7 Must-Haves for a Successful Direct Marketing Campaign



Have you ever had a new product to introduce or a sales promotion to announce, so you pieced together a mailing and a few social media posts and called it a day? If your objective was to simply get the message out the door, then your efforts were probably “good enough.” But did they make an impact?  Were you able to measure the return on your investment?

Your messages are too important to take so lightly. And so are your sales numbers and bottom line. So before launching your next direct marketing campaign, plan for success. We’ve found that the successful direct marketing campaigns include all of the following:

1. Quantifiable, Measurable Objectives
Your goals may be straightforward:  “More sales.” “Leads for our sales team.” “New subscribers.” But since you’re putting time and money into a marketing campaign, design it to drive results. Be specific about what you want to achieve. For example, you might shoot for:

  • 5% more sales in Q2 to increase the profit margin on product X
  • 10% response or sales increase versus current control
  • 75 webinar attendees to break even on your production costs
  • 10 customer leads per day and increase current conversion rate

With quantifiable results in mind, it will be easier for you to select your target audience, develop a compelling offer, map out a campaign schedule, and more. And explicit goals will help direct your campaign’s budget and timeframe.

Importantly, your results should be measurable, so determine how you’ll track responses. Determine how a response will be allocated if using a multi-media campaign. Define what counts as a “response”, “hit,” “lead,” or “conversion,” and specify when will you report on your campaign’s performance.

2. A Deliberately Targeted Audience
It’s universally accepted that delivering the same message in the same way to your entire list will waste time and money (e.g. printing and postage). Since you’ve set objectives for your campaign, you probably have a good idea of which customers and/or prospects are most likely to help you reach them.

Nevertheless, we encourage you to take a deeper dive and consider…

  • Grouping prospects based on their spot in the sales funnel or path to purchase
  • Using customer and sales data to segment your lists
  • Selecting more than one target audience and customizing your campaign messages for each

Using data to identify segment the audience will help ensure you hit the mark with your campaign’s creative, media mix, and offer.

3. Multiple Communication Channels
Your target audience can’t act on an offer they don’t receive. This day and age, marketers have so many ways to reach customers and prospects. Direct mail. E-mail. Print advertising. Social media. And consumers have preferences for how (and when) they want to engage with brands.

Using a mix of communication channels throughout your campaign—and according to a thoughtful campaign calendar—will increase the chances of getting your message read. The idea is to connect with your audience using a consistent campaign theme at different times, in different ways, and with different types of content.

Start with what makes the most sense. If your prospects are active website visitors who tend to contact your company via e-mail, digital channels are most appropriate. On the other hand, you’ll take a more traditional approach with senior-aged customers who respond better to mailings and phone calls.

And then, round out your campaign with “support” communications that reinforce your message. These might include social media posts, follow-up mailings and make sure your website landing page is campaign consistent.

4Finely Crafted Message and Offer
From mailings to social posts, your communications need to grab attention and establish relevance. Your prospects need to open those envelopes and e-mails and read your messages. Once your prospect is tuned in you’ve accomplished a major hurdle and now is your big chance to share information and convince them to take action: respond, call, or click.

When developing your message content and offer, all the work you did to define objectives and select your target market really starts to pay off. Tell your prospect why they should keep reading, how your company can help them solve a problem or jump on an opportunity, and clearly state several times what they should do next. And you can be specific because you’re addressing a specific group of people with common needs.

It may make sense to create multiple versions of your campaign materials to more effectively target subsets of your audience. For example, you can customize mailings for customers in different states, with purchase history, and communications preferences).  And ride the personalization trend and insert customer details (e.g. names, purchase histories) into your materials.

5Squeaky Clean Lists
The devil is in the details, they say. With direct mail lists, it’s essential you’re working with up-to-date contact information. Otherwise you could be sending multiple mailings to the same person, lots of mailings will be stamped “return to sender,” and you could be paying more to USPS than necessary.

It’s easy and quick to clean up your lists. You can have them run through specialized software that identifies and fixes errors, removes duplicate records, standardizes mailing addresses, and formats information to a single or mixed case. The reasons to invest in list hygiene are clear: you’ll reach more of your audience, lower your costs, and give a better impression of your brand

Read 3 Reasons To Clean Up Your Data Files Pronto for more insights.

6. Testing and Optimization
Believe it or not, if you’ve made it this far, your journey has just started. Be prepared to test your various campaign components to determine which versions of a letter, which lists, which offer, or which social network yields the best results. But as you start to see people respond, you’ll be able to increase the likelihood of “future responders” because you’ll know what works.

7. Work with a Partner
To maximize your direct marketing efforts, partner with an agency specializing in developing and managing successful campaigns for your industry. Reach out to us to learn how we can help improve your campaign performance.