8 Steps to Building a Stellar Direct Mail Campaign

How many times have you received promotional mail from a company, only to immediately toss it in the trash? Would you be as likely to throw it away if the piece seemed to be made for you, and incorporated your name and interests right into the design? The latter refers to direct mail: a marketing tactic that carefully targets prospects based on specific criteria to create customized pieces. These personalized campaigns are much more likely to connect with customers, as they are catered to their specific interests.

For those who are new to direct mail or would simply like a refresher, we’re sharing a fool-proof, step-by-step process to build a successful direct mail campaign:

1. Share your ideas with us!

The first step in creating an effective direct mail campaign is to understand your goals and the message you’re trying to achieve. Having a clear vision from the conceptual stages of your campaign will ensure that you’re able to measure your success and get the results you’re looking for.

2. Provide your data.

The more data you can provide, the more variability you can achieve with your piece – and the more personalized it will be. This information can be demographic, such as age or gender, or even psychographic, such as purchasing habits and values. You can tailor the content of your piece, including copy, photos, colours and product promotions to each specific customer profile.

3. Build your creative.

Our experienced Design Specialists can help create a design that captures your message and will speak to your customers. If you already have your design files ready, we can work with those too. While building your creative, keep in mind which changes need to happen to the design for each of your customers.

4. Create the algorithms and code to implement your variability.

State of the art software is what drives the ability to add variability to your projects. This is done using what are called “if-then” statements that tell the program how to create the file, based on the specified data. For example “if the customer is female, then promote this specific product.”

5. Test and merge your data.

“Merging” is the process of inputting your data into your design files, and creating all of the print-ready files to go to production. This step ensures that the algorithms you’ve implemented are running smoothly and that all of your variable criteria are met.

6. Send to a sample market and refine your design.

Before sending out a large scale direct mail campaign, it’s a great idea to test a sample market (anywhere from 100-500 addresses). Incorporating a personalized URL (PURL) into this sample is an easy way to track the response rate from your customers. A PURL is a unique, personalized landing page created for each recipient of your campaign. Direct follow ups are also a good way to collect feedback to adjust your design and make any changes that are required.

7. Full set is sent to production & mailed.

After you’ve finalized your design, the larger scale campaign is ready to be sent to production and mailed out. Most direct mail is “self-addressed,” meaning the piece is not contained within an envelope. The reason for this is that if your customers see their name or information that is personalized to them right away, they are much more likely to interact with it. Due to the variable nature of these pieces, direct mail is usually printed digitally.

8. Measure your results!

This is the last, but possibly the most important step in the direct mail process. Whether you’re using PURLs, follow up calls, or promotional codes, measuring the success of your campaign will help determine what’s working, what to improve on, and how to approach your next direct mail project.

TPH is your Canada Post Smartmail Marketing Partner! Our team is experienced at ensuring that everything meets mailing standards so that you can have a seamless, worry-free experience. In addition to being a fully integrated solution from design straight through to production and mailing, we’re also experts at getting the job done fast.

Contact your closest TPH Branch to chat about your next direct mail campaign!