The 10 Commandments of Marketing in 2015 (Direct Mail Edition)

direct mail marketing rules

marketing plan templateFollow these rules to plan and execute successful direct mail marketing campaigns this year

For most businesses, January is the “make a plan and start executing” month. Everyone is focused. Everyone is pumped up and ready to reach the goals they just set for the year. With this in mind, I wanted to come up with something to give you to guide your marketing planning… and help with the “executing” part too!

And thus I give you… The 10 Direct Mail Commandments for 2015!

1. Thou Shalt Have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

First thing’s first: You need a USP. Your USP is a concise phrase that explains why someone should choose your business rather than any of your competitors. When you land on a specific, appealing USP, you have discovered the focal point of all of your marketing, including your direct mail campaigns. And that makes your marketing life easier.

Read more about creating a USP…

2. Thou Shalt Plan Thy Marketing Schedule

Mailing campaigns need to be executed consistently if you want to maximize your return on investment. I highly recommend taking an hour and making a note for every specific holiday/sale/event you want to promote in 2015 on your calendar. Then, go back 6 weeks from each promotion date and set a reminder to order postcards. (Or, more ideally, you place a single year-long order and get your cards designed and printed early so that the only thing you have to do is pull the trigger on the mailing.) This pre-planning removes the stress of trying to throw a campaign together at the last minute.

3. Thou Shalt Target Thy Ideal Prospects

Who is your ideal prospect? What do they do for a living? Are they married… with kids? What do they do on the weekends? Or if you are a B2B company: What are the SIC codes (basically the numbers by which their industry is registered and organized) for your ideal client industries? How much revenue do they generate annually? How many employees do they have? Where are they located?

Create a complete profile of your “ideal prospect” that includes specific details about their work and personal lives. This customer analysis checklist might help! Even though your ideal customer is a hypothetical person or business, you gain deeper insight into your target market by working up this profile. It helps you intuitively know what kind of marketing message your prospects need to hear, which is useful in SO many circumstances, not the least of which is choosing a mailing list and postcard design.

4. Thou Shalt Be Benefit-Focused

Your marketing needs to focus on benefits rather than features. “Dolby 5.0 Surround Sound” is a feature. “Feeling like you are smack-dab in the middle of your favorite movies” is a benefit. Features make people think you’re trying to impress them. Benefits help people understand how your product or service improves their life. Basically: benefits sell; features don’t.

5. Thou Shalt Not Make False Promises

This should be a no-brainer, but for some reason it seems to get easier to exaggerate the benefits of your product or service when you start writing marketing copy. But don’t. Don’t claim to have “the best customer experience in the universe.” Don’t say customers can return your product at any time, and then give them the run around when they try to actually return it. Instead, be clear about what your product is and how it benefits the prospect’s life. Hype and unmet-expectations are not a good reflection on your business.

6. Thou Shalt Always Call Prospects to Action

The goal of a postcard is to have prospects read and take action. But you cannot assume they know what the next step is. If you don’t tell them exactly what to do, they’ll probably do nothing. That’s just the way it works in a busy society. A Call to Action (CTA) can be as simple as, “Call today for a FREE sample.” Doesn’t have to be crazy!

7. Thou Shalt Not Mail Inconsistently

Repetition is key to direct mail success. Repetition is key to direct mail success. Repetition is key to direct mail success. Got it? Great!

My own research coordinating over 64,000 campaigns for PostcardMania clients and about 170,000 postcards per week for my own business shows the following data: 3-5 mailings per campaign are ideal (not including generic campaigns that run year-round, obviously!). So if you order postcards to promote a Valentine’s Day sale, people should receive the card a minimum of three times before the day arrives. This ensures an optimal Return on Investment (ROI).

8. Thou Shalt Follow up with All Leads

Following up with prospects by email and phone won’t affect your direct mail response obviously, but it WILL affect your ROI. The more leads you close, the more revenue you make off of your campaign. And the more revenue you rake in from direct mail, the easier it is to be consistent. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle.

9. Thou Shalt Not Disregard Thy Current Customers

If someone bought from you already, they are prime target to do it again. So why neglect all the work you did to turn them into a buyer in the first place? Mail postcards to your current customers to build a strong relationship that turns them from one-time customers into lifetime customers. Use various promotions to show customers that they get special benefits for their loyalty (i.e. special savings, exclusive content, etc.).

10. Thou Shalt Prepare for a GREAT Year

Lastly, get ready to have your best year ever! If you abide by the first nine commandments, you’re going to need to be ready. The success won’t come overnight (probably), but don’t let that fool you… it’s coming. By steadily employing these bedrock direct mail principles, you can expect consistent growth month after month – and, believe me, it really adds up!

I raise my coffee cup to your success in 2015! Have fun, and feel free to contact my marketing consultants at 1-800-624-1804 for direct mail advice – free of charge – any time!

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Joy Gendusa

Founder and CEO at PostcardMania
Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a fully-integrated marketing firm specializing in direct mail. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from just a phone and computer to a $22million enterprise in less than a decade.