So you’re ready to dive into using Direct Mail as a channel to advertise your organization. GREAT! But before you rush full steam ahead, here are a few very common mistakes to avoid…
Any direct mail campaign is only as good as its data. Beginning with a list that is old, inaccurate or full of errors (either in formatting or actual information) is a recipe for disaster. If you are buying data, make sure you do so from a reputable company. If you are using internal data, be sure that it is as clean, complete and accurate as possible. You should always be working with data in spreadsheet format (as in Excel or comma delimited). Printing labels or creating mailing lists in word documents is not helpful for your mailing company.
Design Doesn’t Meet Postal Regulations
Any printed pieces that you share with the public should always represent your company. The design and message needs to reflect your organization's values and must be clear. But equally important to consider are postal regulations. The Post Office has very specific requirements on the size, design and layout of pieces that are sent through the mail. Incorrect design will result in higher postage rates or your mail being rejected by the Post Office. Always send a proof of your mail piece to your mail house to make sure that it meets postal regulations before you print!
No Call to Action
A beautiful postcard without a call to action will likely result in a disappointing campaign. What are you hoping to achieve with this mailing? What do you want people to know? What action would you like for them to take? Be clear, concise and inviting in your message. And remember, too many words will likely result in your call to action being lost amongst all of the other text.
Incorrect or Missing Contact Information
You would be amazed how many times folks make mistakes in their contact information. Always, Always, ALWAYS make sure that you check to make sure that your phone number, web address and physical address (if you are a retail location) are included and correct. You want to make it easy for people to find you.
Mailing From the Wrong Post Office
All postage is equal, right? WRONG! There are many levels of postage discounts available in direct mail. Standard postage rates are determined by the addresses on your list, the level to which the mail is sorted, and the post office that it is mailed from. Always make sure that your mail house is mailing your pieces from your Business Mail Distribution Post Office so that you will be eligible for lower postal rates and your pieces will be delivered quickly. Mailing from a small, local post office will usually result in higher postage rates and longer delivery times even if you are mailing to people in your own area. Mailing from out of state will significantly delay your delivery time when using standard mail.