8 Tips to Improve Direct Mail Campaigns

direct mail apt mailboxes feature

Photo credit: Tim Evans on Unsplash

Marketers are under more pressure than ever from all directions to make their campaigns deliver. And decision makers are examining every channel for its worth. Social media, email, offline channels and of course direct mail are all being evaluated. Marketing in the age of pandemics, political upheaval and unprecedented weather events has become more complicated, more focused, and requires close management to consider every part of a campaign’s impact on a customer.

In 2020, companies spent $15.9 billion on direct mail, according to data from Magna, and it remains an important channel to reach your customers. Often the focus is on the main attributes of a mailing program: The offer, creative and the database. Most marketers focus on these to generate a higher response for their campaigns. While essential, other elements of a mailing campaign you may not have considered can be instrumental in generating at greater ROI.

Which Day Generates a Higher Response?

Picking the best day to mail is more important than you think. So, targeting your delivery to a three-day window where you may generate a higher response is 100% possible. I’ve seen as much as a 20% difference in response rates based on the day of delivery.

What’s Your Cadence And Is It Working?  

We know consumers don’t buy the first time they receive a piece of mail. It takes multiple touches for consumers to purchase, usually through several channels. Most merchants mail the same person multiple offers in a cadence. Marketers should monitor the execution of this cadence to ensure consumers are getting the communications in the proper order. 

Are You Optimized for Postage And Delivery Time?

There are methods that merchants use to optimize their campaigns and ensure their mail is delivered when they need it to and keep on budget. It is a challenge, but good marketers know that optimizing these two factors gets the best results. Yes, there are times when higher postage can get the mail piece in the customer’s hands at the right time to gain the highest response.

Are You Focused on Mail Date or “In-Home”?

If you are focused on a mail date, you shouldn’t be. In-home dates are what the savviest of marketers use now. Once you know when your customers respond the best, target your mailings to hit those desired in-homes dates.

Are Vendors Meeting Delivery Deadlines? 

When you’re mailing using multiple lettershops, are you monitoring and comparing their delivery time? You need to trust the one launching your campaigns. Having a system in place is essential to ensure they’re meeting their obligations.

What’s Your Address Hygiene Strategy?

Do you know where your prospect lists are from? Are they built in-house, from a partner, or grown organically? No matter what the origin, keeping that data fresh is critical. For direct mail, are you using CASS and NCOA at the time of production? Do you use Address Change Services (ACS)? You should be.

Are You Using Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery is an offering from the USPS that lets subscribers know when an offer is in their mailbox, so a mail piece is directly transformed into a digital tactical moment in the receiver’s inbox.

Are You Using Direct Mail for Retargeting?

Physical mail in the digital age continues to merge both channels in unique ways. Advanced Addressable Direct Mail (AADM) is a relatively new concept that allows direct mail to be activated when a visitor (if you have their address) hits your website. This service is expected to be a $150m industry in the next few years.

Every campaign may not require each of these actions, but once you start mixing them into your efforts, you will gain valuable visibility into every aspect of your mailing.

Josh McCaully is Managing Director, Solutions Architecture for GrayHair Software