Marketing and PR guide: Guide to direct mail

With more than 20 years of experience as a mailing house, we’d like to think we’ve learnt a thing or two about direct mail. Here are a few basics.

Helen MihillBy Helen Mihill, marketing and business development manager, Whitney Woods

Cleanliness is next to godliness

Whether you’re mailing to a list of existing customers or have bought in details of new prospects, using clean data is key. If address details are incomplete or incorrect then no matter what you send it simply isn’t going to get there. Don’t waste money on postage, print and products that won’t even get delivered - have your contact data cleansed and sorted first.

Timing is everything

If it’s a sales promotion then make sure that your staff has the capacity to respond to any replies promptly at the time of sending. Mailing out a great promotion when your sales desk is short-staffed risks not converting those hard-earned enquiries.

Be different

Once upon a time, direct mail was a saturated market with mountains of junk mail arriving on peoples’ desk on a daily basis. Now the world has gone email crazy and our online inboxes are the new dumping ground. Sending postal mail instead of - or in addition to - online mail can really help make your message stand out.

Make it count

Consider what you’re sending. A plain white DL envelope with a letter inside may be very cheap to produce but when it arrives it can easily be mistaken for junk mail and go straight in the bin. To make it past the gatekeeper, sending something unusual like a piece of ‘lumpy mail’ can do the trick. Being creative with your DM helps make your communication memorable. Send your message on a desktop calendar or pen holder and it will stick around on your customer’s desk for a long time to come - not filed and forgotten.