that you want to mail, tell the broker where your list is supposed to go and the list’s due date. Once that is done, you should also ask your broker to provide you with an order confirmation.
  • Give your mailing schedule to a data processing company and inform them about the list due date. You should also let them know about the lists you ordered and their order numbers so they will be able to identify what lists have already been received as well as what is still due.
  • Give your artwork designs to the printer as soon as possible so you can find out how much time is needed to get the job done. Make sure that you create and send the file in a format that the printer will be able to read.
  • Approve bluelines and color proofs from your printer. Once the print shop receives your files, it will output a blueline and color proof, or email a PDF. The blueline is taken directly from the film and that is what is going to be used in order to create printing plates. When it comes to the bluelines, you need to check on everything such as the line breaks, page breaks, borders, cropping, etc. Then make any necessary changes. Check the colors to see if they are exactly what you want and make sure you check for any errors in your bluelines before the physical material is printed out. You can also see marketing campaign templates
  • Go over your end data processor suppression files and seed list. The suppression files are names you intend to omit from your mailing. For example, if you are mailing an offer to sell a limited edition product, omit all the customers that have already bought this particular product. The seed list, meanwhile, is the group of names and addresses that you are going to use to track the delivery progress of the mailing. The list would have the names of individuals in different regions of the country who will inform you when they have been able to receive the sales order piece. They will also let you know what condition it is in once it arrives.
  • Set the mailing list due date. This is the date when all the lists that you have sent are due at the data processor. If a list is not in by this date, you have to cancel it. You do not want to hold up the merge purge and risk changing the mail date all because of one list that was not able to arrive on time.
  • Issue merge purge instructions and approve the merge purge. These are the instructions that you give to the data processor on the criteria that you want to use for the merge purge. Once the merge purge is complete, check the results to see if there are any problems or red flags that you have to seriously look into. For example, if after the merge purge, one of your 10,000-name lists is reduced to 2,000 names, then you should immediately investigate the error. You can also see investigation report
  • Issue key codes and splits. Key codes are used to track the effectiveness of all the different elements of your direct mail campaign. This will include things such as lists, copy variations, sales plan packages, and much more. These codes will help you know what the response rate is for each list and it will also tell you just how well your test pieces are using.
  •  Issue letter shop instructions. These are instructions that you have to create and send to the company assembling your mail pieces as well as preparing the mail for the post office. You are basically tell them how you want your job to be processed. You can tell them things such as where the address label should appear on your marketing sales piece, the kind of mail that you want to use, the type of font you want to use to address the information, etc.
  • Approve key codes and splits. After you have given the data processor your key codes and splits, it should send back a confirmation email sample to you. The data processor needs to be able to apply the instructions that you have given and then they will need your approval.
  • Set the mail file due date at the letter shopThis is the date when the data processor is going to need the final mail file at the letter shop.
  • Make a postage request from the letter shop. The letter shop will take your mail file and calculate the total postage for your mailing. After that, it will send you a request for the postage. The Postal Service strategy is not going to accept your mailing unless you have paid the postage in advance.
  • Approve the address panel or panels. When the mail file is ready, ask the mailing company to send you a sample of how the names and addresses are going to appear in the final product list. Go through it so you can make sure that everything looks exactly the way that you want it to, and that everything appears in all the correct places on the material.
  • Get reports due from the data processor. Once the merge purge has been completed, the data processor will send you reports from the merge purge process. Go through and review these reports then send portions of them to your list broker so you can get the deductions you deserve on your list rental (this is only if it is necessary). You may also see campaign proposal
  • Set the postage due date. It is necessary that you get the postage to the letter shop before the mailing date. You would not want to miss your mail date just because you did not get your postage on time now, would you?

After your mail has been dropped off at the post office, request for a verification form that will confirm the number of pieces it received from you, as well as the class of mail and the total cost analysis. This verification will tell you if the lettershop was able to mail the correct number of pieces as well as if it was able to do so on the correct date.

If you would like to learn more about direct mail campaigns or other marketing topics, check out our other articles.