Direct mail campaigns
Direct marketing is a very powerful and effective tool when done right. When done wrong it can be a waste of your valuable money and time. Many small businesses think that all they need to do send out a flyer to as many people as possible. However, you'll need to be a bit smarter than that. Following are our Top 10 Do's and Don'ts for Direct Mail campaigns:

1. Never choose hype over fact
Highlight the product benefits that are relevant to your audience and keep it simple.  Don't oversell your product or service.  Most of your customers will either see right through your hype or if they believe it they'll be bitterly  disappointed if your product doesn't measure up.  Explain the benefits of the product and remember to answer the critical customer question - what does this mean for me?

2. Make sure you test for usability before distribution and avoid sending out mail that lacks real impact.
Effective testing ensures your direct mail campaign works for your audience.  Don't just assume that because your know everything about your product that you also know everything about your customers.  Test your mail piece with some friendly customers and see how they react.  Listen to their comments and incorporate their good ideas into your piece.

3. Make sure you have a great headline. You only have a few seconds to grab the reader's attention so a good headline is critical.
One of the primary reasons we toss direct mail quickly is because it doesn't get our attention immediately.  Research shows that on average people take around three seconds to decide whether they will read a direct mail piece.  If your headline doesn't grab them then chances are your hard work will end up in the bin.

4. Ensure your direct marketing piece has visual appeal and meaningful content.
Design and content are both important.  Sacrificing one for the other will significantly reduce the effectiveness of your campaign.  Think carefully about how your piece will stand out from the rest of the mail your target will receive.  What

5. Follow-up, follow up, follow up
Sending out materials with no follow-up plan is a common direct marketing mistake which results in lost sales.  It's important to understand that even a very good direct mail piece is competing with other issues so the best way to get a sale is to follow up and turn initial interest into a sale.

6. Research drives results
Research provides real insight into not just what potential customers think but what they respond to.  Research can help take your industry and product knowledge and turn it into customer and sales knowledge.  Poorly researched direct mail pieces usually miss their mark and cost you money.

7. Ensure you have an up to date mailing list
There is no point sending out a direct mail piece to the wrong audience.  Make you have the right list and that it is up to date.  This involves two steps.  Understanding your target audience and profitable customer profile and making sure you have an accurate list.

8. Use the right language
If you are selling a specialised product to a general audience then don't load your direct mail piece with lots of jargon.  Understand the audience you are writing for and make your language relevant and easy to understand.

9. Include a call to action
 A direct mail piece that doesn't encourage your reader to do something is a waste of time and money.  Your audience must have something to do as a result of your marketing piece and it must be clear to them what the call  to action is.

10. Get the basics right
 Make sure your basic information such as contact details and pricing and accurate.  It seems an obvious point but too many direct mail pieces are wasted from carelessness.  Make sure people have easy access to your contact information.

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