Ep. 226: What we’ve learned from sending 100 MILLION pieces of direct mail

How to Create Better Content and Improve Your Next Direct Mail Campaign

To get better results from your direct mail marketing, ensure that your content is relevant, the quality is professional-grade, and you include a call to action.

We are sick and tired of people telling us that print is dead. In the spirit of Grant Cardone, maybe it’s just that your direct mail sucks. Well, on today’s Silver Dollar episode, we’re going to help you fix that.

How do we know print is not dead? Check out the stats Josh found:

  • Of people across all age groups, 40% look forward to checking their mailbox.
  • Direct mail has a 90% open rate (email 20–30%).
  • Direct mail brand recall is 75% (email 44%).
  • The response rate to direct mail is nine times higher than for email.

And for good measure, we’ve sent 100,000,000 pieces of direct mail on behalf of our 100,000 clients.

Once more: Print. Is. Not. Dead.

There are three features that every piece of direct mail should have. But before getting to them, the first thing you need to do is stop shooting your direct mail campaign in the proverbial foot.

Direct mail targeting must be strategic

ReminderMedia is located in King of Prussia, not too far from Philadelphia. And in South Philadelphia, where one of the oldest and largest open-air markets runs along 9th Street and caters to the entrenched Italian population, there live old-world grandmothers who toss their pasta against the kitchen wall to see if it’s cooked. If it sticks, it’s dinner time.

This hit or miss strategy is okay for pasta, but it’s definitely not okay for your direct mail.

Too many times, marketers haphazardly toss large quantities of direct mail into an area and wait to see what sticks. What they should be doing instead is using targeted mailing lists.

It doesn’t matter if it’s direct mail for real estate agents, roofing direct mail, mortgage direct mail, insurance direct mail—whatever type of direct mail campaign you’re running, you need to be strategic about mailing to the appropriate audience. You want to ensure that what you’re sending is getting to people who can most benefit from using your services.

There is simply no point in sending a piece of direct mail about lawn care services to residents of an apartment building.

With predictive analytics and artificial intelligence becoming more mainstream, marketers have access to information that can help them with their direct mail targeting. There are direct mail marketing companies using consumer data, behavioral data, and, in the case of real estate direct mail, property data, to provide marketers with lists of people predicted to need their type of service or product.

ReminderMedia has a product that provides clients with a list of high-quality leads for only pennies per record. Agents can select one or more zip codes and, using predictive analytics, we will provide you with a list of properties whose owners are most likely to move in the next 6-12 months. Last year, the data we used accurately predicted 80% of all listings. (If you want to learn more, click here.)

Remember, your direct mail campaign is only as good as your targeting.

Features your direct mail absolutely must have

Now that you know to mail to the correct recipients, you need to evaluate your direct mail to ensure that the content is relevant and provides value, is of the highest-quality, and includes a call to action.

Make sure your direct mail content is relevant and provides value

You don’t want your emails to include information that is redundant, outdated, or trivial, so why would you want R.O.T. in your direct mail?

If you return to the idea of direct mail targeting, you wouldn’t want to send direct mail about maternity services to people in an assisted living facility—the information wouldn’t be relevant to that population.

As for value, your direct mail advertising should focus on information that is either educational, entertaining, or endearing.

Educational information should be tied to your industry. If, for example, you’re a financial advisor, you could offer a free analysis of a prospect’s portfolio. A real estate agent could promise a market assessment. It should be something that your target audience would find useful and help move them into your lead funnel.

Entertaining information can be anything your target audience would find enjoyable. It could be a postcard with a festive recipe for the holidays, or a calendar listing local events recipients would be eager to attend.

Endearing information is information intended to generate goodwill and make you look naturally generous and concerned about your community’s peace and prosperity. You could send a piece of direct mail inviting residents to join you at a volunteer or charity event. You could encourage the community to come out and support a kids’ soccer team you sponsor. You could let people know that you’ve teamed up with a local business to clean up a neighborhood playground (and you could split the cost of the mailing!)

Don’t skimp on quality

Economical is fine, but don’t be cheap when it comes to your direct mail. The quality of what you send will create impressions of your professionalism, attention to detail, business acumen, success, and much more.

Likewise, the quality of your direct mail will affect its shelf life. Flimsy postcards hit the trash can while more robust cards get stuck to the refrigerator. Our own professional publications, American Lifestyle and Start Healthy, are super high-quality magazines that stay in the home an average of 3–4 weeks.

If you opt to use postcards, use a high-quality paper stock and experiment with different textures. Test different sizes too, and see what generates a better return. Make sure images are professional and the colors work. A glossy finish works well when the focus is an image (typical for real estate) while a matte finish works well when it’s the words that matter most.

Remember to include a call to action

You have a reason for your direct mail campaign, so make sure you tell your potential new leads what it is!

Be clear about what you want your recipients to do. Don’t mask it or hide your intent in small print. Call, email, click, go, visit, snap—whatever it is, remember to include it, and make it easy for your recipient to comply.

And make a point to follow up! Direct mail and digital marketing, when paired together, are capable of boosting direct mail ROI. Have some commonality across your direct mail and digital marketing so that they are clearly related (for example, the same color scheme and messaging), and you’ll double the number of touchpoints—making you that much more memorable.

Final thoughts

Do not underestimate the value of direct mail. In a world inundated by email, direct mail stands out and gets noticed. When planning your next direct mail campaign, strategically select your target audience, provide value, give weight to quality, and always include a call to action.


Key Points

  • In many categories, including open rate, brand recall, and response rate, direct mail outperforms other marketing mediums.
  • The most prominent mistake made with direct mail is sending it to the wrong audience.
  • Direct mail needs to (1) include content that is relevant, provides value, and is either educational, entertaining, or endearing; (2) be of high quality; (3) include a call to action.

Action Item

Ensure your next piece of direct mail is either educational, entertaining, or endearing.

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