Let me guess: You landed here by Googling “direct mail companies” or a similar term.
Or maybe a colleague shared the link somewhere and you clicked through because you’re interested in running your own direct mail campaign.
However you got here, you’ve come to the right place; not only do we provide the full scope of direct mail management, but we also happen to know a lot about our kind.
If you’re searching for a company to help you plan, create and mail a direct mail campaign, we’d like to help make your selection process a little easier. Of course, we’d be honored if you chose to work with us – but we also wanted to share some characteristics that you should be picky about when you’re considering any direct mail company.
Whether you’re looking for a one-time vendor or a long-term partner, here are five things to look for in a direct mail partner:
An understanding of USPS regulations & guidelines
This qualification may seem a bit obvious, but it can be costly (and painful) if a mailpiece isn’t designed or constructed to USPS standards. It doesn’t matter what other discounts your mailing qualifies for – improper design means that you will pay a higher rate than necessary.
Postal requirements are complex and may be difficult to keep track of, unless you’re experienced in the mail industry. For example, we have had clients who designed and printed their own postcards, but failed to leave adequate room for the barcode necessary for presorting. The error meant that the organizations had to pay the full postage rate per piece. For a small mailing, the cost difference may not have been significant, but imagine if your mailing list was 10,000. The additional cost could be upwards of $2,000.
Rather than trying to store all this knowledge yourself, find a direct mail partner that specializes in, well, direct mail. If you plan to print your own materials, consult with your vendor during the design stage. Their staff should be experts about what format and design elements are needed to get the lowest postage rate possible.
This point refers specifically to experience in the copywriting and design realm. It’s one thing to be a good writer, but it’s a totally different thing to understand the type of design and writing that works in direct mail.
When you’re choosing a direct mail partner, you’ll want to be sure the company you’re dealing with has extensive experience designing and writing ads for direct mail and other media.
Direct mail usually has a very short window to capture attention. With this, it’s best to have access to a creative team who understands what works best to hook a prospect and entice him/her to read on. Don’t be shy about asking a prospective provider how long the company has been in the mail business and to provide one or two examples of successful campaigns.
Access to reliable data
As a marketer or business owner, you’re likely familiar with the term “big data”. Big data doesn’t just apply to digital marketing, but it can (and should) be used to target and enhance your direct mail campaigns.
That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure that your direct mail partner has access to accurate and reliable data. Using targeted data means that you’ll send your message to the right people at the right time – and not waste money on people who won’t (or can’t) use your product or service. Conversely, it can ensure that your message doesn’t miss important members of your audience.
Typically, direct mail companies offer mail lists based on geographic, demographic, and psychographic criteria. If you can’t get access to data through your current direct mail provider, consider going with someone who will help you target more quality leads.
Direct mail (and marketing in general) is by no means inexpensive, so it’s important that you can see a return on your investment. As you’re selecting a direct mail partner, be sure to ask each prospective vendor about their tracking abilities. Working with a provider who has tracking mechanisms in place can help you prove the value of direct mail and/or provide data that will eventually help you refine your campaigns.
At Extend Your Reach, we focus on using technology to measure response to mail campaigns. Digital integrations, such as personalized URLs, custom landing pages or microsites and 2d barcodes can help you see how many people took action after receiving your mailpiece.
As you research potential direct mail vendors, keep in mind that proper tracking abilities can help you manage your database, tweak your campaign strategy and successfully target future mailings.
If you’re like many other marketers, you’re probably balancing several vendors for different projects and campaigns. That’s why it’s nice to find a vendor that can act as a one-stop-shop.
As you narrow your options, consider a direct mail partner who can handle the whole scope of your campaign in-house. Key services to look for include: direct mail strategy, copywriting and design, color printing, folding and inserting, presorting, mailing and tracking.
Even better, look for a firm that can handle your entire marketing plan. This way, you’ll have a partner that knows your brand and the way your business works; plus, you won’t have to worry about coordinating between companies.
There you have it. If you are considering running a direct mail campaign, we recommend looking for these five characteristics to make your job easier – and make sure your campaigns are successful.
While we hate to brag, it would be irresponsible not to mention that we offer each of these to our direct mail customers. If you’re in the market for a direct mail provider, let’s talk! Submit the form below to tell us more about your project.