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Is Direct Mail Marketing Dead? Not If You Do It Right

By Chris KnipperDec 21, 2009

Though direct mail pieces are historically considered relatively low-conversion marketing initiatives, powerful direct mail design can make all the difference between an effective campaign and a dud.

Develop Your Message

direct mail marketing can work if done rightDirect mail design allows for creativity.  In fact, it depends upon innovation to be effective.  However, your audience should still recognize that the direct mail is coming from you or, more importantly, that your brand or message is not being diluted or obscured for the sake of a one-time mailer.

This means that the basics of your brand, such as logo, tagline or other core messaging, should be present even if they’re not at the forefront.  A direct mail piece should be unique, but you’re making too much of an investment on any major direct mail initiative to be wholly experimental.  Determine your message and goals first, rather than winging it.  

Working Within a Budget

Direct mail design is largely dependent on your available campaign budget, but even a small budget need not constrain your messaging.  Postcards and fliers, for example, are both low-budget options, but they might not speak to the presence or prestige of your brand.

So, when using these or similar forms of inexpensive, direct mail pieces, it’s all the more important to have a talented designer on hand since you don’t want the mailings to look cheap or unprofessional.  That might cause more harm to your brand than good.

Track Your Interactions

A well-designed direct mail campaign should yield some immediate feedback from your audience.  Direct mail pieces should be designed with feedback in mind.  In other words, does the design facilitate comments, reactions, questions, discussions or otherwise call the reader to action?  Plus, no matter how basic or complex your design, are these actions easily trackable?

With a direct email campaign, many online interactions can be traced.  Offline direct mailers can refer potential clients to your website, thereby also yielding a trackable response.

What are your experiences with direct mail marketing? Do you think it's old-school and irrelevant?

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The Author

Chris Knipper

With a background in sales, marketing and technology, Chris has the perfect balance of skills for developing inbound marketing strategy. Since founding Kuno Creative in 2000, Chris has helped hundreds of companies grow their brands and capture qualified leads.
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