10 tips for growing your customer base through direct mail campaigns

Chris Robey

Author: Chris Robey
8th June 2021

Using direct mail to engage new customers are part of integrated marketing campaigns

Direct mail is a compelling way to communicate

Mail is personal and tangible, its saved, shared, and is a communication channel that many businesses turn to when then want to find new customers.


Data linked to the impact of direct mail marketing just gets better and better, see our earlier blog post, The value of mail in a changing media landscape.


Whether the initial approach is a letter, leaflet, brochure or an item of ‘lumpy mail’ the principles for running a successful customer acquisition campaign, using the power of direct mail marketing, hold true. Let us take you through the tactics that help many of our clients win business.

10 top tips for your direct mail campaign plan

1. Objectives
Your campaign should seek to engage your ‘ideal clients’, the potential customers with a profile that means they are most likely to connect with your product or service. Begin with the end in mind, then work backwards; for x new customers, you’ll need x qualified leads, that will come from x meaningful conversations, generated by x responses to the call to action within your direct mail campaign, which assuming a response rate of x, requires a data set of x ideal clients. Keep the numbers manageable so that your contacts have a great experience when they get in touch for the first time. You campaign can always be delivered in a number of phases, allowing you to test new approaches and make tweaks along the way.


2. Research
Who are your ideal clients? If you’re not sure then consider your current top 10 customers and think, “who would I want 10 more of?” Have in mind the 80-20 principle – 80% of your business is likely come from 20% of your customers. What characteristics do they share? Consider your competitors and their activities, what are your points of difference? Start thinking about what your product or service helps your customers achieve, or what problems do they solve?


3. Data
You may already have a prospect database with the required permissions to use it, perhaps from other campaigns, tradeshows or networking events? If not, you can invest in GDPR compliant and highly specific data sets, both for businesses and individuals. Data can be incredibly well targeted with criteria that include postcode, life-stage (e.g. families, retired etc.) and even household income. You could also consider door drop campaigns, which target addresses rather than individuals, making them inherently GDPR compliant. Careful and considered data selection will drive your returns and reduce wasted communications, put it at the heart of your campaign plan. 


4. Data check
Your data should always be verified. If your campaign is about customer acquisition, check that the list does not include current customers. Duplicate records and incomplete details need to be picked up. Your data also needs to be cleansed for ‘gone-aways’ (mailings that have previously been undeliverable by the Royal Mail), deceased recipients and those who have registered with the Mailing Preference Service not to receive unsolicited mail. Your mailing partner, hopefully Systematic, can support these checks on your behalf, helping you to avoid unnecessary expense, waste and in the case of breaching the Mailing Preference Service, sanctions from the Advertising Standards Authority!


5. Campaign creation
This needs careful consideration in line with your business goals and target audience. Your approach needs to be creative, memorable, thoughtful and really highlight the shared values that you and your prospects have. Focus on ‘pains and gains’, the benefits of your offer and the problems it solves. Last, but far from least, have a clear and compelling call to action. Ideally give your prospects a choice when it comes to communication channels they can engage with, and reassure them with messaging about what will happen when they reach out.


6. Multiple touchpoints
The most successful campaigns will build in multiple touches, using online and offline communication channels if your data permits it, e.g. an email to follow-up your approach via direct mail. You cannot be sure that any touchpoint will be at the right time for your contact, so reinforcing your message over a relevant period of time will build awareness, familiarity and trust, improving your chance of a positive, direct interaction. 


7. Follow-up
People buy from people, specifically people who they can trust. Direct follow-up contact with your prospects will transform your results. Your best prospects may be too busy to immediately reach out, but they will respond to contact which follows up on a distinctive campaign. The communication channels you use for your follow-up activity will vary across campaigns and industries, e.g. in a business-to-business context, a LinkedIn message could be one personable way to progress your initial approach. Time should be set aside to allow for multiple attempts to make contact.


8. Don’t sell
However you chose to follow up, it is really important to take the pressure off your prospects. Confirm whether you’ve caught them at a good time, check that they received your information, perhaps they have questions about it?  Don’t launch into a monologue about how great your product or service is, listen and show an interest in your contacts. Pressurised selling is from a bye-gone era and will reflect badly on your organisation!


9. Stay in contact
Even if your prospect is not interested when you first make contact, seek their permission to stay in touch. They’ll appreciate the breathing space, and respect you for remembering to contact them in the future, when their circumstances may be different. Done well, your ongoing communications will build their perception of reliability and professionalism.


10. Review, refresh, adapt
There are lots of variables within direct mail marketing campaigns.  Maintain data that will support future decisions and enable you to measure return on your marketing investment. What responses were received? Who became clients, why and what for? How much do they spend? What can be learned from this? What trends can be identified? These insights will bring momentum to your subsequent campaigns, you’ll do more of what works! 

Here to support your mailing campaigns...

In our experience, the most successful campaigns start well and finish even better.


Reaching out to the right people and proactively following-up your contact is often the secret to a successful direct mail campaign. 


There are lots of logistics in the middle, but don’t worry our specialists are here to help. Our support can start with the creative campaign development, using our project management and graphic design expertise. It extends beyond the delivery of messages on doormats, as we help you develop and nurture the relationships your business has with its key customers.


Let’s talk! If you’d like to tap into our insights for your next marketing campaign, simply get in touch, we’d be very pleased to hear from you.

Need help to get the word out through direct mail?

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