Let me get something off my chest

You see, we’re the guys that gets contacted when people are struggling to drive results from their direct mail campaigns.

We have the job of identifying the errors, re-structuring the campaign and building into a campaign that converts.

But we come across the same struggle over and over again.

That is that it seems that all rules of marketing go out of the window when it comes to sending direct mail.

The fundamental logical laws of marketing seem to be forgotten.

For example, if you were writing an email to somebody that you had never spoken to in an attempt to sell something expensive, you probably wouldn’t give them a big sales pitch in that first encounter, would you?

You’d introduce yourself, keep it short and try to book an appointment (give them a small-commitment to get your foot in the door).

But with direct mail, it seems those logics are forgotten, and everybody seems desperate to pitch with no considerations for where the reader is in their levels of awareness for you or your product.

Then, when it doesn’t work, they wonder why they’ve burnt through a pile of cash with no results.

Look, before I jump into the meat of this article, the first thing that I want to make clear is that direct mail is no different to any other form of marketing – it’s simply a vehicle to deliver a message to a prospect.

The most important part of marketing is delivering the right message to the right person, the vehicle that you use to deliver that should not impact the message.

Okay, so that now that’s out of the way – I want to talk about the most effective methods for mailing COLD audiences with direct mail.

That’s because, like targeting anybody that has no awareness of who you are, you need to be much smarter and tactical with your messaging, and nothing competes with direct mail for that importance.

You see, due to the investment required to send direct mail, you’re piling a lot of pressure on yourself to get results if you have no relationship with the data.

Even breaking even is difficult, and unless you have a strong back-end strategy to monetize leads, then it can be difficult to even make any money from cold direct mail.

However, in some instances, cold direct mail is a highly effective way to reach an audience in a non-competitive environment that are difficult to reach online.

I want to walk you through the three rules that you must follow if you want to send successful cold direct mail:

1. Buy your data from a reputable source

Do not buy your data from some bloke down the pub or from your mate who has a list sat around.

The biggest leverage point of your direct mail success is the quality of your data (it’s why I encourage you to send direct mail to your internal list) but if you are buying data, then I recommend using working with a data broker.

We have a great contact that we work with – the quality of their data is top-notch, it’s clean and you can massively segment exactly who you’re looking for.

This is so important to the success of your campaign.

2. Be very picky about who you send your mail to

Do not make assumptions like “everybody over 60 is interested in hearing aids” – instead purchase your data based on layered searches.

For example:

People that run accountancy businesses from Greater Manchester that are between 50-65, have a household income over £100,000 and have previously purchased marketing information.

Can you see how your message would be much more targeted based on the above segment, rather than accountants in Manchester?

The pickier you can be, the better your message will resonate and the better your results will be.

A good data broker can help you with this.

3. Send a two-step mailer

Break your direct mail campaign into two-steps.

Rather than sending the same sales message to everybody, your first mailing should be aimed at getting the interested people to raise their hand.

For example, your first mailing would ask them if they’d like a free report for how they can “win 12 new clients in the next 30 days”

… you then only send the second mailing – your sales letter that offers your marketing services – to the 10-20% of people that responded to the first mailing.

This keeps your costs down and ensures you’re only sending the right messages to the right people.

4. Start Small and Scale upon Results

Don’t blast through all your data straight away.

Start small, test, tweak, and scale once you’ve seen the results.

Split-test the headline, the style of envelope, the offer and the call-to-action.

It takes more time and it takes more effort – but once you stumble on a direct mail campaign that works, then it’s a huge asset to you.

It’s not an online campaign that has a lifespan, direct mail will convert forever and you’ll never be short of people to send it to.

Your Next Steps

If you have a direct mail campaign that is not converting, then I hope the above helps you. At the very least, use it as guidance before you build any future direct mail campaigns.

Sending cold direct mail is difficult but highly lucrative when you get it right – just make sure you don’t fall into the trap of giving your marketing medium too much respect and changing your messaging.

Market and Message first, then your vehicle for delivering comes last.