Challenges with Direct Mail

Direct mail first off has very low return rate. “For a targeted direct mail campaign, you should see an average response rate of 2-5%” (Direct Mail Response Rate Tips, 2011). This means for 5000 Pieces were sent out a 2% response would mean 100 responses. In my opinion this is very low. Considering the cost clients with a low budget may want to consider a different approach, as the amount need to invest is rather significant for a reasonable response. The price invested is in production of the mailer piece as well as the posting. Also if there is a promotional offer or gift that can be redeemed, that is an added expences. The key question is how to make the response rate higher?
A very competitive offer is a good place to start. It is a sad but true fact that people are not very interested unless they are getting something out of the piece. The direct mail piece needs to grab the audience’s attention and call them to action. For me personally I end up handing most direct mail pieces to my 3-year-old daughter. She likes the color, images, and it keeps her entertained for about 4 minutes. Unless they have a great offer, or something that strikes me, (grabbing my attention) the piece will end up in her little hands.  Even if the mailer is to inform people about an upcoming event, sale, or promotion there needs to a reason to motivate the viewer to take action. Coupons and money saving offers are a great place to start.
Another vital part of direct mail is making sure the contact information is available. Yes, we know pretty much anyone can jump online and do a few searches and figure it out, but why add the extra challenge? Contact information is essential to an effective call to action. Taking this a step further is making sure there is a web addresses and social media. The web is the modern day yellow pages. You could take it one step further and add a QR code for those with a smart phone that want to play with this fad.
Urgency is another essential aspect to add to a direct mailer. If there is no sense of urgency, the mailer is likely to be filed away never to be seen again or the packrat individual will show up with your mailer 3 years later and be annoyed that you are no longer extending the offer. Making the mailer urgent also adds a sense of excitement, and a call to action now. For example, “This weekend Grand Opening! FREE fuel card to the first 50 shoppers!” This means if you want some free gas, you need to get there first.
These of course are the basic essential elements for successful direct mailers. Keep in mind also getting an accurate target mailing list is also helpful. For example I have a client that does mailers for his automotive repair shop. He buys a mailing list for all German automobile owners in a surrounding 100-mile radius. This focuses his advertising to the local area and individual that would be interested in his specific services. Also he always gives money saving offers.

Works Cited:
Birchell, MaKenzie. "4 Big Direct Mail Mistakes | Bluewater Blog." Integrated Direct Marketing Solution - Bluewater. Web. 27 Sept. 2011. .
"Direct Mail Response Rate Tips." Small Business Marketing Tips. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. .