Does this sound like you?

  • You’re running a busy practice, shop, or other growing business.
  • You want to increase sales and profits.
  • You cannot rely on organic “grassroots” marketing anymore
  • You’ve heard that (or know from experience) that direct mail is “the bomb.”
  • You have little time to spend learning the ins and outs of direct mail.

That’s okay, because direct mail is our job. It’s what we do all day, every day. And because we’re constantly fielding questions and concerns from small business owners just like you, we decided to create this easy-read guide to give you the most crucial “need to know” information about the key aspects of direct mail—the who, what, where, why, when, and how.

Read on to become a direct mail boss as you absorb—in less than 10 minutes—what’s taken us decades to learn.

WHO: The Direct Mail List

Did you know that your list accounts for up to 40% of the success of your direct mail campaign? In other words, if your list stinks, so will your results.

One question you must ask your direct mailer: Is my list targeted enough? Or is it “mass” enough?

Many people call us wanting to mail 100, 500, or 1,000 pieces—numbers that are neither targeted nor mass. In fact, we know from experience that you’ll be hard-pressed to get meaningful responses if you mail fewer than 10,000 pieces. We also know that the best results happen when business owners send between 10K – 250K pieces per mail drop.

And by best results, we mean a lip-smacking quantity of qualified leads! Check out our simple, yet powerful Direct Mail ROI Calculator so you can model your results before it happens, see if direct mail is a good fit for your business.

Step-by-Step ROI Calculator

WHAT: The Direct Mail Mailer (aka “the Creative”)

3Avoid postage penalties by making sure your mailer meets USPS bulk mail standards. Unfortunately, the “standards” are as thick as a phone book, so do yourself a favor and consult with direct mail professionals—like us!

Also keep in mind that custom mailers, like square envelopes or mailers on goldenrod stock, are way more expensive than standard mailers.

Non-profit? Have you been pre-approved by the USPS? Hint: The USPS’ non-profit approval process is different from the one the IRS uses. Getting approved is free, but it takes time. Find the form here.

WHY: The Direct Mail Offer

The offer is another critical part of a mailing—it’s why people should act. When you’re devising a direct mail offer, think “Lifetime Value” rather than making or losing money on a single transaction.

Questions to ask:

  • Is your offer compelling enough? Would you, your parents, or your neighbor want it?
  • Does it create a sense of urgency? For instance, “expires September 30th” or “limited supplies.”
  • Is the offer simple, or are you asking people to jump through hoops – to sign up online, print things out, download an app – just to get your promo?

We’d love to help you with your offer. Just get in touch to tap our huge promotions library filled with examples from past and present projects.

WHEN: The Timing and Frequency of Your Direct Mail

First, know that direct mail isn’t like FedEx; you can’t nail down a precise delivery date.

And don’t forget to account for design and production time when you’re planning.

A few other thoughts to ponder:

  • Do you have the budget to try direct mail more than once?
  • Do you have the budget and mental space to use direct mail consistently? (Consistency is more important than frequency.)
  • Are you remembering to give people time to react to your mailer?

Also keep in mind that approximately 15% of your target market likely lives outside your mailing area; you still need other forms of marketing to reach those folks.

HOW: To Improve Your Direct Mail Results

Because postage will always be increasing (USPS is broke), your best bet is to work with a direct mail company like IPNM Direct & Digital, as we’re always looking for ways to bring you a bigger bang for your buck.

We also recommend that you try innovative and new approaches with proven success records, such as Facebook Retargeting. It can boost your results by 5 to 25 percent!

Learn How to Boost Your Direct Mail ROI

WHERE:  Resources to turn to when you need help

  1. The Direct Mail Association, the world’s largest organization dedicated to the art and science of direct mail
  2. Business Mail 101, by the USPS (written like a textbook, but still informative)
  3. IPNM Direct & Digital, your full service direct mail agency. Learn more about what makes us tick, and how we can help you.

Be on the lookout for our next post, which will show you how to get a solid estimate of your direct mail return on investment—even before you launch the campaign.

Questions? Snakebitten by direct mail before?
We’d love to hear from you, see how we can help turn things around. No strings attached.
888.617.MAIL (6245) •